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Spain's two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, are well-connected by train, allowing visitors to travel between them with great ease. Let us tell you what your options are and how you can have a pleasant journey between two of Spain's - and Europe's - most iconic cities.

Video train route Madrid - Barcelona

Train options for Madrid to Barcelona

Map with train route Madrid to Barcelona

Traveling by high-speed train

train travel madrid to barcelona

The fastest way to travel from Madrid to Barcelona is by taking the AVE high-speed train . This modern and luxurious train will get you to your destination in just under 3 hours. For actual travel times, check out our timetable . If you're traveling with a Eurail Pass you don't need to buy a ticket and only pay a small reservation fee. We recommend you book your seats as far in advance as possible.

Traveling by regional train

train travel madrid to barcelona

Taking a regional train from Madrid to Barcelona means more travel time than by high-speed train. It also means you don't have to reserve a seat and you can stop along the way in charming Spanish cities like Zaragoza and Tarragona. If you have a Eurail Pass, you don't need to buy a ticket. You can travel on this train for free and get on and off whenever you like.

Eurail Passes

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The Eurail Pass is a train pass that lets you travel on nearly every train in Europe. It comes in all shapes and sizes, so you can pick the one that best fits your vacation plans. Check out our Eurail Passes .

If you're only looking to travel in Spain, the Eurail Spain Pass might be just the thing for you. Otherwise you can choose another pass and make this journey part of a larger, exciting European adventure!

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train travel madrid to barcelona

Find train tickets from Madrid to Barcelona

Good to know, top tips for finding madrid to barcelona train tickets.

  • 25% of our users found round-trip train tickets from Madrid to Barcelona for $24 or less.
  • You will generally catch the best train deals if you travel in the morning.
  • The cheapest train from Madrid to Barcelona was found 68 days before departure, on average.

FAQs when traveling from Madrid to Barcelona by train

How long is a train journey to barcelona from madrid.

The train journey from Madrid to Barcelona takes 2h 38m on average and covers a distance of 314 miles.

What train companies travel from Madrid to Barcelona?

Renfe is the only train operator serving this route.

Book Renfe tickets from Madrid to Barcelona (round-trip)

Search by stops, search by train company, book renfe tickets from madrid to barcelona (one-way), popular train routes to barcelona.

  • Trains from Valencia to Barcelona from $46
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Popular train routes from Madrid

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How to Travel from Madrid to Barcelona by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

train travel madrid to barcelona

Visitors to Spain often start in Madrid, the culturally rich and artistically-inclined capital, before heading off to Barcelona, with its Mediterranean beaches and distinctive architecture. Both cities are unique and offer very different views of Spanish life, and each one of them is worth at least a few days of your time. Thankfully, getting between the two cities—which are about 380 miles apart—couldn't be easier.

The high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona gets you from one city center to the other in two and a half hours, and the low-cost train makes it affordable as well. But flights are even quicker—not including travel to and from the airport and checking in—and can often be cheaper than the train. The bus is the cheapest option, but it takes around eight hours, significantly longer than renting a car and driving yourself.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Madrid to Barcelona?

When it's the middle of summer vacation, everyone is traveling, and trains and flights are completely booked or priced very high, then the bus is your best option for getting to Barcelona. The major Spanish bus company Alsa offers various routes per day from Avenida de America bus station in Madrid to Barcelona-Sants or Barcelona Nord stations. It's a long ride, almost eight hours and possibly more with traffic, but there are several nighttime routes so you don't have to lose out on an entire day of your trip sitting on the bus.

Alsa bus tickets start at $11 when you buy them early, but—just like trains and flights—they get more expensive the longer you wait, with same-day tickets costing up to $50 for a one-way ride.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Madrid to Barcelona?

Even though a flight is technically shorter than the train ride, the total travel time is reduced significantly by taking the train, which shuttles passengers directly from city center to city center.

Spain's national railway system, Renfe, provides two types of high-speed trains between Madrid and Barcelona: the standard AVE train and the low-cost Avlo. Both trains whisk passengers from Atocha Station in Madrid to Barcelona-Sants Station in as little as two and a half hours, the only difference being the amenities offered and the price.

