Most visitors to Spain spend a lot of time in the country's capital of Madrid, but there's so much more to see, and you can catch Alvia trains over to Santander from Madrid, arriving in the centre of the city in just four hours.
Want to travel in First Class? Choose Clase Preferente – you'll have wider seats, free newspapers, complimentary snacks and drinks and much more to make your journey even more pleasant.
Once you reach the capital of the Cantabria region, you'll be able to enjoy some of Spain's best north coast beaches and scenery. The iconic Palace of La Magdalena is a must-visit touristic hotspot, while Sardinero beach is just waiting for you to sit back, relax, and soak up the sun. Still not sure? Scroll further down for more information about this journey.
|Journey time||From 4h 12m|
|Price||$19.37 - $107.55|
|Distance||211 miles (339 km)|
|Frequency||3 trains per day|
|Changes||Direct trains available|
|Train and bus operators|
Renfe is the national train operator in Spain. It has the widest network of high-speed trains in Europe, linking major cities with AVE, AV-City, Avant, Alvia, and Euromed trains. Long-distance routes are served by Altaria and Talgo trains, while regional routes are operated by Media Distancia, Regional and Express Regional trains. Renfe also operates on international routes to France and Portugal. Renfe trains offer four different travel classes, depending on the train you’re travelling on – Turista (Standard), Turista Plus (Premium Economy), Preferente (Business Class) and Club (First Class).
Renfe's Alvia services combine high-speed tracks with lower speed sections, reaching speeds of up to 155 mph (250 km/h) on international lines and 125 mph (200 km/h) on conventional lines. These trains connect the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante with the other main Spanish cities. Alvia offers two types of classes – Turista (Second Class) and Preferente (First Class). The latter has wider seats, carriages with fewer seats, offers complimentary food and drinks, free newspapers, and access to parking and Club meeting rooms.
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 to Santander 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 and Santander is 4 hours and 47 minutes, with around 3 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 to Santander is 4 hours and 12 minutes.
Train tickets from Madrid to Santander can start from as little as $19.37 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 to Santander without having to change trains. There are 2 direct trains from Madrid to Santander. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Madrid to Santander leaves at 07:47. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Madrid to Santander leaves at 19:00. 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 to Santander cover a distance of around 211 miles (339 km) during the journey.