[Move] Spain – Renfe Rail Transportation Guide

Planning a trip to Spain and is looking up for some information for your upcoming trip. Wanted to know more about Spain Railway network, and unsure what kind of pass or where the tickets can be bought.

For a better understanding of the Renfe Rail network in Spain, the content of the post will be written as simple as possible with some tips and information available. I will be covering my itinerary where we ride on the high-speed rail, starting off from Barcelona Station and heading off to different cities covering Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, and Cordoba.

Renfe Rail

Renfe is the state-owned railway company and the largest railway operator in Spain, covering most part of the cities.

Domestic Train Within Spain

Consolidated information for Renfe:

– The price of the rail fare will vary.

– Booking of the train ticket open for reservation 60 days ahead for all trains and AVE trains open its booking 90 days ahead.

– Online purchase of Rail ticket is cheaper

– Fares

  1. Mesa (Table for 4 or small group): No changes, cancellation of the ticket will charge 50% of the rail fare, table of 4 facing each other with or without a table in between.
  2. Promo(Promotion Price): No Changes, No cancellation, No seat selection
  3. Promo+ (Flexible promotion price): Changes made, an additional payment of 20% of the original ticket and if the new ticket is a greater amount the differences have to pay, cancellation charge 30%.
  4. Flexible (Original Price): Changes made is Free  (*t&c Applies*),cancellation will charge 5%of the rail fare
  5. Round Trip: Purchase Flexible ticket will have 20% discount. (**Not applicable for other promotion tickets)
  1. Business Class (Preferente): At seat meal (Monday to Friday),Larger seat space,Cafe- bar 
  2. Economy Premium Class(Turista Plus): Seats are larger than economy cabin, for food & beverages to proceed to Cafe-bar area
  3. Economy Class(Turista): Normal Seats,for food & beverages to proceed to Cafe-bar area

– Train Type:

  1. AVE (High-speed Rail)
  2. ALVIA (High-Speed Rail, but slower in speed)
  3. AVANT (For Short distance service for the high-speed rail, example: Avant Madrid – Toledo)
  4. Media Distancia (traditional slow train, connecting all over Spain, multiple stops in between)

– At any mainline station in Spain, before boarding the train (example: Barcelona, Madrid). It is necessary to go through the X-ray baggage check. Reach early at the station to queue up for the baggage check at the station.

– To purchase rail ticket on Renfe website. Kindly use MasterCard, VISA or PAYPAL for payment.

Barcelona → Madrid

Taking the AVE High- Speed Rail of Spain


42.70 EUR

(Economy Class(Turista),Mesa Ticket)


150 Minutes



At Madrid Puerta De Atocha:

Little story:

When we alight at Madrid station, we noticed our friend’s bag was opened. And it happened twice during the trip and both were when we alight at the train station. Fortunately, nothing was lost as she didn’t put any valuables in her bag. We guess the thief had left empty handed. When in a crowded area in Spain be really careful, especially when you are in a group and with large luggage.

Madrid → Granada

To Note:

Due to major construction on the rail line, currently, there is no direct train to reach Granada station.  The completion date for the rail line is expected to be completed in 2017, however, the news outlet said that it will extend to early 2018.

Coach service is available to and fro from the ANTQ-S.ANA station to Granda station.




135 Minutes

On the Coach Bus



Free (Included in Train Fare)


75 Mins

Granada → Sevilla


195Minutes (Include Bus and Train ride)



This is how the ticket will look like, the highlighted box means that to board the bus at Granda and transfer at ANTQ-S.ANA station to Sevilla.

Waiting for our Media Distancia(MD) Train, the traditional trains with multiple stops along the way.

Reached Sevilla San Bernardo

Seville ↔ Cordoba

The ticket will show the transfer stop that needs to alight from. To get to Cordoba, we will need to change train from the metro line to Seville SJ AVE.

At the subway station from San Bernardo to Santa Justa AVE:


4 minutes (One Stop)

Transfer to AVE At the Sevilla Santa Justa Station.


9.10EUR(One Way)


42 Minutes

Heading back to Sevilla




42 Minutes

Where to purchase rail ticket?


Booking Fee $1.00EUR

Rail Europe

Booking Fee $5.00SGD


No Booking Fee.

**A fee of 2.5% applies to credit card and PayPal bookings (debit cards are free)**

RENFE  **Best option**

Kindly note that booking page is by default in Spanish. Use Google Translate to help you with the reservation/ booking procedure.


Purchase the rail ticket from Renfe, the ticket will cost cheaper and without handling fee, plus there are advance booking discount or promotion up to 70%.We are traveling in 4 and the ticket we bought for most of our ride was MESA and if MESA ticket is unavailable we will choose the PROMO fare.

It is not necessary to purchase the Business(Preferente) class seat, as the Economy (Turista) class cabin is comfortable as well, although you will not get the At seat meal, do walk to the cafe bar cabin to have some light snacks or beverages and look out to the beautiful scenery along the way  .


Important note:

– Click on the “Print Banknotes” button to generate your e-ticket in PDF format, when the purchase is confirmed.

– Print out your e-ticket or present the e-ticket in the mobile phone(QR- CODE)


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