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Do I need to book train in advance? (Santiago to Madrid)

Joanne P

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2018
#1
Hi Everyone

We will be flying home from Madrid on the 19th of July.
I'm wondering how far in advance we would need to book train tickets to get us from Santiago to Madrid, or will we be okay just buying a ticket on the day?

If we do need to book in advance, what is the best booking site to use please?

Also, do people book the bus in advance, for getting from Finistere to Santiago?

Thank you.
 

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norelle

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011 April, 2014 March) San Salvador, Primitivo, Finisterre, Muxia (June 2015) Del Norte (Sept/Oct 2016)
#2
Hi Joanne

Trains do get full closer to the date, especially if there is a special event or a weekend. Also, the cheaper seats fill up first and, if you wait, you may end up paying more than need be.

If you have a definite departure from Madrid, I would book your train ASAP.

Whenever I've returned from Fisterre, people have purchased tickets from the bus driver.

Buen Camino
 

Colette Zaharie

Happy Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterre-Muxia March 2017
Slovakia Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017
El Norte March 1 2018
#4
I’ve traveled 2 years in a row from santiago to the Madrid airport by train (slept the night before at the Albergue La Estación 10 min easy walk max to train station). I booked both times online the fastvtrain and it was great.
 

Dillwyn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
#5
I purchase my train tickets through “Loco2.” There are other online booking services, but Loco2 is consistently easy to find the fastest and cheapest trains (prices vary a LOT), it offers English, and it always accepts my credit card. I find internal flights to be a hastle. By the time you arrive early to the airport, and deal with delayed flights, it can be draining. Trains are my preference!
 

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MikeC

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled SJPP to SDC September 2016
Starting Camino Ingles June 2018
#6
Hi Joanne,
I have used Renfe English site to book in advance.
It auto assigned seats for the promotional fares, no choices.
Works fine but I paid via PayPal
Cost in July is 28 Euro, cost for this coming Sunday is 39 Euro and some trains are already full.
 

Colette Zaharie

Happy Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterre-Muxia March 2017
Slovakia Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017
El Norte March 1 2018
#7
I also booked online with Loco2.
 

tomnorth

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); March/April (2019)
#8
Hi Everyone

We will be flying home from Madrid on the 19th of July.
I'm wondering how far in advance we would need to book train tickets to get us from Santiago to Madrid, or will we be okay just buying a ticket on the day?

If we do need to book in advance, what is the best booking site to use please?

Also, do people book the bus in advance, for getting from Finistere to Santiago?

Thank you.
I waited until I got into Santiago to book my train to Madrid at the Renfe office. I did not have any issue getting a seat in first class. The upcharge for first class on the trains in Europe is minimal, and the increased overhead storage and comfort is well worth it to me. One reason I’m glad I booked in person is that they were able to explain to me how the free transfer to the airport worked. If I had booked online I’m not sure I would have understand that my ticket came with a free transfer to the airport.
 

Joanne P

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2018
#9
Hi Joanne

Trains do get full closer to the date, especially if there is a special event or a weekend. Also, the cheaper seats fill up first and, if you wait, you may end up paying more than need be.

If you have a definite departure from Madrid, I would book your train ASAP.

Whenever I've returned from Fisterre, people have purchased tickets from the bus driver.

Buen Camino
Thank you.
 

Joanne P

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2018
#10
Hi Joanne, it's not just that tickets may be more expensive, some trains could be full. Have a look at plane flights, sometimes they are cheaper than the train.
Thanks, I hadn't considered flying. I will check that out too.
 

Joanne P

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2018
#11
I’ve traveled 2 years in a row from santiago to the Madrid airport by train (slept the night before at the Albergue La Estación 10 min easy walk max to train station). I booked both times online the fastvtrain and it was great.
Thank you. I appreciate the accommodation suggestion as well :)
 

Joanne P

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2018
#12
I purchase my train tickets through “Loco2.” There are other online booking services, but Loco2 is consistently easy to find the fastest and cheapest trains (prices vary a LOT), it offers English, and it always accepts my credit card. I find internal flights to be a hastle. By the time you arrive early to the airport, and deal with delayed flights, it can be draining. Trains are my preference!
Thanks for the booking site recommendation.
 

Joanne P

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2018
#13
Hi Joanne,
I have used Renfe English site to book in advance.
It auto assigned seats for the promotional fares, no choices.
Works fine but I paid via PayPal
Cost in July is 28 Euro, cost for this coming Sunday is 39 Euro and some trains are already full.
Thanks MikeC. Much appreciated.
 

Joanne P

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June 2018
#14
I waited until I got into Santiago to book my train to Madrid at the Renfe office. I did not have any issue getting a seat in first class. The upcharge for first class on the trains in Europe is minimal, and the increased overhead storage and comfort is well worth it to me. One reason I’m glad I booked in person is that they were able to explain to me how the free transfer to the airport worked. If I had booked online I’m not sure I would have understand that my ticket came with a free transfer to the airport.
Thank you! Definitely good to know about the free transfer :)
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#15
If I knew for sure the date that I needed to travel I would definitely book ahead. You will get a better price, and not be caught out with all trains fully booked. That's what happened to me last August. I knew that I would have quite a bit of time after my Camino. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do, so decided to play it by ear, and didn't book anything ahead, only to find all trains to Madrid, or any other destination that I wanted to go to, like Porto, were full. Lots of buses were also full, and flights were a lot more expensive than if I had booked ahead.
And I've gotten some great deals on first class tickets by booking ahead. I use the Renfe app, and pay with PayPal.
 

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#16
Hi Everyone

We will be flying home from Madrid on the 19th of July.
I'm wondering how far in advance we would need to book train tickets to get us from Santiago to Madrid, or will we be okay just buying a ticket on the day? If we do need to book in advance, what is the best booking site to use please?
Thank you.
Hola Joanne - it really depends upon what train you are hoping to travel on. If you are considering the overnight one and want a sleeper then yes book in advance. From what I remember when I travelled last June I ran into the issue of timetable changes (winter to summer) but that was in mid-June. Again, from memory, the very high speed AVE trains do not operate on the SDC-Madrid service so your options are the Media Distance one which has both first & second class seating. The first class often fills up well in advance, so if you wish travel here then yes book in advance. If you can negotiate the RENFE website you can book on line otherwise any major RENFE train station (eg Leon) or as you are walking to Finnistere then you could book in Santiago. Good luck!
 

tomnorth

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); March/April (2019)
#18
That's why I use the Renfe app. I find it much easier to use than the website.
I installed both the Spanish RENFE app and the French SNCF app. I plan to use both next year when I walk. That way I’ve got my tickets with me on my phone.
 

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