The Avlo train limits passengers to one carry-on sized bag, similar to a budget airline, and doesn't offer seat selection or a cafeteria car like the standard AVE train does. AVE tickets start at $35 if you buy them far in advance, but get more and more expensive as your trip gets closer, sometimes costing up to $150. Avlo, on the other hand, starts at about $12 when you buy your tickets early and gets you to Barcelona just as quickly, with prices maxing out at about $55.

If you plan ahead and buy tickets early, the train is the best deal for getting between cities. But if you're planning last minute, Avlo tickets are likely to sell out and the AVE may have jumped considerably in price.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

If you value being able to travel on your own time and want to make your own itinerary, renting a car in Spain isn't difficult and could be the best option. If you're traveling with a group and can split the costs of the rental, gas, and tolls, it may be even cheaper than each of you buying your own individual transportation tickets. However, most cars in Spain use manual transmissions, so expect to pay more for an automatic if that's all you can drive.

The quickest and most direct route is to take the A-2 highway all the way from Madrid to Barcelona. This a toll highway and the total cost for the trip comes out to about 40 euros, or roughly $50.

Don't forget, the freedom of having your own car is also tempered with the hassle of having to park it. Vehicles are great for day trips and traveling between cities, but once you're in Madrid or Barcelona, you're dealing with metropolitan traffic and difficult-to-find parking. Street parking is hard to come by in the city center, so expect to pay a premium to keep your car in a lot.

How Long Is the Flight?

If the airports were as centrally located as the train stations, flying would hands-down be the best method for travel from Madrid to Barcelona. Flights are generally pretty cheap with several options per day, and you're barely in the air long enough to finish an episode of your favorite show before you've touched down at Barcelona El Prat Airport . However, it takes at least 30 minutes to reach Madrid's airport via public transportation and then another 30 minutes to reach Barcelona's city center. Factor in all of that time plus airport check-in, security, and waiting at your gate, and the total travel time is now significantly longer than taking the train.

Even though the train is more comfortable and convenient than flying, it can also be more expensive, especially if your travel dates are near. Last-minute plane tickets can still be relatively cheap, especially when traveling in low tourist season. Always compare your flights with train tickets; the difference in price may shock you.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Barcelona?

For the best deals on train tickets and flights, try to travel midweek outside of the major holiday periods, such as summer vacation, Christmas break, and the week leading up to Easter. These popular travel periods are by far the most popular time to book transportation, and the prices will reflect that.

Spring or fall are considered the shoulder season and some of the best times to visit Barcelona . The weather is pleasant and, if you plan ahead, train tickets and flights are very affordable. July and August are hot and nice for visiting the beach, but summer crowds can feel overwhelming in this popular tourist destination.

What’s the Most Scenic Route to Barcelona?

The biggest advantage of taking a car is being able to stop and explore in any of the towns between Madrid and Barcelona, or going on day trips once you arrive. Along the route, make time for a quick stop in Zaragoza, a city known for its local gastronomy, Moorish architecture, and scenic river views. After arriving in Barcelona, take advantage of having a vehicle by visiting nearby sites like the mountains of Montserrat or the cute beach town of Sitges .

If you don't mind adding a little time to the trip, you can skip the A-2 highway and drive east toward the city of Valencia, then working your way north toward Barcelona along the Mediterranean coast. It takes about an hour longer than the direct route, but the views are worth the detour.

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?

Barcelona El Prat Airport is easily connected to the city center via train. There are two options you can use: the metro or the Rodalies commuter train . The metro has more transfer options but takes longer, while the Rodalies is ideal for a quick journey to the central Barcelona-Sants station. If your final destination is near the popular Plaça de Catalunya, the Aerobus provides direct transit.

To take a taxi the city center, the journey from the airport to the city center is only about 15 minutes without traffic with prices around 25 euros, or a little over $30. Ride-sharing apps such as Uber are not available in Barcelona.

What Is There to Do in Barcelona?

The moment you arrive in Barcelona, it's obvious why this Mediterranean paradise is one of Europe's most popular cities to visit . It offers a little of everything: mild weather year-round, spectacular beaches, cultural treasures, excellent cuisine, and wild nightlife. The Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí left his mark on the city, and his buildings are some of Barcelona's most noteworthy attractions, from the quirky Park Güell to the awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia Cathedral. After visiting those, walk down La Rambla, the city's central pedestrian street, and continue on to explore Barcelona's diverse neighborhoods on foot. While not necessary, it's recommended to stop often for tapas and drinks—Spanish sparkling wine, or cava , is produced locally and is a good place to start.

