Yes there is Wi-Fi on most of the Spanish high-speed trains known as AVE. For now, these are the only trains in Spain’s Renfe train network to have Wi-Fi internet.
The Wi-Fi is free on these trains; it is included in the ticket price for all travellers.
These are the Renfe AVE trains that currently offer free Wi-Fi in Spain are:
- Madrid – Seville
- Madrid – Málaga
- Madrid – Valencia – Castellón
- Madrid – Barcelona – Girona – Figueres
- Barcelona – Seville/Málaga
- Valencia – Seville
- Madrid – Marseille – Barcelona – Lyon.
Renfe is updating more trains so if your AVE train is not yet listed, you may still get lucky and have Wi-Fi.
The Paris-Barcelona trains are run by SNCF (the French train operator) and not by Renfe. These French trains offer Wi-Fi, though in my experience it only works on the French side of the border and stops working once the train is in Spain.
How to Connect to Wi-Fi on Renfe Ave Trains
In order to connect you’ll need your ticket number; this is located on the ticket that you printed yourself (or saved in your phone or tablet) if you used our recommended ticketing platform for Spain: Loco2. (You can also buy tickets directly from Renfe but their website is a disaster and Loco2 charges the same and avoids some problems.)
Here’s the process for connecting:
- Turn on Wi-Fi on your device and choose the network “PlayRenfe”.
- You should get a sign-in popup immediately; if you don’t, open your web browser and go to any web page and it should open.
- Choose your language.
- Choose Access PlayRenfe.
- Choose “with my ticket number” or if you’re on an international trip or a trip in France, choose “with a promotional code” and enter the code “RENFE-SNCF”. (However, in my personal experience the ticket number also worked as a login on a Spain-to-France trip.)
- Enter your ticket number, as found on your ticket (a.k.a. numero de billete, numero de e-billet).
- Enter your ID number. You can make up any number for the passport number if you wish not to share your information, and it still works.
Wi-Fi Speed and Quality on Renfe AVE Trains
Speed: The Renfe AVE Wi-Fi is fast enough for basic use, including watching videos on YouTube. On a recent trip, the Telstra speed test showed 27.1 mbps download speed, 1.2 mbps upload speed, and 413 ms ping speed.
Quality: The internet connection breaks occasionally, especially if the train is underground, for example when entering or leaving a major city like Barcelona. But in general the connection is stable, and better than the phone 3G/4G connections that drop in and out depending on how rural the area is that you’re travelling through, and how fast you’re going.
Blocked websites: Some rather basic and useful websites are blocked; those that I noticed seemed to be blocked on a recent trip included Netflix and Google Photos. Social networks, email, and YouTube worked fine.
PlayRenfe Supplementary Content
Once logged into the Wi-Fi on the Renfe Ave high-speed trains, you also have access to a few TV series, about 40 movies, and a TV news channel.