Fastest journey9hr 38m
Taking the train from Paris to Madrid is very simple, with a single change of trains in Barcelona. You’ll find at least two options each day for your journey from Paris to Madrid via Barcelona. During the summer season, when the Paris to Barcelona trains run more frequently, you’ll have even more choice. It’s a journey of almost 1800 km, but it can be done in 10 hrs.
Take a high-speed TGV Duplex train from Paris south to Barcelona. Book a seat on the left side of the upper deck of the train for the best views. In Barcelona you'll take an onward AVE train to Madrid.
Bookings for this itinerary from Paris to Madrid via Barcelona usually open 90 days prior to travel. The cheapest tickets are available when tickets first go on sale.
Paris to Barcelona
Direct TGV trains to Barcelona leave Paris two to four times per day. The frequency is higher in summer than winter. The TGVs to Barcelona leave from the Gare de Lyon in Paris. In Barcelona they terminate at Sants station. This journey is focused on speed, so there are not a lot of stops along the way - from six to ten depending on which train you take. All trains stop at the historic cities of Montpellier, Perpignan and Girona. The part of the journey south from Perpignan has good views of the Pyrenees.
Barcelona to Madrid
Take a high-speed AVE train directly from Barcelona Sants station to Madrid Atocha. At peak times Barcelona to Madrid trains depart every 30 minutes, with the fastest services taking just 2 hrs 30 mins to reach the Spanish capital. Trains that stop up to four times along the way may take 30 to 40 minutes longer. This journey along Spain's premier high-speed rail route reveals a variety of passing landscapes as you speed from Catalonia through Aragon to the Spanish heartland.
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Image credits: Royal Palace, Madrid © Lucavanzolini