Is the Renfe Spain Pass worth it? My 2024 review

renfe spain pass

The Renfe Spain Pass is an e-pass that lets you travel on the national rail network of Spain.

Depending on the number of days you plan to be in Spain, your itinerary and where you plan to travel within the country, this pass can be a very good chance to save money.

Purchase your Renfe Spain Pass online now.

What does a Renfe Spain Pass offer?

The Renfe Spain Pass is an electronic pass that entitles you to travel on Spanish trains, for a specific number of days.

This particular pass is only valid for non-residents in Spain. In addition to this, it’s strictly personal, non-transferable.

Therefore, you need to carry your passport with you any time you want to use it. Please note that a driver’s license is not a valid travel document.

You may be fined if you don’t show the proper documents (your passport, your Renfe Spain Pass and your ticket) when required.

So what does a Renfe Spain Pass offer?

  • Your Renfe Spain Pass allows 4, 6, 8 or 10 one-way journeys on either Standard (economy) or Comfort (business) class of any length in a one-month period.
  • One journey equals 1 train ride, so if you change trains, that’s 2 journeys.
  • You can use your Renfe Spain Pass on all  the long distance (Larga Distancia) trains (including AVE and Alvia high-speed trains) and regional trains (Media Distancia) and Avant (mid-distance high-speed) with seat reservation.
  • You can also use the Combinado Cercanías up to 3 hours before and after your trip. So you don’t need to purchase an extra Cercanías train ticket!
  • The Renfe Spain Pass is active for 6 months as from the date of issue, and is valid for one month after your first trip.

How does the Renfe Spain Pass work?

To be able to travel, you must previously validate your trip. That is, purchase the ticket for the corresponding route. This purchase is free of charges.

You can do so online either on Renfe’s website or with the Renfe app, by accessing your personal area in “My passes” and indicating the date and train on which you wish to travel.

You can also purchase a ticket at the ticket offices, travel agencies or by phone, providing your Renfe Spain Pass number.

If you board a train without a previously issued validated trip, you are considered to be traveling without a train ticket and will be charged the established ticket price.

You can easily purchase your Renfe Spain Pass online.

Can you cancel your Renfe Spain Pass?

Here’s some additional information about the Renfe Spain Pass cancellation:

  • The pass can be cancelled within 24 hours of purchase with no additional charge. You are entitled to a full refund.
  • After 24 hours, and prior to using it for the first time, a 15% cancellation charge applies.
  • After your first trip with the pass, you won’t get any refund whatsoever.
  • If you have a Comfort class pass and you travel on Stardard class by mistake, you won’t receive any compensation. Pay attention when your book your seat!

Can you cancel your train tickets?

Here are all the details regarding ticket cancellations:

  • Train journey tickets can be cancelled free of charge upon request at Renfe’s website, using the Renfe app (iOS or Android), at train stations and at authorized travel agencies.
  • A ticket can be cancelled up to 2 minutes before the train departs from the origin station.
  • Once a ticket is cancelled, the number of remaining journeys will be updated, restoring the non-used trip on the pass.

Is the Renfe Spain Pass worth it?

When planning your travels across Spain, consider how the Renfe Train Pass could save you money.

First, think about the cities you want to visit and check if there are direct trains available on the Renfe website, or if you’ll need to make connections – keep in mind, connections count as two trips on your pass.

To figure out if the pass is cost-effective, compare the average prices of individual tickets for your planned routes. Pass prices range from 195€ to 410€, making the average cost per journey between 41€ and 49€.

For instance, a short trip like Toledo to Madrid might not be worth using the pass, as tickets typically cost less than 40€.

However, longer routes like Madrid to Barcelona or Barcelona to Seville, where one-way tickets can exceed 75€ and often surpass 100€, might make the pass a smart buy.

By analyzing these costs, you can decide whether the Renfe Train Pass is a good deal for your itinerary. Just remember, you can’t check exact prices for dates more than 90 days ahead, but looking at average costs will give you a good idea of potential savings.

Renfe Spain Pass vs Eurail Pass or Interrail Pass?

First, let’s start with the difference between the Eurail Pass and the Interrail Pass.

Eurail Pass

  • A Eurail Pass can only be used by non-European citizens or non-European residents.
  •  You can hop on and off most trains as you please with your Eurail Pass, but most high-speed and night trains ask you to buy an additional seat reservation before you can jump aboard.
  • 1st class Passes are valid in both 1st and 2nd class coaches. 2nd class Passes are only valid in 2nd class coaches.
  • You need to activate your Eurail Pass within 11 months of the issue date. You can do this online using our free activation service at checkout, or once you’ve received your Pass at a European train station.
  • All standard Eurail Passes are refundable or exchangeable if they are returned unused.

Interrail Pass

  • European citizens can use an Interrail Pass instead. If you’re not a European citizen, but you are an official resident of Europe, you can also choose to use an Interrail Pass.
  • You cannot order a Interrail Pass for the country where you live.
  • You cannot use the Interrail Pass to travel to or from the country your Pass is valid in. The Interrail Pass is only valid for travel with participating train, ferry and public transport companies in the country covered by your Pass.
  • You can hop on and off most trains as you please with your Interrail Pass, but most high-speed and night trains ask you to buy an additional seat reservation before you can jump aboard.
  • 1st class Passes are valid in both 1st and 2nd class carriages. 2nd class Passes are only valid in 2nd class carriages.
  • All standard Interrail Passes are refundable or exchangeable if they are returned unused.

Renfe Spain Pass vs Eurail Pass or Interrail Pass

  • The Renfe Spain Pass includes all reservations, there are no hidden fees, and no quotas. So if there are empty seats on the train, you’re entitled to get one with your pass.
  • With Renfe’s Spain Pass it’s all included, reservations are free.
  • With either a Interrail or a Eurail pass every Spanish long-distance train requires a reservation and payment of a passholder fee, around 10€ for AVEs and other front-rank trains or 7€ for lesser trains which you should take into account.

So both Interrail & Eurail passes have lost their convenience factor in Spain.

This article is part of a complete tutorial about train travel in Spain where you can read all the information you need to organize your train journeys around the country.

Here is a complete summary of all the guide:

1. Ultimate guide on Spain trains to organize your trip
2. How to buy Spain train tickets online the easy way
3. 7 tricks to get cheap train tickets in Spain
4. Renfe: Spain’s state-owned railway company full guide
5. AVE trains: all about Renfe high-speed trains
6. Combinado Cercanías: get the most out of your free transfer
7. Is the Renfe Spain Pass worth it? My full review
8. Avlo: all about Renfe’s high speed low cost trains
9. OUIGO trains: all about the budget train operator
10. iryo: all about Spain’s low cost rail operator
11. 7 packing tips to comply with your train baggage allowance

Start planning your upcoming trip to Spain

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