This page is a guide on the Madrid to Barcelona train services operated by RENFE. The AVE high velocity train service, Combinado servce and the overnight sleeper service to Costa Brava (Estrella). We've found out for you where you can take the trains from, what time they leave, ticket prices and discounts, journey times, what services are provided on board, and most importantly, where you can buy tickets.
There are 3 trains. The Estrella "Costa Brava" overnight train runs from Madrid-Chamartin to Barcelona-Sants. The AVE (High speed train) and the Combinado train leave from Madrid Puerta de Atocha station. Unless you want to travel overnight, you'll most likely be taking the AVE high velocity train, as this runs throughout the day.
To get to Atocha station by metro, take the following:
Metro: Atocha RENFE (Light Blue Line, L1)
To get to Chamartin station by metro, take:
Metro: Chamartin (Dark Blue Line, L10)
All the trains run daily. The AVE takes around 3 hours, while the Costa Brava train runs overnight, making more stops and takes 9 hours.
There is just one Costa Brava train that departs at 22:50 - check the RENFE site for up to date timetable information. Barcelona is not the last station, so make sure you wake up before your scheduled arrival time.
The Combinado is a daytime train that takes 6 hours. There is just one 'Combinado' train that makes 14 stops and departs each day at 11:40 (check the Renfe site for precise times - see link below).
High Velocity Train (AVE) The price of the tickets depends on what time you travel and where you buy your tickets from. It´s worth considering buying your tickets online at the RENFE website as you can obtain some good discounts of the regular prices you would pay at the station.
There is also an official English RENFE branch, that offers tickets at discount prices.
Costa Brava Train (overnight train)
The trains are comfortable, and you get room to get up and stretch you legs. Plus, on the daytime trains, you have the option of dining in the restaurant or snacking in the café. I find the train more relaxing, as you don't have to turn up hours in advance to check in, and of course you get to see the scenery, although it is true to say the views between Madrid and Barcelona are not much to write home about.
The high speed train (AVE) takes on average around 3 hours for the train journey between Madrid and Barcelona.
The Costa Brava train takes about 9 hours to travel between Madrid to Barcelona and you can use the same link above to look up the timetable information.
The Combinado Train takes about 6 hours to travel between Madrid and Barcelona.
First class AVE customers can benefit from free parking facilities at the departure station. If you are making a single journey, you may park for 24 hours, and if you are making a return journey you can park for 48 hours. All customers must pass through a checkpoint before getting on board. Notes that this closes 2 minutes before departure time.
Other Facilities On The Train
Club Class, First class (preferente) or standard (turista)
Disabled toilets and seating
Café and restaurant
Free drink and restaurant meal for first class
The Costa Brava train facilities include parking for first class ticket holders. (Single journey 24 hours; return 48 hours), a free magazine and café facilities.
Then click the English flag to see the site in English. (Other languages are available too).
Ticket reservations can be made by phone on
Tel: +34 91 232 0320 or directly online at the RENFE website.
Tickets are also available through some travel agents. They will display a RENFE notice in the window if this is the case.
You can purchase your train tickets online with the ticket system on the official website given above. You must register as a client, and for this you will need an ID number. You can use your passport number, or if you have a Spanish resident's card, you can use the number on there. You can also choose the option to print your own internet bought tickets. If you want to find discounted tickets then buying your tickets online is preferred over buying your tickets at the station.
If the web page doesn't accept your Spanish ID number, try it without the letters.
Customer Service Ticket Enquiries:
Tel: +34 91 232 0320 (Reservations)
Tel: +34 91 218 0180 (International)
The credit card holder must be the one to collect the tickets from the station, and they must take photographic ID.
In the ticket office in Atocha station, there is a machine where you must take a numbered ticket (a bit like the delicatessen at the supermarket). You then wait for your number.
If you have only reserved tickets by phone, you must pick them up at least 24 hours before your journey or you will lose them.
Calle Agustín de Foxa
28036 Madrid, España.
Opening hours: 04:30 - 00:30
Reserved ticket collection: 10:00 - 20:00
Tickets sales: Monday - Sunday: 06:30 - 22:25
Left luggage: 07:00 - 23:00
Metro: Chamartin (Dark Blue Line, L10) undergoing works.
Car parkingCar Parking Near To Chamartín Madrid
Official metro website
Distance to airport: 6km
Madrid Atocha Train Station
Plaza de Emperador Carlos V
28014 Madrid, España.
Opening hours: 05:00 - 01:00
Reserved ticket collection: Monday - Sunday: 06:30 - 20:00
Ticket sales: Monday - Friday: 06:15 - 22:15
Saturday - Sunday and Public Holiday: 06:30 - 22:15
Left luggage: Monday - Sunday: 05:30 - 22:20
Metro: Atocha RENFE (Light Blue Line, L1)
Car parkingCar Parking Near To Atocha Train Station
Distance to airport: 15 km
Tourist information office.