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Trains from Barcelona to Madrid: Tickets, Fares, Tips

Barcelona and Madrid are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain, and the train is one of the most convenient ways to travel between the two cities. Here, we will provide information about tickets and prices, train companies, schedule, and the top 10 things worth seeing in both Barcelona and Madrid, as well as tips for getting cheap train tickets for traveling from Barcelona to Madrid with Renfe AVE, Renfe Avlo, iryo or Ouigo.


Train from Barcelona to Madrid: Short Info

Train from Barcelona to Madrid
Travel Time
  • 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • 312 miles (504 km)
Trains per day
  • 18 a day
Train providers
  • Renfe AVE, Renfe Avlo, iryo, Ouigo
Cheapest Ticket
  • from $20 (€17)

How to travel by train from Barcelona to  Madrid

The train from Barcelona to Madrid is operated by several companies, including Renfe with AVE trains and the Renfe low-cost Avlo services. Other companies are iryo and the low-cost Ouigo service from the french state-owned SNCF train company.

If interested, read our full guide about Train Travels in Spain!

Train Train Spain - Renfe Avlo
Train Train Spain - Renfe Avlo

Trains and Companys

Renfe AVE

Renfe AVE (Alta Velocidad Española), continues to offer long-distance high-speed trains that connect major cities. The most popular route by AVE among travelers is the route from Madrid to Barcelona. The route is regarded as the busiest domestic route in Spain.

Renfe Avlo

Renfe Avlo is a high-speed train service launched by Spanish railway operator Renfe in 2019. The service offers affordable and efficient travel options for passengers looking to travel between major cities in Spain at a lower cost than traditional high-speed trains.


iryo, the new high-speed train company in Spain, is a merger of the Spanish airline Nostrum and the train company Trenitalia, one of the European leaders in rail transport. iryo is the first private Spanish railway company to operate high-speed trains on the Madrid – Zaragoza – Barcelona route, which will also in future connect Madrid – Cuenca – Valencia/Alicante and Madrid – Córdoba – Seville/Malaga. A fleet of ETR1000 model trains will be deployed, offering maximum comfort when traveling in Spain with a combination of advanced propulsion technology and high quality onboard services, including WiFi access and restaurant areas. 98% of the train parts used are fully recyclable, so your journey is also sustainable!


OUIGO is the “Low Cost” brand of the French company SNCF, which operates in France and Spain. In France, journeys on OUIGO trains are only offered in 2nd class, and tickets can only be purchased online. You also have the option of booking additional services, such as E.g. sockets at the seat, additional luggage or the possibility to reserve your seat in the relaxation area. OUIGO has been present in Spain since May 2021. The OUIGO trains in Spain have an onboard bar service as well as a premium class of service called OUIGO Plus.

If you want to discover more of Spain and Europe by train, read our full guide about  Train Travels in Spain, How to rail Europe or, when it comes to tickets, our guide to European Train Tickets.

Barcelona to Madrid by train: Tickets from 17 Euro

The train from Barcelona to Madrid is operated by several companies. The prices for a one-way ticket can vary depending on the train company, train type, and the time of travel. Prices can range from as low as $20 for a regional train to as much as $90 for a high-speed AVE train, but the cheapest fares also for high-speed trains start from 17 Euro ($20), if you get a deal. Here are some tips for getting cheap train tickets for traveling from Barcelona to Madrid:

  1. Book in advance: The earlier you book, the cheaper the ticket. Many train companies offer discounts for early bookings, so be sure to plan ahead.
  2. Consider traveling during off-peak hours: Prices are often lower during non-peak travel times, such as on weekdays or overnight trains.
  3. Look for promotions or discounts: Train companies often offer promotions and discounts, so be sure to check for them. This can include special deals for students, seniors, or round-trip tickets.
  4. Use discount cards: Many train companies offer discount cards for regular travelers, such as students and seniors. These cards can provide a significant discount on your train tickets.
  5. Compare prices: Compare prices between train companies to find the best deal. Renfe AVE, Renfe AVLO, iryo and Ouigo are the main companies that operate on this route, so it’s worth comparing the prices and services they offer.
  6. Buy a return ticket: You can save money by buying a return ticket. Many companies offer discounts for round-trip tickets.
  7. Use a travel agent: Travel agents can often secure discounted prices for train tickets, so it’s worth checking with them.
  8. Use online travel agencies: There are many online travel agencies that offer discounted train tickets for travel between Barcelona and Madrid.
  9. Buy a train pass: If you plan on traveling frequently between Barcelona and Madrid, consider purchasing a train pass to save money on your tickets.
  10. Be flexible with your travel dates: If you can be flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to find cheaper tickets.

By following these tips, you can find cheap train tickets when traveling from Madrid to Barcelona with Renfe AVE, Renfe AVLO, iryo and Ouigo. Remember to book in advance, check for promotions and special deals, and take advantage of discounts and special offers to save money on your train tickets.

Single ticket from Barcelona to Madridfrom €17 ($20)
Eurail Spain One Country Passfrom €155 ($169)
Eurail Global Passfrom €194 ($211)
Madrid Atocha - Main Station
Madrid Atocha - Main Station

Single Ticket or Eurail Pass?

If you want to rail europe by train, your best option is probably to buy a Eurail pass, which is a ticket to almost unlimited travel.

When you buy a Eurail Pass, you buy a ticket for your segment of your adventure as you are planning to need, all in one. The rail pass is good for almost all train travel in Europe. Most of the time, all you have to do is show the rail pass and you’re on board. Some trains do require seat reservations, however, especially the high-speed trains and the overnight trains. 

