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Driving/renting a car from Madrid Airport to Camino Destination.

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
We are exploring the option of renting a car at MAD airport and dropping it off at either Leon or Burgos? Has anyone else done this? I already have a reservation, which I can cancel. Any personal experience is welcomed. This would avoid having to take a cab, or public transportation to Madrid. This seems a good option, rather than taking a taxi and our luggage through train screening, lines, and then a several hour train ride at a busy time (beginning of September). It would cost us about 50 euros more plus gas and tolls, so about 80-90 euros more for two persons, but would be safer with regards to distancing.

We were thinking of staying the first night in Valladolid. There is parking under the hotel there...but it is not guaranteed. We should arrive early enough..by 2pm to secure it.

i have driven in europe many times, sometimes for two months at a time and am comfortable driving a stick...and yes, I will obtain an international license.

Has anyone done this? Here are my questions.

Does anyone know if a special permit is needed to drive in the city of Valladolid? Is there a no drive zone?

Is this city safe to walk around in? Some vacation sites warn about thieves on bicycles?

Is there a festival that occurs in Valladold at the beginning of September, that would impact travel.

We are only stopping overnight, but if there is one sight we should not miss, what would that be?

Please, no alternative suggestions for other forms of travel such as bus..

Thanks for your help!
 
Last edited:
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I've never met anyone who's done this (in my eleven Caminos) but there's no law against it. The Vallodolid ajuntamiento site reports that the first Friday in September is the Feast of the Virgen of San Lorenzo, and continues for the next nine days. The (first or following?? I'm not sure) Saturday is usually a music festival for the young folk, so you can figure out how much sleep you're going to get and, unless you're at a suburban hotel with a monitored car park, the risks to your vehicle from Spanish youth unable to navigate a straight line.

I've never been to Vallodolid, although it is on my list on account of the Royal English College of Saint Alban*, so cannot speak from first hand experience. If you are there during a fiesta, you will almost surely want to guard against Spain's very efficient urban pickpockets so leave all but a few necessary euros in the hotel safe.

*There also appear to be some interesting museums, with the Oriental focussing on Spain's Asian outreach-- the Japanese selection looks as if it's worth a peek--, and the Patio Herreriano of contemporary Spanish art, which may be more interesting than its website. The English College has six saints and seventeen blesseds among its martyred graduates, so RC pilgrims may find it of some interest.

I am aware that you specifically declared your wish not to be informed of alternatives, but I see from Google that the roughly 200km can be covered in just under a week, much of it following a variant of the Madrid camino. Just saying.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I cannot help with your other questions, but I have visited Valladolid many times and would say that I never felt the need to take anything other than ordinary ‘city’ precautions with respect to crime or safety. Note that the best tapas bars rarely open (or even look like they will ever open) before 2000hrs.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I've never met anyone who's done this (in my eleven Caminos) but there's no law against it. The Vallodolid ajuntamiento site reports that the first Friday in September is the Feast of the Virgen of San Lorenzo, and continues for the next nine days. The (first or following?? I'm not sure) Saturday is usually a music festival for the young folk, so you can figure out how much sleep you're going to get and, unless you're at a suburban hotel with a monitored car park, the risks to your vehicle from Spanish youth unable to navigate a straight line.

I've never been to Vallodolid, although it is on my list on account of the Royal English College of Saint Alban*, so cannot speak from first hand experience. If you are there during a fiesta, you will almost surely want to guard against Spain's very efficient urban pickpockets so leave all but a few necessary euros in the hotel safe.

*There also appear to be some interesting museums, with the Oriental focussing on Spain's Asian outreach-- the Japanese selection looks as if it's worth a peek--, and the Patio Herreriano of contemporary Spanish art, which may be more interesting than its website. The English College has six saints and seventeen blesseds among its martyred graduates, so RC pilgrims may find it of some interest.

I am aware that you specifically declared your wish not to be informed of alternatives, but I see from Google that the roughly 200km can be covered in just under a week, much of it following a variant of the Madrid camino. Just saying.

We will be done before the weekend prior to the feast day you mentioned. Thanks. I will explore your site suggestions as well. 😀
 
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@Marbe2 I agree with Henry's master that Valladolid is a great little city, and that the crime risk is no more than it would be to any tourist in any town they did not know. The usual precautions apply.

