Every AVE train uses high-speed routes to connect major Spanish cities, being Renfe’s principal train service
Renfe is Spain’s national train operator, and their premier high-speed trains are branded AVE which stands for Alta Velocidad Española (Spanish High-Speed).
This is a premium high-speed train service, with the most frequent departures.
But there are also several competitors to Renfe’s AVE train to be aware of, particularly if you want to save some money and travel light, which are Avlo, OUIGO and iryo.
You can compare all train operators for a given trip on my favorite booking website.
Currently Renfe has the following AVE routes:
Renfe offers Básico, Elige (Estándar or Confort) and Prémium tickets. Remember that you will get the best deal if you buy your ticket in advance.
Here is the explanation for each of them.
It’s the cheapest fare.
When purchasing a Básico ticket will travel in a Standard seat (Estándar).
This type of ticket does not accept changes or cancellations. Moreover, it does not accept add-ons associated with changes or refunds, changes in the ticket holder and missed trains.
It allows you to configure every aspect of your trip, including the type of seat on which you wish to travel.
The first change is free of charge (all other changes will incur in a charge of 10€) and you’ll be refunded for 70% of the ticket amount in case of cancellation. If something comes up and you miss your train, you’ll be able to change your ticket to travel on the next one paying a charge of 30% for the new ticket.
Renfe allows you to combine different AVE train tariffs for a return ticket.
For example, you could do the outward trip in Básico and the return one in Prémium. Or you could pick an outward Elige Stándard rate and a Elige Confort on the return ticket.
Renfe are so confident that your AVE train will get you to your destination on time that they will compensate you if your train is delayed.
On AVE trains
In Spain, Renfe AVE trains have 2 classes:
Basically, it depends on the type of seat in which you’re going to travel.
Since there are currently several train models provided by different manufacturers, the car you will travel in may have a different configuration. To keep with the airlines analogy, a business class seat may differ from one plane to another even if you travel with the same airline.
It’s the most basic class and the one with the largest number of available seats. The seats’ configuration is 2 on the left | corridor | 2 on the right.
All seats have 220V sockets.
The cars are equipped with small TV monitors where movies are generally played. You can choose to either watch the movie dubbed or in original language by selecting the audio channel. At the beginning of the trip the crew distributes complimentary headphones.
Buy a Básico ticket or Elige Estándar ticket to travel on this type of seat.
This option offers a much more comfortable seating, displayed as following: 2 on the left | corridor | 1 on the right.
In addition to this, you can benefit from these extra services:
Unfortunately, as a Comfort seat passenger you’re not entitled to a different baggage policy than any other passenger.
In addition to the classes described above, Renfe offers a Coche en silencio (Quiet car) in each AVE train. This economy car has several restrictions allowing you to enjoy a more comfortable and relaxed trip.
Every AVE train has the same baggage allowance policy as the rest of Renfe’s trains.
The onboard services on every AVE train are the following:
This article is part of a complete tutorial about train travel in Spain where you can read all the information you need to organize your train journeys around the country.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. Spain trains: everything you need to know
2. How to purchase Renfe train tickets online
3. 7 tricks to get cheap train tickets in Spain
4. Renfe: Spain’s state-owned railway company
5. AVE trains: Renfe high-speed trains in Spain
6. The Combinado Cercanías ticket
7. The Renfe Spain Pass
8. Avlo: Renfe’s high speed low cost trains
9. OUIGO trains: SNCF’s high speed low cost company
10. iryo: Spain’s low cost high-speed rail operator
11. 7 packing tips to comply with your train baggage allowance