Traveling by train can be a great way to get around the Iberian peninsula. The main train company in Spain is Renfe. They will usually open tickets up for sale about three months in advance, and their website is fairly easy to use. In addition to the Renfe website, Renfe trains will also show up on Loco2 and Google flights. If you find tickets through Loco2 you can book the tickets directly through them, but if you find them on Google flights you will need to be redirected to the Renfe website before you can purchase them. However, using Google flights allows you to compare the train times and prices to flight times and prices. I have traveled by train a handful of times, and here are my thoughts on train travel in Spain:
Trains give you freedom to move that busses, cars, and planes cannot provide. I don’t have to have my seatbelt on at all times, and I can get up and move around on trains. I can sometimes get carsick in cars and busses, but trains are smoother so I don’t run into that issue. Also, I can get move around, dont need seatbelt. The seats on long distance Spanish trains also tend to be more comfortable than most seats on planes.
No liquid limits and less waiting-
When going through airport security you cannot bring liquid in containers larger than 3.4oz (100ml). However, on trains you can bring a massive bottle of water (or wine) with you. Also, you don’t have to worry about arriving hours in advance to go through security, because you can usually get through train security in just a couple minutes, making for a less stressful travel experience.
Better for the environment-
Trains do significantly less damage to the environment than other methods of travel such as cars and planes. Riding on trains is one way to minimize your carbon footprint.
Seat not always assigned-
On some train routes seats are not assigned, and there may be a lack of open seats available. Also, the seats on trains where the seats aren’t assigned will usually be less comfortable than the seats on the trains with assigned seats.
Can be more expensive and take longer-
Many times train tickets in Spain can be significantly more expensive than a flight or a bus. Also, depending on which cities you want to travel between there may not be a direct train route between them, making other methods of transportation much faster (in addition to a plane already traveling at a higher speed).
No Priority Pass lounges-
If you have airport lounge access, you can sit in a relaxing area and get a free bite to eat and a free drink in many airports around the world. While there are some train lounges in Spain, they are not affiliated with a program like Priority Pass. Lounge access at train stations in Spain is typically only available if you have purchased a full price first class ticket.
Trains are my preferred method of travel when price and time are relatively equal to or better than other methods of transportation. However, when a flight will get me there much cheaper and quicker, it makes more sense to fly.
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