Planning a trip to Spain? How about leaving the traffic jams behind and go on a train adventure! Explore Spain by rail in 12 days and have a great mix of culture and beach fun. 

Follow or mix up this itinerary that will take you to the top cities in Spain. These are all relatively short rides and you can just relax, read a book and listen to some music. Let’s go! 

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The Interrail Pass for this trip

Interrail is a great way to manage all your train transportation and bookings all at once.

This travel itinerary will take you through 1 country: Spain. Your best option, therefore, is to take the one country pass for Spain. You can choose how many days you want to travel in 1 month. For this train itinerary through Spain, you will need at least  4 train travel days.

Are there any extra costs for this Interrail Pass?

Kids younger than 12 years old will travel for free. Youngsters between 12 and 27 years old get a discount on their pass. You will need to pay extra on top of this pass for all trains that require a reservation.

For Spain, there is also the alternative to choose a one country Spain premium pass. This one is a bit more expensive but you don’t have to pay any extra reservation costs. So no unpleasant surprises of surplus costs with the premium pass!

We traveled with a global pass as we hit more than one country and the extra costs for reservations where often costly.

Traveling without Interrail Pass

Of course, you can also buy tickets without an interrail Pass. Take a look at this list of the best train booking apps and train journey planners for Europe.

Traveling without a European passport

Are you traveling without a European passport? Read our article on How to get a Schengen Visa to travel through Europe. 

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Barcelona - Spain by rail in 12 daysPhoto by Andrey Kirov on Unsplash - Barcelona

Barcelona day 1 – 2

What better place to start your trip than Barcelona! It is full of nice bars and restaurants, great architecture and even has a beach.

Culture lovers will not know what to visit first! Stroll through the center of the old city of Barcelona in the Barri Gotic. Get some pictures of the world famous Sagrada Familia or visit one of the bazillion musea.

Some top spots to visit are Parque Güell, the Ramblas, Plaça de Catalunya, Font Magica, Mercat de la Boqueria, and Parque de la Ciutadella. But these are just the tip of the iceberg. You will not get bored here!

If you love football you can take a tour of Camp Nou, the football stadium of FC Barcelona.

Barcelona to Valencia train ride: 3.00 to 3.30 hours

The train ride from Barcelona to Valencia will take about 3 to 3.30 hours and you will not have to switch trains in between.

You will leave Barcelona at its most important station: the Barcelona Sants Station. When you travel by the train company Euromed you will arrive at the Valencia Joaquin Sorolla Station.  

When you take a Talgo train you will arrive at the Valencia- Estacio del Nord, this option will take 30 minutes longer than the Euromed train.

Both the stations or located at the South of Valencia’s urban center. Booking in advance is recommended.

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Valencia - Ciudad de las artes y ScienciasPhoto by Juan Gomez on Unsplash - Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias

Valencia day 3 – 4

Stop 2 on this epic Spain by rail adventure is Valencia.

Just like Barcelona, this city is packed with historic sites like the Valencia Cathedral, the Basilica of Valencia and the Lonja de la Seda which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Another very popular point on your ‘what to see in Valencia’ list is the beautifully designed museum La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias and the aquarium L’Océanographic.

In addition, Valencia has multiple plazas you could explore with the most famous ones La Plaza de la Reina and la Plaza del Ayuntamiento where you can find the city hall.

Craving some beach time? Then head over to Playa de las Arenas close to the city center or choose one of the beaches like Playa el Saler or La Garrofera.

Valencia to Madrid train ride: 1.40 hours

The train ride from Valencia to Madrid takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

You will leave Valencia at the Valencia Joaquin Sorolla station and arrive in Madrid at the Madrid- Puerto de Atocha station.

The AVE high- speed train will take you in no time to the next highlight of your train adventure! Also here don’t forget to book your ticket in advance!

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Madrid - Spain by rail in 12 daysImage by Only Once Today - El Retiro Madrid - Spain by rail in 12 days

Madrid day 5 – 6 – 7

The capital of Spain is without a doubt one of our favorite cities in the world and I have a feeling you will fall in love with it too.