Tickets for the AVE train start at $35 if you buy them far in advance, but get more and more expensive as your trip gets closer, sometimes costing up to $150. The lower-cost Avlo starts at about $12 when you buy your tickets early and gets you to Barcelona just as quickly, with prices maxing out at about $55.

Barcelona is about 380 miles from Madrid.

Both the AVE and the lower-cost Avlo whisk passengers from Atocha Station in Madrid to Barcelona-Sants Station in as little as two and a half hours.

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Train advice from the Man in Seat 61...

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A guide to travelling

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Train travel in europe..., train travel in asia..., train travel in africa..., train travel in america..., train travel in australasia, choice of 3 high-speed train services.

The 621 km (386 mile) high-speed line from Barcelona to Madrid opened in 2008, and high-speed trains now link Barcelona Sants & Madrid Atocha in as little as 2h30 at up to 310 km/h (193 mph).  Before it opened, trains took 7 hours on the classic line.  Spanish high-speed lines were opened up to competition in 2021, and you now have a choice of 4 train operators:  Renfe, Iryo,  and lo-cost operators Ouigo and Avlo.  This page will help you choose.

small bullet point

Which train to choose ?

Option 1, renfe's ave trains.

This is the principal train service between Barcelona & Madrid, with the most frequent departures and some fast non-stop services.  Renfe is Spain's national train operator, their premier high-speed trains are branded AVE which stands for Alta Velocidad Española (Spanish High-Speed).  It's also the Spanish for bird , hence the AVE logo.  Most AVE services between Madrid & Barcelona are operated by smart S103 AVE trains built by Siemens as shown below, hence the resemblance to Germany's ICE3 .

AVEs are fully air-conditioned with free WiFi and power sockets at all seats.  There's a convivial cafe-bar selling alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and hot dishes.  As with most European trains, suitcases & backpacks can be taken at no extra cost, you just take it with you and put it on the luggage racks inside each car.

AVEs have 2 classes of seating, Standard (2nd class, seats 2+2 across the car width) and Comfort (1st class, seats 2+1 across the car width). 

There are 3 fare types, Basico (you get a standard class seat), Elige (you get a standard class seat but can pay to upgrade to a comfort class seat) and Premium (you get a comfort class seat, flexible tickets, access to the Sala Club lounges in Barcelona & Madrid and a meal with wine included in the fare).  If you're sitting in comfort class and the person next to you is served a nice hot meal from the trolley, but you aren't, they paid the Premium fare, you only paid the Elige fare, even though you're both in comfort class!

For a seating plan of an AVE S103, see the seat numbering page .

There is no formal check-in for an AVE, you can board any time up to a minute or two before departure, but as there's a brief X-ray baggage scan & ticket check before boarding at Spanish high-speed stations, so don't arrive at the last minute, see the travel tips section below .

Option 2, Iryo trains

Iryo is another 'full service' operator which can be highly recommended, especially in Infinita Bistró.  Launched on 25 November 2022, Iryo is run by a consortium of Trenitalia & Air Nostrum called Ilsa using a version of Trenitalia's Frecciarossa 1000 .  You can buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com or iryo.eu .  See video of a journey by Iryo .

The new trains offer 3, 4 or 5 classes depending on how you define a class, possibly the most complex system I have come across!

Inicial = 2nd class, with seats arranged 2+2 across the car width in cars 6, 7 & 8.  A refreshment trolley serves drinks and snacks.

Singular = similar 2nd class 2+2 seating, but in cars 4 & 5.  Singular tickets are more flexible and you can pre-order meals online at iryo.eu .

Singular Only You is sold as an upgrade to Singular .  It gets you 1st class 2+1 seating in the cafe car (car 3) with seats around tables to work or dine at.  Meals & drinks can be served at your table at extra cost, you can pre-order meals online at iryo.eu .

Infinita = 1st class with seats arranged 2+1 across the car width in cars 1 & 2.

Infinita Bistró = the same as Infinita , but with a meal & drinks from the bistro menu included in the fare and served at your seat.

