Train travel from Madrid is extremely easy, comfortable and safe. Whether you want to travel to a long-distance destination or somewhere nearby, Renfe and other railway operators offer you several options.
Ticket fares for most Spanish trains are regulated by a dynamic pricing system.
What is the main principle of the dynamic pricing system? The higher the demand and the fewer the seats, the higher the ticket price.
The fare depends not only on the distance and popularity of the route, but also on such factors as:
So the best way to save money is purchasing your train tickets in advance.
It’s super easy to take advantage of Madrid’s extensive network of regional and long-distance trains, but it can be a little dizzying or confusing the first time you arrive if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing…
In this tutorial, I’ll share with you everything you need to know about Spanish trains, and most importantly for you, how to train travel to and from Madrid.
You’ll also learn about the main divisions of the network (e.g., commuter vs. cross-country), big stations and regional hubs, the current state of the high-speed network, a breakdown of the various fares you can buy, and how to actually buy a ticket online!
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 tickets online
6. Renfe train tickets availability. When is it best to get yours?
7. 7 tricks for cheap train travel in Spain
8. Renfe luggage requirements and restrictions
9. The Combinado Cercanías ticket
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
Since Madrid is located in the center of the country, it has traditionally been the hub between different areas of Spain and is therefore very well connected to all major Spanish cities by train.
From Madrid you can easily reach Alicante, Barcelona, Córdoba, Málaga, Seville, Valencia and Zaragoza thanks to Renfe’s modern and extensive network of AVE high-speed trains.
In addition to this, you can travel to Bilbao, Salamanca, San Sebastián, and Valladolid although the trip will take longer than catching a flight.
There are many superb day trips from Madrid by train. My favorites include Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, Ávila and Alcalá de Henares.
Some of these, such as El Escorial or Alcalá de Henares rely on local trains, so you don’t need to get your Cercanías tickets in advance.
But other destinations (e.g. Toledo) are served by AVE high-speed trains. Therefore, book your tickets as soon as possible. These trains can quickly fill up on peak days.
The 2 main stations in Madrid are:
From there you can catch long distance, high speed, medium distance, and suburban trains.
Read more information on how to get around Madrid by train.
As a seasoned international traveler, I have to say that trains are perhaps my favorite way of getting around. Many of the inconveniences and problems that I associate with flying or driving are often avoided when going by rail.
That’s not to say that trains are always appropriate or practical, but train travel from Madrid does offer many benefits when the circumstances are right.