I'm amazed by the price quote you have for one-way car hire. I can't find anything more comfortable that a Fiat 500 for less than €150 for any date in September and thats assuming 24 hour hire, pick-up at noon, drop-off at noon the following day. Any overrun incurs a full second day charge. Who is the quote from? I need them in my list.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Thrifty....which is ownd by hertz. Compact car. I never take insurance with car companies in europe because they will bleed you. Instead, I insure through American Express with a primary collision insurance. And I also take a private policy...with Allianz which is for one night but they count two days (16 dollars in toto) which covers the undercarriage, collision, glass and tires as well. I bring the policy with me.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, @Marbe2,

I have never done a one-way rental in Spain, but I have read a number of forum threads about this topic, and I think you should just double check to make sure that there is no one-way drop off charge that has not yet been added to your cost. And I would make sure to have a printed out copy that details all the costs, because one way drop off charges in Spain are typically very high.

As far as Valladolid, it is a really nice snall city. For sure, enjoy the pretty Plaza Mayor! I can also highly recommend the National Sculpture Museum. It’s located in an old monastery with an over the top plateresque facade that is well worth seeing just on its own. The museum houses mainly Golden Age religious art, I am sure I saw a few Santiago pieces there. Cervantes lived in Valladolid for some years, and one of his houses has become a museum.


5963E01B-5057-4AB6-BAEB-01DE44F59FDB.jpeg 7396CB2A-D859-41BB-A6F2-8690A4A840D9.jpeg 2EE9ACCC-96E0-49CC-BF48-BB8667CC3544.jpeg B7C1B09B-1EE1-47AB-B351-CA2926D36708.jpeg
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Hi, @Marbe2,

I have never done a one-way rental in Spain, but I have read a number of forum threads about this topic, and I think you should just double check to make sure that there is no one-way drop off charge that has not yet been added to your cost. And I would make sure to have a printed out copy that details all the costs, because one way drop off charges in Spain are typically very high.

As far as Valladolid, it is a really nice snall city. For sure, enjoy the pretty Plaza Mayor! I can also highly recommend the National Sculpture Museum. It’s located in an old monastery with an over the top plateresque facade that is well worth seeing just on its own. The museum houses mainly Golden Age religious art, I am sure I saw a few Santiago pieces there. Cervantes lived in Valladolid for some years, and one of his houses has become a museum.


View attachment 90208 View attachment 90209 View attachment 90210 View attachment 90211

Actually, there was only a charge of 16,2 euros for the drop off fee. I searched for about a month till I found a good rate. Read a number of forums about car rentals in Spain....found this company recommended on Rick Steves blog.
I did call the car company....twice to verify, and do have a detailed breakdown of costs.

I also looked at driving from SdC to MAD and the rates were crazy expensive, so we decided to fly back from ScD to MAD, taking a very cheap flight and buying the third seat in our row.

I will check out the National Sculpture Museum. Where did you stay when you were there?

Thanks
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I was only in Valladolid for a short visit between a bus ride and walking to Puenta Deuro to meet up with Oliver. I put it on my list for places to visit in the future. It did not strike me as a town I would like to drive in. I have rented car in Burgos when my legs gave out on me while cycling one year. The car I picked up was at a hotel downtown near the old part of town, I don't remember the rental company but I do remember trying to find a location to pick up a car was difficult because most of them were near the train station which is outside of town, so you might want to confirm the drop-off locations in Burgos or Leon.
 
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Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Having rented a lot of cars in spain, i feel some advice for caution and planning is in order.
I recommend you read up on the reviews of your company up front. Most likely you will find plenty of bad ones. Thats going to be true for pretty much all of the big spanish rental agencies that cater to tourists.
You will find reports to regard of additional insurance, attempts to upsell, money blocked at your credit card, credit cards that do not get accepted, possible hidden fees and possible problems with damage "that totally was not there in the first place (according to the agency)". Then you can read the fine print of the company and maybe think about what your reaction to one of those problems will be.

I have to say, i rented cars for as low as 3,50€ for 10 days (35ct a day) and was able to be charged nothing more than what i was quoted every time i did rent a car, but i sometimes had some rather heated discussions with the clerks handing out the cars or taking them back.
So my advice is to come prepared so you avoid an unpleasant experience.

edit: at various occasions i had all of the aforementioned problems with the agency. At quite few ones, i had none and got my car in a professional manner.

