Q: We plan to make a circular trip to 3 Spanish cities in this order: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and back to Madrid and then to catch our plane out. What is your recommendation for arranging transportation for this trip?
A: The following links will take you to detailed informational pages where you can look up the details about the train journey. You will find information on the stations, journey times, how to buy tickets, and timetable information on each one of these pages.
In summary our recommendation is to take the AVE (high velocity train) between Madrid to Barcelona (2.5 hours). You would catch the train from Atocha station in Madrid and you would arrive at Barcelona Sants (Sants Estació).
For Barcelona to Valencia see the following page: Barcelona to Valencia by train. The train will leave from Barcelona Sants (Estació Sants) train station which you can get to by the Barcelona Metro system. The metro station to get off at in Barcelona is called Sants Estació and from there you can take the train to Valencia. Depending on the train you take you will either arrive at one of two stations in Valencia: Joaquin Sorolla station or Nord Station.
Please note there is no high velocity train link between Barcelona and Valencia yet therefore the trip will take around 3 hours however do check carefully the timetable since some trains can take considerably longer.
Finally you can take the high velocity train again from Valencia to Madrid journey time 1 hour 38 minutes with the AVE. Once in Madrid you can take the metro system to the airport from the Atocha train station. To figure out the route see this page: Madrid metro map.
Our advice is to book this train circuit in advance so that you will be guaranteed a place on the train. During the summer time the trains fill up rapidly and you could find yourself without a seat. There are many trains that run throughout the day however and if your preferred departure time train is booked up you will probably find spaces during another hour.
We have a tourist information website on all 3 of these Spanish cities which you may find of value in planning your trip: