Planning trip Portugal, Spain, France

  • 1 May 2024
  • 4 replies

I am from the Netherlands and am planning to travel to Lisbon - Porto - Barcelona - Lyon - Utrecht. However, the interrail website doesn't make it easy to understand wheter (or not) I can book the seat reservations online.

The Lisbon →  Porto train seems to be booked at the station, since these trains go regularly this should not be a problem.

We were also planning on traveling from Porto to Barcelona, on the 9th of July, going:

Porto Campanha → Vigo Guixar 8:13 → 11:35

Vigo Urzaiz → Madrid Chamartin 13:20 → 17:36

Madrid Puerto de Atocha → Barcelona-Sants 19:00 → 21:30.


In Vigo we could walk to the other station, in Madrid we should take the metro.

However, at the moment i cannot book these seat reservations online at interrail. Is that correct, as the website states it should be possible for the AVE, Euromed & Alvia trains?


If not, and i should book seat reservations at the counter, how hard is that in the summer? Are thes routes ever sold out?

Especially the first two trains are important to reach Barcelona from Porto in 1 day, and since we booked our hotels, the date is also quite important.


Can someone help me if it is correct i cannot reserve these seats online? And if so, how much of a problem this will be in July?


Best answer by thibcabe 1 May 2024, 21:56

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4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Yeah, Spanish reservations are a pain unfortunately.

You should be able to book the AVE from Madrid-Barcelona through the Interrail reservations service, but not Barcelona-France. I’m not sure about, Vigo-Madrid. I think there’s a RENFE counter in Vigo.

if you take the TGV to France, you can book this online.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

As far as I know the Porto - Vigo train can only be booked in Portugal (and in Spain I presume). Availability isn’t an issue and reservations are free.

The Vigo - Madrid should be available on but right now it doesn’t work… this issue was already pointed out by someone else. It works from Pontevedra, the following stop, but not from Vigo so it’s really a technical issue!

Check back in a few weeks. Maybe you also live close to the German border and could go to a DB Reisezentrum? They are able to book this train (perhaps even the Porto - Vigo train).

The Barcelona - Lyon AVE is only available at Spanish counters indeed. Availability could be an issue in peak season so you should either take a TGV across the border (25€) or slower but reservation-free regional trains.


I called the DB but they were not able to help, since the reservation were not crossing Germany.

I went to the renfe office (1-2 weeks before travel date) in Bilbao, there I could book the seat reservation. They were cheaper than the interrail website indicated (6.9 for vigo>madrid; 10.55 for the Madrid>Barcelona). 

Only the direct train from Barcelona Sants tot Lyon Part Dieu could be booked at the renfe office. It cost me 10.55 as well, as indicated on the interrail website.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Then you found an unhelpful DB staff member on the phone. They can sell domestic Spanish reservations for sure.

Glad you got things sorted out in Spain at least!