Rail Travel Around Spain and Portugal

Tram in Portugal
Photo by Freguesia de Estrela on Unsplash

In this era of eco-consciousness, many people are seeking sustainability as well as fun, sun, and relaxation when they go on vacation. For this reason, holidaying by train is increasingly popular. Choosing to travel by rail can also make the holiday more peaceful for everyone, as there is no car hire to navigate. Spain and Portugal are ideal places to try a train vacation, as the rail connections around the two countries are reliable and it is easy to cross the Spanish-Portugese border by rail. If you want some tips and ideas of where to start from and where to go, read on.

Begin in Barcelona or Madrid

These cities are fun, vibrant, and offer plenty to do. They are also fantastic places to launch off into the rest of Spain and Portugal via rail. If you begin in Barcelona, you can work your way along the southern coast and take in cities including Valencia, Murcia, Malaga, and Seville. Don’t forget to stop off at the smaller towns, to enjoy the azure blue coastline and relaxed way of life. Starting in Madrid, head west towards Portugal via the stunning city of Salamanca, home to beautiful architecture and world-class art.

Explore Lisbon and Porto

Portugal’s capital Lisbon, and its second city Porto, provide visitors with delectable food, stunning city streets, and views of the sea as both are coastal cities. There is a direct train linking the two, which also provides travelers with fantastic views of the Iberian coast. Don’t neglect the smaller towns en route, the city of Aveiro is nestled between Lisbon and Porto. It is built alongside a lagoon, and tourists can take boat rides along its colorful canals.

Explore Nature

It is easy to explore all the best nature that Spain and Portugal have to offer via train. In Portugal’s Algarve, the Ria Formosa circuit offers views of the estuary on one side and the sea on the other. It is an important area for sea birds.

In Spain, taking a train to the pilgrimage site Santiago de Compostela, in the north of the country, will provide you with stunning views of the Atlantic coastline and Picos mountains. The hiking in this region is incredible, and due to the number of pilgrims walking through to reach Santiago de Compostela, facilities and resources for hikers are readily available.

As you can see, traveling around Spain and Portugal via train doesn’t limit you in any way. In fact, you could argue that it provides you with a more immersive experience, as you can leave the sat nav at home and truly take in the views that roll by the train window.