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Train travel ticket purchase: Renfe in English?

I am struggling to set the site in English on Renfe’s site. I chose “Welcome” but only part of the site is in English, not including the actual ticket selection and purchase. Please help. The time is now beginning Jan 1: Barcelona to Seville to Granada to Córdoba to Madrid. Thank you.

Posted by
6513 posts

Unfortunately the train schedule is not available for January 1 yet.
RENFE currently does not make tickets available 60 days in advance. All tickets are only available for purchase up to December 15.

Posted by
1201 posts

Even when tickets are available, you'll likely find Renfe's website a little idiosyncratic, with parts not in English. If you scroll down through the excellent guide linked below, you'll find a "how to" for using Renfe and some suggested alternative websites (with booking fees). I mostly use Renfe now, but paying the tiny booking fee of other retailers may be worth it to save the headache of Renfe for some and it will help if Renfe rejects your payment which it is wont to do with some foreigners' cards.

https://www.seat61.com/Spain-trains.htm

Posted by
1062 posts

Hi zagfam. If you click on 'Welcome' again when you get to the train display page, it will convert to English. As Jazz mentions, the January trains aren't available for sale yet, but use a December date to get the typical schedule and prices. And / or - try a different website thetrainline.com, which is a third party site but may be more user friendly. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
17861 posts

I have the same problem; the website doesn't stick to English all the way through the transaction. I managed to buy a ticket earlier this year, nonetheless, but it was nerve-wracking to conduct a financial transaction in Spanish. It was fine in the end, and my major concern was the actual electronic delivery of the ticket, which is not something with which I have much experience. But I do read some Spanish.

There used to be a TripAdvisor thread with tips on how to buy Renfe tickets online. I can't find it now (and didn't use it myself). Perhaps someone else can. If not, if you Google how to buy a Renfe ticket you'll get lots of hits. Here are two of them. I didn't use them so can't vouch for them, but the links seem to go to legitimate advice websites.

https://www.livingthedreamrtw.com/buying-train-tickets-on-renfe

https://www.madrid-traveller.com/renfe-train-tickets/

Probably most important: Use PayPal as your payment method. US credit cards often are a problem on European websites. You should notify the card companies that you plan to make a purchase (they may ask the amount) from a Spanish website, but sometimes that step alone is not sufficient. When using PayPal, watch for the clickable option that lets you tweak the payment process so you are billed in euros. Otherwise, PayPal will default to dollars and pad the exchange rate in its favor.

If you do not find a solution that works, you can buy from trainline.com or loco2.com. Both now charge fees; I don't know whether one is less expensive than the other. It used to be the case that RailEurope.com was a lot more expensive; I do not know whether that is still true, but you should check the price quoted on any train ticket website to be sure it is very close to what you see on Renfe. A euro is currently worth about $1.12.

Posted by
1201 posts

PS I meant to write that for the Sevilla - Granada leg it's also worth considering the coach service run by Alsa. The quickest rail services are faster, but require a change along the way and the difference in journey time isn't that significant. The coach service is direct and has higher frequency through the day (and is quicker than some rail services).

Also, as I've written before, buying the tickets can be the tiresome part with Renfe. Once you get on board, the actual trains (at least the fast intercity services), are excellent.

Posted by
252 posts

On my way home now from finishing RS tour. Booked tickets from Seville to Cordoba round trip easily with Trainline. In English. Cost about 5 euros in fees. No issues.

Posted by
243 posts

Seeking to secure 2 Senior Fast Rail seats Barcelona to Seville. It’s Sunday, Nov 3, 60 days leading to our travel date, Jan 1. Daily I have tried Renfe, Trainline, RailEurope, Loco. Today should be the day (even though sone guidance spoke to 90 days in advance for high speed trains, which I tried but gave up awaiting the more frequent reference to 60days. As a procrastinator, and an experienced travel planner (100 days throughout Europe last fall, each and every step of the way thanks to RS guidebooks and the internet) I am getting quite anxious. I’ll try again tomorrow, Monday, and if I strike out, perhaps there is a phone number I should call. If you found one that worked for you, looking forward to your guidance. I see in RS Spain, toll tel.902-320-320 “in the country” meaning in Spain? Hoping for a toll free #.

Posted by
243 posts

Another question: would I have a better chance if we purchased rail pass? Our travels include Barcelona to Seville (3 nights) to Granada (2 nights) to Córdoba (2 nights) to Madrid. 8 days, 4 trips.

Posted by
17861 posts

I don't see any advantage to a rail pass unless you just feel an urge to make a donation to Renfe. There's something called a "Spain Pass", I think, and someone complained here a couple of years ago that actually using it was a royal pain. It was necessary to get individual tickets, and that was a problem.

Renfe is erratic in when it makes tickets available for sale. I know you want to get those tickets taken care of, but if they aren't on sale, no one else can buy them, either. Just keep checking (ideally every day) so you can grab cheap tickets.

Posted by
52 posts

I booked from the renfe website twice recently. The english version is usually good enough except some detail phrases (which you could separately translate or right click in google chrome and translate in english). You could choose a third party website but I always like to book from original websites.