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Reservations for Night Trains?

I am planning to travel to Spain in the fall and wanted to know: how far in advance will I need to reserve a night train? I want to travel from Granada to Barcelona on the night train (trenhotel). Can I make the reservation while I'm already in Spain (a week or two before the Granada to Barcelona trip) or should I make it before I leave the US? Also, if anyone has experience with this, how are the night trains? Is there a particular type of bed I should book to make for a more pleasant (or less unpleasant) experience?

Thanks,

Liz

Posted by
4125 posts

We took the Madrid-Granada night train on a September trip about 9 years ago. It was not a very restful night, but adequate. I think we made our reservations a couple of days in advance, no more, with no difficulties and plenty of room.

On the other hand, when we tried to book Madrid-Lisbon couchettes at the last minute, we were out of luck--the only thing available was a private compartment. (Pricey but kind of fun.) So it likely varies from route to route.

Posted by
28 posts

My advice would be to book online before you leave: one less thing to worry about once you arrive in Spain. I just booked a ticket on trenHotel from Madrid to Paris using raileurope.com. They mail paper tickets to your home address here in the US. I booked about 30 days in advance for a trip in July and had no problem getting a reservation. (I think the maximum is 60 days in advance.)

No personal experience with the trenhotel trains & service yet; I'll pass along my experience when I return if no one else chimes in before then.

Posted by
2 posts

I just finished planning our trip and discovered that it is way less expensive to fly from Sevilla to Barcelona then to train it. We had looked at an overnight tren hotel, but for three of us it was going to cost close to $1000. Instead I check flights on the discount airlines and found a flight for 20Euro a piece - even with an extra hotel night we came out much better. Lesson learned: check inter europe flights before booking that overnight train!

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks for the replies. It seems like to be safe I should book before I go. Flying is not a good option for me (I hate to fly and it would also require another night's hotel stay), but I agree it can be a good option for some.

Liz

Posted by
35 posts

Liz, consider flying. I put Sept 20 in as a date, Granada->Barcelona....I got a 845am flight on Iberia for $65US [one way price, not roundtrip]...gets to Barcelona by 10:10am.

Ryanair says this about Granada airport:
Granada airport is 17km west of the city.
Five daily buses operated by Autocares J. Gonzáles
run between the airport and the city center costing €3. A taxi from the airport to the city center costs about €20. Tel: +34 958 24 52 00
www.andalucia.com/travel/airports/granada.htm

I like trains but flying seems like a good deal...we did the reverse trip {Barcelona->Granada] on the train in a preferente [two bed] compartment. It's now 96 euros each for that, or 79 euros each in a 4 bed compartment. With this, I think I would have considered flying....especially since the night train departs in the late evening...when things in Spanish towns are happening.

Barcelona has a train serving the airport, service is frequent and not too expensive. Check it out.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Liz. I recently returned from Spain and travelled on the overnight RENFE Trenhotel from Seville to Barcelona. I booked about three days in advance while I was in Spain. To be safe you may want to book well in advance if you are travelling within the high season (July/August/September?). Any other time you can probably get away with booking 2-3 days in advance. The cheapest option is a four berth cabin. The cabins are small and you may end up sharing with up to three other people but I found it o.k because we were all asleep for most of the journey anyway (unfortunately there are no guarantees around who you get to share your cabin with!). There are single and twin cabins available too but these are much more expensive. The advantage of travelling overnight is that you are saving on time and accommodation costs. For further info you may want to check out the RENFE website.

Posted by
7205 posts

With the price of overnight sleeper cars, saving money on accomodation costs is sometimes questionable. More often the savings you realize will just be the "time" not wasted on traveling during the day.