Madrid to Girona/Gerona by train

How to take the rail journey from Madrid to Girona



From Madrid Atocha/Puerta De Atocha to Girona

Journey Summary

Travel Time
3hr 18min - 4hr 4min
Travel Information

Final Destination: Figueres or Marseille

All trains also call at: Barcelona

The difference in journey times is due to the number of station calls that these trains make between Madrid and Barcelona
The fastest trains are non-stop between these two cities, but the slower trains make three or four station calls.
Also a station call at Zaragoza requires a diversion off the direct rote and this adds around 20 minutes to the journey time.

This journey showcases the best of high speed train travel, we nearly placed it in the scenic journeys category.

Monday to Thursday: 7 x trains per day
Friday: 6 x trains
Saturday: 3 x trains
Sunday: 6 x trains

1 x train per day


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: up to 6  months ahead of the travel date - depending on the time of year.
The online booking window can be shorter between late July and early October.
When looking up journeys (not travelling) between late July and early October, it's likely you won't be able to book for journeys beyond the second Sunday in December.

Spanish national rail operator Renfe doesn't operate a 'Ticket Price From... €x' on this route, prices are set according to demand per departure - hence the lack of price info below.

The slower trains can be cheaper, as there is inevitably higher demand for the faster trains.

Difference in core ticketing terms between AVE and avlo services

Child tickets:
avlo = children aged 13 and under travel for a flat rate of €5, maximum of 2 children per fare paying Adult.
AVE = children aged 5 -13 and under are entitled to a 40% discount.
If you want to place a child aged four and under in its own seat, they will also have a 40% discount on the ticket price, but if you'll be happy to travel with the child on their lap, then there is no charge.

Amending booked tickets:
avlo = pay an additional €8 when making the initial booking and you can then make one change to an alternative choice of departure.
AVE = promo + ticket holders will receive 80% of the ticket price refunded if you then want to book a different service, but you will then have to re-purchase a new ticket for the train you now want to take

Seat Reservations:

Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for this journey.

Rail Pass Users:

Rail pass users will need to be pay a reservation fee prior to boarding, but these reservations cannot be booked on the ticket agent's websites.

They are also not available on the Eurail/Interrail reservation service for journeys within Spain.
The only option, other than booking them at a station in Spain, is to pre-reserve seats by calling Renfe phone sales: +34 91 232 03 20.

Pre-reserving a seat is possible up to 24 hours before a train's departure. You will receive a PNR code which you must use to pick up and pay for your reservation at a local station ticket office, making sure to show your Interrail Pass. You must collect your reservation within 72 hours. After this time the pre-reservation will expire.
Please note that a pre-reservation is not the same as a reservation. It only holds a seat for you for 72 hours.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trainline (Spain) *

Trainline (Spain) Guide

Renfe *

Renfe Guide

Renfe is the national rail operator in Spain and it has recently simplified the range of tickets it sells for express and regional train journeys in Spain.
Which is convenient as there are big savings to be made if you book ahead online.

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed (total journey)

Good to Know

One of the daily departures on the Madrid to Girona route, the final train of the day at 19:30, is now by one of the low cost*, more basic avlo services.
*Pay particular attention to the price difference between the AVE and avlo services, the avlo services are not always exceptionally cheaper.

The core differences between avlo and AVE services, aside from avlo not conveying 1st/Preferente/Comfort class are:

  • Catering: AVE trains = bar/bistro conter; avlo trains = vending machines
  • Seat selection: AVE trains Promo + ticket holders cannot choose seats (free for Flexible ticket holders); avlo trains = pay an additional €8 to select a specific seat
  • On board entertainment = both AVE and avlo trains have free Wi-fi, but AVE trains also have screens on which films/movies are shown.

Luggage allowance on AVE trains = Up to 3 pieces of hand luggage onto the train, provided that the sum of the three does not exceed 25 kg or 290 cm.
The maximum dimensions allowed are 85x55x35 cm
Though additional allowances cannot be purchased.

Luggage allowance on avlo trains = 1 piece of hand luggage (bag, rucksack, etc.) subject to the following size limitations: 36x27x25 cm and 1 suitcase, subject to the following size limitations: 55x35x25 cm.
1 piece of additional, larger-sized luggage, measuring a maximum of 85x60x35 cm (or no more than 180 cm in total) can be be paid for as an added allowance, but the price for doing ranges from €10 if added when booking to €30 at the station just prior to boarding.
The dimensions of the luggage will be measured at the station, so if your bag exceeds the free allowance size, you will then have to pay €30 to take it on board.

Another core difference is boarding time, SMTJ suggests being at Madrid Atocha at least 20 mins before boarding an AVE, because having once been towards the back of a long queue for the security check procedures, this scenario is best avoided.
However, for the avlo services, the specific recommendation from renfe is to be at the station a minimum of 30 minutes before departure.

This journey showcases the best of high speed train travel, we nearly placed it in the scenic journeys category.

You won't see typical stunning views of mountains and coasts, but the combination of incredible speed and sweeping distant views over central Spain can be exhilarating.
Aside from slowing down for the station calls and the passage through Barcelona, the train is scheduled to travel at close to 300 km/h for the entire journey.

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