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Purchasing Train Tickets

JONKSIE

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
In preparation for my trip in October I went onto the RENFE website and attempted to buy my tickets. The site repeatedly crashed right at the point of payment. So, I tried their phone app. Same result.
On top of that it took some experimentation as to how to get data into their required fields. For example the app requires two surnames. This makes the process clunky and time consuming. Also, not all of the app or the website is in English making it confusing at points.
After about an hour spent unsuccessfully I gave up and I got this link: https://www.raileurope.com/country=IE&locale=en&currency=EUR

Their site was quick and easy to use, and clearly developed for an international audience. They do charge a small booking fee but it is worth it to avoid the time and frustration. I also downloaded their app so I can have my itinerary on my phone.
If you need train tickets then this is the way to go.
 
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This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
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Andrius111

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
In preparation for my trip in October I went onto the RENFE website and attempted to buy my tickets. The site repeatedly crashed right at the point of payment. So, I tried their phone app. Same result.
On top of that it took some experimentation as to how to get data into their required fields. For example the app requires two surnames. This makes the process clunky and time consuming. Also, not all of the app or the website is in English making it confusing at points.
After about an hour spent unsuccessfully I gave up and I got this link: https://www.raileurope.com/country=IE&locale=en&currency=EUR

Their site was quick and easy to use, and clearly developed for an international audience. They do charge a small booking fee but it is worth it to avoid the time and frustration. I also downloaded their app so I can have my itinerary on my phone.
If you need train tickets then this is the way to go.
Hi, Jonksie, I bought tickets yesterday for October on Renfe no problem. Maybe check tomorrow, might be a system crash?:) https://venta.renfe.com/vol/search.do?c=_yBdr
 

JONKSIE

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hi, Jonksie, I bought tickets yesterday for October on Renfe no problem. Maybe check tomorrow, might be a system crash?:) https://venta.renfe.com/vol/search.do?c=_yBdr
Glad to hear you didn’t have a problem. We attempted multiple times over two days trying different computers and cell phones because we thought that there may be a system or compatibility problem. Well, at least we know there are alternatives if someone else has the same issues that I did.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
I have had the impression for a long time that Rail Europe charges a premium for the tickets purchased from them. I have always used Trainline or their predecessor Capitaine Train; this after failing to be able to buy my tickets direct from RENFE (after initially buying directly from them).
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
In preparation for my trip in October I went onto the RENFE website and attempted to buy my tickets. The site repeatedly crashed right at the point of payment. So, I tried their phone app. Same result.
On top of that it took some experimentation as to how to get data into their required fields. For example the app requires two surnames. This makes the process clunky and time consuming. Also, not all of the app or the website is in English making it confusing at points.
After about an hour spent unsuccessfully I gave up and I got this link: https://www.raileurope.com/country=IE&locale=en&currency=EUR

Their site was quick and easy to use, and clearly developed for an international audience. They do charge a small booking fee but it is worth it to avoid the time and frustration. I also downloaded their app so I can have my itinerary on my phone.
If you need train tickets then this is the way to go.
RENFE doesn't work well with credit cards from outside Europe.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Mark Smith’s website is always my go to website for train travel…has been for many years.

I agree with TMc (post #5). Besides the fee for booking, Rail Europe fares are often higher in USA. As others have described using the Renfe website can be problematic. Mark discusses how to use Renfe. Before I book, I always compare the fares of-the websites. The key to the best fare is to purchase the ticket soon as they are available after they are posted. Spain is not as consistent in posting their fares, so it can be a little tricky in buying those inexpensive tickets.
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
2021
I'm not an advocate of RailEurope either. I find their fares were higher than by going through trainline or directly. I've also had a GREAT deal of difficulty getting refunds (to the point that I gave up). If you're a frequent train traveler, I'd recommend trainline.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
In preparation for my trip in October I went onto the RENFE website and attempted to buy my tickets. The site repeatedly crashed right at the point of payment. So, I tried their phone app. Same result.
On top of that it took some experimentation as to how to get data into their required fields. For example the app requires two surnames. This makes the process clunky and time consuming. Also, not all of the app or the website is in English making it confusing at points.
After about an hour spent unsuccessfully I gave up and I got this link: https://www.raileurope.com/country=IE&locale=en&currency=EUR

Their site was quick and easy to use, and clearly developed for an international audience. They do charge a small booking fee but it is worth it to avoid the time and frustration. I also downloaded their app so I can have my itinerary on my phone.
If you need train tickets then this is the way to go
In 2018, I had pre-purchased my train ticket online. Then, I had an accident that would required a hospital visit. So, I went to the train station to make a simple exchange for a later train, in the afternoon. My online purchase was not transferrable or refundable. I had to buy a new ticket at full fare. I stood there with three broken fingers going all which ways.

