Renfe Logo

Renfe is Spain’s national railway company, running most regional and high-speed AVE trains on the country’s extensive railway system. It’s easy to visit the biggest Spanish cities on the AVE train, such as Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. The latest addition to the AVE network is Granada, just 53m from Antequera.

Direct high-speed Renfe trains between France and Spain: tickets from €19! *

¡Hola España! Renfe, Spain’s national train operator, is bringing its high-speed AVE trains to France, from 13th July 2023. Less than a year after Renfe-SNCF trains stopped operating between France and Spain in December 2022, Renfe is launching a new service offering direct, high-speed routes between the two countries. AVE trains will stop at 10 train stations in France on their journeys toward Barcelona and Madrid, with 1 journey each way every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday between France and Spain.

You’ll be able to travel direct to Spain from Lyon or Marseille with tickets from €29. * If you want to travel to Spain from Montpellier, tickets will start at just €19. * With prices like that, it’s the perfect time to discover more of Spain for less. What’s more, if you want to explore France as well, tickets between French towns along Renfe’s routes will start at €9! *

Say adiós to driving and au revoir to flying – instead, sit back and enjoy travelling in comfort on a high-speed train. Relax in Estándar (Standard Class) or treat yourself to Confort (First Class). Either way, hop on an AVE train and get free WiFi, individual plug sockets, comfortable seats and air-conditioning.

Tickets for Renfe trains between France and Spain are available now on Trainline. Vamos!

* Prices subject to availability.

Popular Renfe routes between France and Spain

With tickets within France at prices starting from €9 and tickets between France and Spain starting from €19, make the most of Renfe’s launch offer and discover Spain. Tickets available now! *

* Prices subject to availability.

Renfe train times between France and Spain


Good news! Whether you want to travel to France or to Spain, Renfe has got you covered with its high-speed AVE trains running direct between Lyon and Barcelona and from Marseille to Madrid. With one journey each way, 4 days a week, and train tickets starting from just €19 * for some cross-border services, France and Spain are closer than you think. Take a look at the timetable for these new AVE routes below: tickets available to buy now with Trainline.

* Prices subject to availability.

AVE train times from France to Spain *

Train numberLeaving fromArriving atDeparture timeArrival timeExtra information
9742Lyon Part-DieuBarcelona Sants2:30pm7:32pmRunning from 13th July 2023

Marseille St-Charles

Madrid Pta. Atocha8:03am3:45pmRunning from 28th July 2023


AVE train times from Spain to France *

Train numberLeaving fromArriving atDeparture timeArrival timeExtra information
9737Barcelona SantsLyon Part-Dieu8:22am1:20pmRunning from 13th July 2023

Madrid Pta. Atocha

Marseille St-Charles

1:25pm9:30pmRunning from 28th July 2023
* Renfe trains between France and Spain will run on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only. Timetables are subject to change; check before you travel. 

Renfe route map between France and Spain

The new AVE trains from Spanish train company Renfe will run between France and Spain from 13th July 2023 (Lyon to Barcelona) or 28th July 2023 (Marseille to Madrid), with tickets available now from Trainline at unbeatable prices – from €9. * Take a look at the list below to see where these Renfe trains may stop: 

* Prices subject to availability.

Renfe trains between France and Spain may stop at the following stations:

  • Lyon 
  • Valence 
  • Avignon 
  • Nîmes 
  • Aix-en-Provence 
  • Marseille
  • Montpellier 
  • Béziers 
  • Narbonne
  • Perpignan 
  • Figueres 
  • Girona 
  • Barcelona 
  • Tarragona 
  • Zaragoza 
  • Madrid 

What is Renfe?

Renfe (pronounced “Ren-Fay”) is the state-owned railway company in Spain. Renfe is responsible for the running of passenger and freight traffic on Spain’s railway network. Trading under the official name of Renfe Operadora, Renfe operates trains on standard and broad-gauge railway lines, which account for most services in the country.

Several train companies run services in autonomous communities independently to Renfe, such as Euskotren Trena in the Basque Country and FGV in Valencia.

Renfe map

To give you an idea of how extensive Renfe train services are, we have drawn up a map to show you some of the major routes and destinations in Spain. Most major routes are in and out of Madrid and Barcelona, but Renfe can take you all over Spain.

This map shows you the most popular train routes taken in Spain. There are thousands more you can take to explore each corner of this country. Using AVE, Alvia and Avant trains, you can create the perfect trip around Spain, with this map a perfect starting point.

There are many more places in Spain to visit by rail, including Cordoba, Malaga and Alicante. If you want any more inspiration around where Renfe trains can take you, then visit our trains in Spain page.

