If Paris is the artsy kid in class, Berlin the rebel, and Rome the classy one, then Madrid is definitely the overachiever. Sometimes it’s all art museums and a quiet glass of wine in the Centro Historico, and then all of a sudden it becomes a blur of tipsy tapas in the Retiro gardens and midnight frolicking in the streets. Madrid is the one that does it all and still manages to get its homework in on time.
You can do it all, too, if you know where to start. If art museums are what you seek, try the world-famous Prado (housing works by Francisco de Goya, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, and more) or the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Reina Sofia for short) to see Picasso’s Guernica. For tapas and wine in the evening, head along the bustling Calle Cava Baja, or for coffee try one of the many trendy cafes lining the plazas and Retiro, the massive park in the city center. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the ancient, sacred churches and monasteries of Spain, try the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, or Monastery of Barefoot Royals – a 16th century Franciscan convent.
Once Madrid has worn you out, head south for a more relaxing stay in the hedonistic region of Andalusia, known mostly for its capital city of Seville. It’s all play and no work down here: orange trees line the streets and medieval churches peek out from around the corner. You‘ll notice parks popping up every few blocks and you might hear the quiet Guadalquivir River running through it all – you might even join the locals walking along its bank, lost either in thought or the song playing through their headphones. There’s no doubt that Seville is Madrid’s playful little sister – and Spain’s little garden of delights.
Although these cities can, at times, seem worlds apart from each other, they do have one thing in common: the high-speed AVE trains. Here’s your study-guide for traveling from Madrid to Seville by train – be careful, there may be a pop quiz later.
Distance from Madrid to Seville: 329.5 miles
The AVE Train: second class (economy), first class (comfort), and business class (premier)
Economy class on the AVE train is traveler-friendly in every way – and even friendlier towards travelers’ wallets. With power outlets at your seat and video service offered on most routes, you’ll find plenty to hold your attention while the children occupy themselves with the board games provided in each car.
Comfort class on the AVE train is probably what you imagine when you think of riding the high-speed trains in Europe: bigger windows for better viewing, power outlets at your seat for camera charging, complimentary newspapers and more leg room than you’ll know what to do with. Delicious food and beverages are available for purchase.
Premier class on the AVE train is pure luxury: video, audio, and power outlets at every seat; a welcome drink and complimentary meal, served on your linen-covered table; admission to AVE lounges; larger seats, more legroom, more elbowroom – just more of all the good stuff.
Jackie’s Travel Tip: When you receive your tickets, economy/second class will be listed as” Tourista,” comfort/first class will be listed as “Preferente,” and premier/business class will be listed as “Club class.”
How to Travel from Madrid to Seville with a Rail Pass
If you’ve purchased a rail pass that includes Spain, the pass will cover the ticket price for any train you’d like to take. You’ll just need to purchase the seat reservation for your specific train once you’ve mapped out your schedule. Reservations can be purchased in advance and should be – any route leading to or from Madrid is a popular one and can sell out quickly.
Jackie’s Travel Tip: Many travelers question the validity of a rail pass – “If I still have to buy a reservation,” they wonder, “is it really even saving me any money?” The short answer: if you’re in Spain, probably! In Spain, the high-speed trains are particularly expensive, more so than in Italy, Germany, and even sometimes France. Therefore, if you’re taking three or more train tips while in Spain, paying for each one individually can really add up. Sometimes the cost of an overnight train, for example, will be more than half the cost of a rail pass by itself.
We always, always recommend that every traveler prices out his or her entire train route before buying either a pass or full-fare tickets. Generally it’s safe to say that with three or more trains, a pass will be a better value, even with the reservation supplements. Just don’t wait until the last minute to buy everything – prices for everything start to go up once the travel date approaches.
How to Travel from Madrid to Seville with a Ticket
The trains between Madrid and Seville use the Madrid Puerta de Atocha station and the Seville Santa Justa station. When you’re purchasing tickets on our website, you’ll be excited to know that we are directly connected to the RENFE ticketing system, and tickets can therefore be issued electronically and prices are the exact same as they are locally, at the stations in Spain.
This means that after you’ve placed your order, you’ll receive an e-mail containing a link that you will click to open up and print out your ticket. Tickets must be printed before arriving at the train station
Jackie’s Travel Tip: If you print out your ticket and lose track of it, don’t fret. You can print out the ticket as many times as you need, using that same link in the e-mail you received. Just make sure that you print it out before heading to the train station, because you won’t be able to print it out once you’re there!
No matter what you do, make sure to take a hint from both Madrid and Seville while you’re in Spain – you’ll need both that over-achieving, multi-tasking attitude and the more playful, more hedonistic tendencies to get the most out of these two truly incredible cities. And the best part? Your only homework is to eat as many tapas as possible.