Ouigo, Iryo, Avlo, and Ave: The Key Differences in High-Speed Train Options in Spain—at a Glance

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2023-06-14
PUBLISHED ON  2023-04-21

Your Travel Guide

Mose Hayward

Rail Nut

We’re spoiled for options for crossing Spain and Catalonia by train. There are four operators running daily high-speed trains here and all of them are comfortable, fast, and often pretty cheap.

The standard-bearer from the national operator is Renfe’s Ave service; Renfe also now has its own budget version, Avlo, which is often very cheap. The French national operator SNCF also operates its budget service Ouigo, and finally, the private train operator Iryo offers an alternative, slightly more high-end option (though still pretty competitive on price).

We’ve taken all four of these train services, you’ll find our full reviews in the links in the above paragraph.

Renfe’s two high-speed train services: Ave and Avlo. Photo credit: Smiley.toerist CC 4.0.

I personally enjoy taking all of these trains. There are a few things to consider besides price (a larger luggage allowance, a bar car where you can go grab an espresso or beer and chat to fellow passengers, the option of a roomier seat in first class…) that might sway you towards a particular operator; I’ve summarized the main points in the table below.

So which train should you take in Spain: Ave, Avlo, Ouigo, or Iryo? I’d say any of them; I tend to just compare options for a given date and route on Trainline and then grab the most convenient / cheapest.

Trainline is a search and ticketing platform for European trains that can save a lot of time and hassle for Spain as it compares all the options: Ave, Avlo, Ouigo, Iryo and buses. For complex trips involving changing trains or crossing borders, Trainline produced the best price results for Spain in our tests.

Omio is another platform that works just fine for comparing Ave, Avlo, Ouigo, and Iryo prices, but doesn’t create complex routes. It also shows flights, though these are really not necessary for travel within Spain.

Which Spanish Train Is Best?

What’s the Difference Between Renfe’s Ave, Avant and Alvia Trains?

Which Are the Ugliest Trains You Can Take in Spain? The Prettiest?

Which Spanish Train Is Best for Carrying Luggage?

Which Operator Is the Most Reliable?

Which Operator Is Best for Children?

Which Spanish Train Has the Best WiFi?

Which Spanish Trains Are Best for Eating and Drinking?

Ready to Ride?

All four options—Ave, Avlo, Iryo, and Ouigo—are great for getting across Spain in our opinion. Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that Ave or Iryo are always more expensive—great deals can be possible on any of the four, depending on the day and time of travel. For our travels, we tend to just compare on Trainline and go with whatever is cheapest at the moment.

What about you? We like hearing about experiences in the comments and readers’ queries, gripes, and updates help us as we continuously improve this article.

1 thought on “Ouigo, Iryo, Avlo, and Ave: The Key Differences in High-Speed Train Options in Spain—at a Glance”

  1. Hallo, gibt es bei iryo Waggons mit Tischen (im ganzen Waggon !!)
    Habe die Antwort nirgendwo gefunden.
    Danke für die Antwort


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