Indepent Travel in Spain

Old Jun 8th, 2009, 04:40 PM
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Indepent Travel in Spain

We (myself—64 yr old female and 32 yr old son) have a tentative plan for a Spain restaurant tour by train in late September/early Oct for approximately 21/2 weeks, flying in and out of Madrid:
Side/Day Trips
Madrid—3 nights 1/2-1 day Segovia
Valencia—2 nights
Barcelona—5 nights 1 day each Sant Seloni, Girona
San Sebastian—5 nights 1/2-1 day Bilbao
(The weekend after the film festival)
Madrid—1 night ?

Since this will be our first trip to Spain we have some questions and would welcome suggestions.
1-Are there direct trains between these cities?
2-How long would each train ride take? High speed options?
3-What is the cost for each segment (1st or 2nd class—don’t mind 2nd unless not recommended) or would a Eurail Pass be best?
4-How far in advance should we plan to make the train reservations?
5-We would like to take short day trips from these cities—train or bus better?
6-Hotel recommendations would be appreciated; at least 3 star level. In close (walking) proximity to tourist sites.
Thanks for your input.
JAlameda is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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See http://www.renfe.es/horarios/english/index.html Also seat61.com. I think you need a guidebook - try your local library to start with.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 05:24 PM
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Depending on where you are flying from - you might lose that first 1/2 day in Madrid to exhaustion. Spain is a huge country and I think you will spend more time on the train than experiencing Spain itself. I would concentrate on a region such as Madrid for 4 or 5 days with day trips to Toledo and Segovia, perhaps a fast train to Seville for 3 or 4 days, I thoroughly enjoyed Granada and Malaga (others might suggest a different itinerary). My brother flew into Barcelona and spent 4 days there, with a day trip to Girona and 2 or 3 days in Valencia - others on this board can fill in the rest. As for the trains AVE fast train has three classes Tourist, Preferende, and Club - book early www.renfe.com.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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Even though I like San Sebastian I think five days is too long and more should be added to Madrid and the surrounding towns.

Train service in Spain is very good and there is now a high speed between Madrid and Barcelona.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 06:09 PM
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Thanks for some great advice and wonderful web sites.
JAlameda is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2009, 06:30 PM
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I agree with PPosters.
Madrid is a huge city with some of the best art museum anywhere ( granted, art is not everyone's interest).
Day trips take getting to a train station from your hotel, getting to the town's ( where you are going) train station ,and often getting on the bus for a short ride to town. For example: the train station in Girona is about 20-25 minutes walk to the "old town".
It can make for a long day!
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 07:55 PM
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For hotel recommendations and other information, check out www.maribelsguides.com, written by a participant on this message board.
Nikki is online now  
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