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Navigating Spain's train travel information

I'm trying to figure out whether to get a Spanish rail pass, get a European rail pass, buy train tickets individually, or fly the longest and most expensive route, which would cost half the train fare. I will be in Spain, and only in Spain, for 2 weeks, and I am pretty sure of my itinerary, although there may be an additional day trip that I haven't anticipated. I understand that the Renfe passes don't have additional fees, but they also are based on number of trips, rather than days of travel. If I am going from Toledo to Barcelona, which requires a change in Madrid, and want to book online, I have to price and reserve each leg separately. If I have a pass, does that count as one trip or two? I am also trying to figure out the discounts available. I think I understand the Tarjeta Dorada, but are there senior discounts for passes in Spain? What's the deal with round trip fares? Some of them give discounts and others do not? The Renfe website certainly is confusing. Enlighten me, please, if you've dealt with this.

Posted by
984 posts

Rail passes, whoever purchased from, are highly unlikely to be the value if you have a fixed itinerary and this is months or even weeks from now. I am surprised you have not found one of the (many) guides on RENFE, the website, ticketing and advance purchase discounted tickets.

Read a simple guide -
and/or this hugely comprehensive guide addressing all known trials and tribulations -

You should not need more. Come on back if still puzzled.

Posted by
1178 posts

The trip advisor site referenced in the prior comment should take you all over Spain. Be sure to 'register' at the first opportunity on the site. It will make it easy. Purchase your tickets from city to city. By purchasing in advance (up to 60 or so days I think) you will save a considerable amount of money/euros. Be prompt...the trains leave on time! Also, the ticket will have the car number and the seat number printed on them. You can print at home. Spanish trains are a great way to travel.

Posted by
28 posts

I just read the entire helpful Renfe train guide recommended here but could not find the answer to one of the questions above. On the Spain pass purchasing the six trip pass how is "trip" counted. If you are taking a trip from Toledo to Sevilla (requiring routing to Madrid) does that count as one or two trips? Thanks so much for the answer. We are spending three weeks in Spain traveling from Barcelona to Toledo, Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Madrid and back to Barcelona. In trying to price out individual tickets it seemed the pass was cheaper. I appreciate any feedback.

Posted by
15037 posts

The author of the Trip Advisor train article is an active member on the Spain forums. Go back to TA and send him a PM with your specific questions, and do mention the Tarjeta Dorada if it applies to you (and your companion. . . )