The Iryo website iryo.eu normally sells Infinita Bistró with a meal & drinks included in the fare, but in the 48 hours before departure it sells it as plain Infinita without any food or drink.  However, www.thetrainline.com lists both types of Infinita fare when booking in advance, so after selecting 1st class and Infinita , make sure you look at the Comfort options and change the default Infinita to Infinita Bistró if you want to be fed.  Basically, if it doesn't say Bistró , it doesn't include food & drink.

All seats in all classes have power sockets and free WiFi.  Pets under 10 Kg in carriers are carried in Infinita class.

There are two types of fare:  Flexible , which offers a good level of flexibility and Abierta (open) which is 100% fully-flexible, see iryo.eu for details.

See seat map for Iryo trains showing the layout of each class.

Iryo offers free connections by suburban train (Cercanias) at the beginning and end of your journey within the urban areas in both Barcelona & Madrid, similar to the Cercanias Combinado arrangement offered by Renfe and explained here .

Option 3, lo-cost Ouigo trains

Ouigo is a lo-cost subsidiary of SNCF (French Railways), offering 5 or so trains per day in each direction between Barcelona & Madrid.  Fully air-conditioned, free WiFi, power sockets at all seats and (unlike Ouigo in France ) a spacious cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4.

Ouigo is a lo-cost train with budget airline-style baggage limits, so you'll need to pay an extra €5 for a suitcase or backpack when you book.  Bags go on the racks inside the seating area in each car.  Small pets in carriers can be carried, at extra charge.  Bikes are not carried.

Ouigo uses French double-deck TGV Duplex trains.  I recommend an upper deck seat for the best views, it's just 9 easy, wide & shallow steps with handrails from the entrance to the upper deck, which Ouigo calls Sky - they call the lower deck Earth.   There are toilets & luggage racks both upstairs & downstairs in each car.

First class?  Although Ouigo bill their trains as all one class, the seats are unchanged from the TGV Duplex trains used in France .  Cars 1, 2 & 3 retain their larger, more comfortable 1st class seats with extra legroom, arranged 2+1 across the car width.  Cars 5-8 remain 2nd class with seats to 2+2 across the car width.  Ouigo call the former first class seating 'XL' and charge a €9 fee for it on top of the basic fare - a bargain.  The XL fee includes an extra-baggage fee for one suitcase or backpack, it's easy to miss this perk when booking XL, so don't accidentally pay twice.

There's a formal 30-minute minimum check-in for Ouigo trains, a ticket check happens before boarding and as for all operators there's an X-ray baggage check before accessing the platforms, see the travel tips section below .  Within a few months of the service starting, Ouigo was achieving 90% load factors.

Option 4, lo-cost Avlo trains

Avlo is a subsidiary of Renfe (Spanish Railways), operating three or so lo-cost trains per day in each direction between Barcelona & Madrid.  Fully air-conditioned, free WiFi, power sockets at all seats.  But no cafe-bar, just credit-card-operated vending machines selling snacks and drinks, and no first class.

Avlo uses a version of Renfe's S112 AVE train , repainted in Avlo colours with an all-new one-class (but high-quality) interior.  It has leather seats and plenty of legroom.  The S112 is nicknamed Pato (duck) by Renfe staff, no prizes for guessing why.

If possible, avoid seats in car 6 as this was the former cafe-bar.  It's been converted into a seats car, but the small high-level windows have not been changed, so you can only see out if you stand up!

Unlike normal trains, Avlo is a lo-cost train with strict airline-style baggage limits, you need to pay an extra €10 for a suitcase or backpack.  You take your bags onto the train and put them on the racks inside the seating area in each car.  Only folding bikes are carried.  No pets allowed.  If your bags are found to exceed the set dimensions when you arrive at the station (even if they simply bulge a bit) you'll have to pay a €30 fee - if in any doubt about luggage, stick with the normal Renfe AVE service.

Boarding closes 5 minutes before departure, for all operators there's an X-ray baggage check before accessing the platforms so don't cut it fine, see the travel tips below .

Travel tips (all operators)

Real time information

You can see whether a train is on time and which platform it will leave from, if you download thetrainline.com 's app and run an enquiry for today. Trainline's app show real time information for all operators, Renfe, Avlo, Iryo & Ouigo.

