I usually travel with friends. We rent a car and drive to our destinations. Cost of petrol is quite outrageous, so we are considering the train. Would like to fly into Lisbon, travel north to Porto then to Santiago de Compostela,Spain. Then through Leon & Ovieto, to Bilbao, various small towns across northern Spain and southern France, and, as our last destination Bologna, Italy as we will be traveling south from there for an estimated week for a cooking experience. I'd like recommendations on the mode of travel, perhaps by train, or a combination of train and car rental. Would it be best to go through an agent to make the entire length of the trip by train? We are fairly seasoned travelers. Thanks, Lainie
I think that a 31 hour train journey sounds even more outrageous. If you do choose to use a train, please don't use an agent - talk about outrageous! Use the websites of the national rail carriers of the country you are traveling from to purchase your ticket. Rental car sounds good, but have you considered the outrageous drop off fee in addition to the petrol? Personally, I would fly from Bilbao to Bologna (which is great by the way; just spent a week there over the summer). Using a dummy date, a one way ticket on Iberia (direct flight!) costs 189 dollars. Alternatively, Vueling offers flights via Barcelona one way to Bologna from Bilbao for 126 bucks. I did this search on kayak.com.
Thanks for the flight idea/info from Bilbao to Bologna, both from the logistics as well as pricing. BTW - wasn't thinking of it as one, continuous "31-hour" train trip...yes, that would be a bit outrageous!
You will face big charges if you drop a car in another country. You could take the bus from Porto to Vigo in Spain and pick up a car there and drop it in Bilbao and fly from there.