The health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of adolescents with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is an important marker of disease burden. Our aims were to investigate HRQOL in a group of children and adolescents with ESRD and to compare them with the reference population norms. Ours was a cross-sectional study of 81 patients aged 10 years to 21 years with ESRD (68 with kidney transplants and 13 on dialysis) at five Spanish paediatric nephrology centres. HRQOL was investigated with the Spanish version of the child health and illness profile, adolescent edition (CHIP-AE). Clinical variables such as underlying diagnosis, number of rejection episodes, pre-emptive transplantation, anaemia and height were also analysed. No differences were found between patients with kidney transplants and their healthy peers in any domain or sub-domain of CHIP-AE. The group on dialysis scored lower than healthy controls and patients with transplants for satisfaction with health. Discomfort was higher in patients with transplants who had suffered one rejection episode. Physical discomfort was increased in anaemic patients with transplants. Short patients scored less in the satisfaction domain, with lower self-esteem and lower satisfaction with health. Adolescents with kidney transplants had better satisfaction with health than the group on dialysis, which matched the level of a healthy population. Further long-term prospective research is warranted.