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Seeking advice re transportation San Sebastian to Madrid

Seeking advice re transportation San Sebastian to Madrid

Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 08:50 PM
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pdx
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Seeking advice re transportation San Sebastian to Madrid

I'd appreciate fodorite input regarding mode of transportation between San Sebastián and Madrid city center. Mid February if that affects the choice.
It's looking like a pick your poison choice. Bus is 5hrs, train is 5hrs, plane is 1hr but with to and from airports kind of comes out the same.



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Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 09:27 PM
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Hi, I hope you will excuse me weighing in here as I haven't done that trip, but if I had my choice of a 5hr trip it would be on a train. You can stretch your legs, go to the toilet, eat in the dining car (you can even bring your own picnic). Buses are cramped, may not have a toilet, and are worse for travel sickness. Flying is less good for the environment and a lot of mucking around with security. Trains are usually also cost-effective. But that's just my 2c. Hopefully you find someone who has done this route before!

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Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 09:27 PM
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I believe we took the bus, there was no train option. It was great, good Wi-Fi interesting stop for lunch and enjoyed the overall experience. If there is now a train I would probably do that.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 11:26 PM
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Buses are modern, very comfortable, wifi and toilet on board, timely and frequent. I believe there´s just one train and it takes ages, although it´s also modern and comfortable.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 12:56 AM
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It is down to cost too? How about a rental car? Take time and explore some parts of Spain that are normally not considered.
In response to the comment above about being less good for the environment then why dose this forum enough traveling 1000s of miles to see any destination? It does not compute.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 01:16 AM
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Take the obvious choice, the train, through the scenery.

t's too far to slum it in a cramped bus on ugly motorways. It's too short to fly. And there's ALWAYS been a train, since the 19th century!

The train is an enjoyable experience, 1st & 2nd class, cafe-bar, power sockets & WiFi. It comes down out of the Pyrenees through some great scenery, onto the plains, at Zaragoza it goes through a gauge-changing shed and switches its axles from Iberian gauge (5'6") to standard gauge (5'8.5") and joins the high-speed line for a 250km/h dash to Madrid.

Book at www.Renfe.com or (easier, small booking fee) www.thetrainline.com
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 10:35 AM
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Thanks everyone. It's reassuring to know that there isn't a definite answer. I was wondering if I was missing something obvious but it doesn't seem so. I would prefer the prettiest and most comfortable route. I dread the airport prep and stress but I'm willing to do it if it's the logical choice. Neither of us want to drive even though it does give that opportunity to stop and smell the roses. Not this trip. Off to research a bit more. Thanks again.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 11:41 AM
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pdx,
We've done it both ways--by flying and by train.

Advantage of the Iberia/Vueling flight:
One hour flight time
Lowest airfare: €61

Disadvantages:
Only 3 non-stop flights per day;
EAS is actually located in Hondarribia, 21 km. away, so need to pay a €45 taxi fare (taxidonosti.com) from your SS hotel to the airport or
take the E21 bus directly to the airport from Plaza Gipuzkoa, a 40-minute ride

Then at MAD take a taxi directly to your hotel €(30 flat fare), Cercanías commuter train from T4 to center city, then taxi or walk to hotel, or Aeropuerto-Express bus (€5/p) to Atocha rail station or Plaza Cibeles in center city, then taxi or walk to your hotel

Advantage of Renfe's 9:20 am Alvia:
It's a scenic ride in parts
Opposed to a bus, you can get up and stretch your legs
Cost €58.50 or €77.80 in Elige Confort, with a 2-1 seat configuration, fewer passengers per car=quieter ride
Atocha rail station, closer in the center city than the bus station or airport

Disadvantage:
Only two Alvias per day that take 4 hours, 54 minutes (other trains require a change and take forever)
www.renfe.com

We're taking the MAD-EAS Iberia/Vueling flight in Jan. but only because we have a good connection at Barajas after arriving on our Dallas-Madrid flight.

Last edited by Maribel; Dec 4th, 2022 at 12:41 PM.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 02:10 PM
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Ick,that flight to Madrid sounds stressful and it starts adding up €€€. That's it, we're going train.
I thought of you this morning while researching restaurants in Sevilla. My sister and I enjoyed Vuela Tapas so much we went twice in our 4 day stay. Convenient location next to the Cathedral. Beautiful food, casual modern, lovely place to rest your feet and drink an aperol spritz before going back to the hotel for siesta. I'm excited to be able to take my husband this time. https://vuelatapas.com
Are you going to be making new discoveries this trip or revisiting old haunts? How can I stalk your trip without being too obvious?


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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 02:27 PM
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Hi pdx,
Thanks for the recommendation of Vuela Tapas in Sevilla!
I'll be sure to check it out during my 8-night stay.

I'm planning an 8-week trip with 3 weeks with husband in Madrid (for Madrid Fusion), San Sebastián (for Tamborrada) and Pamplona (for house hunting), then on my own for 5 more weeks in the south---Córdoba, Sevilla, Jerez for the flamenco festival & Sanlúcar (to meet up, I hope, with Ekscrunchy), Cádiz and Málaga. It's mostly a business trip, making new discoveries (have an impossibly long list), but I hope fun as well.
I'll try to post these new discoveries here as I find them so that you can "stalk me" on this forum .
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 04:30 PM
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Sounds lovely! There is fun in your future even if it's a working vacation. You made a good career choice!
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 10:31 PM
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Maribel, so you´re coming to stay? That´s great news!!
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 08:27 AM
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I hope so, mikelg! Now....if you could find us a nice flat to buy in Getxo, Bilbao would then be my favorite city in the universe!
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 12:54 PM
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Hahaha, the main issue with Getxo is price...you know I live just half a mile from there, but on a much cheaper place!!! Let me know if I can be of help, it´ll be my pleasure if needed!
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Old Dec 5th, 2022, 01:24 PM
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mikelg,
I know, I know, the Getxo prices!!....have looked at some flats there online at idealista.com and ouch!!

pdx,
Just a little correction of post #8. The San Sebastián-Madrid Alvia goes to Chamartín rail station in the northern business section of Madrid rather than to Atocha. Forgot that. You can take a Cercanías train from Chamartín to Atocha, but since they're usually somewhat crowded, with luggage we just grab a taxi to our hotel.

I just bought our tickets on the 9:05 Alvia for Jan. with our Tarjeta Dorada for those 60+ and saved us 25% off the Elige Confort fare. One must purchase the T.D. at a Spain rail station. It's valid for a year, and now one can renew it online.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 05:34 PM
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Are you saying you were able to buy the Tarjeta Dorada ticket online because you have had a prior one but that I would need to buy it in person at a rail station once I arrive in Spain?
Thank you for the clarification regarding the Chamartín rail station v Atocha.
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Old Dec 6th, 2022, 05:45 PM
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pdx,
We bought our Tarjeta Dorada at a rail station in Spain, the only way one can purchase it, since it requires proof of age with passport or driver's license.
Then we insert our TD number during the online transaction process to receive the discount. The TD is valid for one year and costs 6 euros/person.
Here are the TD discounts:
https://www.renfe.com/es/en/viajar/p.../mayores-de-60

Yes, you would need to purchase it in person at a rail station once you arrive in Spain.
Because I'm traveling so much in my 8 weeks by rail, it's a huge money saver for me.
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