How to take a rail journey from Barcelona to Madrid

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Barcelona to Madrid by train

Travellers can choose between four different train high-speed services when taking the train to Madrid from Barcelona, plus there is a much slower train - which enables rail pass users to save money

The services have been ranked below according to their frequency.

The four high-speed services have similar journey times, the variations are because of the differences in the number of station calls - the fastest trains are non-stop from Barcelona to Madrid.

The differences between the four high-speed services are:

  • the on-board experience
  • luggage policies
  • and that the luggage policies impact on boarding procedure

These contrasts impact on ticket prices.
The avlo and Ouigo services have the more basic on-board experiences and more restrictive luggage policies, because they are intended to be low-cost alternatives to taking the AVE trains.
Though the competition on the route is resulting in lower prices for many of the AVE and iryo departures.

So it's a good idea to compare the prices per departure carefully on your travel dates, all four services, AVE, avlo, iryo and Ouigo are available on Trainline and Trenes.

Routes you can take to go from Barcelona to Madrid

When travelling between most cities by train there is only one logical option, though on other journeys there is a choice between different trains or alternative routes. If different options are available you can use the info to decide which is best for you.

Choose one of the following options:

Route Information

Option 1: taking the AVE trains operated by Renfe
Travel Time (approx)

2hr 30min - 3hr 10min



Travel Info

Mon - Thursday = 23 x trains per day
Friday = 21 x trains
Saturday = 14 x trains 
Sunday= 16 x trains

Route Information

Option 2: taking the iryo trains
Travel Time (approx)

2hr 30min - 2hr 45min



Travel Info

Monday to Thursday = 14 x trains per day
Friday = 15 x trains
Saturday = 9 x trains
Sunday = 11 x trains

Route Information

Option 3: taking the Ouigo trains

Route Information

Option 4: taking the avlo trains operated by Renfe

Route Information

Option 5: taking the Regional-Express train:
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