On this page you'll find where you take the trains from, what time they leave, where to buy tickets, how much they cost, journey times and details of what services are provided on board the trains that run between Barcelona and Madrid.
There are 3 trains which leave from Barcelona-Sants for Madrid. The 'AVE' train (high velocity train) and the Combinado train runs to Madrid Puerta de Atocha and the 'Costa Brava' train runs to Madrid-Chamartin. The AVE and combinado train travels during the day and the Costa Brava (Estrella) train goes overnight.
The AVE trains travel every day however some schedules only run during certain days of the week (see RENFE link below).
The AVE train runs regularly throughout the day (see timetable link below)
AVE travel time varies but it is around 3 hours. We recommend you refer to the timetable link below for precise information on travel times.
The 'Combinado' train runs each day and has more stops than the AVE, taking 6 hours. Check the link to the official RENFE website below for exact times.
The Costa Brava train runs overnight, making more stops and takes 9 hours. There is only one Costa Brava train that leaves at 22:20.
Timetables can change. Official RENFE timetable for Barcelona Madrid train.
|AVE (High Speed Train)|
The AVE (high speed) train service between Madrid and Barcelona travel time is only 2 and 3/4 hours for the direct trains. When you figure in the 1 or more hours in advance that you need to be at the airport, the total time is quite comparable.
Standard price for tourist class ranges from €119.80 - €141.40. However, there are numerous discount fares available, including a web-fare for as low as €119.80.
I have not used this train yet, but I have used the Madrid-Seville AVE and found it to offer excellent service. I am going to use the Madrid-Barcelona AVE in a few weeks. The web fare I obtained was cheaper than flying, and my door-to-door travel time will only be about half an hour longer.
Your website is excellent! Lots of thorough information. I have found it to be very, very helpful. Keep up the excellent work.
The official RENFE prices in euros are as follows (information correct January 2013):
Single Tourist from €119.80
Single First Class from €179.80
Club from €254.50
Do you want a chance to get discount tickets? Try the online reservations service by RENFE see link below.
Alternatively There is an official British RENFE branch, that offers cheaper tickets. Call Tel: +44 20 3137 4464 for further information.
The overnight train offers you the option to pay for a bed. You can choose from the following:
Tourist Adult: €44.60
Tourist Children: €26.75
First Class: €56.70
First Class Children: €34.05
Bunk Beds: €58.70
One of the main advantage of taking a train is an environmental one. With the ever increasing levels of the green house gas C02 in the atmosphere which is directly leading to global warming many savvy travellers are now opting for more "carbon efficient" ways of travelling. According to Collins Gem "Carbon Counter" a plane flight leads to approximately three to five times more C02 emissions per passenger than an equivalent journey on a train.
In addition water vapour released at high altitudes from a plane has an even greater global warming effect than C02. Unlike water vapour released into the lower atmospheric altitudes where it is quickly removed.
To calculate your exact carbon footprint visit the following web page:
The other main advantages to a train journey is you have more opportunity to relax. There's no need to be at the station hours before to check in, and of course you have space to walk up and down during the journey. You will see the scenery, and, on the daytime trains, you have the option of dining in the restaurant or snacking in the café and making a real experience of the journey itself.
With the new high velocity train between Barcelona and Madrid the journey times are comparable to those with the airlines if you consider check in times. The AVE high velocity train journey between Barcelona and Madrid will take around 3 hours on average depending on the time of day the service is operating.
If you go first class with either the day train or night train, you can benefit from free parking facilities at the departure station. If you are making a single journey, you may park for 24 hours, and if you are making a return journey you can park for 48 hours. All customers must pass through a checkpoint before getting on board. Note that this will close 2 minutes before departure time.
AVE High Velocity Train
Club Class, First class (preferente) or standard (turista)
Disabled toilets and seating
Café and restaurant
Free drink and restaurant meal for first class
The Costa Brava train facilities include a free magazine and café facilities.
Official website www.renfe.com Then click the English flag to see the site in English. (Other languages also available).
You can reserve your tickets by phone on Tel: +34 90 243 2343. You can ask to be put through to an English speaking operator, and the phones are manned all night.
You can usually buy tickets directly from travel agents. They will display a RENFE notice in the window if they offer this service.
Or online with the ticketnet system at the official RENFE site www.renfe.com
You have to begin by registering as a client, and for this you will need an ID number. If you have one, you can use your Spanish resident's card number (Sometimes you have to input it without the letters). You can also choose the option to print your own internet bought tickets.
If you have any queries with regards to buying tickets you can call the customer service line:
Tel: +34 90 243 2343 (Reservations)
Tel: +34 90 232 0320 (International)
If you've booked the wrong tickets, you can cancel tickets bought online up to two hours after the time you bought them, without any extra charges. After this, they will charge 15% to the card that you used to buy them.
The credit card holder must be the one to collect the tickets from the station, and they must take photographic ID.
Barcelona Sants station information and ticket reservations
Tel: +34 90 243 2343
International information Tel: +34 90 232 0320
Address: Plaça dels Països Catalans, s/n
Station opening hours: 04:30 - 00:00 midnight
Left luggage office: 05:30 - 23:00
Hours to pick up reserved tickets: Monday-Friday: 05:15 - 22:30. Saturday, Sunday and Bank holiday: 06:10 - 22:30
Ticket selling in advance: 07:00 - 22:00
Ticket selling for immediate departure: Monday - Friday: 05:15 - 22:30. Saturday, Sunday and Bank holiday: 06:10 - 22:30
Bus numbers from station: 32, 44, 78, 109, 30, 27, 43, 115
Metro: Sants-Estació (Green Line, L3) and ( Blue Line, L5)
Distance to airport: 13.5km
Distance to port: 2.5 km