On Renfe's AVEs & Iryo , luggage is easy, as on most other European trains.  There's no extra cost for a suitcase or backpack, and (unless you take the mickey) nobody weighs it, measures it or argues about its exact size.

Reproduced with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.  Buy a copy of the European Rail Map at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu .

What's the journey like ?

All these Madrid-Barcelona trains take the same route through the same scenery.  The platforms at Barcelona Sants are underground, but the train soon emerges into daylight as it accelerates to 310 km/h (193 mph).  High-speed lines in Spain are built to standard gauge (4' 8½") like the majority of Europe, even though Spain's classic railways are Iberian broad gauge (5' 6"). Soon after leaving Barcelona, look out for the distinctive jagged ridge of Montserrat on your right (on the left, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montserrat_(mountain) .  The rest of the high-speed journey to Madrid is pleasantly undulating and often scenic, as you can see in the second photograph below.  All trains call at Zaragoza, the major city between Barcelona and Madrid.

How to buy tickets

Thetrainline.com sells tickets for Renfe AVE, Ouigo, Avlo & Iryo so you can easily check times & buy tickets for all 4 operators, all in one place.  Quick & easy to use, overseas credit cards no problem, you can pay in €, £ or $.  There's a small booking fee.

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How long is the train journey from Madrid to Barcelona?

travel-faq

**How long is the train journey from Madrid to Barcelona?**

The train journey from Madrid to Barcelona takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes on the high-speed AVE train. The distance between the two cities is around 621 kilometers, making it a convenient and time-efficient mode of transportation for travelers looking to explore both cities.

Frequently Asked Questions about the train journey from Madrid to Barcelona

** 1. What is the best way to book train tickets from Madrid to Barcelona? ** When booking train tickets from Madrid to Barcelona, it is recommended to use the official website of Renfe, the Spanish national railway company, as it offers the most updated schedules and fares. Additionally, third-party websites and travel agencies may also offer competitive prices and package deals for train travel within Spain.

** 2. Are there different classes available on the train from Madrid to Barcelona? ** Yes, the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona offers different classes including Standard Class, Comfort Class, and Premier Class. Each class provides varying levels of comfort and amenities, allowing passengers to choose the option that best suits their preferences and budget.

** 3. What amenities are available on the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona? ** Passengers traveling on the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona can expect to enjoy comfortable seating, onboard dining services, WiFi access, power outlets, and spacious luggage storage areas. Additionally, the train offers a smooth and enjoyable ride, allowing passengers to relax and enjoy the scenic journey between the two cities.

** 4. Can I bring luggage on the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona? ** Yes, passengers are allowed to bring luggage on the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona. There are dedicated luggage storage areas on the train to accommodate both carry-on and checked luggage. However, it is important to adhere to the specified luggage weight and size restrictions to ensure a hassle-free travel experience.

** 5. Are there any discounts available for train tickets from Madrid to Barcelona? ** Renfe offers various discount options for train tickets from Madrid to Barcelona, including advance purchase discounts, youth discounts, senior discounts, and group travel discounts. It is advisable to check the official website or inquire with a travel agent to explore the available discount options and save on your train travel.

** 6. What is the scenery like during the train journey from Madrid to Barcelona? ** The train journey from Madrid to Barcelona offers picturesque views of the Spanish countryside, including rolling hills, vineyards, and charming small towns. Passengers can also catch glimpses of historic landmarks and architectural wonders along the way, making the journey a visually captivating experience.

** 7. Are there any stops along the way from Madrid to Barcelona? ** The AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona typically operates as a direct service, with no intermediate stops between the two cities. This allows for a seamless and efficient travel experience, enabling passengers to reach their destination in a timely manner without any unnecessary delays.

** 8. Can I purchase food and drinks on the train from Madrid to Barcelona? ** Yes, the AVE train offers onboard dining services, providing passengers with a selection of food and beverage options to purchase during the journey. From snacks and light meals to hot and cold beverages, passengers can enjoy a convenient dining experience while traveling between Madrid and Barcelona.

** 9. How early should I arrive at the train station in Madrid for departure to Barcelona? ** It is recommended to arrive at the train station in Madrid at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time for the journey to Barcelona. This allows sufficient time for ticket validation, security checks, and boarding the train comfortably to ensure a stress-free travel experience.