The map includes the recently completed Antequerra-Granada high-speed line. This connects Granada to the high-speed Madrid-Malaga line – one of the main arteries running into the south of Spain. Work is currently ongoing to connect Seville and Antequera via a high-speed line.

Renfe ticket types

There are three new fares for Renfe trains: Básico, Elige and Premium; the conditions of the fares are explained below. Visit our cheap train tickets in Spain page to find out more about finding the best ticket for you.


Básico fares are for Estandár seating (the equivalent of Standard Class – more on that below) only. This is the cheapest fare and the best for travellers who aren’t fussed about flexibility. Básico fares cannot be refunded or exchanged – you must catch the specific fare listed on your ticket.

Please make sure that the name you book your ticket with matches the one you have on your ID, as it cannot be amended once you buy your ticket.

You will not be able to select your seat, however, this option can be purchased for an additional €8. Pets are also not allowed to travel with you on a Básico fare. Note: trading up to an Elige or Premium fare will cost €12 and €30 respectively.


Elige translates to ‘choose’ – this fare offers a greater array of optional extras and more flexibility for cancellations and exchanges. Firstly, you can purchase an Elige fare for either seating class, Estandár or Confort (the equivalent of First Class).

The first exchange for an Elige Confort or Elige Estandár ticket is free of charge. Other changes are subject to a €10 fee, plus the difference in price when compared to the new ticket, as applicable. If the new ticket is cheaper, no refund will be offered for the difference.

Seat selection is also available as an optional extra for €5 and upgrading to a Premium fare costs €20. Pets can be added after booking for €10. Catering is available from the cold tray.

You can request refunds in the 'My Bookings' section of your account.


The Prémium fare is the most expensive fare but offers the most flexibility and applies exclusively to Confort (First Class) seating. Changing to a different service is free of charge and if you miss your train, it’s free to catch the next train.

At seat catering of hot food comes as standard and you can bring a pet for free. Note: the Prémium fare will only be available once hot food is made available again on Renfe trains.

How to find cheap Renfe tickets

Book in advance

In theory, the cheapest tickets for AVE services come on sale 90 days ahead of the date of travel. For other services, such as Alvia and Avant, it’s around 60 days. Básico fares are the most heavily discounted fare option available, offering savings of 70% on the full fare. These fares work like airline tickets – becoming more expensive as the departure date approaches. The further in advance you book, the cheaper they will be.

In practice, Renfe often release blocks of tickets in one go. When that happens, the booking horizon can shrink to 45 days ahead of the date of travel. It’s not ideal – but stay patient and you’ll find a good deal!

Use loyalty cards

You can also use Renfe’s various loyalty cards to knock down the price of your train ticket. These are only worth purchasing if you’re planning on travelling extensively by train in Spain. There are two loyalty cards available:

CardPriceTraveller requirementsDiscounts availableValidity period
Tarjeta +Renfe Joven 50€50Aged 14-25AVE and long-distance trains:
  • 50% discount for tickets bought 30 days or more in advance
  • 40% discount for tickets bought between 15 and 30 days in advance
  • 30% discount for tickets bought less than 15 days in advance
1 year
Tarjeta Dorada€6Aged over 60AVE and long-distance trains:
  • 40% for journeys on Monday-Thursday
  • 25% for journeys on Friday-Sunday
1 year

Renfe tickets explained

If you buy a ticket online, you will receive an e-ticket by email. You can print this at home or display it on your device.

The key information about your journey is spotlighted in the sample ticket above:

  1. CombinadoCercanias code: this handy 5-digit code gives you free suburban rail travel to your departure station and onwards from your arrival station. Just type the code into a ticket machine in a Cercanías station to redeem it. Find out more about Combinado Cercanías tickets on our dedicated page.
  2. Train and carriage number: the 5-digit number after AVE is your train number. The Coche number is your carriage.
  3. Departure time: when your train will leave the platform. If you have a Básico ticket, you cannot exchange your ticket for a different time – make sure you get on that train!
  4. Platform number: listed next to Plaza – in this case it’s 6B.

Renfe trains

Most high-speed trains have onboard WiFi and air-conditioned carriages, with spacious seats and a restaurant carriage. First Class travellers will be served an in-seat meal and benefit from wide, leather seats. Here’s what to expect on Renfe trains.​

Seating and classes

There are two classes on high-speed trains – Estandár (Standard Class) and Confort (First Class). Standard Class is comfortable and cost-effective. Seats are arranged in a 2+2 formation and there are luggage storage racks at either end of the carriage.

First Class carriages are more spacious. Seats are arranged in a 2+1 formation and are usually leather, with more legroom than Second Class seats. On some trains, you’ll also find the Business Club Space. Ideal for business travellers or families, this section has eight seats facing each other, with TV screens that can be hooked up to a laptop. Find out more about Renfe AVE First Class.

