Travelling on an AVE train
At a glance
- High speed train
AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) high-speed services, operated by Spanish national rail company Renfe, constitute the top-end of Spain’s range of long-distance trains, running at up to 310km/h. Playing on the spanish word for bird, “ave,” AVE trains use high-speed routes to connect major Spanish cities.
AVE trains are used on all services between Spain and France except for trains running to Paris (which use TGV Duplex trains). Within Spain, AVEs operate on many routes from the Spanish capital, connecting Madrid with Barcelona, Seville, Léon, Alicante, Málaga and Valencia.
They also run on inter-regional routes, for example from Barcelona and Valencia to Seville and Malaga. For stunning scenery, the Madrid to Córdoba route is hard to beat – the railway slices through the wild Sierra Morena.
Before you board
Tickets and reservations will be checked on the platform before boarding AVE trains. Check-in for AVE trains opens 30 mins before the train leaves and closes 2 mins before departure.
AVE trains are spacious, modern and air conditioned and their design was inspired by French TGV trains.
If you are travelling with small children, there is access to changing facilities and play areas onboard AVE trains. Wheelchair facilities are also available onboard.
Power sockets are available at every AVE seat, as are at-seat radios.
Every AVE train has a café or buffet car accessible to all passengers, offering hot and cold snacks and drinks during your journey. At lunch and dinner time hot meals can be ordered. Don’t expect fine dining; you’ll either take your snack back to your seat or enjoy it while standing at one of the bar tables in the buffet car.
Booking and printing options
AVE tickets are open for bookings 90 days in advance.
AVE is a reservation-only service.
Get the lowest prices on AVE by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.
Opt for off-peak AVE trains when you have to travel at short notice. Off-peak AVE trains are more affordable than ones that run mornings and evenings, Fridays and Sundays or during popular holidays.
Classes of service
AVE trains offer three classes of seated accommodation: Standard, Standard Plus and First Class.
Ave First Class
Upgrade to First Class (called Preferente) on AVE trains to gain access to free newspapers and a meal served directly at your seat on longer journeys (Monday-Friday only). Seating is even more spacious with three reclining seats across the aisle rather than four. Passengers with a ‘Flexible’ or ‘Promo+’ ticket have access to Renfe’s club lounges, located at major stations.
Ave Standard Plus Class
Upgrade to Standard Plus Class (called Turista Plus) on AVE trains to gain more legroom. Seating is more spacious than in Standard Class, with three reclining seats across the aisle rather than four. The at-seat service offered on a number of AVE trains in First Class is, however, not included in Standard Plus Class, nor is access to Renfe's club lounges. Standard Plus Class is not available on all AVE services.
Ave Standard Class
Seating in Standard Class (called Turista) on AVE trains is arranged in pairs of airline-style seats across a central aisle. The open-plan carriages are comfortable and offer good legroom. Luggage can be stored in the racks at the end of each carriage and overhead. There are power sockets and onboard radio facilities at your seat.
- Barcelona to Madrid from $34.13
- Madrid to Barcelona from $34.13
- Madrid to Seville from $24.38
- Madrid to Valencia from $14.02
- Paris to Barcelona from $30.47
- Madrid to Córdoba from $63.38
- Madrid to Málaga from $26.21
- Barcelona to Paris from $40.83
- Madrid to Alicante from $20.11
- Barcelona to Seville from $20.11