Alvia trains are high-speed, long-distance trains operated by Renfe, Spain’s national railway company. Capable of speeds of up to 250km/h, Alvia trains provide connections between major cities in Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Alicante, Zaragoza and Cadiz. While they aren’t as fast as their high-speed AVE cousins, Alvia is an excellent way of travelling from city to city in Spain – and are a key part of the country’s impressive rail network.
Read on for essential info on Alvia trains, including route maps, train classes, seat reservations and ticket options. When you’re ready to travel, use our Journey Planner above to book your train tickets hassle-free, in English.
Alvia is the name given to Renfe’s high-speed, long-distance trains connecting major cities in Spain. They can hit speeds of 250km/h - marginally slower than the 300km/h top-speed of AVE trains, but still mighty speedy! The trains are built to run on both the high-speed rail lines and the slower, “classic” railway lines. During journeys, Alvia trains will switch between the two. Without wanting to bore you with nerdy railway terminology, this essentially means that Alvia trains can connect smaller, regional stations to the high-speed rail arteries that run between Spain’s big cities, resulting in reduced travel times for passengers.
Alvia trains come in three different models – Class 120, Class 130 and Class 730. The latter two types have distinctive, duck-billed train noses, so much so that they’ve been nicknamed patitos (ducklings) by local travellers. Jump to Alvia Train Types to learn more or keep on reading for information on how to buy tickets.
Alvia trains can run at a maximum speed of 250 km/h on high-speed lines and 200 km/h on conventional railway lines.
Series 120 trains entered into operation in May 2006. Manufactured by CAF, 120s are comprised of 81 Preferente Class seats and 156 Turista seats, distributed across four coaches.
This series was manufactured by Talgo. With 63 Preferente seats and 236 Turista seats, they have 11 coaches - one of them a Cafeteria - and 2 power cars, so they can travel in both directions.
Also manufactured by Talgo, the Series 730 trains are an evolution of the Series 130. They run on a mixture of electric and diesel power, making them the most environmentally friendly Alvia model. They have 216 Turista seats, 46 Preferente seats and a Cafeteria carriage. They entered service in June 2012.
To book train tickets, simply enter your origin (where you’re travelling from) and your destination (where you’re travelling to). Hitand we’ll show you all the trains running on your chosen day of travel. Pay in 10 different currencies and across multiple payment methods, including Apple Pay and PayPal.
Renfe offers three different fares for Alvia trains: Promo, Promo+ and Flexible. Promo and Promo+ work like advance tickets in the UK. Prices for these fares rise closer to the departure date, so it’s best to book them as early as possible. Flexible Fares are the most expensive fare but offer the most flexibility to change your booking. Their price also remains fixed.
The price of Alvia tickets is determined by Renfe’s dynamic pricing system, which works in a similar way to airline tickets. Tickets are cheaper the further in advance you book them. This applies to Promo (the cheapest) and Promo+ (slightly more expensive, part-refundable) fares. The price of Flexible (the most expensive) fares is fixed – this ticket type allows you to change your booking to another train at no cost.
When you buy your ticket, you will receive an email with the purchase confirmation, your trip details and an electronic ticket in PDF format. When travelling, you will only have to show the ticket on your mobile or tablet (but you can print it at home for extra peace of mind). Tickets are valid for 4 hours from the train departure and do not require validation.
Renfe's Alvia services connect Alicante, Madrid and Barcelona with the rest of the main Spanish cities.
Depending on the route, Alvia trains offer two classes – Turista and Preferente. Check out what’s available in each class below.
Turista is the name for Standard Class on Alvia trains. The arrangement of the seats in all the carriages is 2 + 2, with a mixture of normal and table seats. There are usually more Turista seats on an Alvia train than Preferente seats.
First Class carriages are more spacious with wider seats. You’ll receive headphones, food, drinks and daily newspapers at no additional cost, as well as a free parking service at the station of origin (except Madrid Atocha) for 24 hours and access to Club Rooms at Renfe stations.
Children under 4 years old travel free on an adult’s lap on board Alvia trains but must carry a Niño gratuito (“Free Child”) ticket. Just make sure you add them to your booking when you book with us, that way we can add the Niño gratuito ticket to your booking. Children under 14 receive a 40% discount on a standard price ticket.
Finally, Renfe allows children between 6 and 13 years old to travel alone as long as they do it in Preferente class. This service can only be hired at the ticket offices of the stations.
Dogs, cats, ferrets or birds weighing less than 10 kg can travel on board Alvia trains with a ticket as long as they do so in a carrier or cage that does not exceed dimensions of 60 x 35 x 35cm. Tickets cost 25% of the price of a Turista Class ticket. In Preferente, animals go for free.
If your pet weighs more than 10 kg, it cannot travel with you.
You can connect to the Renfe WiFi network through the PlayRenfe platform. There are two access options:
On Alvia trains, bicycles will be considered hand luggage if they are disassembled and stored in a case with dimensions that do not exceed 180cm when added together.
Those that exceed this measure will be considered “special luggage” and must be disassembled, with the pedals removed and the handlebar turned 90º, and stored in a case of the following maximum dimensions: 120 x 90 x 40 cm.
When you travel in Alvia you can take up to 3 suitcases with you. The sum of their weight must be less than 25 kg and the combined dimensions cannot exceed 290cm. Renfe considers baby carriages and instruments smaller than 30 x 120 x 38cm hand luggage.
Information on some of the principal railway stations served by Alvia trains.
Located a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Madrid, Atocha station is one of the most emblematic buildings of the city. Built in the 19th century, it receives more than 18 million passengers per year.
It has two different entrances: the first one is for Media Distancia and Cercanías trains, and the second, known as Puerta de Atocha, is where most AVE and long-distance trains (including Alvia) arrive into the station.
Learn more about Madrid Atocha Station.
Widely considered the second-most important station in Spain. Located in the Sants-Montjuic neighbourhood, right in the centre of the city of Barcelona, it was built in the late 70s.
It consists of a ground floor, where the commercial area and lockers are located, and a lower floor from where the roads are accessed.
Learn more about Barcelona Sants station.
Santa Justa is the main station in Seville. It is located in one of the most important access points to the city, on a large avenue near the historic centre.
It is the third-busiest station in Spain by volume of passengers. The station is served by AVE, medium-distance and long-distance trains.
Learn more about Seville Santa Justa station.
María Zambrano train station is located very close to the port and the centre of Málaga.
Built within a shopping centre, it is the second-largest station in Andalusia by volume of passengers. In its 11 routes, María Zambrano offers AVE, long and medium-distance and commuter services.
Learn more about Málaga María Zambrano station.