Large cities in Spain have excellent public transportation. Passes (abonos) for repeated use of buses, subways and commuter trains are available in form of an I.D. or in ten-ride and round-trip tickets. In some cities, this Abono pass allows for unlimited travel for one month within a determined area. Applications for this pass are available at the "estancos." Special ten-ride subway and bus tickets ("Metro Bus") are purchased in the subway, at some tobacco shops and E.M.T. booths.
Cities in Spain with Metro:
◦Metro de Barcelona
◦Metro de Bilbao
◦Metro de Madrid
◦Metro de Palma
◦Metro de Sevilla
◦Metro de Valencia
R.E.N.F.E. is the main train company in Spain. The trains vary greatly in quality, price and speed and most find the AVE to be the most comfortable. For overnight trips, "coche-camas" are very popular and quite comfortable. Madrid and Sevilla, and Madrid and Barcelona are only 2.5 hours apart on the AVE, the high-speed train. The Intercity connects Valencia and other north and eastern cities with Madrid. Regardless of the type of train or route followed, there are a number of discounts available. Travel passes often require a supplement for sleeper cars and fast trains. R.E.N.F.E.: Purchasing round trip train tickets can entitle you to a 10% to 20% discount on most trains and up to a 30% discount if on the same day according to whether it is "dia de trafico medio bajo", "mediano" or "alto". For more information and to purchase your tickets check out Renfe's web page (www.renfe.es) or call 902.240.202.
- Interail is a one-month pass of unlimited 2nd class train travel (and some bus and boat travel) throughout Europe (paying 50% of train cost in the country where the pass was purchased). To obtain this card, one must be under 26 and show that he/she has been residing in the country (in this case, Spain) a minimum of 6 months. Official residency, such as a student residency card, is necessary. The cost depends on the number of days and "areas" in Europe.
- Eurailpass works almost like an Interail but must be purchased in the United States and entitles unlimited train travel (and some bus and boat) through most European countries. Both 1st and 2nd class passes (only the latter one has an age restriction) are available. For one month, it tends to be more expensive than Interail, however if more than one month is purchased the price drops considerably.
- Tourist trains sponsored by RENFE and the Ministry of Tourism offer the possibility of making a one-day to Aranjuez on the Tren de la Fresa (Saturdays and Sundays during the Spring and Summer). This antique train offers visitors strawberries during the ride and includes entrance tickets to monuments in the price and leaves from Atocha-Renfe. Another type of historical-ride train is a train to Alcalб de Henares. Two very luxurious and expensive train rides are the Al Andalus tour and the Transcantabrico.
Intercity bus transportation tends to be about the equivalent in cost of second-class rail travel. Rates are sometimes lower. Where a choice is available, check schedules and prices since bus travel is often faster than train.
Air travel, as a general rule, is rather expensive in Europe. Students (under 30 years of age) have flights available through T.I.V.E. with various discounts depending on the time of year. For regular flights, special fares are sometimes available for groups, students traveling and returning to a country where studies are conducted, excursions, etc. Youth fare is available on some European airlines. Depending on length of stay, and date of purchase, Apex fares should be considered. Some airlines also have "stand-by" rates. One may also consider a number of charter flights, such as Air Europa, Vueling or Clickair. When booking a flight back to the United States, it is wise to do it well in advance. Shortly after Easter, most discount and tourist seats are booked for the whole summer.
Driving in Spain may be somewhat trying at first. The general international driving rules apply to this country. Speed limits, which were often ignored in the past, are now being enforced very drastically. Radar is often used on highways to catch speeding cars and it is not unusual for speed limit violators to find a 300 euros fine in their mailbox. Also do not be surprised to find traffic stopped for police checks or alcohol controls.The seatbelt law is in effect, even within city limits. With a valid driver's license, Americans may drive in Spain, provided that they have a translation (notarized by the American Embassy or Consulate or the R.A.C.E.). It is recommended that the International Driver's License be obtained in the States before arriving as it is not very clear which driving permit the work permit exemption with residency requires. As a general rule, using a car in a big city is expensive and sometimes unpleasant. Parking is difficult and insurance is high. Most cities have excellent public transportation too. However, for weekend outings a car can be ideal. Car rental is an option but up to three times more expensive than in the United State an dnot generally recommended for student travelling.
Types of Accomodation
•Hotels in Spain
•Hostels in Spain
Useful Web Pages
•Official Spanish Tourism Page
•Official Youth Hostels
Major Arilines operating in Spain