We will be traveling to Spain in mid-June and are trying to decide whether we need to purchase our AVE train tickets from Barcelona to Madrid before leaving. We will be in Barcelona for two days and are considering just purchasing the tickets when we arrive there for our departure two days later. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions? Thanks!
You may find tickets OK....there are many trains per day. But you will find the walk-up price for second-class is either 110 or 130 Euro, depending on the train. However, their advance purchase "Estrella" fares are either 66 and 78 Euro, again depending on the train you choose. Click here to get to the RENFE website, click "Buy Tickets" at the top center, and go from there...tickets can be printed out at home. RENFE puts tickets up for sale 62 days in advance, so count back 62 days, then try the evening before....with the ticket prices being loaded in starting at midnight Spanish time, we here in North America can actually take advantage earlier than most people in Spain, since EDT is 6 hours behind their time.
When we were in Barca going to Madrid, it was cheaper to fly than the train (not to mention faster).
There's so many domestic airlines that do "commuter" flights every hour on the hour.
Unless you are wanting the train for the "scenery", give some airlines a try.
PS: I just checked "clickair" and they have fares starting as low as 39 euros one way, and I chose June 26.
With the AVE service at between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hours (depending on the one you take), you won't find any airline flight that's faster, certainly not downtown to downtown. Clickair (actually their new ally Vueling) does give good discounts. Just be aware that they do charge 10 Euro if you're checking a bag. Both Clickair and Vueling are nice airlines with modern service....and you don't get the sales job aboard like you do with Ryanair and Easyjet!