The high-speed train in Spain, explained 🇪🇸


Road tripping through Spain and Portugal is our passion, but we are no stranger to trips on the high-speed train. We’ve been onboard the AVE trains (that’s the generic term for high-speed trains in Spain) more than 200 hundred times, fascinated by the sight of the Spanish landscapes going through the window at more than 300 km per hour.

So, in case you need to take a high-speed train as part of your trip to Spain, we want to share with you lots of tips and information on a very convenient means of transportation in the country.

The video we have recorded is divided in six big sections. 

  • we discuss the company operating the trains and the types of high-speed trains in Spain – there’s more than one!
  • we describe what the main high-speed lines are and where they take you, and we have a quick look at the main stations.
  • we analyze the different classes onboard the trains.
  • it is always essential to know what is the baggage allowance onboard the trains.
  • finally, we describe in what a bit of detail what is a trip like on the high-speed train.

We hope you found the information useful. It won’t be the last time we talk about trains here on the site, as there as some great news about to happen.

Not one, but two train operators, will offer low-cost high speed train travel shortly. 

The first operator is RENFE, and its low-cost service is known as AVLO. It will initially run on the line between Madrid and Barcelona.

The second operator is French SCNF, and its low-cost service uses the brand OUIGO (as in France). It will also run on the line between Madrid and Barcelona.

If you’d like to know our recommended site to buy high-speed train tickets to travel throughout Spain, you will find out about it on the following video.

Travelling at high speed is great. Doing so at an affordable price, even better!

If you have any questions about the high speed train in Spain, use the commentary box below, we’ll be delighted to help. 


16 thoughts on “The high-speed train in Spain, explained 🇪🇸”

  1. Hello! I plan to book affordable train tickets from
    1. Seville to Madrid
    2. Madrid to Barcelona

    How can I buy tickets online? I tried accessing thr renfe website but it’s not working so far. Are there other means of ordering tickets online reliably? Thank you!

    • Hello Risa, we have a video here explaining how to buy tickets on the Trainline, our preferred website for train travel in Spain. All the best.

  2. I plan to travel on high speed train from Barcelona to Valencia, but the website says that there are no trains available on both Trainline and Renfe. Do they open up the space only a month in advance?

    • There is no high-speed train between Barcelona and Valencia, yet. For what date are you checking out the conventional trains?

  3. For our first time in Europe, we are going to be in Barcelona on May, wondering the best way to get from there to Lagos Portugal via high speed train or should we take a flight?

    Thank you for any help that you can provide.

  4. Hola Tony,
    How are you? We are 2 adults and 2 kids (7 and 10 years old) planning to go from Barcelona to Malaga.
    After I watched your video I went to and to Renfe website and tried to book.
    However I have a few questions and I hope you can help me with:
    1. What is the difference between (cheapest & semi flexible) and (Flexible) from benefits point of view?
    2. What is the difference between (standard) and premium)? Is it normal and first class? Is First class better chairs and more benefits?
    3. What is the (4 o mas) thing? Is it for a group of 4 passengers or more? When I clicked on it for the adults it became cheaper the tickets. Same when I did (child) it became cheaper for my 2 kids. Am I doing the right choices or am I doing something wrong with the choices?
    4. The website asks for extras like pets or bikes, but did NOT mention luggage. Does that mean that luggage is automatically accepted? How many piece per passenger and how many Kg per luggage?
    5. Do I have to have a Spanish phone to book the tickets?
    6. Is there snacks and beverages offered in the train? Is it for extra charge?
    7. Is it better to book from Trainline or Renfe website directly?

    Thank you so much for helping and clarifying all my questions in advance.



    • Hi Razan, let’s try to answer your questions:
      1. the main difference refers to the changes & cancellation policy. You would have to check the details with Renfe.
      2. in general, better seats is the main difference. We ceased to try to understand Renfe rules as they keep changing. You would have to read the rules related to the ticket your are buying at the time of purchase.
      3. 4 passengers. You might end up being seated around a table.
      4. Luggage is accepted. I seem to remember we talk about it on our video.
      5. No, you don’t.
      6. There are. You pay for them.
      7. Much easier and hassle free to book from the Trainline.
      All the best.

  5. Hi again Tony,
    Thank you for your help. I have another question. I am looking on the site for trains from Madrid to Toledo but it keeps saying there are no such trains. What site should I go to for this? Is rail ninja a safe site?
    Thank you again.

  6. I have looked at the Trainline website to book at train from Seville to Madrid. When I click on the AVE train at 09:36 AM it does not tell me what kind of luggage I can bring aboard or how to pay for a large bag if I have one. I also do not understand the seating. It show a seat reservation is included then asks you to select Coach type: standard, Silent carriage or no preference. What are the differences between them?

    • We explain’s Renfe’s luggage policy on the video at the beginning of the text. Silent carriage is one where people are encouraged to keep silent (no conversations, no cellphone calls), as opposed to the ordinary coach. No preference means you don’t mind where you seat.


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