Barcelona to Madrid by Train

Apr 18th, 2004, 12:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Barcelona to Madrid by Train

We're going from BCN to MAD via the RENFE train on May 14. Can I get tickets before we leave here on April 30? The cost of a tourist ticket is 59e and first class is 91e. Is the difference in accommodations significant and worth it? It's a 5 hour and 15 minute ride.
Thank you!
Priscilla8 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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For the price of a couple of drinks how mean can you be - obviously first class is better than standard class, just live dangerously and spend the extra, shock horror, 31EUR.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 04:45 PM
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Is the difference between First Class and Economy on an airplane worth the price difference? I wish, honestly, I could help but NOBODY here knows exactly how you feel about the differences...fewer folks probably in First Class, perhaps fewer seats in each these things matter to you? If they do, spring for the additional money; if not, then don't.
Apr 19th, 2004, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,785
Priscilla - I used tourist class from Madrid to Sevilla, and it was perfectly comfortable. Personally, I see no reason to spend the extra money, but I also stay in 2 and 3 star hotels.
kaudrey is offline  
Apr 27th, 2004, 09:27 AM
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Priscilla, kaudrey is on the money here.

i did madrid->barcelona RENFE long distance last year and posted a great report on my message board. i have coppied it and here goes...

Hey gang, went to Jerez de la Frontera (Andalucía) early last week on biz and decided to do a little bit of my patented investigative reporting

So, in case any of you are wondering what the difference is between "Clase Turista" and "Clase Preferente" (Tourist and Preferential Classes), this thread is for you.

I made my reservations last minute and all thye had going was preferential class but on the way back I was able to get tourist class. So, it worked out well since I was able to compare the 2 on the same exact journey. The trip was just over 4 hours long.

The prices were:

Turista = 58.00€ (Euros)
Preferente = 86.00€ (Euros)

My combined round trip (preferente going and turista coming back) ran me 115€ (Euros) since you get a 20% discount when buying round trip.

Ok, in my humble opinion the 28.00€ (Euro) difference between tourist and preferential class is NOT worthwhile.

Here is what you get in preferential that you do not have in tourist class:

? seats that are a bit wider.
? a snack of sandwiches and a drink (photo at
? a small lunch of cold cuts, drink, café, etc... ( [photo at
? attendants that offer you drinks quite often.

So, for a 4 hour ride, those were some pretty expensive sandwiches and I highly recommend that you take "clase turista" whenever possible and just save the 28.00€. Buy yourself a nice lunch and/or snacks and bring it with you for the trip, it will surely not cost you anywhere near 28.00€ :eek:

There is a cafeteria car on the trains as well for cold drinks if you decide to bring your own lunch.

Saludos & hope this report helps,

p.d. if you do go preferential class and are a vegetarian, ORDER YOUR VEGGIE MEAL when you buy the ticket or make your reservation. I had a grumpy German guy next to me who was a MEGA vegetarian (did not even drink milk) and forgot to ask for the vegie meals beforehand, he was NOT a happy camper
jerfrommultimadrid is offline  
Apr 27th, 2004, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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The free food and drinks are just superficial extras when traveling first class. The more important issue is the rest and relaxation a weary and often-times tight-scheduled traveler gets on a larger, comfortable and reclining seats for more than 5 hours. I'll take any restful advantage that I can afford whenever I do walk-oriented, minimal-sleep European travels.
ezlivin is offline  
Apr 27th, 2004, 12:29 PM
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I agree with jer on this one.

If the price is not significantly higher and the trip is long sometimes I'll go preferente. But the difference of 32 euros just isn't worth it.

I recently traveled preferente from Madrid to Cadiz and it was exactly as jer described - a meal, drinks and some canapes. But nothing special and I would just as well have taken a walk to the dining bar and picked out what I wanted and when I wanted it. The dollars saved is the price of a nice meal in Madrid at the least. The seats were not much different than tourista - neither with reclining seats at least on this particular train.

CathyM is offline  
Apr 27th, 2004, 02:03 PM
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Posts: 101
IMHO if you're a backpacker and/or typically stay in hostales, go tourist class. If you stay in 3 and 4 star hotels (ie, $100+ a night), go first/preferential class on long distance trains & buses.
The additional comfort is worth the modest extra cost.
travelerone is offline  
Apr 28th, 2004, 04:04 AM
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hey CathyM, what a shame to see that RENFE has not improved the quality of their "preferente" class

surprising since they usually have their act together.

jerfrommultimadrid is offline  
Apr 28th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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"Message: For the price of a couple of drinks how mean can you be - obviously first class is better than standard class, just live dangerously and spend the extra, shock horror, 31EUR."

You post would less snotty and idiotic if you could do simple math.

On second thought, no it wouldn't.
platzer is offline  
Apr 28th, 2004, 05:55 AM
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What ? Dont they have a dining car on the AVE where you can pay for good food and wine ?
SydneySteve is offline  
Apr 28th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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SydneySteve-The AVE goes from Madrid-Seville, and the train Priscilla is asking about is from Barcelona to Madrid. As far as dining cars go, I've only been on one train that had a full dining car with tables, menu, etc... and this was from Paris to Madrid. Most long distance trains in Spain (including the AVE) have a car with hot food and drinks (including good wine) available and long bars/tables where you stand up and eat.

jer-didn't mean to imply that RENFE did not have good service in preferente but that in some cases it's not worth the extra expense IMHO. Sometimes the difference isn't significant and I'll travel preferente. The seats aren't much different between the two and neither give the luxery of reclining (at least on the trains I've been on).

I don't think the difference between tourista and preferente in spanish train travel is comparable to coach vs first class in air travel where there is a much more marked difference in both service, seating, and of course price.

I have to disagree with travelerone that tourista is for backpackers and people who would typically stay in hostales. People of all social strata and backgrounds travel tourist class at least in Spain. I typcally don't stay in hostales, usually in 3* or higher hotels and paradors, yet I travel in tourista 75% of the time.
CathyM is offline  
Apr 28th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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Sorry I thought the fast train on the Madrid-Barcelona route was also known as an AVE. Maybe I should fly from Seville to Barcelona and avoid the Talgo ! Is the scenery at least memorable ?
SydneySteve is offline  
Apr 29th, 2004, 04:19 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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hey SydneySteve, you were not too far off. RENFE inaugurated an AVE line up to cataluña but it does not yet get to barcelona.

the line you may have been thinking of but right now it goes from madrid to lleida (cataluña), stoping in Guadalajara, Calatayud and Zaragoza on the way.

they expect to have it reach barcelona (stopping in Tarragona first) by late 2004. then on to the french border in 2005.

jerfrommultimadrid is offline  
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