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Question re: buying train tickets in advance for day trips from Madrid

Question re: buying train tickets in advance for day trips from Madrid

Mar 6th, 2008, 10:03 AM
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Question re: buying train tickets in advance for day trips from Madrid

I just purchased train tickets on Renfe to Toledo, where we'll spend two nights on fixed days, and was about to book tickets for day trips from Madrid to Segovia and El Escorial when I got to thinking those days are not fixed and something we may want to play by ear.

Would love to hear your thoughts on waiting to purchase tickets to either location until last minute, perhaps even day of travel, or, do you feel tickets should be purchased in advance?

Tentatively, I have El Escorial planned for a Friday; Segovia on Saturday.

Thank you in advance, AnnMarie
AnnMarie_C is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 10:08 AM
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You will have absolutely no problem buying these tickets locally IME

Segovia is i guess now served by high-speed AVE trains that require reservations but there are also regular commuter trains frequently running there and to El Escorial

don't worry about that at all - just buy when you arrive IMO
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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There were very frequent trains as well as buses so I think waiting till you get there is fine. In fact, as far as Segovia is concerned you are better off with the bus as the bus station in Segovia is right near the center of town, no more than 5 minutes from the aquaduct where as the train station is a good 30 minute walk through boring suburb type area. Obviously you can take a taxi but that's one more expense and hassel. I think there were buses every hour or so and it didn't take very long.
isabel is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 10:29 AM
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You certainly can wait until the last minute for either a bus or Cercanías train to El Escorial. Just don't go on Mon. when the Monastery is closed.
And you can't book either one online.

The Cercanías train C8A (not C8), a double-decker,leaves from Chamartín station (30 trains daily), for the 50-minute trip.

I take the 8:47, arriving at El Escorial at 9:43, to arrive before the Monastery opens at 10:00 and before the horde of tour groups descend. Upon exiting the train station in the lower town (town has two parts, the train station below and the Monastery is in upper village), immediately get on the awaiting "Herranz" city bus which will take you up the 2-km long hill to the upper town, where you’ll get off at the square, which is at the end of Florida Blanca street, and you'll see the Monastery looming ahead of you on the left.

Or via bus.. Autocares Herranz bus #661 and #664 depart starting at 7:00 am from dock 3, at the Intercambiador de Autobuses at the Moncloa metro stop (grey circular line #6).
Takes about a hr. and lets you off in the upper town from where you can easily walk over to the Monastery. I take the 9:00.

As far as the new high speed (35 min.) train to Segovia is concerned, you may be able to wait as well now that they've added the 9 euro AVANT trains. You don't need to worry about 15 day advance booking for a 60% discount WEB fare on the Ave, Alvia or Talgo, which go on to other destinations. The AVANT just goes to Segovia. I checked for tomorrow and there are still seats available.

The brand new Segovia-Guiomar train station is in the middle of nowhere, 4 km. from the city but accessible by public bus #11 which meets the trains (.80 euro). You can see the bus schedule here:

click on Mapas de líneas y horarios, then line 11.

The old train station is the one located in the Segovia suburbs and handles the Regional trains, which are slooooow, taking 2 hrs.
Maribel is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 10:54 AM
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Thank you, all, so much.

Maribel, thank you for the info on fares. To Segovia, one-way, I found fares as low as 9 and as high as 20--naturally, I'd like to take advantage of that lower fare and, although I failed to mention it in my op, is one of the reasons I questioned buying tickets in advance (any money saved on train tickets will be invested in alpargatas ;-) ).

As an aside, your guide has been a tremendous help to me in the planning of this trip--thank you for the time and effort you put in to creating and maintaining it.
AnnMarie_C is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 11:11 AM
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Everyone raves about Maribel's Spain guides

that's what makes Fodor's so great IMO
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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For the Segovia trip, it looks like the price is €20,40 for the AVE and ALVIA trains, and it is €9 for the AVANT trains. All of them take the same amount of time for the trip.

It really depends on your time schedule and how long you plan on staying there. Potentially, you can take the 10:35am AVANT to Segovia and then either the 5pm or the 7:05pm AVANT back.

I don't think AVANT has any discounts if you purchase in advance.
yk is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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Yep, no discounts on the AVANT. It's one class of service, tourist, and one fare.

Those 60% WEB fare discounts (tourist class only) on the Alvia, Ave and Talgo, again, must be purchased 15 days out and are non-exchangeable, and the 40% discount Estrella fares (in tourist or preferente class), have to be purchased at least 7 days out. But the AVANT 9 euro fare is available at any time.

Glad you find my guide helpful. I've recently added a "Tutorial on Buying Renfe Tickets Online" to help talk people through this confusing process!
Maribel is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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Maribel - where do i find your guide on Fodor's - thanks for a link!
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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Thanks, everyone, for the additional insight / information. It was the AVANT fare that I found for 9 euro--great to know it is available at anytime (listed on the schedule, which I found no problem).

My gosh, train-speak is like a whole other language!
AnnMarie_C is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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Hi PalenQ,
I haven't posted it on Fodors yet (like MorganB's guide for SNCF) because I'm afraid it's too long, plus I'll be traveling constantly in the next few months and not around here to monitor the thread for corrections/updates.

You can find it at www.maribelsguides.com

And please zip me an email if you (our true resident train expert!), find any detail missing that I should add.
Maribel is offline  
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