Want to travel from Madrid to Tarragona by train? Start your journey with us.
The train from Madrid to Tarragona usually takes 4 hours 27 minutes on average to travel 263 miles (424 km), although the quickest services can take as little as 3 hours 54 minutes. You can expect to find 20 trains per day running on this popular route. As there aren’t any direct services running between Madrid and Tarragona, you’ll need to make 1 change on your way to Tarragona. You can choose to travel with AVE, Avlo or Renfe to get to Tarragona. As the main rail operators on this route, their trains offer modern comfortable seating and plenty of space for luggage as standard.
To help you get the best train deals, we'll highlight the cheapest train ticket prices from Madrid to Tarragona in our Journey Planner. Just remember, the sooner you book your tickets, the more you'll save, as advance tickets start from £8.20.
Keep reading for more information about the train journey to Tarragona, including FAQs, timetables with first and last train times and tips on booking cheap train tickets. If you’re ready to book, just start a search for tickets with us today.
It takes an average of 4h 27m to travel from Madrid to Tarragona by train, over a distance of around 263 miles (424 km). There are normally 20 trains per day travelling from Madrid to Tarragona and tickets for this journey start from £8.20 when you book in advance.
From 3h 54m
263 miles (424 km)
20 trains per day
|Train and bus operators|
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 brand of French rail company SNCF, who operate trains in France and Spain. In France, all seats on OUIGO are Second Class and tickets can only be purchased online. You can also pay for additional extras, such as reserving a seat in the ‘quiet area’, at-seat power sockets and extra luggage. OUIGO has been operating in Spain since May 2021, and their trains include an onboard bar and a premium class of service called OUIGO Plus.
Operating since the end of 2022, iryo is a new high-speed train company in Spain. It’s a consortium between the Spanish airline Air Norstrum and the train company Trenitalia, one of the greatest leaders in European rail transport. The first private Spanish high-speed company to operate, iryo runs high-speed services on the Madrid – Zaragoza – Barcelona route and connects Madrid – Cuenca – Valencia/Alicante and Madrid – Cordoba – Seville/Malaga. They are doing this all with a fleet of ETR1000 model trains that offer the highest level of comfort in Spain, with a combination of advanced propulsion and highest quality onboard services, including WiFi connection and catering service. 98% of the parts of the trains are 100% recyclable, making this trip sustainable as well!
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.
If you're looking for a reasonably-priced experience without compromising on the best service and comfort, Inicial Class is ideal for you!
Singular Class is ideal for business travellers looking for flexibility and comfort. If you need to, you can adapt your ticket to your needs at the time.
If you're looking for added comfort and full flexibility, Singular Only YOU class is a fantastic choice, with access to select hotels too.
iryo's Infinita Class offers plenty of amenities on board, including wider leather reclining seats, free WiFi and at-seat meal service (Infinita Bistró) offering a complimentary gourmet meal. You'll need to book your meal 24 hours in advance.
In AVE's Estándar Class, you'll enjoy comfortable fuss-free travel. With luggage storage and air-conditioning throughout, there's access to their bar/restaurant carriage serving drinks and snacks and seats are usually in a row of 2 or 4 around a table. On board, you'll enjoy:
Onboard AVE's Confort Class, you’ll enjoy all the amenities of Estándar Class as well as extra perks, such as complimentary food and drinks, free newspapers and more. Don't forget to enjoy access to Renfe's Club Rooms before your trip to kick it off in style. On board, you'll enjoy:
OUIGO comes with only one class, Standard Class, which is the equivalent of TGV's Second Class. On board you'll find WiFi and a café-bar (on services in Spain). There may be a trolley service on Train Classique services in France. You can pay extra to guarantee a seat with a plug socket, as not all seats currently have one.
Travel in Avlo’s Economy Class and you can connect to the free WiFi and grab some snacks from the vending machine.
You can carry up to 3 pieces of luggage on iryo trains, as long as they do not exceed 25kg in total. These 3 pieces can be 2 suitcases with a maximum size of 85 x 55 x 35cm and a backpack or handbag that does not exceed the dimensions of 36 x 27 x 15cm.
iryo offers different menus with high-quality products in all classes. You can buy your favourite meal from their onboard restaurant/bar carriage, which is usually near coach 2.
If you’re travelling in the Infinita Class, you can enjoy the Infinita Bistró service – your meal will be served straight to your seat. Please note that you’ll need to book your meal at least 24 hours in advance.
You can enjoy free WiFi in all classes on iryo trains, as well as an onboard entertainment platform providing a wide selection of movies, TV series, live news and Spotify.
Children aged 0-3 travel for free on all iryo trains. Children aged 4-13 get a discounted ticket while those aged 14-18 need to pay the full price. Please note that children aged under 18 need to be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.
You can take your bike on board iryo trains for free if it’s folded and does not exceed 90 x 120 x 40cm. Also, your bike must travel without the pedals and with the handlebar rotated 90 degrees.
iryo allows pets that do not exceed 10kg in weight, as long as they travel inside a carrier with a maximum size of 60 x 35 x 35cm. You'll need to buy a ticket for your pet in advance. In addition, guide dogs can travel at no additional cost.
There are seats for people with reduced mobility on iryo trains. Step-free access is also available both when boarding and when getting off the train.
