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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.

Domestic connections in Spain

Spain has an extensive high-speed train network, which will get you where you want to go a lot faster compared to the regional train system. However, for the high-speed trains you'll need to book a seat reservation. We'll explain you more about reservations a bit further down on this page.

 

View approximate train travel times between Spain's key cities with high-speed trains and regional trains.

 

To / From High-speed train Regional train

Barcelona - Madrid

3hr

9hr 20min

Barcelona - Malaga

5hr 30min

-

Barcelona - Granada

7hr 30min

-

Madrid - Malaga

2hr 30min

-

Madrid - Granada    

4hr 30min

-

Madrid - Seville

2hr 30min

16hr 50min

Madrid - Santiago de Compostela

6hr 30min

28hr 40min

Map with main train connections in Spain
Map with main train connections in Spain

International connections from and to Spain

We suggest the following routes to travel between Spain and other European countries:

  • France – Spain
    There is a direct train connection between Barcelona and Paris (6hr 25 min).

  • Portugal – Spain
    Take a regional train to travel from Vigo to Porto (3hr 30min).

 

International ferry connections to and from Spain

You can also travel between Spain, Italy and Morocco by ferry with Grimaldi Lines ferries. Get a 20% discount on the following routes:

  • Barcelona – Civitavecchia (Italy)

  • Barcelona – Porto Torres (Italy)

  • Barcelona – Tangier (Morocco)

Reservations for trains in Spain

Many Spanish trains require an advance reservation, including domestic and international high-speed trains and night trains (prices depend on your chosen sleeping accommodation or seat type). 

 

Please note that the number of seats available for Eurail Pass holders is limited on InterCitè de Nuit trains. We advise you to reserve these trains as soon as possible during peak season (May to September) and public holidays.

 

How to make reservations for Spanish trains

The only way to make reservations for domestic and long-distance trains is directly at the ticket offices of local Long Distance stations (not commuter stations). You can make reservations on the day of travel or up to 3 months in advance.

 

It is also possible to pre-reserve a seat by phone, by calling +34 91 232 03 20 (Renfe phone sales).

  • This is possible up to 24 hours before a train's departure. 
  • 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. 
  • You must collect your reservation within 72 hours. 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

 

Find out more about reservations

Train types in Spain

There are various train types in Spain ready to transport you both day and night. Most of the Spanish railway network is operated by RENFE. Use the Eurail timetable to check times for trains in Spain.

Regional and Intercity trains in Spain

 

Media Distancia (RE)

  • Connects larger cities with smaller destinations over medium distances.

  • Fast trains making frequent stops along their routes.

  • Reservations are required on most services.

 

Cercanías (RE)

  • Suburban trains serving Spain's largest cities such as Barcelona and Valencia.

  • No reservation required.

spain-renfe-ave-high-speed-train

Domestic high-speed trains in Spain

 

Avant (AVN)

  • High-speed services for short journeys along short to medium routes.

  • Faster and more comfortable than Media Distancia with similar coverage.

  • Reservations are required.

 

AVE (AVE)

  • 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.
  • Reservations are required.

 

Alvia (IC)

  • Comfortable, long-distance trains connecting Madrid and Barcelona to destinations throughout Spain.

  • Reservations are required.

 

Intercity (IC)

  • Comfortable, long-distance trains connecting Madrid to destinations in the south of Spain.

  • Reservations are required.

 

Euromed (EUR)

  • 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.

  • Reservations are required.

International high-speed trains in Spain

 

Renfe SNCF Cooperation (RSC)

  • Trains co-run by the Spanish and French railways.

  • Routes include Barcelona to Paris and Madrid to Marseille.

  • Reservations are required.

 

Celta (IC)

  • Intercity trains that link Spanish train station Vigo Guixar with Porto in Portugal.

  • Reservations are required.

night-trains-spain

Domestic night trains

Trenhotel domestic (HOT)

  • Connects major cities within Spain.

  • Operates on several routes including:

    • Barcelona to Granada

    • A Coruña to Madrid

  • You need to reserve a seat or bed in advance.

 

International night trains

Lusitania (HOT)

  • Connects Madrid with Lisbon (Portugal).

  • You need to reserve sleeping accommodation. To ensure you get a place, it's best to do so 2 or 3 months in advance.

 

Sud Expresso (HOT)

  • International night train connecting Irún and San Sebastian to Lisbon in Portugal.

  • Reservations are obligatory. Make you reserve as early as possible to avoid missing out.

 

InterCités de Nuit (NT)

  • International night trains connecting Spain to France.

  • Operate on the following routes:

    • Port-bou to Paris (France)

  • You need to reserve sleeping accommodation prior to taking this train. Places are limited, especially during peak season from May to September, so it's worth making your reservation as soon as possible 

rail pass options for spain

Spain Pass

 

Spend your whole vacation to discover Spain by rail.


Standard prices from € 148

Global Pass

 

Have the freedom to visit Spain and up to 32 other Eurail countries.


Standard prices from € 185

Benefits in Spain

spain-morocco-aml-ferry

Ferry travel in Spain

Discounted ferry travel is an extra benefit of Eurail passes that are valid in Spain.

