how to buy train tickets in Spain 🇪🇸

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Traveling by train in Spain is such a wonderful way of getting to know the country. The high-speed train, in particular, offers a unique and ultra modern of getting places at 300 km/h.

On the video below we share with your our tips for purchasing high-speed train tickets in Spain using the Trainline, the website we have used for a decade now to purchase all our train tickets in Spain.

Our top tip on the issue is: if you are after the best deals, buy your tickets as soon as they go on sale. Each operator (Renfe or Ouigo) make their tickets available at different times, so you will have to check out as soon as you know the dates of your trip to Spain.

We advice against purchasing your tickets once in Spain. Not only you will pay the most expensive fares, there is a surcharge for tickets purchased at the ticket office, and the risk of finding sold out trains is very real.

39 thoughts on “how to buy train tickets in Spain 🇪🇸”

  1. Hello Tony, I found your website from the youtube. Thanks for many informative videos! It help us plan Spain/Portugal trip a lot.
    We are planning to visit Barcelona by car and take a train to Madrid. I found the public parking lot in front of the El Casar train station, I’m wondering if It’s ok to park for 4-5 days there and hop on the train and come back.

    Reply
    • Hi there, Owen. We are not familiar with the region of the El Casar railway station, so I’m afraid we can’t share much infomation with you.

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      • It looks like a park and ride thing in Madrid (Sorry I said it is in Barcelona) . but was wondering if it’s good for multiple days.
        Thanks for replying.

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        • We prefer not to guess an answer to your question (even if educated) as we are not really familiar with that specific spot and would hate to mislead you.

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      • Hi Tony, Love your Channel. I have a question on validation of train tickets . I purchased on line. We have tickets from Lisboa to Porto, also from Seville to Madrid

        Reply
        • Hi Anthony, in Spain, you will have to show your tickets before you board the high-speed train. No need to validate them. Not sure about Portugal, but we suspect you board the train, seat at your allocated seat and wait for the ticket inspector to show your tickets.

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  2. Hello Tony, We planning a trip to Spain the second two weeks in October 2022. Your Utube videos been very helpful! I tried to book train travel from Madrid to Toledo on the trainline.com site for 10/18 today, but site said no tickets available. I am wondering if this is because it’s to early to book them at this time, or am I doing something wrong?

    Reply
    • Hi Elisa, it shouldn’t be too early to book them, but the fact is that RENFE hasn’t introduced yet the tickets in the system, you will have to wait a little while longer – hopefully not much more!

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  3. Hi Tony! My husband and I will be flying into Madrid from Florence in May. (We will be visiting Ireland, England, and Italy before Spain). We will spend our first night in Madrid then take the train to Seville for 2 nights there, take the train to Cordoba for 2 nights there, and then back to Madrid on the train for our last two nights in Madrid before flying back to California. We are both over 65 yr. I am in the process of watching all your videos but I still am unsure as to what the least expensive way to pay for our various train rides would be. I understand there is a senior discount card we could get from Renfe but we can’t purchase it online. Should we purchase individual tickets online without the senior discounts? Wait until we get there to get the senior discount card and then purchase tickets? Or buy a pass? (I understand you still have to pay for seat reservations with the Eurail pass, so not sure if that is a good idea). Can you please tell me what the best method would be for me to use to purchase our various train rides as inexpensively as possible? Thank you so much for all the information you provide, you have been so very helpful in my trip planning!!

    Reply
    • Hello Mary Cruz! As we explained on our video with tips on the high-speed train in Spain, if you want to save money, your best bet is to buy your tickets as soon as they are made available, thus getting the maximum discount. The Senior card won’t get you that level of discounts and the Eurail pass, in the specific case of Spain, it’s a bad idea. So wait till the tickets you’re looking for appear in the system, and buy them as soon as you can. All the best!

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      • Thank you, Tony! One more question, please. Do you have any recommendation or warning on the new Iryo trains? They have good prices listed on Trainline, but I know it is very new and don’t see any information about how it is for the passengers on Youtube. Thank you again for your time and expertise! You really are a Godsend for those of us desperate for dependable information on visiting Spain!

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        • There isn’t much we can say about Iryo at present, their service only starts at the end of November. But sounds like a reliable operator and if you find a good fare to travel with them, we wouldn’t hesitate to grab it. All the best!

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  4. All your videos are about high speed rail.
    For example Cordoba to Seville the Renfe site only shows high speed rail tickets. How do people find more information about the regional and slower trains that don’t need reservations?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Wherever there is high-speed train line, conventional trains have all but disappeared. Renfe shows you ALL the trains it is operating on a given route.

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      • Thanks for the information….
        Guide books published very recently talk of slower regional trains that cost less but are slower , Rick Steeves in his 2022 Spain edition.

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        • If there is a slower train service, Renfe will offer it on its page. We’ve just checked Córdoba to Seville on the Trainline and there are plenty of non-high speed services.
          P.S. a 2022 guidebook edition will have certainly had its research done before pandemic times.

