Best Apps For Train Travel In Europe

Europe is a continent of train travel. There are many different types of trains that run on the continent, and they are all accessible to those who have a Eurail pass. The Eurail pass allows you to take unlimited trips on the national rail networks of European countries for a set period of time.

For those who are looking to make the most out of their journey around Europe by train, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite apps for train travel in Europe. These apps will make your trip better, easier, and more enjoyable!

12 Best Travel Apps for Europe

Best Apps For Train Travel In Europe

Planning a train trip through Europe? You either want to choose to buy a rail pass or you can buy your separate tickets for each leg of your journey. We listed some of the best train apps for Europe that are available right now. Most of these offer the option to buy train tickets online with their platform and services.

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We created a few very cool Interrail itineraries too!

What to pack for train travel
Eurail and Interrail
Eurail and Interrail are two platforms by the same company to plan your train trip through Europe. Eurail is the platform for non-European travelers, while Interrail is the platform for European travelers. Both platforms work similar in order to book your train tickets online.

Eurail and Interrail work with rail passes for one or more countries in Europe or global passes you can use in all of Europe. Don’t fancy using a rail pass? You can use the mobile app without buying a rail pass. Keep scrolling to find more train travel planners!

Interrail also offers a splendid mobile app to help you find real time train schedules. The app also informs you about whether or not you need to make a reservation for a certain train or if you can catch it with your rail pass.

Check out Interrail
Check out these amazing interrail routes to do in Europe:

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3 Best train apps for Europe
Omio, is the best train planner and booking app in this list!

Their platform platform helps you find train schedules, train tickets as well as bus schedules and flights.

The Omio platform and mobile app is a great resources for all travel within Europe.

Omio allows you to compare different modes of transportation all within the same app and that makes Omio the best website to book European train tickets.

Check out Omio
Trainline is another popular train journey planner app and website for travelers within Europe.

The Trainline apps helps you find train schedules and bus schedules and allows you to buy your tickets online, from your mobile device.

Check out Trainline
Conclusion – the very best train apps for Europe
For us, Omio and Interrail are the best apps to book trains in Europe.

Both apps and online platforms allow you to find the cheapest transportation quick. You can find train schedules, and book your tickets right away.

Of course, there are many more train journey planners and rail planner apps out there, but these four are the most complete apps and online platforms that will complete your entire booking for you.

You’ll be able to find train schedules and real-time train times as well as booking your ticket or rail pass straight away.

Let us know which is your favourite train planner app!

Don’t forget to check out these articles to help you plan your perfect train trip:

How to travel Europe by train like a boss
High-speed trains in Europe
All about night-trains in Europe
What to pack for train travel
How to buy cheap train tickets in Europe

best train app for spain

Taking public transport is a great alternative to driving in Spain and it’s generally quite safe for most passengers. Crime levels aboard trains are quite low, especially at stations where security checks are in place. There is, however, one exception to this: pickpocketing. As a major tourist destination, large public transport hubs in Spain tend to have quite a few pickpockets targeting hapless tourists. Be especially mindful of your surroundings and belongings in areas with a lot of tourists, such as busy train stations and buses in Barcelona and Madrid.

Public transport infrastructure in Spain (especially when it comes to trains) tends to be quite modern, though there is a clear divide between the wealthier regions and the rest. That said, change is on the horizon. While Spain has lacked a national financing mechanism for public transport, a recent draft law (in Spanish) aims to finance and promote sustainable mobility. Due to Spain’s lagging investment in country-wide transport, national travel cards, which are widespread in many countries such as Japan and the Netherlands, haven’t caught on just yet.

