Spain By Train
Trains are the perfect way to travel in Spain. The country is filled with lively cities, cultural curiosities, lovely beaches, and great food. Your Eurail Spain Pass is your ticket to amazing rail adventures, from the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia to the unspoilt beaches of the Costa Brava.
Train types in Spain
- Route map
- Domestic trains
- International trains
- Night trains
Regional and Intercity trains
Media Distancia (RE)
Connects larger cities with smaller destinations over medium distances.
Fast trains making frequent stops along their routes.
Suburban trains serving Spain's largest cities such as Madrid and Valencia. In Catalonia, around Barcelona, these trains are branded as Rodalies.
Domestic high-speed trains
High-speed services for short journeys along short to medium routes.
Faster and more comfortable than Media Distancia with similar coverage.
- Covering Europe's largest high-speed rail network, these trains travel on speeds of up to 310 km/h (193 mph).
- Takes you from Madrid to Barcelona in under 3 hours.
Comfortable, long-distance trains connecting Madrid and Barcelona to destinations throughout Spain.
Comfortable, long-distance trains connecting Madrid to destinations in the south of Spain.
High-speed, air-conditioned trains running along the Mediterranean coastline of north-eastern Spain.
Connects key cities in the Levante region: Barcelona to Valencia in just over 3 hours then onwards to Alicante.
International high-speed trains in Spain
TGV INOUI to France
- TGV INOUI Trains operated by the French railways.
- Barcelona – Paris.
RENFE AVE to France
- Barcelona – Lyon
- Madrid – Marseille
- Reservations are required
- Intercity trains that link Spanish train station Vigo Guixar with Porto in Portugal.
Other International routes to France (also see Night Trains section)
It is possible to reach cities such as Perpignan and Toulouse by local trains from Barcelona. These French cities are very well connected to Paris and the rest of France by TGV and other trains, as an alternative to the direct Barcelona-Paris services.
- Barcelona – Latour de Carol (France), see Rodalies (search for La Tor de Querol-Enveitg).
- From Latour de Carol, connecting trains go to Toulouse.
- Barcelona – Cerbère (France), see our timetable and filter on regional trains
- From Cerbere, connecting trains go to Perpignan, Montpellier, Nîmes, and Avignon (France).
Alvia (ALV) Madrid – Irun
- Madrid – Valladolid – San Sebastian – Irun (French border).
- A 3km walk from Irun to Hendaye (France) to take direct trains to Bordeaux and Paris. Or take Euskotren (not included for Passholder)
Other International routes to Portugal
IC & Regional train (RE)
- Madrid - Lisbon/Porto(Portugal). See our Rail Planner.
- Madrid – Badajoz by IC.
- Badajoz – Entroncamento.
- Entroncamento – Lisbon/Porto with connecting trains.
Night trains connecting the Spanish border to France. The following routes are useful for travelers to France:
- Latour de Carol – Paris (ICN 3974/3975) – Daily all year round.
- Cerbere – Paris (ICN 3730/3731) – Only on Fridays and Sundays till the 30th of June. Daily in summer.
- Hendaye – Paris (ICN 3741/3742) – Daily during summer season, from the 7th of July till the 2nd of September.
Use the Intercités de Nuit as an alternative route to France
Night trains from Latour de Carol and Hendaye are good alternatives for the busy TGV routes from Barcelona. The night train to Hendaye is a good alternative to reach San Sebastian and Bilbao.
- Search for Latour de Carol to Paris in our timetable and find the local train from Barcelona to Latour de Carol on the Rodalies website (‘La Tor de Querol-Enveitg’).
- Search for Cerbere to Paris and Barcelona to Cerbere in separate enquiries in our timetable. This train only runs daily during summer season.
- Search for Hendaye to Paris in our timetable and find the local trains from San Sebastian and Bilbao on Euskotren* to Spain. RENFE trains from San Sebastian and Madrid arrive to Irun, which is a 30 minute walk across the border or a 4 minute train ride by Euskotren.*
*Euskotren is not part of the Eurail network. Buy your tickets locally in Hendaye in vending machines or at the ticket desk.
- Domestic connections
- International connections
Here are approximate times between Spain's most popular cities when taking direct high-speed trains.
