where should I go in Spain by Train?

Old Jan 15th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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jcr
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where should I go in Spain by Train?

I am planning a trip to Spain this summer and hope to avoid flying and car-hiring by travelling by train:
First-is there a sort of older person's 'interrail' type ticket I could buy for two or so weeks?

Also, re places: I want a mix of nice coast and inland. I thought, maybe a good few days relaxing in San Sebastian then train to Barcelona for a couple of days (any ideas for cheap but central and nice places to stay in Barc?)

Then perhaps the coast again but not sure where. Been to northern costa brava and it was fab. but I don't think there are any stations around here. Perhaps head south, but I'm not at all sure what this area is like (I'm thinking tower blocks!)

Then... my plans really get confused - so much to see and so little line - maybe inland to Seville then north via Madrid ???

I love the south coast (Costa de luz) but think this might be a bit tricky by train?

Any thoughts or ideas gratefully received

gcr
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 04:06 PM
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^^^
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 07:34 PM
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ttt
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 07:43 PM
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I don't know about the coastal areas you mention, they just don't hold much interest for me, especially in summer. But I traveled quite a bit by train in inland areas with no problem. One trip I took included Seville to Cordoba by train, Cordoba to Granada by bus (and Cordoba or Seville to Madrid by train is fast and easy). Another trip I traveled to Salamanca, Segovia, Avila, Toledo and Madrid - all by train or bus. Very easy and cheap. Sometimes buses are a better deal than train, but the bus stations are just as nice as the train stations, buses are air conditioned and comfortable. There isn't one of the places I've mentioned that I wouldn't go back to.

I've also been to Barcelona but don't know about the trains in that area as I flew in and out, but Barcelona itself is wonderful. I've heard the new AVE train line from Barcelona to Madrid is finished which would make that fast and easy.
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Old Jan 15th, 2008, 11:15 PM
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There is a "Spain Rail" pass you can purchase, but generally, the cost of traveling by rail, at least on the Regionals and some AVE lines, is quite inexpensive.

Barcelona is many things, but cheap is not one of them, although you can find some decent rates, depending on the season and where you want to stay.

There is only one day train from San Sebastian-Donostia to Barcelona. It will cost you about 40 euros for the nearly 7 hour trip.

You should go on the Renfe.es web site and see check the routes you want to travel.
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 02:28 AM
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You might find it worthwhile to check out the renfe site. Gives you an idea of where you can go to from where.

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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 03:08 AM
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I concur with isabel: MotorCoach may be the better travel option for visiting Costa de la luz. West from Sevilla to Huelva DamasSA operates both inland and coastal routes. South from Sevilla ComesSA operates service to Jerez de la frontera, el Puerto de Santa Maria and Cadiz. In Sevilla, Damas uses Plaza de Armas bus station and Comes uses el Prado de San Sebastian station.

Robert2533 writes: "... There is a "Spain Rail" pass you can purchase, but generally, the cost of traveling by rail, at least on the Regionals and some AVE lines, is quite inexpensive." I disagree with the latter statement. Prices on TRD's, Talgos and high speed rail in Spain are much higher than MotorCoach or, in some cases, Air Travel.

I have gotten 'Senior Discount' on several long-haul Motorcoach trips in Spain but when I asked for such a discount at a Renfe Office I was informed that I needed a Tarjeta Dorada (available only to Residents in Spain).

Another Train Company in Spain: Ferrocaril Español de Via Estrecha (FEVE) runs from Leon to Bilbao to Santander to Oviedo to Ferrol. It operates the TransCantabrico. Last year they began a 1-month hop-off-hop on Service Pass at a very inexpensive cost: 75 Euro for a 30-day unlimited pass. www.FEVE.es
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 03:39 AM
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I know you said you want to avoid flying, but in case that is because you are afraid that flying is more expensive, you should check out the fares at Vueling, a budget airline with some extremely inexpensive fares throughout Spain. www.vueling.com.
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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NEDSIRELAND,
You might be happy to know that train travel on the Ave, Avant, Altaria, Alvia, Euromed and other lines has become as of '08 less expensive thanks to the new Tarfias Web and Estrella.

The Web fares give a 60% discount on one-way tickets in tourist class, They need to be purchased a minimum of 15 days before departure and are non-refundable.

The Estrella fares offer a 40% discount, must be booked a minimum of 7 days out, but can be purchased for a tourist OR preferente seat.

Some examples of the savings on tixs I recently purchased:

Madrid-Segovia for 8.20€ rather than 20€

Madrid-Seville for 27€, down from 71€

Madrid-Málaga, 30€, opposed to 75€

BCN-Valencia, 15€, from 38€

Renfe is also advertising "mini fares" for certain itineraries on Tues-Wed. when purchased from 15 days to 24 hrs in advance. These need to be reserved by phone, purchased at a travel agency or at a station. They also offer substantial savings, such as a 16 euro one way ticket from Madrid to Cáceres.

All that said,

I do agree that bus fare continues to be even less for some routes, and busses are best for the southern coast. And Alsa serves the northern coast very well and at low tariffs.
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Thank you for your advice - I'll let you know how I get on.

gcr
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 03:09 PM
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Maribel: Thanx for the info! I am delighted to learn about Renfe's agressive new pricing strategy.

Sorry, I never want to disseminate mis-information to fellow Fodorites.

Estrellas used to be overnighters. I've more recently taken a Tren Hotel, also an overnighter. I was under the impression that all the Estrellas had been redesignated Tren Hotel.

Needless to say: If I knew I could travel Renfe Madrid-Sevilla for 27 Euro I would take that rather than Socibus/SecorBus.

Back to FEVE: I've just taken FEVE to/from Santander (to Limpias, for example - to see Cristo de Limpias)

There's a Connection from O'Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela at FEVE's western terminus at O'Ferrol.
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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Hi NED,
These fares just became available; I've been waiting for them for quite some time. Renfe made me very happy!

The trick to the new "Tarifa Web" is that there is a limited number of seats available for that 60% discount (more for the 40% Tarifa Estrella), so they really need to be booked as far in advance as possible.

When I tried to get a Tarifa Web for Madrid-Valencia for March 16 (during las Fallas), it wasn't available. (Probably won't be for Seville during Semana Santa or Feria).

In theory (doesn't work for all routes yet), you can book your tixs online 62 days out.

We were just in Limpias in Nov. Visited the Cristo de Limpias again too and Bien Aparecida.
Good to know about the FEVE Service Pass. I like the FEVE for the short hops.


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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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Bookmarking for an upcoming trip.
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