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#93793 - 01/29/15 04:28 PM Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
I'm sure this has been covered before, but please bear with me. I'm going to Spain in April for the last time. There are other places for me to visit in this world, and at my age, the chance of returning to Spain is pretty remote. The past several times have been with student groups, and I haven't had to deal with transportation. When I look now at how one might purchase tickets in the US for use in Spain, I get so frustrated I could scream. I don't know if it is worth it to get a gold pass for seniors, just get a 5 day pass, buy the tickets without a pass, or wait and buy them in Spain. We will be going from Madrid to Toledo as a day trip, then from Madrid to Sevilla, from Algeciras to Ronda, from Ronda to Cordoba, and Cordoba to Madrid. Our other side trips to Segovia and from Sevilla to Tarifa, and Tarifa to Algeciras are supposedly all best (or only) done by bus. I filled out one Renfe questionnaire and it suggested I get the 5 day travel in a month pass. Then I tried their other specific itinerary questionnaire, but didn't check that I had a pass. The difference is about $40. There was no option to go back and try the specific itinerary WITH a pass.
AND THEN I saw information on getting various tourist cards with a pass, but there is no clear information on how one goes about doing that. Do I flash my pass in each city and get one that way?
I don't know if they can mail me the tickets without a killer charge either.
The last time I did this, I think I paid extra to get the single ticket I needed for one Italian train. Doing 5 bookings is making my hair turn even greyer than it is.
So, does anyone know what the best/cheapest/easiest way to book this many trips would be?

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#93794 - 01/30/15 09:21 AM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: la maestra]
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
I think I've solved my own problem. After checking with other forums and calculating the fares shown on the Renfe site, I think just point-to-point is the best option. I managed to do this back when I studied in Spain in 1966, and it served me well then.
Thanks for being there to hear me rant, though!

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#93796 - 01/30/15 03:45 PM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: la maestra]
chivasusa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/20/12
Posts: 117
If you take AVE [recommended] which is the high speed train there is usually an extra charge aside from the pass. In Madrid you can go to a station when you arrive to purchase in advance. Don't wait for the same day Toledo sells out. So buy round trips in advance at the station. They have a good information office at Atocha where they will print out options for your trips, English is sometimes spoken there. Atocha is easy to get to it's a stone's throw from Prado. I usually take the train to Segovia although buses may save money. By the way I think Prado is free after 5 or 6 pm. Sometimes but not always you can get senior discounts by asking. So discount passes are not a great idea.

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#93798 - 01/31/15 11:10 AM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: chivasusa]
robbieroy Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By la maestra
I'm going to Spain in April for the last time. There are other places for me to visit in this world, and at my age, the chance of returning to Spain is pretty remote.

Hi la maesta
your post filled me with mixed emotions - frown a bit of sadness about what you say regarding this possible being your final trip to Spain and also grin pleased to see your great itinerary!
I hope your trip goes well in April and that you can find the time to repost back on it to us.
RR
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RR


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#93809 - 02/05/15 10:36 PM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: robbieroy]
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Thanks, robbieroy! I'm trying to finally get my husband to see the places I visited way back when I left home to study in Madrid in 1966! We're packing quite a lot into a short time. I'd prefer to take the train to save time, but the price difference is pretty great. I hate to pay full price if discounts are available (Dorado and supposedly reduced Renfe rates), but the Renfe site is maddening! My Spanish friends tell me that the bus system has changed quite a lot...even since the last time I was there (15 years ago), so they suggest I just take the bus. I suspect I may break down and take the Ave back from Córdoba, simply because once a trip is over, I just want to get on the plane asap and get home! I finally have the hotels reserved, and can concentrate more now on the transportation issues.
I feel a bit sad, knowing this will be my last trip to Spain, but you know how it goes....there are so many countries to see! I'm lucky to have been able to study at the Universidad Complutense, and to have returned for quite a few visits.
I'll be sure to repost on my adventures when we return in May.