** 10. Are there any additional travel tips for taking the train from Madrid to Barcelona? ** When traveling by train from Madrid to Barcelona, it is advisable to keep important travel documents and valuables secure, stay updated on any schedule changes or service disruptions, and familiarize yourself with the onboard facilities and amenities to make the most of your journey. Additionally, consider purchasing tickets in advance to secure the best fares and seat options.

** 11. Is the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona wheelchair-accessible? ** Yes, the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona is equipped with facilities to accommodate passengers with mobility needs, including wheelchair-accessible seating, accessible restrooms, and assistance from train staff as needed. Passengers requiring specific assistance are encouraged to notify the train operator in advance to make necessary arrangements for a comfortable journey.

** 12. What is the best time of year to travel from Madrid to Barcelona by train? ** The train journey from Madrid to Barcelona can be enjoyed year-round, offering travelers the flexibility to plan their trip based on their preferred travel dates and seasonal attractions. Whether it’s exploring the vibrant spring blooms, savoring the summer sunshine, admiring the autumn foliage, or experiencing the festive winter celebrations, there is no bad time to embark on this scenic and convenient train journey in Spain.

As we’ve learned, the train journey from Madrid to Barcelona offers a convenient and comfortable travel option for exploring two of Spain’s most captivating cities. Whether you’re planning a quick getaway or a leisurely vacation, the AVE train provides a seamless and enjoyable experience, allowing you to sit back, relax, and take in the beautiful landscapes along the way. With convenient amenities, flexible ticket options, and efficient schedules, the train journey from Madrid to Barcelona is an excellent choice for travelers seeking a hassle-free and memorable transportation experience.

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Formula One’s chief executive, Stefano Domenicali (second from left), at Ifema Madrid exhibition centre, the new home for the Spanish Grand Pri

F1 reveals Madrid to replace Barcelona as host of Spanish Grand Prix from 2026

  • Race has been held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 1991
  • F1 not ruling out Barcelona hosting a second race in Spain

Madrid will take over from Barcelona as the host of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026, putting the future of the current venue under threat on the Formula One calendar.

Formula One announced on Tuesday that the new 3.399-mile circuit will be located around the Ifema convention centre in the north-east of the capital and will consist of both street and purpose-built sections with 20 corners.

The sport has concluded a long‑term deal to hold the race in Madrid until 2035, with the circuit to open with a capacity of 110,000, and an expectation of potential to expand that to 140,000, which would make it one of the largest venues on the calendar.

The statement also included a commitment to making the meeting one of the most sustainable on the calendar, with the sport having set the target of reaching net zero emissions by 2030. The track will be five minutes from Barajas international airport and accessible via train and metro lines with the sport estimating that 90% of fans could travel to the meeting on public transport.

F1 said discussions remain open with Barcelona, whose contract ends in 2026, about its future and the potential of Spain hosting two races.

“For the avoidance of doubt and to clarify here, the fact we are in Madrid is not excluding the fact we could stay in Barcelona for the future,” F1’s chief executive, Stefano Domenicali, said.

“Looking ahead, there are discussions in place to see if we can really extend our collaboration with Barcelona, with whom we have a very good relationship, for the future.”

F1 is enjoying a resurgence of popularity in Spain, with the double world champion Fernando Alonso and the two-time race winner Carlos Sainz representing the country on the grid. In 2023 the TV viewing figures in Spain were 3.5 million on average per race, an increase of 84% on the previous year.

The first Spanish GP was held in 1913 and Madrid last hosted the race in 1981 at the Jarama circuit, which is 20 miles north of the city. It was held at Jerez in Andalucía from 1986 to 1990 and since then has enjoyed a long run at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Domenicali said that long-term deals were the sport’s favoured contracts for the future with race hosts and noted that, while the most recent additions to the calendar have been in the US and the middle east, it proved Europe remained a key and enormously popular market for F1.

“It’s great news for Formula One as it shows once again that there is strong appetite around the world for our sport,” says Domenicali. “It shows that at a moment where Europe is perceived to be a place that is not ready to invest in our sport, Madrid and others are showing it is.”

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The Independent

The most exciting new train journeys across Europe for 2024

I t’s getting increasingly easy to travel around Europe flight-free, thanks to a host of new train routes launching at a time when certain governments are going all out to reduce aviation-related emissions. France, for example, has banned domestic flights where rail journeys of less than two and a half hours are possible, and the EU plans to double its spending on high-speed rail by 2030.

