Spain Guide

 

Getting Around Spain

Getting around

By plane

Iberia is the national (and state operated) Spanish airline and covers the country with an extensive network of domestic flights. Iberia also owns Aviaco, a smaller airline which flies purely domestic routes. Spain is a large country, and if time is of the essence it makes a lot of sense to fly between major cities the flying time between Madrid and cities like Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville, Valencia and Mallorca are all an hour or less. By European standards domestic flights within Spain are relatively inexpensive.

By bus

Spanish buses are a good choice for long distance travel throughout the country they're cheap, reliable and in many cases quicker than travelling by train. In rural areas the bus network is probably your best option as they would connect most country villages.

Spain has quite a range of different bus companies but the main one is ALSA (www.alsa.eswww.alsa.es) which offers extensive routes throughout the country. Busabout European bus passes are valid in Barcelona, Granada, Madrid, Salamanca, San Sebastian, Seville and Valencia. For more information visit www.busabout.comwww.busabout.com.

 

By train

Like most of Western Europe Spain boasts a comprehensive and efficient network of passenger trains. Hundreds of trains criss cross Spain everyday and Spanish rail is a relatively cheap and convenient method of transport. Train travel is very reliable, but slower than travelling the same route by bus.

Spanish trains haven't always been known for their speed but this is slowly changing with the advent of high speed trains. The TALGO and the AVE trains are the quicker ones around and the AVE bullet train has reduced travelling time between Madrid and Sevill, via Ciudad Real and Córdoba, to a mere two and a half hours. TALGO trains are air conditioned quite a consideration in Spain's oppressively hot summers and run throughout the country.

The cheapest trains to hop aboard on your Spanish holiday are the state owned network of the Spanish State Railways, or RENFE. The company boasts a wide range of services, covering city suburbs to long distance and sleeper trains with first and second class seating available. RENFE offers some discounted deals for senior citizens and those under the age of 26.

A number of rail passes like those available through Inter Rail allow you to travel a certain number of days in a restricted time period within Europe. Inter Rail has no age restrictions and you can ride the high speed or sleeper trains, although some supplements are applicable. For more information see www.interrailnet.comwww.interrailnet.com.

Like many other European countries trains in Spain often charge supplements when you're on board even for the most basic of seats. If you're unsure it may be worth asking about this before you purchase your ticket.

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