Is a month of Spain/Portugal in September/October recommended?

  • 12 May 2022
  • 3 replies

Hello Community,

with the recent discount I spontaneously bought an Interrail Global Pass for 1 Month. I have never interrailed before. But since I bought this pass, I spend a lot of time researching.

I will start my Journey from Aachen, close to the German Border with the Netherlands/Belgium.

Since my only window for travelling is September/October Scandinavia is not really an option for me. I feel like the days are too short, especially close to the polar circle.

The destination I would like to travel the most is Spain/Portugal since I have not been there before. (I have been plenty of times in Italy and also a few times in the balkan).

With my research I already know, that these countries are not ideal for Interrail. I am not on a very tight budget and due to the discount I already saved some money. So the extra cost for seat reservations are definitely okay for me and I can plan with that.

What really puts me off, though, is the fact that reservations can't be made online. Since I like to maintain a high degree of spontaneity and flexibility, I'm afraid that I'll want to reserve a seat at a station and there won't be one available. Unfortunately, I have also read some negative reports about making reservations on the spot or by phone (only 72 hours in advance). Any experiences here about Spain/Portugal in September/October? Are there major problems to be expected with spontaneous seat reservations?

If that's the case, I may yet reserve seats in advance with DB in Germany for Spain and lose the spontaneity, or I may indeed pick an alternative destination (maybe Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria).


Thanks in advance!


3 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hallo, von Graz jetzt. Liebe diese Oöchener Printen.

The MAIN reported prob for ESpana  here are the really superfast=AVE long-dist trenes that anyone wants to use as they indeed make the triptime much shorter: Barca-Andalucia in 1 go. Yes, in the much longer main season these trenes are indeed often fully booked days ahead.

Da du ja schon sagt geizgeil/wucherpfennig/sparfuchs zu sein; Barca had become quite expensive-many things cost much more (for the tourist )as in DE.

But if you plan to mostly travel in Iberia-the prob istelf solves already quite a bit-IF you can preplan, and stick to it (not a thing for the freeriding youth who changes his mind ev 5 mins-but OK for most DEutsche used to überpünktlich) simply spend some 10 mins at a desk/oficina/assistencia clientes where they will even assist you to make these bookings after arrival. You may have to try a few untill you find one -that speaks /en/ and is willing to do it.

Also it appears (was there a month or so ago) that even on some main routes there are still complete UNreserved regional trenes-only 1 or 2/day over the old=broad gauge tracks, from Barca to MADrid and VALencia.

Best way to reach it for you is likely the overnight Paris-Port Bou=border stop, then the free Catalan express.

In Andalucia the main cities are all also still linked by the local MD=Media Distancia trenes, these cost 6€/ride extra. Also between Cordoba and Malaga and Cordoba-Sevilla, where there are also superfast AVE.

In PT there no real probs reported except for the odd very busy day. BUt about any longer distance there is IC and must be REServed nowadays- it seems its 5€/ride, but apparently only 4 if done a few days advance.

Thanks for your reply @mcadv I appreciate it a lot!

Just for clarification: My Budget is NOT very tight I think. So the cost for the reservations is not a problem for my. My only concern is if I will be able to get a reservation on a short notice at the stations. 

Is mid September to mid October still High Season in Spain/Portugal?

Right now my plan would be something like Paris, Hendaye, San Sebastian, Madrid, Vigo, Porto, Lissabon, Sevilla, Valencia, Barcelona. But if possible I want to decide spontaneously how long I will stay at a specific city.  If this is presumably not possible I have to think of something else. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Is mid September to mid October still High Season in Spain/Portugal?

No not really. I think you'll be fine. Booking reservation on the day is still a bit risky though. It's best done one or two days in advance, especially if there's only a few trains.