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  5. Hi Tony.
    We are coming to Spain from New Zealand for 5 weeks book in June and your channel has been AMAZING helping plan our trip. I’ve booked all our train trips using http://www.rail.ninja which was brilliant. I have one question. We are going by train from Barcelona to Toledo and have to go via Madrid. I have already booked AVE 26/6/23, dep BCN at 12.00 pm arr Madrid at 3.15pm. I now need to book the train from Madrid to Toledo .. how long would you think I need to leave between arriving in Madrid and catching the next train to Toledo ? The departure choices are 3.50 pm ( gives us 35 minutes) and then 4.45pm ( give us 1 hour 30 minutes) Do you think we caould easily catch the 3.50 pm ? Thank you so much

    Reply
    • Hello Tony. We would go for the 1 hour 30 minutes interval. These days the train stations are really crowded and that amount of time would give you peace of mind. All the best.

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  6. Hi Tony.
    We are planning a trip to Spain in May and would like to visit Madrid, Valencia, Granada, Cordoba and Seville. We are flying out of Canada to Madrid and would like your advise on what train route we can take. We are also flying out of Madrid to Toronto. When I check the trainline schedule, if we take Valencia to Granada – it will take around 8 hours. Is there another route that we can take so we avoid 8 hour train ride. The only way I see is to go back to Madrid from Valencia and from Madrid to Granada. Do you have another way to do this itinerary. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hello Llorie, right now there is no fast transport from Valencia to Granada. We advise you to alter your route so you do Valencia-Córdoba, shortening the trip by nearly a couple of hours. All the best.

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  7. Hello Mr. Galvez,
    I hope this email finds you and your family doing well.
    My plans are to visit Madrid for 4 days. I am looking into the hotel Meninas. Is this hotel considered to be inside or outside of the city center when taking a taxi from airport.
    Truly enjoyed your video on Madrid airport. I would appreciate any suggestions in stating in Madrid.
    Thanks,

    Reply
  8. Hello Tony
    How can we buy free Renfe tickets , we want to go from Barcelona to Alicante and then from Alicante to Seville
    I heard Renfe is free in 2023

    Reply
    • Rohit, the title of the current post is “how to buy train tickets in Spain”.
      No free RENFE in 2023, just specific legs mainly for local commuters, all high-speed trains excluded.

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  9. Hello Tony, I am looking at a train trip from Barcelona to Madrid on the 7th of September. I like to use IRYO, however, when I go on their website or train line.com, there is no option to pick your seat. Is that normal? As I am traveling on my own I would prefer to sit on by myself.

    Thanks

    George

    Reply
    • George, the basic Inyo fare does not include seat selection. If you choose a fare that allows for that choice, you will be offered the option to select your seat.

      Reply
  10. Hi, I am planning to go to Spain and Portugal from Dec 25 – Jan 9th. We are thinking about doing a train trip from Seville to Madrid. Are the train tickets on sites like Trainline only available 60 days ahead of departure date? I want to make sure if I am seeing options on that site now that they are the full list of trains and not a subset that is showing based on what dates the trains have “released”. Please let me know

    Reply
    • Hi Mary, the availability of tickets depends entirely on the companies running the trains. Trainline sells the tickets as soon as they are made available by the companies. Some companies make the tickets available even six months in advance. Others – Renfe is notorious for this, will hold the release until two or one months before the date. You have to keep checkin.

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  11. Hi Tony,
    Hope u doing well . Me and my husband are travelling to spain from 15th nov to 29th Nov . Need your help regarding the route as we are travelling from barcelona __ Madrid__ Seville___ granada – Malaga and back to Barcelona . Could you pls tell whether this route can be covered by High Speed train and is their any travel pass/card facility available for tourist travelling to spain. I will be really thankful if you could suggest us.

    Reply
    • Hello Bhumika. You can do all the trips you intend to complete by train, most of them by high-speed train. To get the best possible fares, you should have bought your tickets quite some time ago. Buy them as soon as you can. There are no railway passes you can benefit from, the best thing is to buy the promotional fares available for early birds.

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  12. Hi Tony, your channel has given us much great information for our trip! We will be visiting Barcelona during the National Day of Spain on Oct 12. Is there anything we should be aware of in terms of special events occurring or disruptions to attractions and public transport?

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  13. Tony – Thank you for all of your incredible information. PLEASE HELP us with our first train reservation. We are wishing to travel by train from Barcelona to Madrid in late November. We will leave from Hotel Granvia on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and to Liabeny on Calle de la Salud, 3 , 28013 in Madrid. We assumed we should be taking the train from Barcelona Sants to the Madrid Puerta de Atocha. We looked on Trainline but we can’t seem to find Iryo trains from Barcelona-Sants – to Madrid-Puerta de Atocha. We can see Ave, Ouigo, and Avlo. However, we do see seats available on the Iryo site. Is there any reason we wouldn’t want to book directly with Iryo? We thought maybe we weren’t given Iryo options because on Trainline there is a box showing a selection of the least expensive seats but we can’t seem to change that for the duration or another option for searching. Thank you in advance for your assistance and all you do to make our travel easier.

    Reply
    • Hello, Lori, be very welcome to the website. We’ve just checked at random date for late November and have found Iryo trains on the Trainline – as well as trains from the other three services. That is the result of an ordinary search with the default options on. But buy at Iryo’s website if you cannot find those trains at the Trainline – which is very strange. All the best!

      Reply
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    Reply

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