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Spain: What is the best form of transporation?

Spain: What is the best form of transporation?

Aug 28th, 2006, 08:19 PM
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Spain: What is the best form of transporation?

I will be backpacking through Spain and want to know what the best means of transportation is as I make my way through parts of the country. I will be going to the following cities:
Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville and then back to Madrid. My travel book advises against taking the train. Any ideas?
lisaf is offline  
Aug 28th, 2006, 10:57 PM
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I hate to come down hard on your travel book, regardless of the author, but to get where you're going, the train offers one of the best modes of transportation in Spain, and it's fairly inexpensive. Flying is an option, but you waste a lot of time in airports. The bus is great for visiting a number of smaller villages, as well as the major cities you listed, but you'll find the train certainly has its advantages.
Robert2533 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2006, 12:11 AM
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Train or bus, depending on particular destination, and it's often six of one and half a dozen of the other.I think the only problem with trains in Spain is connections. We needed to travel from Porto in Portugal to Salamanca a few years ago, and to do that comfortably would have necessitated a stop overnight somewhere up north, as there wasn't a direct trainline. We ended up catching a bus direct from Porto to Salamanca and it was a pleasant trip, and we also caught a bus from Madrid to Granada...but I've also covered much of Spain by train without a hitch. You just need to research the individual legs of the trip and work out the more efficient means [if time efficiency is important to you] - Lonely Planet is good for that. I wouldn't recommend a train pass as you'll probably use a combination of means. BTW, between Seville and Madrid you can take the very fast train. For other legs of your trip be prepared for whole days of travel, particularly from Madrid to Barcelona, and Valencia to Malaga. But there's some great scenery along the way, and if you travel second class you should meet some interesting people.
Suelynne is offline  
Aug 29th, 2006, 02:24 AM
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What, no Granada??

I don't know what parameters your travel book's author uses to advise against taking the train: generally, Motorcoach travel is the least expensive, more frequent and reasonably comfortable. I personally would suggest a 'mix,' using discount airline (Vueling) for routes such as Barcelona-Sevilla, and Motorcoach for intermediate stops: Sevilla-Jerez-Cadiz-Gibraltar-Malaga, etc.

If you're only visiting Spain, you might consider buying a SpainPass (aka Tarjeta turistica) to use for those legs when you do travel by train.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Aug 29th, 2006, 05:48 AM
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Is the order you present in the original post the order of travel? If so then I would do this:
Madrid-BCN: night train (you seem to be on a budget and young, so save a night of lodging)
BCN-Val: Last time I checked, the bus was not much cheaper than the train, and the train is by far and away more comfortable. Check prices and decide.
Valencia-Málaga: I think there is a night bus you can take that is around 8 hours.
Málaga-Gibraltar: won't tell you because I think Gibraltar is a waste. What about Granada?
Sevilla-Madrid: check prices, but when I last did that, bus was cheaper than train and just a little slower.
laclaire is offline  
Aug 29th, 2006, 06:58 AM
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i can recommend the trains, however, the buses will be cheaper.

you have several options. not usually problem getting bus tickets walking up same day.

some trains can be more of a problem closer to the weekend or evenings when businessmen would be coming home, thus requiring a little more planning.

i can only imagine it is due to cost, but doesn't sound like sound advice to me unless, of course, the whole book is based on budget travel, in which case, they are absolutely correct.
lincasanova is offline  
Aug 29th, 2006, 07:07 AM
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Do tell - which book and what does it have against trains? I did have one uncomfortable night on a train from Madrid to Ronda, and one delayed train on the way to Gibraltar (it hit a cow), but still would vote for trains over buses - at least you can get up and move around. The difficulty getting from Portugal to Spain by train is the result of centuries of bad blood between Spain and Portugal rather than a problem with Spanish trains. And definitely add Granada - visit the Alhambra in the evening.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 29th, 2006, 07:28 AM
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My experience of trains in Spain is limited, and while I liked the AVE from Madrid to Sevilla, I really disliked the long pokey milk run I took from Sevilla to Granada.

I was fairly uncomfortable on the 70 minute bus ride I took from San Sebastian to Bilbao (people in front of me reclined their seats into a fully prone position), so I asked in Bilbao how to get to the train station for my return -- and they told me the same trip by train took 4 hours!

I've been really happy with the cheap flights I've taken in Spain, some as low as 20 euros. Travel to and from the airports in Spanish cities has usually been easy and cheap.
nessundorma is offline  
Aug 31st, 2006, 08:04 PM
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Thank you for all the responses!! the book that mentions buses are the better way to go is my Let's Go Europe book. It says... "In Spain, ignore romaticized visions of European train travels - buses are cheaper, run more frequently, and are faster than trains..."

So, I think what we will do is as follows:

Madrid--> Barcelona - Vueling airline

Barcelona--> Valencia - Alsa bus or Renfe train

Valencia-->Costa del sol - not sure yet

Seville--> Madrid - AVE high speed train

Does that sound good? Also, to get from the airport to Madrid, they mention this yellow airport bus that will take you into the city. Can we use this same bus to get back to the airport as well? And, are the bus stations and train stations fairly easy to find? Thanks!
lisaf is offline  
Aug 31st, 2006, 08:22 PM
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Sounds good to me, but there are Spain experts on this board and let's hope they chime in. I'm only here to say that the metro/underground to Madrid from the airport (Barajas) is quite good and cheap.
nessundorma is offline  
Aug 31st, 2006, 08:43 PM
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Thanks for the guidebook reference. Some trains probably are slower than buses, but not all trains are create equal - I'm sure the high speed lines must be faster.

Are you really picking Costa del Sol over Granada??
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 1st, 2006, 02:58 AM
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i just returned from the madridairport,etc.

we took the city bus 200 from arrivals area terminal one to go into edge of city .
this bus uses 1 euro, or you can buy a 10-ride pass at the estanco (TABACO shop in airport a bit further down from the renfe ticket window). the bus pass is good for metro AND bus and can be used by multiple travelleers going on and off at same route.( 6.80 for 10 rides)

the bus 200 leaves you at the avenida de america "intercambiador" as it is called. this is viortually the beginning of the city. tow hotels are walkable from there. the AC Av. americas, and the new design hotel Silken puerta de america.

From there you can take long distance and neighboring towns buses, (this is an underground station).

or you can walk upstairs to street level, and get on numerous city buses or catch a taxi (avoids the 4.60 airport fee)

probably would not do this with a lot of luggage! we only had hand luggage and had lots of time to kill between flights. we took it because it was easy and then we caught a taxi from that aera to my office because the city bus was not right there quickly.

the good news is you can catch a bus to granada, santander, bilbao, pamplona and a few other places in that neck of the woods from this "intercambiador" at avenida de las americas". continental and alsa are the two companies i saw there.

a great solution for those who need to continue on their voyage. it takes only about 10 minutes to get there from airport as this bus 200 only makes one stop before going into the station.
lincasanova is offline  

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