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Spain Train / Bus Travel

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Jan 10th, 2014, 01:28 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Spain Train / Bus Travel

We are traveling the following itinerary in March/April:

Barcelona 3 nights (3 adults)
Valencia 2 night (3 adults)
Madrid 3 nights (3 adults)
To Be Determined (more of Madrid or Salamanca) 3 nights (2 adults)
Seville and area 3 nights (2 adults)
Granada and area 3 nights (2 adults)
Back to Madrid for departure next day (2 adults)

We are hoping to do the majority of this travel by train and/or bus. I have looked at Renfe and am confused. Can someone familiar with the systems advise on bus or train travel, stations, etc. Would it be better to do individually or get a pass?

We are open to changing itinerary except for 1st night in Barcelona and 3rd night in Madrid due to daughter's flight schedule.
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Jan 10th, 2014, 01:51 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
a 6-day Spain Eurailpass costs $363 p.p. or about $60 a day or about 42 euros a day for a whole day unlimited train travel - could go to Salamanca and back on just one day.

But you also have to pay 10 euros or so supplement for each train.

So to see if the pass is a good idea or not go to www.renfe.com and look at regular fares. Add 3% if your credit card imposes that not unusual fee for foreign transactions.

discounted fares must be booked far in advance as they are sold in limited numbers and I believe are non-changeable non-refundable but not sure - but flexibility of the pass is a key as can be used on any train anytime, subject to seats being available of course and IME they usually are. For a much more relaxed trip go first class - much bigger seats, often empty seats, easier to store luggage as fewer people in the same size train cars, etc. Pass price I gave was for 2nd class but it also comes in 1st class.

For lots of great info on Spanish trains check not only www.renfe.com but these fine IMO sites: www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.comand www.seat61.com - the latter having good info on discounted tickets. Several Fodorites are also experts at getting yes the often bulky renfe.com to work and can advise on discounted tickets - but if the cost of discounted tickets even approach a pass price go for the pass as if you miss the train it can be used on any other train so you will not be out all the fare.

Use Barcelona Sants station for Barcelona- Madrid Atocha for Madrid - Seville Santa Justa - Valencia and Granada have just one main station.

With a pass you still must go to the ticket window and make mandatory seat reservations though you can do this all at once for several trains at any Spanish station I believe.
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Jan 10th, 2014, 03:45 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
3 nights in Granada would be two too many for many - I'd base in nearby Malaga instead and take the train to Granada for the day (a very scenic trip though buses may be more direct and faster and cheaper - anyway easily done.

Granada has a blockbuster site in the Alhambra and some neat lanes swirling around it but overall the city is ITO of many not the finest in Spain. Don't know of many great day trips from Granada but maybe there are.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 02:44 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 543
All of your journey can be fulfilled by train. RENFE also have passes of their own, with no supplements.
If not clear which of several station is the departure or arrival point, fault a '*' beside the name will default to the correct station when the schedules are shown.
'Would it be better to do individually or get a pass?' - You are going to have to do the maths. comparison.
Another comprehensive guide to RENFE covering all known trials and tribulations - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...ts.Online.html
If you want to save a few €uro I will give you the bus companies but you will again have to do the maths. comparison and weigh the train journey against the usually longer and less comfortable bus journey.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 09:20 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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RENFE also have passes of their own, with no supplements.>

But compare the prices - I do not know but the RENFE passes may cost more than the Spain Eurailpass, also a RENFE product or at least one they control - may be cheaper even with the supplements or may be more expensive so compare both and the Eurail one allows travel on any train anytime so see if conditions are also the same.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 08:14 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Everyone here has already given good advice, I just want to add my own two cents regarding bus travel. NEVER plan on taking the last bus to/from a destination. (I give this advice from personal experience.)
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