All carriages on high-speed trains are air-conditioned.

WiFi and plug sockets

WiFi is available on some, but not all, high-speed trains. Look out for the WiFi symbol on the outside of the train. You will need your ticket number to generate a code which will be sent to your phone to get online. The connection is usually reliable, except for when the train is travelling through a tunnel.

Plug sockets are available in First Class on all high-speed AVE trains. Lots of the newer AVEs also have plug sockets in Standard Class, located under the armrest. The plug sockets are European 2-pin.

Food on board

Renfe’s high-speed trains usually have a restaurant carriage serving drinks, snacks and full meals. There is also a snack cart service. Feel free to bring your own food on board as well.

First Class passengers on longer journeys will be served a complimentary meal at their seat. Depending on the time of day you’re travelling, you’ll be served breakfast, a mid-afternoon snack, lunch or dinner. The at-seat dining is available every day except Saturdays.

Train types

Renfe's three major train services are AVE, Avant and Alvia. All three trains travel at high-speed, covering much of Spain on their different networks. Find out more about each different train and where it can take you, giving you a good idea on how you'll be travelling around Spain by train.


The introduction of AVE trains in 1992 to the rail network changed rail transportation in Spain. Short for Alta Velocidad Española, the AVE network has grown to cover all corners of Spain. Using Madrid as its major terminal, AVE trains travel throughout the country, connecting the rural south to the urban centre. AVE trains can hit speeds of up to 310km/h (193 mph).

All classes of AVE trains come with comfortable and spacious seats, buffet carriages, and entertainment onboard. If you have a long train journey ahead of you, travelling on AVE will make it an enjoyable experience.


Renfe Alvia trains are similar to the AVE, only calling at more stops on their routes. Alvia trains still call at all major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, but also towns and cities such as Cadiz, Pamplona and Alicante.

Alvia trains are engineered to run on high-speed and conventional railway lines, switching between the two during journeys. You can typically find Alvia trains in the north of the country, making it a vital link between cities in those regions and the central hub of Madrid.


The last of the high-speed train types in Spain, Renfe Avant trains still operate on much shorter routes than their AVE and Alvia counterparts. Avant routes are typically within the same autonomous region.

Avant trains are perfect for day trips or commuting, as the routes are much shorter, but you're still travelling at high speeds - making them time-effective.

For more information on the different train types, visit our guide to Trains in Spain.


Renfe-Avlo is Renfe's new high-speed long distance train service operating on the Madrid-Barcelona-Figueres train line. Avlo trains can travel up to 300 km/h and all seats are in Economy class with assigned seats.     

Onboard you can find free WiFi access through the PlayRenfe platform, power sockets at every seat to charge phones and laptops, and vending machines with hot and cold drinks and snacks. 

Find out more about Renfe Avlo here.

Renfe routes

Renfe run frequent services on hundreds of popular train routes in Spain every day throughout the year. Whether you are taking the AVE train from Barcelona to Madrid, or an Alvia train from Valencia to Murcia, there's no shortage of trains to get you to where you need to go.

Renfe destinations

With plenty of different cultures, sight and experiences to be had across the regions of Spain, it can be difficult to get a taste of each one. While it may be impossible to see every corner of Spain, using Renfe to travel the country is a great way to see as much as possible.

Madrid Atocha station

Madrid Atocha is the busiest station in Spain and one of the top ten busiest stations in Europe. If you’re taking a Renfe train, it’s more than likely you will pass through Atocha station on your travels.

Complete with a tropical garden in the old train shed, Madrid Atocha (officially Madrid Puerta de Atocha) is an attraction in and of itself. There are 24 platforms in total, with 15 high-speed platforms (for AVE and OUIGO trains). As well as high-speed connections, you can catch Cercanías suburban rail services from the platforms below ground. These platforms are technically part of a separate station, Madrid Atocha-Cercanías, but in principle, they are part of Atocha proper.

Find out more about Renfe trains from Madrid Atocha.

Barcelona Sants station

Barcelona Sants is one of Renfe’s main stations, connecting the Catalonian capital to the rest of Spain and parts of France.

Owned by ADIF, Barcelona Sants station is the second-busiest station in Spain after Madrid Atocha – seeing over 43 million passengers pass through its gates in 2017. The station is located in Barcelona’s Sants neighbourhood, after which it is named.

There are 14 platforms located beneath street level. Platforms 1-6 are for high-speed trains, such as AVE, TGV and the newly-introduced OUIGO services. Platforms 7-14 are for  Rodiales suburban rail services and medium-distance Talgo and Euromed trains.

Find out more about Renfe trains from Barcelona Sants.

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Still got questions? Here are answers to some of our travellers' FAQs.

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