Public transport apps in Spain
Journey-planning apps abound for travelers in Spain. A few of the more popular options include:

Citymapper is available in several Spanish cities. The app is available for Android, iOS, and in your browser.
Google Maps covers almost every country on the planet and Spain is no different. Most public transport networks in Spain sync their route information to Google Maps, so it’s ideal for planning a trip on the fly. Google Maps is available for Android, iOS, and also in your browser.
Check out these 10 must-have apps for living in Spain
Spain’s national railway company, Renfe, has a wide collection of apps for travelers. The most useful ones are:

Renfe Ticket: The core app for traveling with Renfe, Renfe Ticket lets users search for itineraries, book trips, and use their tickets from their phone. Renfe Ticket is available for Android and iOS.
Cercanías: An app specifically for regional train travelers in Asturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cádiz, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia, Santander, San Sebastián, Sevilla, Valencia, and Zaragoza. Cercanías has network maps, timetables, and ticket purchases. The app is available for Android and iOS.
If you’re taking a long-distance bus instead, some companies have an app of their own, including:

Alsa (Android and iOS)
Avanza (Android and iOS)
Hife (Android and iOS)

Trains in Spain
Spain’s railway network is one of the busiest in Europe. According to the International Union of Railways annual report, 328 million passengers traveled over 11 billion kilometers on 15,847 kilometers of tracks in 2020, making Spain one of the most well-used rail networks. Considering Spain’s poor cross-border connections, that’s an astonishing level of domestic travel.

Renfe high-speed trains
Renfe’s high-speed trains often travel at over 300km/h
Renfe is Spain’s national rail company, carrying over 510 million passengers annually. In fact, Spain is home to one of the world’s largest high-speed rail networks, second only to China. Trains on the high-speed rail network travel at speeds up to 310km/h; only Spain’s northernmost autonomous communities (such as Cantabria and the Basque Country) as well as Extremadura and Murcia lack high-speed connections. Ambitious expansions will connect every autonomous community in Peninsular Spain by 2023.

Spain also has regional train companies, including:

Euskotren Trena: Euskotren Trena operates metro networks and commuter rail lines in the Basque Country.
Ferrocarril de Sóller (FS): FS runs historical wooden trains along a single line on Mallorca, connecting Palma and Sóller.
Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC): FGC operates commuter rail in and around Barcelona, some mountain railways, and four funiculars.
Some French trains also enter Spain, such as SNCF’s high-speed trains (TGV) and regional trains (TER).

Distinguishing between the different trains in Spain is confusing for newcomers, as Renfe often brands regional networks and individual routes. In general, there are three types of train services in Spain:

Larga Distancia (long-distance): These services include high-speed services like AVE or intercity services that partially use high-speed routes (e.g., Alvia, Altaria, Intercity).
Media Distancia (medium-distance): Services at this level travel between urban areas but are the second-fastest option.
Local services: These services include Regional Express trains. Local services often stop at every station.
Train tickets in Spain
Ticketing for Spanish trains was once comically complex, but Renfe has at least simplified the fares on offer. Seat reservations are mandatory for the majority of trains in Spain with some exceptions for local routes. Fare classes with Renfe are as follows:

Básico (basic): Standard ticket with added costs for extras such as seat selection, pets, and changes and cancellations.
Elige (pick & mix): Standard or comfort ticket with discounts for missed trains, changes, and cancellations. Seat selection, pets, refreshments, and extra seats for a smaller charge than the Básico ticket.
Prémium (premium): Comfort ticket with free seat selection, ticket-holder change, changes and cancellations, missed trains, pets, and refreshments. 30% discount on extra seats.
Station hall in Valencia with ticket machines and people waiting
Spanish trains usually have two classes: standard (second-class) and comfort (first-class). On high-speed lines, comfort passengers receive a hot meal and access to Sala Club lounges at the departure station.

Renfe usually opens ticket reservations either 90 days (for AVE trains) or 60 days (for all others) before departure. This isn’t always the case, however; some trains are only available with as little as a month to spare.

Tickets are available directly on the Renfe website. It’s possible to book tickets in English, French, and a variety of Spain’s regional languages.

Train timetables and maps in Spain
Renfe doesn’t offer a fully downloadable timetable for its network, but there is a searchable online timetable. There are also national network maps for long-distance high-speed services as well as medium-distance routes.

Timetables and network maps are also available from Catalonia’s FGC and Mallorca’s FS. Euskotren provides downloadable timetables and maps, too.