New routes launching in 2024 range from inter-city services making twin-centre holidays in Europe a breeze to sleeper trains putting top ski resorts in easy reach of cities such as Amsterdam. On this occasion, our focus is on routes between destinations on the continent, although new rail connections will soon benefit those of us in the UK – Eurostar rival Evolyn recently announced plans to launch a high-speed Channel Tunnel rail service between London St Pancras and Paris Nord in 2025.

Here are the current hot tickets for anyone planning to ride the rails in 2024.

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Brussels to Prague with European Sleeper

Launch date: 25 march 2024.

European Sleeper’s night train service from Brussels launched in early 2023 but rail infrastructure work meant it could only reach Germany’s capital – until now. From March 2024 it will run from Brussels to Prague , with a journey time of around 15 hours and stops in Amsterdam and Berlin . Keep an eye out for more European Sleeper routes – including ones between the Netherlands and the French Alps, and Amsterdam and Barcelona – in 2025. A word of warning – don’t expect turndown services and chocolates on your pillow. There are three classes of cabin, and the trains are best described as pre-loved – European Sleeper has relied largely on decommissioned train carriages which have been given a quick spruce-up and brought back to life. On the plus side, the company has promised new trains – and perhaps even a chocolate on your pillow – in the near future.

Berlin to Paris with ÖBB Nightjet

Launch date: 11 december 2023.

If a decommissioned German train carriage doesn’t do it for you, this next option might sound more appealing. In early December 2023 ÖBB Nightjet launched its new Berlin to Paris route, which operates three times a week and stops in Strasbourg, eastern France . Cabin options range from a seat in a standard compartment to slick bunkbed couchettes with room for up to six people and, at the top end, mini cabins for solos and couples. It’s also worth noting that ÖBB Nightjet plans to turn the route into a daily one in late 2024.

Amsterdam to Austria via Germany with TUI’s Ski Express

Launch date: 23 december 2023.

Getting to Austria’s ski slopes will become even easier this winter, thanks to TUI’s new Ski Express service, which connects Amsterdam with Austria via Cologne and Frankfurt. Cabin options range from economy to comfort private – book one of these and perks include a sink (OK, not necessarily the most exciting of amenities, admittedly) and steward service. But a word of warning for those prone to missing their stop – if you’re Austria-bound, it’s worth remembering that the train splits in the Austrian city of Wörgl, before serving two different skiing hotspots: Austria’s Tyrol and Salzburger Land regions.

Liège to Maastricht via Aachen with Arriva, SNCB and NS

Launch date: december 2023.

This particular train, which will operate a tri-country route between Belgium , the Netherlands and Germany , and is a collaboration between three train companies, has been a long time coming. The route was unveiled in 2019 but Belgian authorities scuppered plans for it to pass through the country due to safety concerns – more specifically, the insistence that all trains would need a European safety system known as ETCS. It’s finally being rolled out in December 2023, and Liège and Aachen’s status as major hubs for high speed trains means the service will make it much easier for travellers to access a large number of additional cities, including Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Brussels and Paris.

Brussels to Amsterdam with SNCB and NS

Launch date: december 2024.

Full disclosure – this one has been around for a while, but its status as one of Europe ’s most popular train routes is the reason train companies Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) and Belgian carrier SNCB have announced the number of services will be doubled this time next year. New trains have also been ordered for the route, and fewer stops on the additional services launching in December 2024 will mean shorter journey times. Passengers can expect to travel between the two cities in just under two hours, slashing 45 minutes off the current travel time.

Rome to Cortina d’Ampezzo with FS Treni Turistici Italiani

Launch date: 15 december 2023.

Getting to Italy’s powder stashes is much easier from winter 2023, thanks to a new night train which connects Rome with Cortina d’Ampezzo, one of Italy’s most snow-sure ski resorts. Cabin options on this new route range from single-bed cabins to six-person sleepers, and the train has a dining car and bar. The 220-bed sleeper train will leave Rome at 9.40pm every Friday, arriving in Calalzo, a short bus ride from Cortina d’Ampezzo, at around 8am the next morning (this early start is why we suggest resisting grappa-fuelled all-nighters at the train’s bar).