For those willing to "take the risk", there is one site called doyouspain.com which lets you search for rental cars, and no, they neither do pay me nor are they perfect in terms of transperancy, but they did actually always offer the best price. Make sure to always use the filters for "full-full" and "free cancellation".
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I was only in Valladolid for a short visit between a bus ride and walking to Puenta Deuro to meet up with Oliver. I put it on my list for places to visit in the future. It did not strike me as a town I would like to drive in. I have rented car in Burgos when my legs gave out on me while cycling one year. The car I picked up was at a hotel downtown near the old part of town, I don't remember the rental company but I do remember trying to find a location to pick up a car was difficult because most of them were near the train station which is outside of town, so you might want to confirm the drop-off locations in Burgos or Leon.

Thanks, we think alike. There are a couple of options. Tentatively, I picked a hotel in Valladolid that is on the outskirts of the center of town, we will be able to walk to the center in about 10-15 minutes. Car park underground. Can’t be worse than parking underground in Portovenere, IT! The drop is on the outskirts of Leon and we can walk to our accommodations in 10 minutes as well.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
We are exploring the option of renting a car at MAD airport and dropping it off at either Leon or Burgos? Has anyone else done this? I already have a reservation, which I can cancel. Any personal experience is welcomed. This would avoid having to take a cab, or public transportation to Madrid. This seems a good option, rather than taking a taxi and our luggage through train screening, lines, and then a several hour train ride at a busy time (beginning of September). It would cost us about 50 euros more plus gas and tolls, so about 80-90 euros more for two persons, but would be safer with regards to distancing.

We were thinking of staying the first night in Valladolid. There is parking under the hotel there...but it is not guaranteed. We should arrive early enough..by 2pm to secure it.

i have driven in europe many times, sometimes for two months at a time and am comfortable driving a stick...and yes, I will obtain an international license.

Has anyone done this? Here are my questions.

Does anyone know if a special permit is needed to drive in the city of Valladolid? Is there a no drive zone?

Is this city safe to walk around in? Some vacation sites warn about thieves on bicycles?

Is there a festival that occurs in Valladold at the beginning of September, that would impact travel.

We are only stopping overnight, but if there is one sight we should not miss, what would that be?

Please, no alternative suggestions for other forms of travel such as bus..

Thanks for your help!
It is in the trade called a "boomerang".
I have done this on ocassion whereby you collect it from one hire point and drop off at another. I do it, in reverse, at the end of my stay.
Hope this helps.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
There are a couple of options.
You got me to thinking. Simancas is a small town (on the Camino de Madrid), which is just a short bus ride from the center of Valladolid. It has a storybook castle that is now part of the National Archives. It has typically Spanish high quality local bus service in and out of the city. Simancas is a touristy town, kind of like Hondarribia (but not quite as pretty. IMO) and has a lot of hotel options — from cheap pensiones, to standard modern chains, to old stone buildings turned hotel to a few splurges. I think that would eliminate the driving problem completely.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Having rented a lot of cars in spain, i feel some advice for caution and planning is in order.
I recommend you read up on the reviews of your company up front. Most likely you will find plenty of bad ones. Thats going to be true for pretty much all of the big spanish rental agencies that cater to tourists.
You will find reports to regard of additional insurance, attempts to upsell, money blocked at your credit card, credit cards that do not get accepted, possible hidden fees and possible problems with damage "that totally was not there in the first place (according to the agency)". Then you can read the fine print of the company and maybe think about what your reaction to one of those problems will be.

I have to say, i rented cars for as low as 3,50€ for 10 days (35ct a day) and was able to be charged nothing more than what i was quoted every time i did rent a car, but i sometimes had some rather heated discussions with the clerks handing out the cars or taking them back.
So my advice is to come prepared so you avoid an unpleasant experience.

For those willing to "take the risk", there is one site called doyouspain.com which lets you search for rental cars, and no, they neither do pay me nor are they perfect in terms of transperancy, but they did actually always offer the best price. Make sure to always use the filters for "full-full" and "free cancellation".

Normally, I would take the train, for such a trip, but given the unknown of COVID 19, I thought, it might be a good alternative if things are still iffy.
I did not have to lay out any money in advance. So I will lose nothing if things really improve, and train travel seems easier.