There are two different Eurail passes:

  • A Global Eurail Pass allows you to take a train through 33 European countries and to see as much as you can. If your ideal vacation involves experiencing many European countries, then the Global Pass is ideal. The Global Pass will get you from Scotland to Turkey.
  • The One Country Eurail Pass allows you to explore a single country in depth, from museums, opera houses, theaters, and palaces in the cities, to rolling farmland, snow-capped mountains, quaint villages and medieval castles in the countryside. You can hop aboard a train to travel to another city as easily as you can catch a cab. It all depends on what you want to do. The price for the One Country Pass will vary with the country.

If you have an Eurail Pass, you are required to book a seat reservation for most high-speed trains in Europe. The fares prices are similar for all ages.

Eurail Pass – Spain Rail Pass

To make your train commutation an easy experience, it is best to secure convenient train tickets better known as Eurail Pass. These rail passes are designed to be used only by international visitors.

It is very beneficial to have a Eurail pass when you travel to Spain. There are many cheap passages and discounts with the pass while using private transport such as railways, hotel bills, and other unique offers.

The benefits are offered when you show a valid Eurail pass. You can also make a prior communication with the company on the benefits and tell them you wish to access their services using your Eurail pass. The services are only valid on travel days.

Single ticket from Barcelona to Madridfrom €17 ($20)
Eurail Spain One Country Passfrom €155 ($169)
Eurail Global Passfrom €194 ($211)
Train Travel Spain - Renfe AVE
Train Travel Spain - Renfe AVE

Barcelona to Madrid by train: Schedule and Frequency

Trains from Barcelona to Madrid run frequently throughout the day, with the first train departing at 6:00 am and the last train departing at 10:00 pm. The frequency of trains increases during peak travel times, such as on weekends and holidays.

Main Train Stations in Barcelona and Madrid

Madrid Atocha is the main railway station in Madrid, Spain, located in the Arganzuela district. The station is one of the busiest in Spain and offers a wide range of facilities, including restaurants, cafes, shops, and a botanical garden. The station is well-connected to the city’s public transportation system.

Barcelona-Sants is the main railway station in Barcelona, Spain, located in the Sants-Montjuïc district. The station has a wide range of facilities, including restaurants, shops, and luggage storage. To get to Barcelona-Sants, you can take the metro, bus, or taxi. The station is well-connected to the city’s public transportation system, with several metro and bus lines stopping at or near the station.

How to get to Barcelona-Sants from Barcelona Airport?

Traveling from Barcelona Airport to Barcelona-Sants is convenient and easy, with different options:

  • One option is to take the metro, which connects directly to the airport and takes around 30 minutes to reach Barcelona-Sants.
  • Another option is to take the Aerobus, a shuttle service that runs frequently and takes around 25 minutes to reach the station.
  • Taxis and private airport transfer services are also available and can take around 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.


From Barcelona to  Madrid by Train – FAQ

The train journey from Barcelona to Madrid takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes on AVE high-speed train and 4 hours on regional train.

The Madrid-Barcelona route is one of the busiest in Spain, and there are several train companies that operate on this route. The most popular train companies are Renfe with AVE trains and the low-cost Avlo trains, iryo and Ouigo. Each of these companies offers different services, and it’s important to understand the differences between them before purchasing a ticket.

The cost of a one-way train ticket from Barcelona to Madrid can vary depending on the train company, train type, and the time of travel. Prices can range from as low as $20 for a regional train to as much as $90 for a high-speed AVE train, if you buy a ticket immediately before departure. If you can book in advance, the lowest fares even for high-speed trains from Barcelona to Madrid start from 17 Euro ($20).

 Yes, there are discounts available for train tickets. It is recommended to book in advance to get the best prices and check for any promotions or discounts that may be available.

Yes, there are discounts available for train tickets. Renfe offers discounts for children, students, and seniors. Also, sometimes there are offers for buying round trip tickets or for buying in advance.

 Yes, all trains have toilets, power outlets and some trains have wifi and food service.

No, there are no specific luggage restrictions. Each passenger is allowed to bring a maximum of two suitcases and one piece of hand luggage.

Madrid - Palacio Real
Madrid - Palacio Real

Top10 thing to see seeing in Madrid

Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is a vibrant and historic destination that offers something for everyone. From world-renowned art museums to bustling food markets and historic landmarks, Madrid has it all. Here are the top 10 things to see and visit in Madrid:

  1. Prado Museum – One of the most famous art museums in the world, the Prado Museum houses an extensive collection of Spanish and European art, including works by Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco.
  2. Royal Palace of Madrid – This grand palace, which is still used for official ceremonies, boasts opulent interiors, stunning gardens, and a fascinating history.
  3. Retiro Park – A popular destination for locals and tourists alike, Retiro Park is a sprawling green space that features a lake, rose garden, and numerous walking paths.
  4. Plaza Mayor – One of Madrid’s most famous landmarks, this grand square is surrounded by historic buildings and bustling cafes and restaurants.
  5. Puerta del Sol – The heart of Madrid’s city center, Puerta del Sol is a lively plaza that serves as the location of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
  6. Gran Via – Known as Madrid’s Broadway, Gran Via is a bustling shopping and entertainment district that features stunning architecture and numerous theaters.
  7. Mercado de San Miguel – This historic food market is a must-visit for foodies, featuring a wide range of Spanish specialties such as tapas, seafood, and wines.
  8. Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – Home to Real Madrid Football Club, the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is a must-visit for sports fans, offering tours and the chance to see the team in action.
  9. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum – Another world-class art museum in Madrid, the Thyssen-Bornemisza features an impressive collection of European and American art from the 13th to 20th centuries.
  10. Temple of Debod – This ancient Egyptian temple, which was gifted to Spain in the 20th century, is a unique and fascinating attraction that offers stunning views of the city.