With a nod to Lerner and Loewe, the train in Spain stays mainly in the plain. It’s faster that way — going up and down mountains slows the train too much.
We traveled from Barcelona to Madrid to Seville to Granada by train. The first two legs were the longest, and we took the Spanish high-speed train, called the AVE. This was our first time on a high-speed train. We rode this train, shown here in the Madrid Atocha station.
The trip from Barcelona to Madrid took 2 and a half hours to travel about 400 miles. Each car has a display showing the train speed. The highest speed I saw was 301 km/hr.
The AVE has comfortable seats, large windows, and two seats on each side of the aisle. All five trains we rode were on time — so much better than Spanish trains years ago. The ride is very smooth when you’re seated. But when you stand up or walk around, you’ll notice that the train moves enough so that you feel wobbly. There was a Spanish movie, and they distributed free earbuds.
We purchased promotional tickets for the AVE two months in advance. The promotional tickets are less than half the price of the full-fare tickets, but they sell out, so it’s best to purchase them when they go on sale 60 days in advance.
We liked the AVE so much that while in Spain we decided to take the train from Seville to Granada, instead of driving. We also added a day trip by train from Madrid to Segovia.