Spanish train stations
Similar to other European countries, railway infrastructure in Spain is separate from the train services themselves. While Renfe operates most of the trains, ADIF (Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias) looks after the tracks and over 2,000 train stations.

ADIF provides extensive information about Spanish train stations on their website, including live departures, in-station services, shops, dining, and onward public transportation connections. Larger train stations tend to have paid toilets, luggage storage, and ticketing desks. Spanish train stations tend to have cafés and restaurants as opposed to a wealth of takeaway options; think of it as a chance to soak in the brilliant design of Madrid Atocha’s botanical garden.

Madrid Atocha station
Few train stations are as serene as Madrid Atocha
Keep in mind that security checkpoints are common in the busier Spanish train stations. Err on the side of caution and don’t assume that getting to the station three minutes before departure will have a good end result.

Urban and regional trains in Spain
With dozens of cities having more than 200,000 residents, Spain has a great need for big public transport networks. To that end, there are dozens of rapid transit operators across the country.

Spain has 12 commuter rail networks:

Asturias: Cercanías Asturias
Catalonia: Rodalies de Catalunya
Bilbao: Cercanías Bilbao/Bilboko Aldiriak
Cádiz: Cercanías Cádiz
Madrid: Cercanías Madrid
Málaga: Cercanías Málaga
Murcia/Alicante: Cercanías Murcia/Alicante
Santander: Cercanías Santander
San Sebastián: Cercanías San Sebastián
Sevilla: Cercanías Sevilla
Valencia: Cercanías Valencia
Zaragoza: Cercanías Zaragoza
Renfe Cercanías trains
Renfe’s Cercanías services connect commuters in a dozen cities across Spain
Three Spanish cities also have their own metro systems: Barcelona, Bilbao, and Madrid. Another 13 have trams, mostly running at street level:

A Coruña: Tranvía Historico
Alicante: Alicante TRAM
Barcelona: Trambaix, Trambesòs, and Tramvia Blau
Bilbao: Euskotren Tranbia
Madrid: Metro Ligero
Murcia: Tranvía de Murcia (in Spanish)
Parla: Tranvía de Parla (in Spanish)
Sevilla: MetroCentro
Sóller: Tranvía de Sóller
Tenerife: MetroTenerife
València: Metrovalencia
Vitoria-Gasteiz: Euskotren Tranbia
Zaragoza: Tranvía Zaragoza
Ticket prices vary, as each metro and tram network is run by a local transportation authority. In most cities, a single fare over a shorter distance on the tram is around €1.20 to €1.50; single tickets on a metro network tend to be more, however, ranging between €1.50 and €2.50. Cities with larger networks may have additional costs based on distance or the amount of zones you travel.

International trains in Spain
Due to the difference in gauge on Spanish train tracks, connections with neighboring countries has historically been limited. Renfe has been working to change that, however, with many high-speed services to France now in service.

Renfe collaborates with SNCF, France’s national railway company, to provide high-speed trains between France and Spain from Madrid and Barcelona to French cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Paris, and Toulouse. A high-speed train from Barcelona to Paris takes about 6.5 hours.

Rail connections between Spain and Portugal are few and far between, however. There is a daytime connection between the Galician city of Vigo and Porto. Connections to Hendaye and Madrid were permanently suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neighboring Andorra and Gibraltar have no railway networks of their own, so you’ll have to take the bus or drive to get there from Spain. Morocco, which borders the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, has a rail network of its own, but there are no train services connecting the two.

Buses in Spain
Spain doesn’t have a national bus company; rather, each municipality or urban area has its own local public transport authority with bus routes in the area. Networks can sometimes be difficult to decipher if you’re unfamiliar with the network. Some Spanish cities only have one bus company with a simple fare system; others have overarching agglomerations that oversee multiple companies on a network with fare zones. Larger urban areas in Spain tend to have a separate company offering interurban services that connect city centers with outlying areas.

