Spain is a gorgeous country, and a real joy to explore by train. With fairly good rail coverage across Spain at an affordable price, it’s an easy way to explore. And when it comes to the northern regions of Asturias, Basque Country and Galicia, riding the Renfe FEVE railway is the perfect opportunity to see the charming small towns that tourists don’t often pass through.
Find What You're Looking For
Spanish Renfe FEVE railway
Narrow gauge, small and somewhat juttery, the Renfe FEVE railway network crosses the northern coast of Spain, passing through commuter towns, and tiny little villages with a handful of houses sat on the hillside. The train snakes through the lush and densely tree-lined hills, offering passengers a gorgeous view. Lakes glisten on the flat, and every now and then, an abandoned house lies by the side, falling victim to neglect.
The FEVE train is one of the harder ones to catch in Spain, purely because it’s more difficult to find timetables and tickets online. Plus there are only a small number of routes, each running a couple of times a day.
FEVE Routes Available
Renfe FEVE lines are almost exclusive to northern Spain, with the exception of one line running from Cartagena in the south to the coastal Los Nietos.
In the north, you can catch the FEVE from Ferrol in the west, right across to Bilbao and down to León. City stops on the routes include Oviedo, Santander, Gijón and Ribadeo, but there are hundreds of towns and villages along the way that you can jump on or off at.
You can find a list of different route sections available on the Renfe website.
One thing to note is that the FEVE trains may not stop at every stop on the route. Some are definite stops, while others are optional depending on whether people are getting on or off. A conductor is on board and if the train is running late they will check where everyone is getting off, and if no-one is alighting at an optional stop then the train will just run straight through, providing no-one is waiting to board there.
How To Buy A FEVE Ticket
It’s not possible to buy a ticket online for FEVE trains. Instead you’ll need to go to the station on the day and purchase a ticket from either the ticket desk or machine.
If you’re buying from the ticket machine, go to a purple Renfe machine, and look for a regional ticket option, also listed as REGIONAL IDA. Select your destination, and proceed as usual.
Tickets are checked on board so be sure to keep it somewhere easily accessible.
Unlike other Renfe trains, FEVE trains in Spain aren’t huge intercity models, so you might be surprised by how few carriages there are. Depending on the route, you’ll likely find one or two carriage trains, with about 50 seats.
Facilities on board FEVE trains are limited. You’ll usually find one small toilet, and come prepared with snacks and drinks as there’s no restaurant car or vending machine on these small trains.
If you take the FEVE for a reason other than needing to visit one of the small towns on the way, then you should be prepared for a slow journey, gorgeous scenery and a full camera roll. This isn’t a quick way to get from one destination to another, but the journey itself is reason enough for taking the Renfe FEVE train in Spain.