Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, are located 390 miles apart, and driving between the two takes almost 6.5 hours, making for a very long day of travel. If you want to travel between Madrid and Barcelona quickly, conveniently, and for super cheap, take the train instead. Madrid to Barcelona trains are very frequent, take half the time than driving does, cost less than what you’d pay for a rental and gas, and while on the train, you’ll enjoy the comfort of doing nothing but looking at Spain’s pretty scenery out of the window.
- Is there a high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona?
- How long is the high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona?
- How much is the bullet train from Madrid to Barcelona?
- Where can I book the train from Madrid to Barcelona?
- What is the cheapest way to travel from Barcelona to Madrid?
- What is the difference between AVLO and Renfe?
- Where is the train station from Madrid to Barcelona?
- Is it better to fly from Madrid to Barcelona or take the train?
- Is the train ride from Madrid to Barcelona scenic?
- Where to stay in Madrid to be near the Madrid Puerta de Atocha
Is there a high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona?
There are three operators that run high-speed trains between Madrid and Barcelona:
- The Spanish national train operator, Renfe, runs multiple direct high-speed trains between Madrid and Barcelona daily (every half hour, starting around 6 AM until 9 PM). On Renfe’s online booking system, there are two types of high-speed trains available. One is marked “AVE” (Alta Velocidad Española — Spanish High-speed train), the other is marked “AVLO” (Alta Velocidad Low cost — Low-cost high-speed train).
- OUIGO España, a subsidiary of SNCF, the French national railway company, operates high-speed trains between Madrid and Barcelona five times per day, starting at 7 AM until 9 PM.
- Private high-speed rail operator iryo, runs 32 high-speed train trips per day between Madrid and Barcelona, from around 6 AM until around 9 PM.
How long is the high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona?
- On Renfe’s AVE or AVLO high-speed trains, the journey between the two cities ranges from 2.5 hours to three hours and 15 minutes, depending on the stops the train makes.
- On OUIGO España’s high-speed trains, the ride between the two cities ranges between 2.5 hours and two hours and 55 minutes.
- On iryo’s high-speed trains, the trip between the two cities ranges from 2.5 hours to two hours and 45 minutes.
- Don’t have to make your way to and from the cities’ airports which are located out of town, unlike the train stations which are located in the city centers of Madrid and Barcelona.
- Don’t have to show up 90 minutes before departure.
- You can bring a minimum of two pieces of luggage on the AVLO and OUIGO España trains, and three pieces of luggage on the AVE and iryo trains without being charged extra.
- You can travel for as little as $9.70 (9 €) on an AVLO or OUIGO España high-speed train if you book early enough.
How much is the bullet train from Madrid to Barcelona?
The price of traveling by high-speed train between the two Spanish cities depends on many factors, including: The high-speed train operator you choose, the demand on your dates of travel, the time of travel, the fare type you select, and the class of service you want. Prices start at $9.70 (9 €) on AVLO and OUIGO España’s trains, $15.10 (14 €) on iryo’s trains, and can reach about $194 (180 €) on AVE trains. Compare the three operators’ prices and their offerings regarding luggage, WiFi, seat comfort, etc. before you make a booking.
Where can I book the train from Madrid to Barcelona?
What is the cheapest way to travel from Barcelona to Madrid?
Traveling on the AVLO or the OUIGO España train is the cheapest option out there to travel between Madrid and Barcelona, starting at $9.70 (9 €). The fares for iryo’s trains are also extremely reasonable, starting at $15.10 (14 €). However, no matter what train operator you choose, the earlier you book, the more likely you are to get the best price possible.
What is the difference between AVLO and Renfe?
Renfe is the Spanish national train operator, whereas AVLO is a type of train run by Renfe. AVLO is an acronym that means Alta Velocidad Low cost, i.e. low-cost high-speed train. Alongside OUIGO España’s trains, AVLO trains are the cheapest and most convenient way to travel between Spain’s two biggest cities.
Where is the train station from Madrid to Barcelona?
If you travel between Madrid and Barcelona by train, you will use the Madrid Puerta de Atocha train station in Madrid, and the Barcelona Sants train station in Barcelona. (See the map above to locate both train stations.)
Is it better to fly from Madrid to Barcelona or take the train?
Without a doubt, taking the train is faster, cheaper, more convenient, and greener than flying.
By taking the train you:
Is the train ride from Madrid to Barcelona scenic?
Even though the high-speed trains that run between Madrid and Barcelona go as fast as 186 miles per hour, you can still see the Spanish countryside, including hills and agricultural lands, from your seat window. It’s certainly not as scenic as some of Spain’s coastal train routes, however.
Where to stay in Madrid to be near the Madrid Puerta de Atocha
Check out Matador‘s selection for the best Airbnbs in Barcelona and the hotels in Barcelona with iconic views over the city. For hotels in Barcelona close to Barcelona Sants train station, have a look at our previous selection.
We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page.
AC Hotel Atocha by Marriott
Located just a few minutes on foot from the Madrid Puerta de Atocha train station, the AC Hotel Atocha has 161 rooms that all include spacious showers, large TVs, electronic safes, and air conditioning, among other amenities. The hotel has an outdoor terrace, a fitness room, and an outdoor garden with pine trees, olive trees, rosemary and lavender bushes, along with other Mediterranean plants. The decor is sleek and contemporary throughout. The property is conveniently situated close to Paseo del Prado and three well-known museums: Thyssen, Prado, Reina Sofia, and is within walking distance of other significant sights such as Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol.
Only YOU Hotel Atocha
Only You Hotel Atocha, housed in a 19th-century building, is located a three-minute walk away from the Madrid Puerta de Atocha train station. Each of the property’s rooms is soundproofed and features a big flat-screen TV, safety deposit box, minibar, private bathroom with free toiletries, and complimentary bathrobe and slippers. The hotel has a café, bakery, and several lounges where guests can relax. The breakfast room, which offers lovely views of the city, is located on the top floor of the building. The Prado Museum is 13 minutes away on foot.
Located less than 20 minutes away from the Madrid Puerta de Atocha train station, the Rafaelhoteles Atocha has contemporary design and features impressive art, which will inspire visitors to visit the nearby Reina Sofia, Prado, and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums. Guests can unwind after sightseeing with a rejuvenating cocktail and a delicious meal at the on-site bar and restaurant.