Train travel in Spain is a great way to get around the country. Here's what to expect when taking the rails!
A great way to get around southern Spain is by utilizing their train service. The Red Nacianal de los Ferrocarilles Españoles or RENFE is the Spanish national railway and it is fabulous.
Spanish trains are fast, comfortable, and reasonably inexpensive. My favorite is the AVE train- it travels up to 220 miles per hour or 300 kilometers per hour. In many cases it can be quicker to take the AVE than it would be to fly. It definitely would be more comfortable. The Spanish railroad network connects almost every major city in Spain.
I often fly into Madrid and take the AVE to Seville. This is great because you can stop in Cordoba and spend a night, or just a few hours before moving on to Seville. You can also take the train from Cordoba to Malaga or Granada. Once in Seville you can take a train to Jerez de la Frontera for some wine tasting or take it to the end of the line in Cadiz and spend a day on the beach.
Benefits of Train Travel in Spain
Besides for making it a convenient way to get around it is incredibly comfortable to travel by train. The seats give you more leg room than first class. Sometimes you can get seats that face each other with a table in between great for families to play cards or let the kids color.
Train travel in Spain, most times, have food cars where you can get a beer, a glass of Spanish wine, a bottle of water, maybe some Spanish olives sit back, relax, and watch the country side. Taking the Ave to Seville is one of my most enjoyable parts of my journey. While enjoying a glass of wine you look out over acres and acres of olive groves.
Ticket sales – you can buy your tickets online and their multiple websites to do so. However, I never have and always buy them at the train station. The only advantage I could see to buying them on line is they are slightly cheaper and if you do not speak any Spanish you can avoid having to converse in Spanish. With that said most ticket agents speak English and if they don’t it is not hard to get your point across.
Most trains if not all trains have luggage racks as soon as you get into the rail car or above your seat. The luggage is not secure so recommend keeping valuables on you. Again, I have never had a problem on the trains but a little common sense goes a long way.
Smoking- Spain has ratcheted up there smoking laws and banned smoking on the trains. My first visit to Spain, they had smoking cars.
Annoucements – Don’t worry if you don’t know what the next stop is most times they announce it over the intercom in Spanish and English. Also, the station are clearly marked when you arrive.
Cleanliness- Spanish trains are super clean. They take pride in keeping it that way which makes for a more comfortable ride.
All of these are reasons to consider train travel. But beware, they say that there are two things that are always on time, never late, in Spain. The bullfights….and the trains. Don’t be late!
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