Those who have traveled in Europe are most probably familiar with the Eurail Pass (or, if you’re in Europe already, the Interrail Pass). This allows you to get from one European country to the next by train with simply just one pass. Countless people traveling on a budget have used the Eurail Pass, but few people actually know that there are also country-specific rail passes.
If you are going to be spending quite some time traveling within Spain, the Spain Rail Pass would be a useful pass to cut transportation cost and enjoy traveling through the country by train. This pass allows you to take an unlimited amount of train within a certain period of time and only within Spain.
The main question that most of us have when considering a Spain Rail Pass is whether it will be cheaper to go with a pass or by buying individual tickets once you’re in Spain. For those on a tight budget, this is particularly important as transportation in Europe can be rather costly, especially in comparison to the U.S. Keep in mind that trains are not the cheapest form of transportation in Spain, but if you are looking for both comfort and affordability then trains are the way to go.
It used to be the case that it was almost always going to be cheaper to buy individual tickets instead of a Spain Rail Pass – provided you were only going to be taking trains in Spain and not going to other countries – but that has changed over the years. As Spain adds more high-speed rail lines and routes to its network, ticket prices on those trains are going up. And it’s these high ticket prices that make getting a Spain Rail Pass such a good bargain.
To decide if a Spain Rail Pass works for you, you will have to take out your calculator and do some research. First, check out Spain’s national railway company’s website www.renfe.es to take a look at the approximate prices. Routes like Madrid to Seville or Madrid to Barcelona are serviced by AVE (high-speed trains), so these can be particularly expensive.
For those who will be opting for the slowest trains in Spain rather than the high-speed train, buying individual tickets may still be the cheaper option. But for those whose vacation time is limited and precious – taking high-speed trains maximizes the amount of time you get to spend actually on vacation instead of in transit. And that’s when a Spain Rail Pass is not only a money-saver but a time-saver as well.