Barcelona to Madrid
Barcelona to Malaga
Madrid to Granada
Madrid to Valencia
Madrid to Santiago de Compostela
Madrid to Seville
|Barcelona to Valencia
(Euromed high-speed train)
|Madrid to Irun
(Alvia high-speed train)
By traveling with slower regional trains you do not need to make reservations. For example, there's a direct regional train ride from Barcelona to Madrid that takes 9h 06m. That's 6 and a half hours longer than the high-speed train journey.
You can travel to and from Spain from popular cities in the following European countries:
|Barcelona to Paris (France)||SNCF||6h 50m||Required|
|Vigo to Porto (Portugal)||Celta||2h 15m||Required|
|Madrid to Lisbon (Portugal) via Badajoz||IC + RE + IC||9h||Required (Madrid – Badajoz & Entroncamento – Lisbon)|
|Madrid to Porto (Portugal) via Badajoz||IC + RE + IC||11h||Required (Madrid – Badajoz & Entroncamento – Lisbon)|
|Madrid to Porto (Portugal) via Vigo||ALV + RE + IC||11h||Required (Madrid – Pontevedra)|
How can I make reservations for trains in Spain?
More often than not, you need to make advance reservations for trains in Spain. Fees vary depending on the type of seat or bed you choose.
Eurail reservation self-service system
- TGV Barcelona-Paris (international tickets only)
- Only AVE, Euromed, & Alvia trains
At a local railway station
- Reservations for other domestic and long-distance trains in Spain can only made locally at the ticket desk of a Spanish Long Distance railway station. Find a list of long distance train stations here. You can make reservations on the day of travel or for up to 3 months in advance.
- The international TGV’s connecting Barcelona with Lyon and Paris in France, can only be booked at train stations in France and in the Eurail reservation self-service system.
By calling RENFE phone sales
- +34 91 232 03 20
- Pre-reserving a seat is possible. You will receive a PNR code which you must use to pick up and pay for your reservation at a local station ticket office, making sure to show your Eurail Pass. After the booking, you must collect your reservation within 72 hours. The reservation can only be booked up to 24 hours before the train departure time. After this time the pre-reservation will expire.
- Please note that a pre-reservation is not the same as a reservation. It only holds a seat for you for 72 hours.
If you have a disability or reduced mobility and you want to travel by train in Spain, you can request help from Atendo Service. You can contact them by phone:
- Phone number: +34 91 214 05 05
- Opening hours: 24/7
- In Portugal, the following stations have international ticket desks where you can make reservations for RENFE trains departing from Badajoz and Vigo: Lisbon Santa Apolónia, Lisbon Oriente, Lisbon Rossio, Porto Campanhã, Porto São Bento, Aveiro, Coimbra and Faro.
- At a Deutsche Bahn ticket office. You need to provide the train number.
- Via Deutsche Bahn by phone (+49 30 2970 or directly to the English line +49 30 311682904). Collect at a DB ticket machine or receive via post (€5.90 per order). You need to provide the train number.
- Via a Swiss ticket office or by phone (scroll down to Switzerland).
You can get more detailed information about train reservations in our reservation guide.
Get your Pass for Spain
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Tips and tricks
Population: 47.2 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Dialing code: +34
Spelling of city names
On Spanish train timetables and at train stations in Spain, you'll usually find the local spelling of Spanish cities and stations.
Here is the local spelling of some popular Spanish cities:
Alicante = Alacant
Seville = Sevilla
Spanish hub stations
Spain's main hub stations are Madrid Puerta de Atocha-Almudena Grandes, Barcelona Sants, Irun and Portbou. At these train stations, it's possible to connect to trains to Spain's main cities and many international destinations.
Stations in Spain usually have excellent facilities, often including:
Foreign exchange desks
Restaurants and cafés
Tourist information offices
ATM cash machines
Elevators and escalators
Access for disabled passengers
Gate at stations for some local lines
Barcode paper or mobile Pass cannot be used.
There is a number of stations with access gates. In these stations, customers can ask the staff to open them by showing the pass (and the seat reservation if necessary). In case there’s no staff at the station, the gates will be permanently open or will open automatically.
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