Public transportation in Spain

Aug 20th, 2010, 10:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 10
Public transportation in Spain

I will be traveling in Spain/Portgual the first part of September. Travel between cities will be on the train. Have looked into arranging some private transfers from train station to hotel and visa versa but the quotes have been really high. How are the bus (or other mass transit) systems in the major cities - are they easy to access from the train stations? Are routes easy to understand? Costs? Appreciate any help, suggestions.
Larger cities visiting will be Barcelona, Valencia, Cordoba, Lisbon and Madrid.
Veejer is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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We traveled on trains and metro in Portugal and Spain. In Portugal you buy the green metro card at any metro station (we didn't see one ticket office ever) and charge it with a certain amount for number of trips (~3 eu trip) card is 3 euros. Trains and metro stations are usually connected all over Europe.

In Spain we traveled in trains and also metro again. Again we bought the 10 trip card for metro and got around easily. You need to be aware what line you are and where you are going to, yellow, blue, so for. I think I paid about 10 eu for one 3 day card for all of us.

The only thing that took us back at the beginning, trains and metros run opposite way to the left, so this made us lose some metros at the beginning for being on the wrong track.

I still have some cards and tickets if you want more detailed costs.
pookymimi is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 10:33 AM
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Yes for all - extensive trams, metros and buses serving all those train stations - pretty much there is a tourist office in these stations that will dish out maps and brochures on local transports, etc.

I've been to them all and never been flummoxed getting around by local transport.

That said traveling by train i would say pack light as in stations you often have to negotiate stairs, etc. You are traveling extensively by train - enough to at least investigate the Spain-Portugal Eurailpass or even just the Spain Railpass that gives you flexibility to take any train anytime, though in Spain on most long-distance trains you must make a mandatory seat reservation - easily done with passes the many times i have traveled these countries by railpass.

For loads on planning the train aspect of your travels i always spotlight these info-packed sites -;; - and is the Spanish Railways web site with schedules and, in theory, able to book online discounts - discounts that to get these limited in number discounted seats must be booked weeks in advance and are train specific - may not be able to change, etc. But in recent months scores of Fodorites have thrown up their arms trying to actually book - if you are an American and using an American credit card - some can do it so look at what is possible vis a vis online discounts at vs say full fare the a railpass and then make a post asking for help as there seem to be a few Fodorites who can make work and have done so - but also be prepared for tons of frustration it seems by reports of others.
PalenQ is online now  
Aug 20th, 2010, 10:53 AM
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Distances can be great and cheap airlines may be a better option. Make sure you don't double back on yourself.
Cyberia is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 12:16 PM
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Are you asking about buses and metros in the context of getting from the train stations to the hotels? I have taken public transits in Barcelona, Cordoba, and Madrid. I would not take public transits with luggage unless the cost is the key factor above all else. I take taxis in this context.
greg is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 07:56 PM
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I think that it all depends on the luggage you have... if it's 1 bag per person, or 2 not very large you can get along in metros or even buses... more than that and you're in trouble.
djjojo is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 11:18 PM
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I would strongly suggest you look at other advice, before taking up the suggestion of the purchase of any rail pass.

Best wishes.
WomBatt is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 08:15 AM
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Spain has some really nice overnight trains and i have taken many - and as distances are great and often the scenery in between is rather like a wasteland as i find much of inland Spain to be - like between Madrid and Lisbon the only direct train is the overnight train - indeed it is virtually impossible to do Madrid to Lisbon in the daytime (ditto for Madrid to Porto)

so you say a night's hotel fee and cover long boring distances whilst you sleep - and these trains have some of the most comfy compartments in all of Europe IME
PalenQ is online now  
Aug 21st, 2010, 09:08 AM
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PalenQ, thanks. I find the idea of taking an overnight train very intriguing. I will to look into this!
Nepenthe is offline  
Aug 21st, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Any major airport or train station will have plenty of cabs - way less expensive than pre-booked limousines. If you're afraid of not being understood - but I've found most cabbies can understand where you want to go even without English - you could have the name of your hotel written down to show them.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:40 PM
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Thanks to everyone who has responded. It has been a great help. Think we will wing it and just do our best when we get here. We have always done ok everywhere else using public transportation and hopefully this will be ok. Will report when we return late Sept.
Veejer is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 01:43 AM
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When in Valencia you can buy the 10 ride metro pass or the 10 ride metro BUS pass. Tell them you want a iBONO Metro-BUS. It is about 7-8 E and gives you 10 rides plus 10 free transfers within 30 minutes on metro or bus lines. Two people can use the same ticket, as is the case is most of these metro passes around Spain, just pass it twice through the validating machine.

The transfer must be on a different numbered bus or different mode of transportation.

From the Valencia train station you can most likely WALK to your hotel if you are careful about its location. Our train station is surrounded by lodgings. If you decide to stay at the Science Center area you will need a bus or taxi . The metro/tram goes all the way to the Malvarrosa beach.

Enjoy your trip. If you need specifics on Valencia do post back.I am very happy to see someone stopping here! If you do your research you will be pleasantly surprised, I think.
lincasanova is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2010, 07:44 AM
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I was more than pleasantly surprised with Valencia - it retains in the historical center a real old-world charm now unusual in an ever-modernizing Europe.
PalenQ is online now  

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