I have rented cars in europe many times as well as in The USA. Rental car companies are notoriously dishonest. First, I always take pictures/video of the car with a current newspaper date....Proof of when I picked up the car, and with any scratches on it. If I see anything, I go back and make them note it on the contract. I take an inexpensive private policy with allianz which covers, in particular, the undercarriage, ,because that is one of the ways, they try to get you! It is primary insurance. And I use Amex which covers the whole car. I do take their roadside assistance which is only a few euros and worth it, if something goes wrong.
 
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Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Normally, I would take the train, for such a trip, but given the unknown of COVID 19, I thought, it might be a good alternative if things are still iffy.
I did not have to lay out any money in advance. So I will lose nothing if things really improve, and train travel seems easier.

I have rented cars in europe many times as well as in The USA. Rental car companies are notoriously dishonest. First, I always take pictures/video of the car with a current newspaper date....Proof of when I picked up the car, and with any scratches on it. If I see anything, I go back and make them note it on the contract. I take an inexpensive private policy with allianz which covers, in particular, the undercarriage, ,because that is one of the ways, they try to get you! It is primary insurance. And I use Amex which covers the whole car. I do take there roadsideassistance which is only a few euros and worth it, if something goes wrong.

That is a very good approach indeed.

2 things i might add: Make sure that thrifty accepts AMEX, i fear the don't. Also be prepared that they will block some ridiculous amount (like 900€) on your card unless you buy their overpriced premium insurance. And yes, private full insurance is better, but they do not care for that.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
That is a very good approach indeed.

2 things i might add: Make sure that thrifty accepts AMEX, i fear the don't. Also be prepared that they will block some ridiculous amount (like 900€) on your card unless you buy their overpriced premium insurance. And yes, private full insurance is better, but they do not care for that.

I think they block 500€. It will not be a problem. I told them in USA, that I would use Amex, but I will check it again. VISA Card also covers insurance as well...

@peregrina2000 Simancas sounds good too! I looked at this possibility on Booking.com. If there is frequent bus service, this might work even better!
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
... taking a very cheap flight and buying the third seat in our row.
Do please tell us more!

Can you book a seat without a named occupant? (Clearly, you can as you have - but how?)

How do you maintain your claim to the seat on the -historically overbooked - low-cost airlines? You’ve nobody to ‘check in’ for the seat.

Can you use the baggage allowance of the empty seat?

I realise that in these times of COVID, special rules may apply. I’m thinking more normal times.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
It’s a 9 minute bus ride from Simancas, every half hour. The ayuntamiento hasa website with more details — weekends, stops, etc.

I’vd also attached a map showing the bus stop and its distance to the plaza mayor. Google says it’s an 8 minute walk.

Thank you very much for this info. I found a place to stay with free parking. This town does look easier to drive in.
Do please tell us more!

Can you book a seat without a named occupant? (Clearly, you can as you have - but how?)

How do you maintain your claim to the seat on the -historically overbooked - low-cost airlines? You’ve nobody to ‘check in’ for the seat.

Can you use the baggage allowance of the empty seat?

I realise that in these times of COVID, special rules may apply. I’m thinking more normal

Ryan airlines allows you to buy extra seats.
To book an extra seat for comfort go online and select 2 seats the first seat should be booked in the actual passenger's name and the extra seat should be entered as SEAT as the Last Name and EXTRA as the first Name. The name EXTRA SEAT will then be displayed on the reservation and online boarding pass.

Actually, I believe Ryan was allowing passengers to buy as many as 6 seats, two rows to provide distancing on the plane.

Iberia requires a medical reason, filled out by a doctor and needs approval.

Other airlines allow, but you have to check each airline for its process. i used Ryan. You also get the extra baggage allotment, if you need it.
 
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Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Thank you very much for this info. I found a place to stay with free parking. This town does look easier to


Ryan airlines allows you to buy extra seats.
To book an extra seat for comfort go online and select 2 seats the first seat should be booked in the actual passenger's name and the extra seat should be entered as SEAT as the Last Name and EXTRA as the first Name. The name EXTRA SEAT will then be displayed on the reservation and online boarding pass.

Actually, I believe Ryan was allow8ng passengers tobuy asmany as 6 seats, two rows to provide distancing on the plane.

Iberia requires a medical reason, filled out by a doctor and needs approval.

