Interrail vs buying tickets separate

  • 6 January 2022
  • 5 replies

Hey guys, this year I want to travel through Portugal and Spain. I noticed it would be much cheaper to buy every ticket directly at the railway operations (260€ vs. 100€)


1. Do the train tickets always cost the same in Portugal/Spain in view of the time of purchase and the season?

2. When are the tickets available for September? At the moment you can only buy tickets for February. 

3. Why should I buy an interrail ticket instead of buying the train tickets separately?


Thank you in advance. Regards, Carlos 

5 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +14

1.) The prices are made by demand if a trains in emptyer you get cheaper fares. The saverfares or early bird fares are often not refundable or exchangeable (with Interrail or Eurail you get a mix of flexibility & money saveing ;) )

2.) In Spain quite late usually just 2-3months in advance :/

3.) If you wanna stay flexibile (day of travel, new destination) Interrail can be a good choice as the cheap fares online are often non refundable or exchangeable fares.

Please Note Spain is not Interrail friendly as almost all trains need a reservation on top of the Railpass.

My advice if you have a fixed Route/shedule and you know you will travel for sure then it´s better to book Point to Point tickets (Carefull with the changeing Covidregulations i´ve lost 4 tickets because i couldn´t go due the Covid Lockdown & as the tickets were not exchangable or refundable I lost the money)

If you wanna be a bit flexible (However Spain with Interrail is not real flexible) i recommend to buy a railpass (Interrail/Eurail) + the needed reservations on top of the pass

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

PT-ther railway is named cp-check their site, its also complete in /en/. Nearly all prices here are fixed-except a few advacne for the IC trains. They also do their own railpass-for the whole country or for areas around the major towns. You MAY even get 50% discount off the normal fares-depends on your status, which you did not detail as such.

ES-the national railway is renfe and as seewulf already explains is notorious IR-UNfriendly. On the main axis MAD_Barca there are now also low-cost trains from RENFE (AVLO) and a competitior from FR-QuiGO- their fares are lower, these trains are not in IR.

RENFE also has its own rail'’pass'’ but its for a certain nr of trips-not days-it may work out a little cheaper as buying all tickets separately. Seniors can buy a '’carta dorada'’ for a few eur and then get 40/50% discount with it.

The advance discounts are only for the '’AVE/Avant=hi speed trains, other trains are fixed price. Around all main cities are extensive '’cercanias/rodalies'’ local systems, whcih are quite cheap and not in any timetable/planner, only their own special site.

Both countries, but ES much more, also have extensive long-dist BUS (named '’coach'’ by british) systems-these serve many more towns and are a bit cheaper as the trains. FLIX is just a minor player here- the main one is, but there are many others and there is not a centralized system.

IR mostly has its use when people make multi-country long trips. Alas, to reach this you have to pass FR of course, which is also not very IR-friendly (mostly named after ES as being the worst in it!)

I see that, I bought the Eurail and grtting surprise with extra charges when booking a reservation look at the foto that i am attaching, booking through Eurail  App, getting charged extra for Seat Reservation and Extra Suplement!!!


Userlevel 7
Badge +14

@antecoco Italy,France are two of the Countries that need reservations on their Highspeed services :/ It´s mentioned if you read the informations pages of the Countries on Eurail/Interrail :/

There should be no extra supplement as “just” the Reservation. Every Railcompany decide on their own if and how much they charge from Eurail travelers :/ Sadly France & Italy noted they are popular and could charge quite high reservations :/

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

See why: last week someone asked about last minute Barca->MADrid: I checked (I was incidentally in Barca then) and quoted lowest price on RENFE for the superfast AVE was 120€!

Now a tipical passday cost around 30€, plus RENFE charges mostly 10€ for the REServacion. Thats together only 1/3 of normal takings, so its quite understandable they do not ant anyone to use that for all seats. The supplmt for going over borders is far, far higher.

Inter/EUrail was nearly finished some years ago as exactly those 3 railways (and €*too) wanted to quit or have those superfast TGV/AVE/FRecce out of pass-use at all. This was a kind of compromise. Use the pass to what it is meant for: going slowly through undiscovered areas and not just skipping off a few capitals.

The 3-4 regular people going through all the same Qs that all newbees all make the very same-without even the idea to check if their problem is new or solved- have to answer this a few times every day.