Which Train to take in Spain?

Old Dec 30th, 2015, 02:02 AM
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Which Train to take in Spain?

Hi All,

I am travelling from Barcelona to Zaragoza, Pamplona and San Sebastian before crossing the border to France in mid March. What train is best to take? When I searched for Barcelona to Zaragoza, the raileurope website lists the arriving station to be Zaragoza Delicias via AVE train but when I search the renfe website, it does not have the pricing just yet. Are the two website have similar prices? I notice the choices for station are different between the two. We would like to take the fastest time and route for my wife and I and our 6yo and 2yo kids. The seats are starting to run out in raileurope so we do not want to miss out.

Any advices would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot.

Regards,
Flyer
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 02:36 AM
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RENFE is the the national rail company and the only sure accuracy. Any other company/body/website is an agency and takes it's info. from RENFE. No other entity but RENFE operate trains. Any agency will cost you more. All travel is by a RENFE train whatever it's class or description.
If schedule information is not available on the RENFE website I suspect you are looking too far ahead for schedules to be published.
What are your travel dates?
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 03:19 AM
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Thanks WomBatt for the info. I am going on the 21/3/16 and somehow I couldnt find the prices for that day at the first instance. The website freeze occasionally, not sure why. So anyway I have booked for the 21st to Zaragoza. Now from Zaragoza to Pamplona on the 23rd, I can't find any pricing. Is this because it is the normal train and not AVE train and therefore it is not up yet? Is there any different in timing for the schedule between the two or any other trains for that matter?
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 04:16 AM
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Raileurope is a reseller only. They have a limited number of trains listed - not all those that exist.

For schedules in all of europe look at bahn.de. Pick out which trains you want and then go to RENFRE to get the tickets.
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 04:26 AM
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The schedules and purchase are available for Zaragoza to Pamplona to end Feb. so you can see what will be available three weeks later. Check, perhaps weekly or as you see fit and your date detail will appear.
Do not overthink reasons for the eccentricities of the RENFE website.
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 08:37 AM
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> Do not overthink reasons for the eccentricities of the RENFE website.

Very true, but don't be surprised if at the last minute Renfe tells you that your credit card transaction has been refused by your bank. It's not the bank, it's Renfe's site. This seemed to be a common problem, at least last year. Search the forums for Renfe and you'll see several threads.

Paypal, an option on Renfe, sometimes worked better than a credit card. It did for me.

As noted above fares and actual schedules become available about 60 days out. Good luck!
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 10:40 AM
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You'll want to take the bus from Pamplona to San Sebastián-Donostia, not the train.
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 01:23 PM
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I had to use Paypal on Renfe, also, but that worked fine. It rejected several of my credit cards even though they said the charge had never even come through (my banks).
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 10:10 PM
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The train is much more comfortable and civilised than any cramped bus - and it's a lovely run on the rail line up into the mountains.

You should use www.renfe.com, but if you have any problems with understanding it or credit card acceptance, the following sites connect directly to Renfe's system: www.loco2.com (no fee, but prices converted to GBP) www.petrabax.com/renfe (small markup, prices in USD)

Booking theoretically opens 90 days ahead for AVE, 60 days ahead for other Renfe trains, but Renfe releases dates in blocks as it feels like it, so the 90/60 days can vary significantly. No rush, just wait till booking opens.
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Old Dec 30th, 2015, 11:45 PM
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Barcelona to Zaragoza, Pamplona and then on to San Sebastián? "a lovely run on the rail line up into the mountains" I take it Man_in_seat_61 has never taken that route. Sorry, but it doesn't cross the Pyrenees at any point along the route.

The train from Pamplona to San Sebastián takes just under two hours, with only two departures/day, while the bus take less then one hour, with a departure every hour.
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Old Jan 1st, 2016, 03:35 AM
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Hi Everyone,

thank you for all your replies.

Yes it sounds like bus is much faster from Pamplona to San Sebastian Donostia, so we will book through ALSA website. By the way, this journey coincides with Good Friday 25/3/16, do I need to be worry about the availability of the buses even though I will book in advance? I have heard stories that buses are not run as often during public holiday and some schedules on the website does not reflect the actual.
Anything that I need to be prepared of during the holy week? Shops and restaurants trading hours, supermarket, and local transportations?
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Old Jan 1st, 2016, 08:00 PM
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If you book your bus tickets in advance, then there isn't anything to worry about. If you don't, there is a bus departing about every hour during the day, even on Good Friday.

You should consider making lunch reservations in advance during Holy Week. Everyone will be eating out, which is quite normal in Pamplona anytime of the year.
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Old Jan 1st, 2016, 08:22 PM
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I'm a big fan of train travel, but I took the bus from SS to Pamplona - plenty scenic. I booked my ticket the day before, and it was a holiday weekend.
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