Paris to Madrid with FS Italiane Group

Launch date: late 2024.

The exact launch date of this new service is yet to be confirmed, although we know it’s currently due to launch in late 2024 and will be run by Italy’s national state-owned railway, Trenitalia – a subsidiary of FS Italiane Group. Trenitalia’s high-speed Frecciarossa (meaning red arrow) trains will be used for the route and with a top speed of 249mph, it’s thought journey times will come in at just under seven hours. Brioche for breakfast and torrijas at tea time? Sounds like a no-brainer.

Northern and southern Italy with Orient Express

First, to clear things up: this particular Orient Express isn’t the Orient Express company which became Belmond in 2014 but a separate entity (owned by hotel behemoths Accor) which specialises in luxury trains and will soon branch out into hotels.  Confused? Us too. But back to the important stuff. Orient Express will launch a new seriously luxurious train, La Dolce Vita , in 2024. The exact dates are yet to be confirmed, but there will be six routes on offer and this luxury train line won’t be about high-speed train travel , but about carefully curated itineraries which meander between destinations in northern and southern Italy, including Rome and Venice , where the Orient Express group will unveil its first hotels in 2024.

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6 replies to this topic

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Don't use the TORRE ORO train, which goes by the scenic route, not the high speed lines, as the 11hrs+ journey time will show!

Trains of both companies leave from Barcelona Sants and arrive at Seville Santa Justa.

Thank you. I've been struggling with the trainline app trying to book tickets all day--I get to the end but the app will not accept my visa--no error message, it just will not allow me to pay. I will try the links you provided.

few weeks in advance means almost a year in advance as Renfe tickets for December are on sale.

Try using paypal if you can or a different card. Some foreign cards are not accepted, paypal usually is.

"Renfe tickets for December are on sale."

Not for 11th December "El trayecto consultado no se encuentra disponible para la venta en estos momentos, por favor inténtelo más adelante y disculpe las molestias."

I see all trains listed for sale only until the end of May, which for RENFE is a massive improvement on the recent situation.

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train travel madrid to barcelona

Spanish Grand Prix to move from Barcelona to Madrid in 2026

  • Published 7 days ago
  • comments Comments

General view of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has hosted the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991

Madrid will replace Barcelona as host of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026.

The race will run on a new 5.47km (3.399-mile) circuit around the Ifema exhibition centre between the Spanish capital and Barajas airport.

Formula 1, which is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2030, says it will be "one of the calendar's most accessible races".

A statement said 90% of fans would be able to travel to the race via public transport on metro and train lines.

The deal, which runs until 2035, means Madrid will be host of the country's grand prix for the first time since 1981, when the Jarama circuit, 20 miles north of the capital, last held the event.

It has been held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since 1991, and was at Jerez in Andalucia from 1986-1990. The Spanish Grand Prix was first held in 1913, making it one of the oldest races.

F1 remains in discussions with Barcelona about the future and the possibility remains for it to host a race in addition to Madrid, F1 president and chief executive officer Stefano Domenicali said.

The new Madrid track, which will have 20 corners, will incorporate both street-circuit and road-course sections, F1 said.

It said it would be able to host 110,000 fans a day initially with plans to expand the capacity to 140,000. This would make it one of the largest venues on the F1 calendar.

After a period when interest declined at the end of the last decade, F1 has experienced a renaissance in Spain in recent years.

This can be attributed to the return to the sport of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, a national hero, after a two-year break in 2019 and 2020, and Carlos Sainz's presence as a front-runner with the Ferrari team.

Sainz was the only driver not in a Red Bull to win a race in 2023, when he triumphed in the Singapore Grand Prix.

Domenicali said on Tuesday: "Madrid is an incredible city with amazing sporting and cultural heritage and today's announcement begins an exciting new chapter for F1 in Spain."

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem described the race as "an enticing prospect", adding: "As we build towards the introduction of the FIA 2026 Formula 1 regulations, which have been framed with net-zero carbon by 2030 in mind, it is pleasing to see that the local organisers have placed a sharp focus on environmental sustainability."

Domenicali said Madrid's "fantastic proposal truly epitomises F1's vision to create a multi-day spectacle of sport and entertainment that delivers maximum value for fans and embraces innovation and sustainability".

Madrid track map

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