Passengers with their suitcases at a train station in Spain. Igor Martin
Number of US tourists travelling by train in Spain is three times higher than European holidaymakers
Rail travel

Number of US tourists travelling by train in Spain is three times higher than European holidaymakers

This summer two out of five high-speed rail passengers will be foreigners, according to Trainline data, and the favourite destinations are Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Alicante

Edurne Martínez


Wednesday, 3 July 2024, 18:48

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The number of American tourists travelling throughout Spain by train is three times the number of European holidaymakers, new data shows.

This summer, two out of every five (36%) of train passengers will be foreign tourists, according to online travel booking platform Trainline. And these foreigners travelling by train in Spain will be mainly Americans. The Trainline report shows the USA is the main country of origin of foreign train passengers, with 16% of total bookings. Well behind are tourists from the United Kingdom (5%), France (5%) and Italy (3%).

Increased competition in Spain's rail market has not only transformed the way of travelling in Spain, but also meant more tourists are opting for the train to move around the country. This is shown in those routes that have welcomed new operators in recent months.

This is the case of the route connecting Barcelona with Seville, which this year multiplied the number of passengers by six compared to last year. This route is especially key for foreigners, who last year accounted for 63% of all passengers who used the train to travel between the two cities.

Benicassim, Peñíscola and San Sebastián, the fastest-growing cities in Spain

The Madrid-Valladolid line, which is already served by Ouigo in addition to Renfe, has almost tripled (+173%) the number of passengers during the summer. A similar effect to that of the Madrid-Murcia route, where bookings have doubled (+104%), with all three operators already operating in September.

The favourite destinations for tourists travelling by train this summer are Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Alicante. However, if we look at the locations that have increased their passenger numbers the most compared to the same period in 2023, we find sun and beach destinations such as Benicasim (+173%), Benicarló-Peñíscola (+91%), San Sebastián (+52%), Gijón (+47%) and Cádiz (+24%). There are also many urban destinations that have multiplied their passenger numbers, such as Valladolid (+124%); Burgos (+73%), Oviedo (+60%), Murcia (+24%) and Pamplona (23%).

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