With its highly-developed railway lines, Spain is a great country to explore by train. The AVE high-speed rail network connects Madrid with cities like Seville, Valencia and Barcelona, while ALVIA and regional trains link to nearly everywhere else.
Wherever you go during your holiday in Spain, Paradores’ luxury and historic hotels are nearby, waiting to lodge you in absolute comfort as you discover the country’s most fantastic locations. Let’s review how to reach them by rail, acquiring tickets quickly and efficiently through RENFE, the national railway company.
Link by link
RENFE’s website is an important tool for all those seeking to explore Spain by rail, offering comprehensive timetables and buying options. An important factor to take into account when reserving your ticket is the difference between Spain’s different train types, which ultimately determines your travel time between cities.
At the forefront is the AVE, Spain’s revolutionary high-speed railway line, with trains that travel at speeds of up to 310 kilometres per hour across 3,100 km of tracks. ALVIA trains, meanwhile, reach top speeds of 250 kilometres per hour and connect most provincial capitals, including cities like Vigo, Pamplona and Alicante. Regional trains link towns in provinces with their capitals, while Cercanías lines service major metropolitan areas in Asturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cádiz, Madrid, Santander, San Sebastián, Valencia and other cities.
While the different denominations might seem complicated, the simple RENFE website makes acquiring tickets for your journey very easy. By simply filling in the basic travel information (date, destination and number of passengers), one can select tickets at one’s leisure.
While early reservations can mean big savings, routes generally have stable prices. If you’re staying in delightful Parador Carmona –a Moorish fortress–, you’d take the Madrid-Seville line, where prices range between 55 and 70 euros per trajectory, depending on whether one takes the AVE or the ALVIA (the travel time differs by about 20 minutes). The Madrid-Barcelona route - ideal for dropping in on Parador Cardona, a grand castle - averages between 70 and 90 euros.
Regional routes are generally very cheap (were one to drop in on Parador Soria, overlooking the Duero River, the trip from Madrid would cost only 22 euros), and Cercanías tickets are usually only a few euros, depending on how far one wishes to travel.
Curious about crossing Spain by rail? Visit RENFE’s website and contact Paradores in order to determine the best options for your trip today!