Spain trains are a great way to travel the country, affording scenic views of Spain’s beautiful countryside and vibrant small towns. Train travel in Spain is relatively easy and is a rather inexpensive method of transportation. Spain rail options are divided into two options: the high speed train in Spain and regular speed trains. Both are good alternatives and offer a choice for tourists with time restrictions and an option for those who can enjoy leisurely vacations.
There are numerous maps of Spain’s rail system available. This can be a good way to plan out day trips or general travel. All major cities—Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba, and so forth—are linked by Spain trains. Spain rail travel is reliable, comfortable, and often much cheaper than other European countries that are part of the EU. Trains are clean and modern and offer spacious seating. Long distance train travel in Spain is accommodated by bars and cafes on the trains that sell a variety of drinks and snacks. First-class tickets come with a meal, generally lunch or dinner, and are available for cheaper rates than second-class tickets in many countries.
Both regional and local Spain rail options are quite a bit slower than their contemporary counterparts but they suit the purpose, and if used for shorter travel routes, are not too bad to take. Barcelona and Madrid’s main commuter trains tend to be nicer, cleaner, and even faster. Train travel in Spain can be easily booked online through Spain’s major rail company, called RENFE, which handles the majority of national, regional, and local train routes. Instructions in English are readily available and booking online is trustworthy. Altaria, Euromed and AVE are the names to look out for when booking high speed Spain rail.
AVE links Seville, Cordoba, and Madrid. It offers several seating classes including First Class which comes with newspapers, video and audio, use of the AVE lounge, drinks, and even the use of onboard conference services. Second Class, which is most often used by tourists, offers kids games, a family area, video and audio, and wheelchair access. Preferente is also available and offers travelers the same amenities as First Class minus the conference rooms and drinks.
Barcelona has an autonomous train system called Barcelona Metro that hits major stops around the city. It isn’t a difficult system to navigate although expect some trial and error unless you’re a train aficionado. During special events, such as a hometown football game, trains get jammed up and getting on and off is an exercise in determination! Still, the advantages of riding Spain trains in the city far outweigh taking a more expensive taxi ride for most trips.
Cercanías is Madrid’s specific rail system and it circumnavigates the city as well as has routes winding through major city areas. This favorite commuter option is also good for train travel in Spain to Madrid’s outer-lying areas and also to nearby cities and towns including Segovia (home of the Alcazar de Segovia), Aranjuez, and Toledo.
Visitors favoring train travel in Spain can enjoy a variety of options to lessen the cost. A Spain rail pass is a good way to get cheap train tickets in Spain. The Spain FlexiPass essentially offers 3 days of unlimited train rides within a two month period while the Iberia FlexiPass presents the same options available for use in both Spain and Portugal. Terms and conditions do apply so be sure to research each thoroughly before purchasing.