Then, before I could leave the ticket area, I was approached by a Station Manager and asked if I needed help. I was offered the services of their first aid man, taken to his clinic and examined. It was recommended that I be taken to the local hospital. Great care was given and treatment was received. When I asked where I should go to make payment, the doctor said, "No charge." But 3 months later, I received a bill in the mail. When on the Camino, or travelling to or from, pay as you go, or get insurance.

And consider buying tickets as you go too.
 

HJPZ

New Member
Past OR future Camino
September (2018)
I’ve been trying to buy train tickets through Trainline for tickets within Portugal for next month with no luck. I’d like to go from Lisbon to Valenca to walk the last stretch into Santiago. When I put the information in, it says there are no trains available. Am I doing something wrong?
Thanks
 
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Past OR future Camino
Planning on the pilgrimage 2015
In preparation for my trip in October I went onto the RENFE website and attempted to buy my tickets. The site repeatedly crashed right at the point of payment. So, I tried their phone app. Same result.
On top of that it took some experimentation as to how to get data into their required fields. For example the app requires two surnames. This makes the process clunky and time consuming. Also, not all of the app or the website is in English making it confusing at points.
After about an hour spent unsuccessfully I gave up and I got this link: https://www.raileurope.com/country=IE&locale=en&currency=EUR

Their site was quick and easy to use, and clearly developed for an international audience. They do charge a small booking fee but it is worth it to avoid the time and frustration. I also downloaded their app so I can have my itinerary on my phone.
If you need train tickets then this is the way to go.
I am really laughing right now, not at you but you brought to mind all the times I had the exact same experience trying to buy a ticket on renfe and just going crazy. Once your on the train it's the best experience ever but getting the ticket can be very challenging. Granted I was usually trying to do it on a smart phone and I don't speak the language but still even the simplest thing like entering data was impossible. Clunky is a perfect word. Glad you found that other web site. I'm spoiled here in the USA cause our phone apps usually work very well but in Spain and Italy it's a bit of a different story. Maybe it just adds to the charm of being in another country.
Enjoy your trip with all it's challanges large and small. Buen camino
 

jalluisi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
October 2020
In preparation for my trip in October I went onto the RENFE website and attempted to buy my tickets. The site repeatedly crashed right at the point of payment. So, I tried their phone app. Same result.
On top of that it took some experimentation as to how to get data into their required fields. For example the app requires two surnames. This makes the process clunky and time consuming. Also, not all of the app or the website is in English making it confusing at points.
After about an hour spent unsuccessfully I gave up and I got this link: https://www.raileurope.com/country=IE&locale=en&currency=EUR

Their site was quick and easy to use, and clearly developed for an international audience. They do charge a small booking fee but it is worth it to avoid the time and frustration. I also downloaded their app so I can have my itinerary on my phone.
If you need train tickets then this is the way to go.
What dates are you going? We need train tickets for October 2nd and when I looked a couple of days ago there weren't many times available. Which station are you getting the train from? Tks We need to go from Madrid to Leon.
 

Steven Dwyer

Member
Past OR future Camino
2000,2001,2004 Camino Frances from St. Jean
2005 Camino Argonese from Oloron to Puente de la Reina, Camino Frances from St. Jean,
2013 Camino Portugese from Porto, Camino Ingles from Ferrol, Camino Finisterre
(2016) Camino Portugese from Braga
Rail Europe might be good for buying a rail pass, but for point-to-point thickets I find them expensive and they don’t always show all of the options. I use RENFE.com for Spanish rail tickets and SNCF.com for French rail tickets. I haven’t used SNCF for a couple of years, but in the past if you entered the US as your location, they would bump you RailEurope. Instead, I put France as your location with pick up of tickets in France at the rail station, which you can do at a machine if you are using a chip card, otherwise it is easy to do at a ticket counter.

RENFE also offers the Tarjeta Dorada, which is a senior discount card you can pick up at the ticket office for 6€. With the Tarjeta Dorada you can buy tickets online or at a ticket window, but not at a machine in the station. It is good for 1 year.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
What dates are you going? We need train tickets for October 2nd and when I looked a couple of days ago there weren't many times available. Which station are you getting the train from? Tks We need to go from Madrid to Leon.
I see on Renfe that the currently only have two late evening buses available for sale. Maybe you should look at the bus. Alsa has many times available.
 
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This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
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GerFol

Member
Past OR future Camino
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018. Camino Frances
2014. Camino Portaguese
2016. Camino Primitivo
Renfe have an excellent App that’s very user friendly. It stores your ticket so no need for paper. It also has the option of payment by PayPal. Never had any issues booking a train ticket. Booking directly with the service provider means you also avoid additional charges other booking agents apply. If you have a flexible ticket and need to change it’s also possible to do this on the App.
 