With AVE, you can travel with up to 3 pieces of luggage that do not exceed 290 cm and 25 kg. In total, the maximum measurements of each piece of luggage are 85 x 55 x 35 cm. Musical instruments also count as hand luggage as long as they do not exceed the dimensions 30 x 120 x 38 cm and are stored in a case.
If you’d like to stretch your legs and grab a coffee during your journey, AVE trains have an onboard bar carriage serving drinks and snacks. If you’d prefer to stay in your seat, AVE staff sell food and drinks from a trolley that will pass through the train during the journey.
On AVE trains, you can take advantage of PlayRenfe – their free WiFi and entertainment service. Giving you access to exclusive content and fast connection speeds, PlayRenfe can be downloaded from the app store on your phone. Once you’re connected, you can access the PlayRenfe portal, where you’ll find exclusive live sport, news, films and TV series.
Children under 3 years old travel for free with AVE, as long as they do not occupy a seat and have their free child ticket. Children from 3 to 14 years old can take advantage of a 40% discount on ticket prices.
On all AVE trains, each passenger can take one bicycle or scooter on board, as long as it’s folded and carried inside a case. Also, the pedals must be removed and handlebars turned 90 degrees. Lastly, if the sum of the dimensions of the case is less than 180cm, it is considered as hand luggage. However, if it’s bigger, it will be considered as special luggage (max dimensions 120 x 90 x 40 cm).
With AVE, you can travel with a pet as long as it weighs no more than 10 kg and travels inside a cage or carrier (60 x 35 x 35 cm). Your pet must have their own pet ticket, unless you’re travelling with a Premium ticket, in which case the pet ticket is free. Guide and assistance dogs travel for free.
AVE offer a free assistance and care service for people with reduced mobility. To request the service, passengers should contact AVE directly.
One piece of hand luggage (36 x 27 x 15 cm) and one piece of cabin luggage (55 x 35 x 25 cm) can be taken onboard. You can take additional or larger bags with you (max. 30kg) for an extra fee or by paying for OUIGO Plus.
On OUIGO trains in France: an at-seat service of snacks is available on Train classique services. This service is not available on high-speed OUIGO trains.
On OUIGO trains in Spain: OUIBAR is located in coach 4 of each train and offers a selection of hot and cold drinks, plus snacks.
WiFi (OUIFI) and an entertainment portal (OUIFUN) are available at an additional cost.
For OUIGO trains in France: Passengers under 12 years old pay a fixed price for tickets all year round - €5 for journeys on Train classique services, and €8 for high speed services.
For OUIGO trains in Spain: Passengers under 12 pay €5 per ticket for all journeys.
You can take your bicycle on board OUIGO trains if you add the 'Bike' option onto your ticket for an additional fee of at least €5. Your bike must be folded or dismantled and placed in a storage bag for transport.
Pets are only allowed on board OUIGO trains if the 'Pets' option is added to your ticket at the time of booking. (1 pet per adult, per booking, €10 per pet.)
For disabled passengers or those with reduced mobility, you can request assistance through 'Accès Plus'. With this service, a member of staff will meet you at the station and help you get to your seat on the train. To book assistance, contact Accès Plus after you book your tickets (and no later than 48 hours before your train is due to depart).
If you are travelling with a Básica ticket on an Avlo train, you can travel with 1 piece of hand luggage and 1 suitcase. Both pieces of luggage are not subject to a weight limit, but the hand luggage cannot exceed 27 x 36 x 25 cm and the suitcase cannot exceed 55 x 35 x 25cm in dimensions. If you’d like to add 1 extra piece of luggage, you’ll need to pay a fee of €10 if you buy at the time of purchase and €30 if you get it at the station.
On Avlo trains, there is no onboard dining service. However, you will find a vending machine, serving a diverse variety of hot and cold drinks and snacks. Please note that the vending machine only accepts card payment.
If you’re travelling with Avlo, you can enjoy free WiFi through the PlayRenfe platform. As soon as you’re connected you can enjoy films, television shows, newspapers and much more.
Children under 3 years old travel for free with Avlo, as long as they do not occupy a seat. Children under 14 travel for €5 (maximum of 2 child tickets per adult).
Only folding bikes and scooters are allowed on board Avlo trains, as long as they do not exceed the dimensions permitted for suitcases – 55 x 35 x 25cm.
You can travel with your pet for only €10, provided that you have a small pet, such as a dog, cat, ferret or bird (not poultry). Your pet must not weigh more than 10 kg and must travel inside a cage or carrier, which must not exceed dimensions of 60 x 35 x 35 cm.
Please note there is a maximum of 1 pet per person and all pets must always travel with their own pet ticket and not take up a seat. Guide and assistance dogs are allowed on the train free of charge.
With Avlo, passengers with reduced mobility can request the assistance service. For more information, contact Avlo directly.
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 Tarragona 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 Tarragona is 4 hours and 27 minutes, with around 20 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 Tarragona is 3 hours and 54 minutes.
Train ticket prices from Madrid to Tarragona can start from as little as £8.20 when you book in advance. The cost of tickets can vary depending on the time of day, route and class you book and are usually more expensive if you book on the day.
No, there are no direct train services from Madrid to Tarragona. Travelling from Madrid to Tarragona by train will require a minimum of 1 change.
The first train from Madrid to Tarragona leaves at 06:15. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Madrid to Tarragona leaves at 21:10. 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 Tarragona cover a distance of around 263 miles (424 km) during the journey.