Bus in A Coruña
Most cities in Spain, including A Coruña, provide extensive public transport by bus
In general, it’s pretty clear who operates the bus you’re riding on. The main bus companies in some of Spain’s largest cities include:

Barcelona: Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB)
Bilbao: Bilbobus and BizkaiBus (in Spanish and Basque)
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Guaguas Municipales
Madrid: Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid (EMT Madrid)
Málaga: Consorico de Transporte Metropolitano del Área de Málaga (CTMAM)
Murcia: Transportes de Murcia (in Spanish) and TMP Murcia (in Spanish)
Palma: Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Palma de Mallorca (EMT Palma)
Sevilla: Transportes Urbanos de Sevilla (TUSSAM)
València: Empresa Municipal de Transportes de València (EMT València)
Zaragoza: Consorcio de Transportes del Área de Zaragoza (CTAZ) (in Spanish)
For intercity bus routes, look for an estación de autobuses (literally, bus station); larger urban areas tend to have a single station where all long-distance public buses depart from, making connections a lot easier.

Bus tickets in Spain
In Spain, public transport by bus is operated locally, which means that bus fares vary from city to city. In general, a single ticket costs around €1.40 to €1.60, though some cities (such as Barcelona) charge over €2 for a ticket.

Some public transport companies in Spain offer special tickets for a certain number of trips (e.g., a 10-trip ticket) or time period (e.g., a 24-hour ticket). Many operators also offer contactless travel cards instead of paper tickets, which you can load a subscription or special ticket onto.

There is no national travel card in Spain, unfortunately; check with your local operator to see what’s available for your city or region.


Taxis and ride-sharing services in Spain
Public transport in Spain is quite affordable and reasonably efficient in most cities. For journeys that need it, Spanish cities are swarming with taxicabs. Each city in Spain has its own companies, so you might notice that taxis look completely different in Madrid (where the front door has a diagonal red stripe) and Barcelona (where the taxi livery is a bold combination of black and yellow).

Taxi in Madrid
Finding a taxi in a major city like Madrid is rarely difficult
Taxis are widely available in all Spanish cities. Taxi ranks are available at major transportation hubs; elsewhere, it’s fairly easy to flag a taxi down from the street. Payment by cash is easiest, though some cities like Madrid ensure that all taxis also accept credit cards. Fares vary by city and taxi company; in general, expect a base fare (inicio de servicio) of around €2–3 and per kilometer charges (precio por kilómetro) around €1–2 per kilometer.

Hailing a taxi with an app is also possible in most Spanish cities. A few of the more prevalent taxi apps in Spain include:

Ride-hailing apps like Uber have been embroiled in heated debates, with massive taxi driver strikes sometimes bringing the streets of Madrid and Barcelona to a standstill. Still, Uber is available in Spain and operates in some fashion in many Spanish cities. Taxi rides are also available through Uber in select cities.

Long-distance coaches in Spain
Despite Spain’s extensive railway network, many cities don’t actually have a train station of their own. As a result, long-distance intercity bus services are quite popular in Spain, especially for those in search of better prices.

Bus operators in Spain need to acquire a license to drive specific routes. For the traveler, that means there are often only a couple of options to choose from, far fewer than in other countries where the competition is more fierce. However, the benefit here is that Spanish authorities can guarantee bus service on a route and that a company can’t just abandon it if they’re not profitable.

Barcelona bus terminal
Most Spanish cities have a large bus terminal, such as this one in Barcelona
The two largest long-distance bus companies in Spain are Alsa and Avanza (in Spanish). These two companies have route networks that cover all of Peninsular Spain as well as some routes extending into neighboring countries. Other more prominent bus companies with routes in Spain include Comes, Hife, Daibus, Damas (in Spanish), and InterBus.

Tickets are available either at the bus station, on the bus itself, or through the operator’s website. If you’re not sure which company to book through, you can try looking up the route with a route-planning website like Rome2Rio, Omio, or Movelia.

It’s also possible to travel internationally by coach from Spain. Companies such as Flixbus, Alsa, and BlaBlaBus offer direct connections to Portugal, France, Italy, and more.

On-board, expect cleanliness and comfort. Long-distance buses are modern coaches with toilets, Wi-Fi, and even beverages for purchase. Services depend on the company, though; smaller operators may not have the same on-board facilities as the larger ones.


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