Eddiebee

Eddiebee
Past OR future Camino
Frances SJPDP to SDC May & June 2017
Try using Chrome browser. Spme apple browers have that problem.
 

jalluisi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
October 2020
I see on Renfe that the currently only have two late evening buses available for sale. Maybe you should look at the bus. Alsa has many times available.
Thank you. I have looked at the buses and there is a 11:10 bus that might work. It's says "Alsa Guaranteed" I don't know if it is a Supra or Comfort... not that it really matters. I have been on Supra before and it was nice. Tks
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
In 2015, I was finally ready to leave Santiago after finishing my walk from Lourdes. I decided to take the train from Santiago to Barcelona, Barcelona to Brussels. I went to the train station in Santiago the day before my planned travel and bought the tickets directly from the very friendly and helpful ticket sellers.

The next morning, I arrived on time and got on the train to Barcelona. Great memories as I traveled by train past many of the Camino crossings I had been on just a few days previous.

I arrived in Barcelona with about an hour to switch to my next train to Brussels. Ticket in hand, I got ready to board.

Imagine my shock when the ticket person would not let me through the gate. It turns out the nice ticket people in Santiago had sold me tickets to leave Barcelona on the PREVIOUS DAY. Wrap your head around this - I had a ticket to leave Barcelona the day before I arrived in Barcelona!

There was nothing the ticket person could do about it and advised me to go to customer service . The clock ticking, customer service told me I would simply have to buy a new ticket for Brussels. I explained to them that I did not have enough money to do that (pilgrim). They shrugged, I shrugged, and found a seat at customer service and waited.

I got out my rosary and said a prayer (I seemed to have had ongoing conversations with my Saints throughout my walks) and told them that, since they had not let me down throughout the whole Camino, I knew they would not let me down so close to the end.

My train from Barcelona to Brussels left without me. It was out of my hands.

I waited. I people watched the customers who came in to customer service (quite a cast of characters). Occasionally, someone would come out from the back office, see me, ask the person at the desk what I was there for, they’d explain, they’d shrug, they’d retreat back into the back office.

I waited. And waited. I knew it would be ok although I had no idea how.

Several hours later, a person finally came out of the back office, called me over, and told me they would re-issue my ticket. I smiled, thanked them, hoisted my backpack, grabbed my hiking poles, and got on the next train to Brussels.

A smile and a thank you to my Saints.
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
In 2015, I was finally ready to leave Santiago after finishing my walk from Lourdes. I decided to take the train from Santiago to Barcelona, Barcelona to Brussels. I went to the train station in Santiago the day before my planned travel and bought the tickets directly from the very friendly and helpful ticket sellers.

The next morning, I arrived on time and got on the train to Barcelona. Great memories as I traveled by train past many of the Camino crossings I had been on just a few days previous.

I arrived in Barcelona with about an hour to switch to my next train to Brussels. Ticket in hand, I got ready to board.

Imagine my shock when the ticket person would not let me through the gate. It turns out the nice ticket people in Santiago had sold me tickets to leave Barcelona on the PREVIOUS DAY. Wrap your head around this - I had a ticket to leave Barcelona the day before I arrived in Barcelona!

There was nothing the ticket person could do about it and advised me to go to customer service . The clock ticking, customer service told me I would simply have to buy a new ticket for Brussels. I explained to them that I did not have enough money to do that (pilgrim). They shrugged, I shrugged, and found a seat at customer service and waited.

I got out my rosary and said a prayer (I seemed to have had an ongoing conversations with my Saints throughout my walks) and told them that, since they had not let me down throughout the whole Camino, I knew they would not let me down so close to the end.

My train from Barcelona to Brussels left without me. It was out of my hands.

I waited. I people watched the customers who came in to customer service (quite a cast of characters). Occasionally, someone would come out from the back office, see me, ask the person at the desk what I was there for, they’d explain, they’d shrug, they’d retreat back into the back office.
In 2015, I was finally ready to leave Santiago after finishing my walk from Lourdes. I decided to take the train from Santiago to Barcelona, Barcelona to Brussels. I went to the train station in Santiago the day before my planned travel and bought the tickets directly from the very friendly and helpful ticket sellers.

The next morning, I arrived on time and got on the train to Barcelona. Great memories as I traveled by train past many of the Camino crossings I had been on just a few days previous.

I arrived in Barcelona with about an hour to switch to my next train to Brussels. Ticket in hand, I got ready to board.

Imagine my shock when the ticket person would not let me through the gate. It turns out the nice ticket people in Santiago had sold me tickets to leave Barcelona on the PREVIOUS DAY. Wrap your head around this - I had a ticket to leave Barcelona the day before I arrived in Barcelona!

