Reservations in spain - obligatory and expensive?

  • 11 February 2022
  • 3 replies

Dear community,

I was planning a trip to Spain and Portugal in March with my Global pass. Now I checked some  train connections on the Interrail app and saw that this seems highly expensive with obligatory reservations with fees around 40€ per train. Is anyone around or has any informations if there is any possibility to avoid these? Because like that I think I can’t afford  this journey :/

I’m looking forward to hear from you

All the best!


3 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Domestic reservations in Spain are between 4 and 10 EUR in 2nd class. International reservations to Spain are more expensive but can be avoided by avoiding the direct TGVs to Spain. You can go via Port Bou for example. Do note that you need to look up Spanish timetables on the RENFE website because the rail planner app is incomplete.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Ola, right now I sit close by Malaga, Costa del Sol and have done some train trips here in Andalucia last week-not on a railpass, but with my Tarjeta Dorada. (senior discount card). And yes, I´ve certainly in the past also used trains on pass here in ESpana.

It has been said here SO many times, that ESpana is the worst country nr 1 for riding trains with a pass. ALL long-distance trains must be reserved and any ride cost you money. it depends on type of train and distance how much, but yes, as it seems any newbee with IR wants to ride exactly the same trains, it can be up to around 40€. Shorter distance MD trains=not superfast, mostly cost 6€ extra.

Other as in FRance and ITaly it is not possible to use slower local trains-when these exist only short distance around all big cities (cercanias or rodalies), and for these its also a nasty thing: they are now all on chipcard entry and so you have to go to counter, show pass, they can open 1 gate at distance for you. Counter closed or not there; bad luck, no chance. But fares on these lines are very low-up to 3€. That is why they go uncontested on rank nr 1 for being IR-unfriendly.

Only wider area round Barcelona has some slightly longer distance unreserved and even not too infrequent.

In PT it is better-there are a very few Pendular trains with high extra, mostly its normal IC-you pay only a few € for the REServation. But the network is not very big/wide, it can bring you to all the normal places tourists want to go

To reach ES about anyone has to cross/pass by FRance and there all those shiny superfast TGV also must be reserved and extra to pay: INland 10 or 20€, but much higher for those trains that cross borders. Then you can save by crossing border on slower local trains-there was even a posting on this recently by Seewulf.

Userlevel 7
Badge +15

@Anne Regina 
as @mcadv  said Spain is one of the non Railpassfriendly Countries as you have to reserve almost all trains :/