A Comprehensive Overview of Train Travel in Spain

Spain is among the top tourist destinations in Europe due to its rich culture, marvelous scenery, and unique cuisine. Tourists traversing through Spain have endless travel choices due to the extensive and well-developed railway network. Sometimes though, this can create confusion, especially when considering the numerous choices. However, for those looking for fun and adventure, traveling by train is one of the best options to see the country. 

Train Travel in Spain 2

Why Train?

Choosing the right mode of transport culminates in an unforgettable and authentic travel experience. Spain’s mountainous terrain and large central plateau provide impressive scenery for those who love to travel by train. Trains traverse the country providing visitors with an amazing experience and a taste of the impressive landscapes. The high-speed rail system in Spain is ranked among the best in the world and provides travelers and tourists with a convenient way of exploring where to go and what to see in this gorgeous Mediterranean nation.

Booking Options

Travelers can use comparison platforms to book trains in Spain. Since multiple connections are offered per day, it makes sense to see which option fits your timetable and budget the best. The comfort on Spanish trains is a major selling point, resembling that which is usually reserved for first-class users. The seats on Spanish trains are slightly bigger than plane and bus seats, making the entire travel experience more comfortable. Integrating seats that face each other can provide a rather authentic train experience and encourage interaction with other passengers on board. Another favorable thing about Spain’s high-speed trains is the distance one can cover over a very short period of time. Again, the efficiency, punctuality, and reliability of Spanish trains also provide an additional cost-saving benefit. This gives travelers an authentic and rich travel experience.

Luxury Train Travels

Those looking for a more luxurious experience are not short of options. It’s unfair to talk about Spain’s comprehensive train network and fail to mention the Transcantábrico. This popular tourist train is like a moving 5-star hotel, or rather, hotel on wheels, and is among the rarest experiences nature lovers can get. Imagine enjoying the snow-capped peaks, picturesque villages, and green valleys while enjoying wine and some magical conversation with other travelers. Unique, right? To top it all, the stops along the route allow travelers to explore some of the unique features of the area, including the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the Cave of Altamira. The train snakes through the mountainous and unique landscape and allows travelers to witness the magnificence of nature. 

What cities could you explore?

Spain has a lot to offer, so it is hard to choose where to you. For example, you could explore the allure of these five diverse Spanish cities: Barcelona, Madrid, Girona, Valencia, and Granada. Each city offers a distinct experience, beckoning travelers with their unique charm and cultural richness.


A vibrant metropolis on the northeast coast, Barcelona is famous for its unique architecture, notably Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família and Park Güell. Stroll down La Rambla, indulge in Catalan cuisine at the Boqueria Market, and relax on the city’s golden beaches.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona


Spain’s capital is a cultural powerhouse, housing world-class museums like the Prado and Reina Sofía. Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol are bustling central squares, while the Retiro Park provides a peaceful retreat. Enjoy tapas in lively neighborhoods like La Latina.

El Retiro Park
El Retiro Park, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr


Nestled in northeastern Catalonia, Girona is a charming city with a well-preserved medieval quarter featuring narrow cobblestone streets and historic buildings. The Cathedral of Girona, the colorful houses along the Onyar River, and the ancient city walls are among the city’s highlights.



On the Mediterranean coast, Valencia seamlessly blends modern architecture with historic charm. The futuristic City of Arts and Sciences contrasts with the historic Silk Exchange and the bustling Central Market. Don’t miss the Turia Gardens, a lush green space winding through the heart of the city.

The City of Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr


Home to the iconic Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Granada is a city rich in Moorish history. Wander through the Albaicín, a maze of narrow streets, and savor the views of the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolás. The Generalife Gardens and the Nasrid Palaces are architectural marvels.

Alhambra, Granada
Alhambra, Granada

What about the cost?

The cost of the destination depends on a host of factors, including distance, luxury offered, and the efficiency of the transport system. For instance, a one-way ticket from Barcelona to Girona can range anywhere from €7 to €53 for the 38-minute train trip. Similarly, a train from Barcelona to Madrid varies widely from as low as €54 to as high as €139 for the 2 hour and 45-minute journey. This shows the importance of booking in advance to offset some costs, especially for tourists with a flexible schedule.

How to Cut Travel Costs

One way to minimize the cost of travel is to book the journey well in advance and to avoid traveling during peak times. While this is an obvious travel hack, you’d be surprised by the number of tourists who become overwhelmed with planning and abandon the entire process altogether. The fact that there are so many things to do in Spain, including numerous day trips from Madrid, makes planning extremely challenging. Travelers can research ahead to avoid indecision and random travel plans. Even budget tourists can save, especially those involving more than 2 hours of travel. Another option would be to book less popular connections. This way you might have to travel very early or late, but you will pay less and most likely have a less crowded train with more space to yourself.

What to avoid

Not having a plan can be risky and have significant cost implications. But of course, this depends on whether one is a budget traveler or just a tourist looking for fun – cost being a secondary factor. For budget customers, always look to travel during the off season and plan ahead. For the fun-loving and budget-open travelers – the calendar is open, as long as your wallet is too!

Spain is a dream destination for any nature-loving tourist with a keen admiration for cultural and spiritual diversity. However, let your budget be your ultimate guide. The scenery is amazing and there are countless cities, towns, and villages to explore for both for budget and premium travelers.

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

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