There was nothing the ticket person could do about it and advised me to go to customer service . The clock ticking, customer service told me I would simply have to buy a new ticket for Brussels. I explained to them that I did not have enough money to do that (pilgrim). They shrugged, I shrugged, and found a seat at customer service and waited.

I got out my rosary and said a prayer (I seemed to have had an ongoing conversations with my Saints throughout my walks) and told them that, since they had not let me down throughout the whole Camino, I knew they would not let me down so close to the end.

My train from Barcelona to Brussels left without me. It was out of my hands.

I waited. I people watched the customers who came in to customer service (quite a cast of characters). Occasionally, someone would come out from the back office, see me, ask the person at the desk what I was there for, they’d explain, they’d shrug, they’d retreat back into the back office.

I waited. And waited. I knew it would be ok although I had no idea how.

Several hours later, a person finally came out of the back office, called me over, and old me they would re-issue my ticket. I smiled, thanked them, hoisted my backpack, grabbed my hiking poles, and got on the next train to Brussels.

A smile and a thank you to my Saints.

I waited. And waited. I knew it would be ok although I had no idea how.

Several hours later, a person finally came out of the back office, called me over, and old me they would re-issue my ticket. I smiled, thanked them, hoisted my backpack, grabbed my hiking poles, and got on the next train to Brussels.

A smile and a thank you to my Saints.
Faith and patience won through.
 
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This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
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Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
I’ve been trying to buy train tickets through Trainline for tickets within Portugal for next month with no luck. I’d like to go from Lisbon to Valenca to walk the last stretch into Santiago. When I put the information in, it says there are no trains available. Am I doing something wrong?
Thanks
In my experience, the best way to purchase Portuguese train tickets is to download the Comboios de Portugal app into your phone and then book directly on Portuguese rail. That always worked for me.
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Past OR future Camino
April-May 2019
I think it boils down to a difference in personality types but I am more comfortable in buying bus and train tickets at the time I’m there and ready to go. There are so many variables that can interfere with making reality fit into my plans and so much stress involved. I find it much more relaxing to hold onto plans loosely and be surprised and amused at how things turn out. A three-hour wait at the station, for example may give an opportunity to check out the neighborhood, grab a coffee, and read another chapter in that book tucked into your carryon. It’s a win-win!
 
Last edited:

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Like @Zordmot I buy it when I’m ready to go. And with a non-EU credit card, I usually have to deal with a human to book trains in France.

I’ll do my homework on schedules and pricing and then, show up. I once booked a nice priced train trip from Le Mans to Bayonne on the ‘milk run’ (i.e., slower, multiple changes, but more direct) route rather than the faster train but less direct and more expensive route that the agent would have put me on if I hadn’t shown her the routing I wanted. She was happy to do it, but the booking algorithm would have pushed me to the faster trip. I spent a few more hours on the trip, but it was more interesting and cheaper.
 
Past OR future Camino
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
I’ve been trying to buy train tickets through Trainline for tickets within Portugal for next month with no luck. I’d like to go from Lisbon to Valenca to walk the last stretch into Santiago. When I put the information in, it says there are no trains available. Am I doing something wrong?
Thanks
https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en I have used this site without a problem I jus picked a random date and there are many trains available. Good luck
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I think it boils down to a difference in personality types but I am more comfortable in buying bus and train tickets at the time I’m there and ready to go. There are so many variables that can interfere with making reality fit into my plans and so much stress involved. I find it much more relaxing to hold onto plans loosely and be surprised and amused at how things turn out. A three-hour wait at the station, for example may give an opportunity to check out the neighborhood, grab a coffee, and read another chapter in that book tucked into your carryon. It’s a win-win!
i get the variables that may interefere with wanting to buy a ticket in advance.
Just be aware that when Renfe trains seats sell out, there is no standing room on trains as on some other european trains. So in high season, that wait for a train could be longer than 3 hours!
 
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mikebet

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Just used Rome2Rio for itineraries Madrid-Lugo. Surprisingly, bus is quicker than the train. How can that be?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Just used Rome2Rio for itineraries Madrid-Lugo. Surprisingly, bus is quicker than the train. How can that be?
The bus can be faster than the train if the train journey involves a change of trains with a long gap between trains.
 

mikebet

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Oops! Tripped up by senility again. I recall now taking that train a couple of years ago. The route included a slow, winding descent into Ourense before going back up to the main line and continuing to Lugo. We got off in Ourense so didn't do the last leg.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Just used Rome2Rio for itineraries Madrid-Lugo. Surprisingly, bus is quicker than the train. How can that be?

I am taking a train next week from Madrid to Leon. Time: 2hrs. I will have to wait several hours to get this direct train. However, in Covid times a first class ticket on an express train seems safer than a 4+ hour bus ride.
 
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