Get discounted ferry travel between Spain and:

  • Italy

  • Morocco

 

Bus travel in Spain

Eurail pass holders can also travel for free (pay only a reservation) on these international bus routes:

  • Canfranc - Oloron (France)

  • Valencia S. Joaquin sorolla – Valencia Nord station

 

See all pass benefits for Spain

Places to visit in Spain


    Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Bustling brightness in Barcelona

Known for its modern, forward-thinking style, Barcelona is one of the most progressive cities in Spain. The capital of Catalonia offers music, museums, sun and shopping. A popular attraction is Sagrada Familia, a temple designed by Antoni Gaudi. Its construction began in 1882, and is still underway. Gaudi’s influence is unmissable in Barcelona – from Park Guell to Casa Batlló, one of the most unique residences in Spain.

It’s easiest to get to Sagrada Familia by bus or subway from any major railway station. The temple has its own stop.

    Plaza de España, in Seville, Spain
Plaza de España, in Seville, Spain

Centuries of style in Seville

Seville (Sevilla) captures the sexy Spanish lifestyle, but business and finance are also part of the mix. Tour the city on foot, by bus or by bike. Parque de María Luisa and Plaza de España give a taste of Seville’s nature. The Sevilla Cathedral gives a feel of the Muslim and Christian influence. A steamy nightlife, flamenco dancing and delicious tapas, completes the adventure.

Seville train station Santa Justa is about a mile northeast of the city center.

    Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

Quaint and peaceful Spain in Bilbao & Pamplona

Want to see some of the smaller, more quaint Spanish towns? The coastal city of Bilbao offers the famous Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry and recognized as a work of architectural genius. Further south, Pamplona may be known for the Running of the Bulls (July 6-14), but for the rest of the year, this little town is a fabulous place to explore, eat, and enjoy a dazzling nightlife.

From Station Bilbao-Abando, you can take a subway directly to the Guggenheim Museum. The museum has its own subway stop.

    Mercado Central, Valencia, Spain
Mercado Central, Valencia, Spain

Sizzling sun in Valencia

Bask in the sunlight along the Costa Blanca (the White Coast) before heading into town for some memorable sightseeing. Once in town, don’t miss the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, which contains an oceanic aquarium, scientific museum, IMAX theater, covered gardens & more. Want to do a bit of shopping? The more than 1,000 stalls at the Mercado Central offers a host of colors, scents and flavors for the modern shopaholic.

From train stations De El Cabanyal en Del Norte city buses and metros bring you to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias.

    Madrid
Madrid

Voluntary insomnia in Madrid

Madrid has so much to offer, you shouldn’t be surprised if you forget to sleep. Spend your days in the Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace (Palacio Real), the Royal Botanical Gardens (Real Jardin Botanica) or one of the 73 museums. Feast on tapas in the evening, and dance the night away in one of the countless nightclubs that make this city famous. All the while, you’ll be surrounded by some of the most fascinating architecture in the world.

The Royal Botanical Gardens are a 10-minute walk from train station Atocha. The famous Parque del Retiro is just across from the Botanical Gardens entrance.

More about Spain

Quick facts

  • Capital: Madrid

  • Population: 47.2 million

  • Language: Spanish

  • Currency: Euro (EUR)

  • Dialing code: +34

 

Spanish hub stations

Spain's main hub stations are Madrid Puerta de Atocha, 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.

 

Station facilities

Stations in Spain usually have excellent facilities, often including:

  • Luggage lockers

  • Foreign exchange desks

  • Restaurants and cafés

  • Tourist information offices

  • ATM cash machines

  • Elevators and escalators

  • Access for disabled passengers

 

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

example train routes in Spain


    Map with example route in Spain
Map with example route in Spain

Example train route in Spain

Visit Spain's most popular cities on a single trip with Eurail. You can follow the suggested route below using a Eurail Spain Pass - 8 days within 2 months, starting from € 301.

 

1. Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain’s most cosmopolitan city offering surrealist architecture from Gaudí and entertainment galore.

 

2. Valencia

Valencia offers a charming old town, pleasant beaches and of course, the best paella Spain has to offer.

 

3. Granada

Granada is spellbinding thanks to the allure of the Alhambra set before the mountainous backdrop of the Sierra Nevada.

 

4. Seville

Seville – wander the winding cobbled streets of the Andalusian capital and include visits to Seville Cathedral and the Alcázar.

 

5. Madrid

Madrid has plenty to offer – get lost at the Rastro flea market, explore the Prado Museum and soak up the lively atmosphere of Chueca.

 

6. Toledo

Toledo is a stone’s throw from the capital and offers a rich history with churches, synagogues and mosques stood side by side.

 

7. Salamanca

Salamanca is buzzing with a student atmosphere and dressed up in beautiful traditional architecture.

 

8. Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela – is filled with Medieval charm and is the finishing point for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago.

 

9. San Sebastian

San Sebastian proudly boasts some of Spain’s most beautiful beaches – ideal for sunbathers and surfers alike.

 

 

For more route ideas for your Eurail trip, check out our European highlights itinerary.