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Spanish Trains

Are the trains in Spain reliable in terms of departure and arrival times. How long ahead of time should one buy a train ticket?

I need to make a round trip from Madrid to Granada. Is bus or train better?
Thanks.
P.S. Is it my imagination or is there no 'search' function on this forum?

Posted by
79 posts

Spanish trains are terrific. Reliable, fast, comfortable. During a recent trip to Spain, we went from Madrid to Sevilla, then to Garanda, then back to Madrid without problem.

I highly recommend that you visit the website called www.Seat61.com. It's very useful for getting to know the Spanish train system.

Good luck.

Posted by
21720 posts

It is your imagination! The very top line - Search is a 24 pt type, slightly blued box. Pretty obvious. Trains in Spain run about like everywhere else. On time the vast majority but can get delay by weather, maybe maintenance on the weekend, etc. If going directly from Madrid to Granada then the train is the better option.

Posted by
984 posts

'How long ahead of time should one buy a train ticket?' - If your dates are fixed. Promptly if your money matters, for very large discounts.
Bus is with www.alsa.es
I would not know what you want from 'better'.

Posted by
4535 posts

The Madrid-Granada line is not the high-speed AVE line yet, but still the train is clean, quiet and convenient. Trains run on time except for unforeseen issues/accidents or scheduled track work.

Spanish trains offer a significant discount for advanced purchase. Try and book 60-90 days in advance to assure getting a discount, but often they are available even closer to your dates (there are only so many discounted tickets available for each train).

The Spanish rail site renfe is notorious to navigate and understand, and even harder to use a US credit card. But take some time to figure it out, consult the tripadvisor Spain forum thread on renfe and use the Paypal option for payment.

Posted by
28 posts

If the search function was a bear it would have bit me. :-)

Thanks for all the good advice. I have secured tickets though not early enough to get the best deal. Live and learn.

Posted by
14910 posts

The bus and the train are equally good. I think the train station in Madrid may be somewhat more accessible than the bus station. I chose the train because the time schedule worked better for me . . . from Granada to Madrid.

Posted by
28 posts

You folks are making look like a champ! My American friends think I must have been born a European.

Posted by
21720 posts

Don't be afraid of the bus system in Spain. The Spanish rail system is not as extensive as in other parts of Europe. As a result, there is an excellent and really cheap bus system that sometimes is faster than the train. The bus station in Madrid is conveniently located.

Posted by
11832 posts

Trains are reliable and comfortable. They can be expensive if you don't plan, and book, ahead.

I like the bus system because it's always cheap, reliable, and you can always find a seat without advance booking. I book the afternoon/night before but that's not even necessary.

Posted by
61 posts

See my recent posts about purchasing train tickets for some insight on that process.