Spain train travel: learn about train routes in Spain

Spain train travel is a great way to get from one destination to another. In fact, trains are an increasingly cost-effective alternative to planes, particularly if you’re going a relatively short distance or if you’re traveling in the one of the high-speed long distance trains.

Unfortunately, the official Renfe website is difficult to navigate and is poorly translated into English… Over the years I have found that one of the most common questions other travelers like you have are related to Renfe’s network. Knowing this, you can easily plan your itinerary around Spain according to the available rail routes across the country.

To make you things easier, I’ve spent some time searching through Renfe’s website so you can organize your Spain train travel.

Have a look at a complete guide on how to purchase your Renfe train tickets online.

Below you can find a list of all the routes that Renfe operates in Spain.


Spain train travel: high-speed long distance routes

With a 3,100km track network the Spanish high-speed AVE trains operate on the longest high-speed network in Europe. Running at speeds of up to 310 km/h this extensive network allows for fast connections between cities in Spain.

As you can see, the central hub of the AVE system in Madrid is the train station Puerta de Atocha. In Barcelona AVE trains depart from the Barcelona Sants train station. And in Seville, they depart from Santa Justa train station.

Currently, the available train routes are:

  • Madrid – Segovia – Valladolid – Palencia – León
  • Madrid – Ciudad Real – Puertollano – Córdoba – Seville
  • Madrid – Guadalajara – Zaragoza – Lleida – Tarragona – Barcelona
  • Madrid – Guadalajara – Zaragoza – Huesca
  • Madrid – Segovia – Valladolid
  • Madrid – Ciudad Real – Córdoba – Málaga
  • Madrid – Cuenca – Albacete – Villena – Alicante
  • Madrid – Cuenca – Requena Utiel – Valencia
  • Barcelona – Tarragona – Lleida – Zaragoza – Ciudad Real – Córdoba – Puente Genil – Antequera – Málaga
  • Barcelona – Tarragona – Lleida – Zaragoza – Ciudad Real – Puertollano – Córdoba – Seville
  • Valencia – Cuenca – Ciudad Real – Puertollano – Córdoba – Seville

Be aware that there are no high-speed long distance trains circulating between the following cities:

  • Barcelona and Granada
  • Barcelona and Valencia
  • Madrid and Ávila
  • Madrid and Bilbao
  • Madrid and Granada
  • Madrid and Pamplona
  • Madrid and San Sebastián
  • Madrid and Santiago de Compostela
  • Seville and Granada
  • Zaragoza and Bilbao
  • Zaragoza and Pamplona
  • Zaragoza and San Sebastián


Spain train travel: moderate speed

They are known as Media Distancia (Regional trains) and Avant trains. The Media Distancia and Avant trains cover the whole country. These trains are also very modern and quite punctual but they are not as fast as the long distance ones.

The following maps show you in detail all the routes corresponding to a certain geographical area of Spain:

The following routes are currently available using the Avant trains:

  • Avant Madrid – Segovia – Valladolid
  • Avant Málaga – Córdoba – Seville
  • Avant Madrid – Ciudad Real – Puertollano
  • Avant Madrid – Toledo
  • Avant Barcelona – Tarragona – Lleida
  • Avant Calatayud – Zaragoza
  • Avant Ourense – Santiago – A Coruña
  • Avant Barcelona – Girona
  • Avant Barcelona – Figueres Vilafant
  • Avant Valencia – Requena Utiel


Spain train travel: Cercanías (commuter rail service)

The Spain for commuter rail services or suburban trains are called Cercanías. These are local trains that either cover large cities (including Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville and Valencia) or small regions (Asturias, Murcia).

The following maps show you in detail all the routes corresponding to a certain geographical area of Spain:


Spain train travel: often better than planes

  • In Spain trains are punctual and reliable, especially the AVE. So no traffic jams, no unjustified delays.
  • Fares are generally not expensive, except for the AVE but their fastness is well worth the price.
  • You leave from and arrive to the city centre eliminating the transport costs to/from the airport (generally quite expensive).
  • In a train you can move around, stretch your legs, have a snack in the cafeteria.
  • No seatbelt, no turbulences, your electronic appliances can always be on.
  • There’s always a free movie playing at the AVE.
  • You can buy a ticket for a sleeping bunk (litera) train if you are heading to a long-distance destination.


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. Renfe and the different types of trains
2. The main routes covered by Renfe trains
3. The different types of train seat classes
4. Renfe train tickets: price structure
5. How to purchase Renfe train tickets online
6. Renfe train tickets availability. When is it best to get yours?
7. 10 Tricks for cheap train travel in Spain
8. Renfe luggage requirements and restrictions
9. The “Combinado Cercanías”
10. Renfe’s punctuality commitment
11. Experience an AVE train trip before setting foot on the train!
12. The Renfe Spain Pass
13. Traveling with children or a disability