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Madrid-Seville AVE Trains

AVE trains photo

ABOVE: AVE trains in Seville's Santa Justa Station. INSET BELOW: Atocha Station in Madrid is the hub of Spain's AVE high-speed train network. Its amenities include an indoor public park.

Atocha station photoMadrid and Seville are 536 km or 340 miles apart, a distance that translates into at least six hours of driving time. Flying takes only an hour, but airport transportation, check-in, and security lines can easily triple that figure. The quickest way to get from Madrid to Seville--or vice versa--is on an AVE train operated by Renfe, the Spanish national railroad.

These Alta Velocidad Española trains (with an acronym that spells "bird" in Castilian) reach speeds of up to 300 km/h or 186 mph, and they're so reliable that Renfe will refund the price of your ticket if the train arrives more than five minutes late.

But AVE train travel between Madrid and Seville is't just quick and reliable: It's more comfortable than flying. Preferente or first-class seats are in a 1 + 2 configuration, while Turista or second-class carriages have 2 + 2 seating. The latter coaches provide special "family areas" and facilities for wheelchair users.

Atocha Station photoAVE trains also have bar and club cars, and both first-and second-class passengers have access to special departure lounges. (I visited the Club AVE lounge at Atocha Station in Madrid, which was similar to a VIP lounge at an airport with comfortable seating areas, free drinks, complimentary newspapers, stylish lavatories, and other perks for travelers with first-class tickets or with rail passes from Eurail and InterRail.)

For more information on traveling by AVE train between Madrid and Seville (with a stop in Córdoba), see page 2 of this article.

Next page: AVE tickets, reservations, passes

Top inset photo copyright © Harryfn.

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