Renfe is the national train operator in Spain. It operates trains on the longest high-speed railway network in Europe, and the second-longest in the world. The country's major cities are linked up by the high-speed AVE and Avlo trains, while other long-distance routes are served by Altaria, Talgo, Alvia and Euromed trains. Renfe also operates cross-border services into neighbouring Portugal and France. Depending on which service you are travelling on, you'll usually find two classes on Renfe trains - Estándard (Standard Class) and Confort (First Class). Fare types range from the cheapest (but least flexible) Básico fare, to the more flexible Elige fares, to the Premium fare for seats in Confort carriages.
AVE is Renfe's flagship high-speed service, with trains capable of reaching up to 193 mph (310 km/h). It’s one of the fastest trains in Europe and connects the main cities of Spain. Most AVE trains offer two comfort classes – Estándard (Standard Class) and Confort (First Class equivalent, with 1-1 configuration, ultra-wide seats, gourmet food and drink and lounge access). All AVE trains have air conditioning, power sockets, free WiFi and a buffet carriage serving a selection of food and drinks. There are three fares for AVE services: the cheapest but least flexible Básico fare, the Elige fare (slightly pricier but more flexible), and the Premium fare for seats in Confort Class.
OUIGO is the low-cost, high-speed train service operated by the French national train company SNCF. Despite having only one class on board, OUIGO trains offer the same comfort as Second Class seats on TGV trains, although OUIGO tickets are only available to purchase online. To make your journey as smooth as possible, arrive at least 30 minutes before departure and bear in mind that there's an additional fee for bringing a suitcase with you, having a seat with power sockets and travelling with a stroller/buggy.
Most of the train companies across Europe release their tickets around three to six months in advance, many of which can be cheaper the earlier you book. If you know the dates you want to travel, you may be able to find some cheaper train tickets from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona by booking early.§
Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.
On some of the busier routes, you might also have the option to take a slower or connecting train. It may take a little longer than some high-speed or direct services, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, you might find a cheaper fare. Plus, you'll have more time to enjoy the view of the countryside!
For specific information about how to get your hands on cheap tickets, check out our European train tickets hub.
The average journey time by train between Madrid Atocha and Barcelona is 2 hours and 52 minutes, with around 17 trains per day. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays, so use our Journey Planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
The fastest journey time by train from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Train tickets from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona can start from as little as $8.56 when you book in advance and are usually more expensive when purchased on the day. Prices can also vary depending the time of day, route and class you book.
Yes, it is possible to travel from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona without having to change trains. There are 16 direct trains from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona each day. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona leaves at 06:30. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona leaves at 20:40. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services, time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.
Trains travelling from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona cover a distance of around 314 miles (505 km) during the journey.