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#93811 - 02/06/15 10:28 AM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: la maestra]
robbieroy Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Scotland
I have booked a coupe of AVE train trips in the past using the REFE site and can't remember it being too much of a problem but I did not have any cards such as Dorada to make use of.
One trip was a Barcelona to Zaragoza return trip and the other was a Malaga to Madrid one way trip. Both went smoothly.

Regarding the bus system, there had been big improvement in the services, especially between main cities with increased timetables and modern vehicles. It might be worth further exploring this as a partial option.
Please keep up updated with your plans.
RR
_________________________
RR


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#93812 - 02/06/15 11:46 AM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: robbieroy]
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
robbieroy, I'm looking at the Socibus site now, trying to get a handle on their timetable. There is a link to the timetable that goes nowhere! That's the kind of thing that makes me crazy! If I can't tell what time they leave, where they take you in Madrid, and how long the trip takes, there's no way I can plan on taking a bus! At least Renfe gives me that information!

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#93813 - 02/06/15 04:20 PM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: la maestra]
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Today Renfe liked me and I managed to get tickets from Córdoba to Madrid for about 19 Euros each. I think that's pretty good. I save time, which I can spend in Madrid that last day.

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#93814 - 02/06/15 07:57 PM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: la maestra]
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Okay....brick wall. How often are there trains from Algeciras to Ronda? I know I have to take a Comes bus from Tarifa to Algeciras, but once I am in Algeciras, am I limited to the one train in the morning? Is there an easier way that I'm missing? I see that if I take the M-150 at 6:30 AM, I'd get to Algeciras at 7:15. The Renfe site says the train leaves at 6:15AM! The next one they list leaves at 8:48 AM ( doable), but they don't show prices, so I can't buy the ticket. Anyone?

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#93815 - 02/07/15 10:58 AM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: la maestra]
robbieroy Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Scotland
Hi la maestra
I did a quck check on the trains using the RENFE site. I did random dates for a return journeys and got 6 outward trips on one day and 6 return trips on one day.





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RR


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#93817 - 02/07/15 03:39 PM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: robbieroy]
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Thanks, robbieroy. I think the deal is they didn't open the window for the sales until the 7th of February. I'm buying tickets for May. It wasn't open yesterday evening, but this morning....ta da! So now I have all my train tickets taken care of, and all that's left are the bus tickets, which I've been assured I can buy when I get there. I got really terrific deals (IMHO) on all but one trip, but a small discount is better than none. My Spanish friends think I'm crazy buying in advance and going by train. They say it isn't worth the money. But I'd much rather spend the little time I have in Spain in a city instead of on a bus.

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#93818 - 02/08/15 09:20 AM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: la maestra]
robbieroy Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Scotland
Great news!
RR
_________________________
RR


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#93821 - 02/08/15 02:59 PM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: robbieroy]
teachertraveler8 Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 11/20/09
Posts: 467
Loc: Detroit, Michigan
I just found out that the line from Cordoba to Granada will be closed for 6 months due to constructing the new AVE line over the old one. I know this doesn't affect La Maestra's plans, but it might be good for travelers to know that these things do pop up. For me, I will have to take a bus from Cordoba to Granada. Oh well. I'll still see the countryside while relaxing and letting someone else drive.

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#93822 - 02/08/15 10:15 PM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: teachertraveler8]
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
teachertraveler8, they wouldn't have sold a ticket knowing the line would be closed, would they? I'm not going to Granada, so I don't think it affects me, but still...

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#93823 - 02/09/15 06:21 AM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: la maestra]
teachertraveler8 Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 11/20/09
Posts: 467
Loc: Detroit, Michigan
No, I don't believe they would have. When I look for my own itinerary, it states that the tickets are unavailable. I didn't mean to mention it to concern you, just to make others aware of the situation. Have a wonderful trip!

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#93825 - 02/09/15 09:34 AM Re: Train passes, Dorado,...how to buy train tickets [Re: teachertraveler8]
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 411
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Lol! At this point, EVERYTHING concerns me! I want very much for my husband to love Spain the way I do, so I want all the connections to work out as planned so he can see as much as possible. We are always at the mercy of strikes, traffic, and whatever else may come our way!

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