Trenitalia is the national railway company of Italy, with a fleet including high-speed trains (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianca), Intercity and Intercity night trains and regional trains. Trenitalia offers discounts and special promotions on selected routes, two types of discounted tickets for young people under 30 and people over 60.
Thello, part of the Trenitalia Group, is an international railway service that connects France and Italy. Thello trains provide direct connections between Paris and Venice via Dijon, and Marseille and Milan via Nice. Trains between Paris and Venice are night/sleeper trains with three service levels. Choose either Standard shared berth compartments (4-6 berth), a standard bed cabin (1-3 people) which includes a welcome drink, breakfast, bed furnishings and a toiletry set, or treat yourself to a premium cabin (1-2 people) which feature a private bathroom with sink, shower and WC. Trains between Marseille and Milan offer Standard Class seating, as well as First Class, which has wider reclining seats for extra comfort.
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-SNCF trains are the result of a collaboration between France and Spain to bring the two countries together via a network of high-speed trains. There are two comfort classes – Turista (or Second Class) and Preferente (or First Class). Both classes have power sockets and comfortable seating. Luggage security checks are in force at all Spanish stations before boarding. It's also advisable to travel with your identity card for border control.
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 Cologne to Madrid 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 Cologne and Madrid is 37 hours and 20 minutes, with around 1 train 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 Cologne to Madrid is 37 hours and 20 minutes.
Train tickets from Cologne to Madrid can start from as little as €246.95 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.
No, there are no direct train services from Cologne to Madrid. Travelling from Cologne to Madrid by train will require a minimum of 8 changes.
The first train from Cologne to Madrid leaves at 19:00. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Cologne to Madrid 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 Cologne to Madrid cover a distance of around 775 miles (1247 km) during the journey.