Discover Spain by train: your guide to buying online tickets | Trainline (2024)

Picture this: you’re cruising through the sun-kissed Spanish countryside, sipping on sangría, without a care in the world.

Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Well, train travel makes it all possible!

Exploring Spain by train is not just about getting from point A to B; it’s a chance to soak in the vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and the simple joy of a journey itself.

In this guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to know to hop on board and enjoy the best train trips Spain has to offer, all while bagging the top ticket deals online.

Image Credit: Getty Images, Aire Images

Getting your Spanish adventure on the right track

How about this: you’re hopping from the artistic wonders of Barcelona to Madrid’s royal grandeur in a breezy 2.5 hours, thanks to Renfe’s ultra-speedy AVE trains — no fuss, no hassle. With their blazing 193 mph, you’re getting a front-row seat to Spain’s rich and diverse landscapes, transitioning swiftly between cities packed with culture and history.

Looking to save while still craving the thrill of high-speed travel? Step aboard an Avlo train and you’ve got yourself a deal that’s as sweet as churros con chocolate.

Dashing at riveting speeds akin to their AVE counterparts, Avlo trains are kind to your pocket, offering just the standard class seating and doing away with the café-bar car — a tiny trade-off for much friendlier prices. They’ve also got your major Spanish hotspots covered, whisking you to places like Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville.

Can you buy train tickets online in Spain?

Absolutely! Buying train tickets online in Spain is a breeze thanks to platforms like Trainline, a trusted partner of major Spanish train operators including Renfe, OUIGO, and iryo. Whether you prefer using a user-friendly website or a handy app, you’ve got options that connect directly to the train companies’ ticketing systems, guaranteeing valid tickets for your journey. Moreover, you can easily manage your bookings and even opt for a paper copy of your ticket to give you extra peace of mind.

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Should I buy train tickets in advance in Spain?

Yes, booking your train tickets in advance in Spain is a smart move. Not only do you have a better chance of snagging discounted fares, which can go up to a whopping 70% off for Básico fare on AVE and Alvia trains, but you also get the luxury of choosing your preferred seat—window, aisle, or solo. So, mark your calendar 60 to 90 days before your travel date, depending on the route, to get the best deals and seat choices.

What is the best app for train travel in Spain?

When it comes to finding the best app for train travel in Spain, Trainline has got you covered. With a direct connection to the ticketing systems of train operators in Spain, it offers a seamless booking experience. You can view detailed guides, explore different fare options, and manage your bookings conveniently, all from the palm of your hand. Plus, the app stores your ticket, so it’s always at your fingertips when you need it.

Is it cheaper to buy Spanish train tickets in advance?

Yes, it’s generally cheaper to buy your Spanish train tickets in advance. The ticket prices for high-speed AVE and Alvia trains operate somewhat like airline tickets, getting more expensive as the travel date approaches. By planning and booking early, you could enjoy substantial discounts, making your travel not only economical but also environmentally friendly as train travel has a smaller carbon footprint compared to air travel.

Image Credit: Getty Images, Westend61

How to buy train tickets on Renfe for Spain?

Buying tickets for Renfe is simplified with Trainline. You just need to visit the Trainline website or app, where you can directly purchase valid tickets for Renfe, enjoying the same benefits as buying them directly from Renfe. You can choose between different fare options such as Básico, Elige, and Prémium to suit your travel needs. Moreover, Trainline guides you through understanding your ticket details, helping you to be well-prepared for your journey.

What’s the best way to see Spain by train?

Seeing Spain by train is more than just a way to get around; it’s like the road trip of a lifetime but on rails. Imagine chilling on a high-speed train as it cruises through sun-soaked landscapes and lively cities and villages. You could be barhopping in Barcelona one day and getting lost in Seville’s historic charm the next. Every part of the journey tells a different story, and all you need is a ticket to ride. Start planning your Spanish adventure now!