You can easily spend a day walking around the city park El Retiro. Not to mention all the plazas you can saunter around like the Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol.

If you would like to go on a shopping spree the Gran Via is the place to be.

Football fanatics can hit Bernabéu, the football stadium of Real Madrid.

Do you want to see the Royal Palace? Then head over to the Plaza de Oriente.

Barrio La Latina is the neighborhood to go to if you’re looking for a cool bar or a cozy terrace. And this is just an introduction of what Madrid has to offer. There are innumerable gorgeous sites to see!

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Madrid to Malaga train ride: 2.30 – 3.00 hours

The train ride from Madrid to Malaga is going to take about 2.30 to 3 hours.

In Madrid, you leave from the station called Madrid-Puerta de Atocha.

In Malaga, you will arrive at the Maria Zambrano station.

The AVE train is a very modern high-speed train which will take you comfortably to your next destination, in this case, Malaga.

Don’t forget to make a reservation for this trip, preferably a couple of weeks in advance. You can also try your luck at the booth at the train station but don’t be surprised if the train is full! Especially in high season.


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Malaga day 8 – 9

Welcome to sun-soaked Malaga at the Costa del Sol, the home of Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas!

After your busy city trip to Madrid, it is now time to relax at one of the city beaches like Playa de la Malagueta or Playa Caleta where closeby you will find numerous cafes and restaurants.

Malaga is a port city and strolling around its grand Puerto de Malaga will keep you amused for a while.

If you are up for more sightseeing after the previous stops on this trip, Malaga has enough to offer.

Do you want a throwback in time?  Then you must visit El Castillo de Gibralfaro or the remains of a Moorish Palace the Alcazaba.

Furthermore, you can find plenty of Museums like the Museo Picasso.

Up for a beach party? Go take a look at El Pedregalejo. A gorgeous stretch of beach where there are plenty of bars and parties around.

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Malaga to Seville train ride: 2 hours

The Malaga to Seville train just sets you back for 2 hours if you take the option without a transfer in between.

You depart in Malaga from the Malaga Maria Zambrano station. Your fastest option is to take the Avant high-speed train that will take you to Seville in less than 2 hours.

You will arrive at the Sevilla-Santa Justa station.


Seville - Plaza de Espana - Spain by rail in 12 daysPhoto by Fabio Ballasina on Unsplash - Plaza de Espana in Seville

Seville day 10 – 11 – 12

End this legendary Spain by rail in 12 days tour in one of Spain’s most stunning cities: Seville.

The city of Seville lies around the river Guadalquivir and has so much to offer you will not know what to discover first.

It is known for its famous Flamenco shows so make sure you go and see one! A show is often combined with a dinner or tapas menu so you can make a whole evening out of it.

Culture buffs will be in awe for the magnificent architecture of the Seville Cathedral. Right next to it you’ll find La Giralda, the bell tower of Seville.

You can also have a look at the Royal Palace Real Alcazar or visit one of the many museums like The Museo de Bellas Artes or the Roman Ruins Italica.

Certainly, pay a visit to Plaza de Espana which is based at the Maria Luisa Park. You will never want to leave!

Just like the other cities in this list, Seville has much more to offer than what is described here. There are tons of cool things to see, do and eat here, so go and explore Seville!

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Will I miss my car?

No need to drive endless hours at a time with your car, and look for a parking spot everywhere.

And once you are in a city, especially big cities like in this list you just use public transportation.

 A lot of cities have a very good functioning metro system that gets you easily from A to B.

Most parts of the city you discover whilst walking. In case you get too tired you can always grab a cab.

So that was the complete Spain by rail in 12 days itinerary which includes some of the best holiday destinations in Spain.

Traveling Europe by rail is very different than traveling by car or airplane and we absolutely adore it and hope you do too.

Check out more travel routes through Europe by train

Spain by rail in 12 days - Europe Train Itinerary - Only Once Today
Spain by rail in 12 days - Europe Train Itinerary

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