AVE Cities (AVExperience)
Would you like to travel comfortably by train between Madrid and Valencia in just 95 minutes? And between Madrid and Barcelona in two and a half hours? You'll be able to do so thanks to Spain's extensive network of high-speed trains (AVE). If you opt to take these trains, you'll be eligible for discounts on cultural visits, and you'll also be able to see some of the country's most important tourist destinations in record time. Visitors are well-advised to make the most of this service.
Spain's high-speed trains (AVE) have become an internationally prestigious point of reference in the sphere of technology. This model of transport represents a firm commitment to innovation, and has already been exported to other countries and markets, making Spain a world leader in this sector.
If you like this style of travel, you're sure to be interested in the initiative Avexperience , which offers you a new way of discovering Spain: by high-speed train –a mode of transport that is fast, safe and sustainable, and in which the journey itself becomes part of a unique experience. Avexperience offers total flexibility in your schedules, allowing you to design a tailor-made journey in which you decide at what pace you'd like to visit these 18 outstanding destinations: Antequera, Barcelona, Calatayud, Ciudad Real, Cordoba, Cuenca, Lleida, Madrid, Malaga, Puertollano, Segovia, Seville, Tarragona, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid, Villena and Zaragoza. You'll be able to explore at length a vast heritage featuring all the historic, cultural, gastronomic and leisure attractions of a country that is guaranteed to capture your heart.
Below is a list of all the lines available depending on where you want to travel:
CONNECTIONS TOWARDS THE SOUTH
Madrid, the capital, is connected by high-speed train with Seville, in the very heart of Andalusia. In under two and a half hours you can go from the most famous monuments in cosmopolitan Madrid –such as the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum– to enjoy the gastronomic delights and the charm of Seville's most beautiful sites like the towers of the Giralda and Torre del Oro.
This same line makes various intermediate stops. The first is in Ciudad Real, a land that was famously immortalised Cervantes' work "Don Quixote". The second stop is Puertollano, and the third is Cordoba, whose historical centre is a World Heritage site, and where you'll be able to see famous monuments such as the Great Mosque.
You can travel from Barcelona to Seville in just over five hours on the AVE high-speed train. Imagine the possibilities! For example, you can wake up beside the Sagrada Familia church in the morning and enjoy a walk round the María Luisa Park in Seville in the evening. The train also stops at Camp de Tarragona, Lleida, Zaragoza, Ciudad Real, Puertollano and Cordoba.
Also in Andalusia, just 150 kilometres from Cordoba, the AVE train will take you from Madrid to Malaga, where you can marvel at its Roman Theatre. Renfe (the company that operates the AVE) offers promotions such as reduced-rate visits to one of the most famous museums in Malaga – the Picasso Museum – on presentation of your train ticket.
The same line makes several intermediate stops in Cordoba, Puente Genil and Antequera.
You can also travel to Malaga from Barcelona on the high-speed train. This will enable you go practically from one tip of the Spanish Mediterranean coast to the other in just over five hours and a half. Other stops on this line include Camp de Tarragona, Zaragoza, Cordoba, Puente Genil and Antequera.
This train stops at Cuenca – a World Heritage city where you'll find its famous Hanging Houses and the Ciudad Encantada rock formations –, and at Albacete. What's the best time of year to visit Castile-La Mancha? September, when its most famous festivals take place.
CENTRE - EASTERN SPAIN CONNECTION
The Madrid-east coast corridor of the AVE offers a daily high-speed train service that includes numerous trains which directly link Madrid and Valencia in 95 minutes. Perfect for visiting places such as the spectacular City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. Thanks to the success of this line, people arriving on cruises in Valencia will soon be able to enjoy a trip on the high-speed train to Madrid to visit the Prado Museum, and return within the same day.
All the other trains on this line also stop at Cuenca and Requena-Utiel.
A daily AVE high-speed service takes you from Madrid to Alicante in just over two hours and a half. Alicante is situated in the heart of the Costa Blanca and is one of the main tourist destinations in the Levante area. The historic quarter and Santa Bárbara Castle are a must.
The train also stops at Cuenca, Albacete and Villena.
CENTRE - NORTH OF SPAIN CONNECTION
Another option is to take the AVE to Catalonia, in north-eastern Spain. Barcelona is the regional capital and one of Spain's most important cities. It has excellent transport connections thanks to the AVE, with a journey time from Madrid of two and a half hours, non-stop. Once at your destination, you can see monuments such as the Sagrada Familia church and the cathedral.
The AVE also connects Barcelona to Girona and Figueres (where –by changing train– you can go directly from the Figueres Vilafant station to Paris). The attractions on offer in Girona include its ancient Jewish quarter and the cathedral. And a visit to Figueres should definitely include the Dalí Theatre-Museum.
Some of the trains on this line also make intermediate stops. The first is Zaragoza, the Expo 2008 site, where you can enjoy a visit to the Basilica of El Pilar. The second stop, Lleida, is the ideal place for winter sports fans to enjoy skiing at its resorts (remember that AVE trains have facilities for transporting skis, boards and poles). The third stop is the station of Camp de Tarragona, just over ten kilometres from Tarragona, with the wonderful beaches of the Costa Dorada and the Tarraco archaeological site, awarded the UNESCO World Heritage designation.
What other cities are accessible on these 21st-century high-speed trains? This line will take you to Guadalajara, where you'll be captivated by the Infantado Palace; Calatayud, Zaragoza, Tardienta and Huesca, with its beautiful monuments and the ideal spot for ski lovers.
In Valladolid, a little more than 200 kilometres from Madrid, you can see its 16th-century cathedral. And if you want to explore the World Heritage city of Segovia, the line also has a stop here, where you'll be amazed by the beauty of its Aqueduct and Alcázar Palace.
In addition to the lines from the capital to other cities in Spain, there are lines connecting Malaga-Barcelona and Seville-Barcelona. Many high-speed trains (such as the AVANT) also cover medium distances, and connect tourist destinations such as Madrid-Toledo (where the city centre is a World Heritage site) in just half an hour.
The AVE trains offer a full array of services, as well as a firm commitment to punctuality. A range of restaurant options, café, films, music channels, entertainment activities for children, free internet connection (available soon), special group prices, discounts at museums, and a full timetable of services with guaranteed punctuality... are just some of the things to enjoy on your journey.
Now there is no excuse not to come and explore Spain –while you enjoy its stunning landscapes from the train window. Don't think twice –come with your friends or family and take the train.
The AVE railway network is constantly being expanded, and more and more cities are being added to the list.
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