Header Image Credit: Getty Images, Milan Markovic

Discover Spain by train: your guide to buying online tickets | Trainline (2024)


Do I need to buy Spain train tickets in advance? ›

Yes, booking your train tickets in advance in Spain is a smart move. Not only do you have a better chance of snagging discounted fares, which can go up to a whopping 70% off for Básico fare on AVE and Alvia trains, but you also get the luxury of choosing your preferred seat—window, aisle, or solo.

Where is the best place to buy train tickets in Spain? ›

The quickest & easiest way to buy Spanish train tickets is at with cheap advance-purchase fares & print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets. You can choose to pay in €, £ or $. There's a small booking fee.

How do I get my train tickets if I buy them online? ›

Mobile Ticket - you'll need our app
  1. Open our app and go to My Tickets.
  2. Tap your Mobile Ticket to activate it just before you travel – once activated, you can't request a refund.
  3. Scan the QR code from your phone at the ticket gate at the station, or show to staff.

Where can I buy Renfe tickets online? ›

On Renfe's website

If you purchase your tickets at you will be able to access all the offers with no administration fees. You can pay for your tickets with debit/credit cards (MasterCard, Visa and American Express), PayPal, Renfe Points, Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Is it better to buy train tickets in advance or on the day? ›

Did you know that you could save money by planning well ahead and booking an Advance train ticket? Plus, we'd recommend booking travel before you get to the station, as this will limit your time spent there. For safe, contactless travel, choose a digital ticket where possible.

How can seniors travel by train in Spain? ›

Tarjeta Dorada Card

If you are over 60, make sure you are eligible for a discount on all your train trips for just 6 euros. You can purchase your Tarjeta Dorada, which is named and non-transferable, at station ticket offices or travel agencies. It is valid for one, two or three years.

Do I have to print my online train ticket? ›

Smart tickets are any kind of digital train ticket. You can load a smart ticket onto a smartcard, keep it on your mobile, or print it at home if you also prefer a physical copy to bring with you on your journey.

Which website is best for train ticket booking? ›

IRCTC is pioneered in internet-based rail ticket booking through its and IRCTC Rail Connect Mobile Apps (Android and iOS platform)which is accounted for 80.99% of the total reserved tickets booked on Indian Railways, in FY 2022-23.

Is it better to purchase your ticket at the station or on the train? ›

Higher fares usually apply when purchasing tickets onboard the train. To secure the best available fare, passengers should purchase tickets prior to boarding the train.

Is Trainline cheaper than Renfe? ›

Trainline sells train tickets for the same price as the Spanish carriers. It does add a small booking fee. But, honestly, the convenience makes up for the negligible cost. The purchase process on Trainline is much simpler than on Renfe's Avlo's, OUIGO's, and iryo's website.

Do I need to print my Renfe tickets? ›

You must carry a printed copy with you, which you can print using the auto check-in machines found at the stations that are ready for this or request it at the ticket offices.

What is the official train company for Spain? ›

Renfe is Spain's national railway company, running most regional and high-speed AVE trains on the country's extensive railway system. It's easy to visit the biggest Spanish cities on the AVE train, such as Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.

Do train tickets in Spain sell out? ›

Seat reservations for people traveling with a Eurail pass can only be purchased in a Spanish long-distance train station. They also can sell out well in advance of the train's departure, making it difficult to predict whether you'll be able to use the pass at all.

Can I buy train tickets at the station in Spain? ›

You can buy your tickets on the Renfe website (, the Renfe app, over the phone by calling 912 320 320, at ticket offices and self-service machines at stations, at travel agencies and international points of sale. Find out everything about where to buy. Does this answer your question?

Do you have to buy a train ticket before getting on the train? ›

It is no longer possible to buy the full range of tickets on board a train. Like all train companies*, you must buy a ticket before you board, or risk getting a penalty fare.

Do trains in Europe need to be booked in advance? ›

Though some train rides should be booked in advance, it's generally easiest to buy tickets right at the station. Advance tickets sold through national-railway websites are often easily redeemable at the station.

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