Other airlines allow, but you have to check each airline for its process. i used Ryan. You also get the extra baggage allotment, if you need it.
Good old Ryanair...never misses a trick.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
Lots of good information about saving money on car rental on this page:

From my experience, one of the most common "gotcha" fees of car rental firms is the refueling charge.

Experience has taught me:
1) When collecting the car, if the needle on the fuel gauge is pointing even a fraction below the "Full" line point it out to the agent. They should note it on your rental documents.
2) When returning the car, allow time for refueling. Identify the nearest gasolinera to the return location and plan your route to stop there before returning the car.
3) Fill the tank to the max and get evidence - Pay with a credit card. Get a timestamped receipt. Use your mobile phone to photograph the receipt, the fuel gauge, and the odometer in the same frame.

Those steps should put you on the winning side of any dispute with an unscrupulous rental location manager who tries to stick you with a non-trivial service fee and a few liters of fuel at an inflated price.

With regard to insurance - I have previously taken out annual policies from icarhire and insurance4carhire to cover the excess / deductible on insurance claims involving rental cars and car club vehicles globally. If you rent a couple of times, it's cheaper than the upgraded insurance options that car rental firms offer:

I made one claim with Insurance4carhire for a claim involving a Zipcar vehicle (i.e. car club rather than car rental firm). I found the claims process to be pretty awful - The firm repeatedly asked for rental agreement documents that Zipcar doesn't issue. (I kept sending them my annual Zipcar contract and scans of the booking information). They took three or four months to pay out, which I was able to sustain but I hesitate to recommend them.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Lots of good information about saving money on car rental on this page:

From my experience, one of the most common "gotcha" fees of car rental firms is the refueling charge.

Experience has taught me:
1) When collecting the car, if the needle on the fuel gauge is pointing even a fraction below the "Full" line point it out to the agent. They should note it on your rental documents.
2) When returning the car, allow time for refueling. Identify the nearest gasolinera to the return location and plan your route to stop there before returning the car.
3) Fill the tank to the max and get evidence - Pay with a credit card. Get a timestamped receipt. Use your mobile phone to photograph the receipt, the fuel gauge, and the odometer in the same frame.

Those steps should put you on the winning side of any dispute with an unscrupulous rental location manager who tries to stick you with a non-trivial service fee and a few liters of fuel at an inflated price.

With regard to insurance - I have previously taken out annual policies from icarhire and insurance4carhire to cover the excess / deductible on insurance claims involving rental cars and car club vehicles globally. If you rent a couple of times, it's cheaper than the upgraded insurance options that car rental firms offer:

I made one claim with Insurance4carhire for a claim involving a Zipcar vehicle (i.e. car club rather than car rental firm). I found the claims process to be pretty awful - The firm repeatedly asked for rental agreement documents that Zipcar doesn't issue. (I kept sending them my annual Zipcar contract and scans of the booking information). They took three or four months to pay out, which I was able to sustain but I hesitate to recommend them.
I agree, when the tank is not full, I always snap a picture and go back and tell them, I want credit.

The most important tip, I can offer, is to return the car when a location is open and get a receipt, for the return of the car and the mileage at that time. I also take pictures of the car at the return location Never leave the car with a drop box unless you have full insurance from the car rental firm. No sense in inviting trouble!
 

William Krueger

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
We are exploring the option of renting a car at MAD airport and dropping it off at either Leon or Burgos? Has anyone else done this? I already have a reservation, which I can cancel. Any personal experience is welcomed. This would avoid having to take a cab, or public transportation to Madrid. This seems a good option, rather than taking a taxi and our luggage through train screening, lines, and then a several hour train ride at a busy time (beginning of September). It would cost us about 50 euros more plus gas and tolls, so about 80-90 euros more for two persons, but would be safer with regards to distancing.

We were thinking of staying the first night in Valladolid. There is parking under the hotel there...but it is not guaranteed. We should arrive early enough..by 2pm to secure it.

i have driven in europe many times, sometimes for two months at a time and am comfortable driving a stick...and yes, I will obtain an international license.

Has anyone done this? Here are my questions.

Does anyone know if a special permit is needed to drive in the city of Valladolid? Is there a no drive zone?

Is this city safe to walk around in? Some vacation sites warn about thieves on bicycles?

Is there a festival that occurs in Valladold at the beginning of September, that would impact travel.

We are only stopping overnight, but if there is one sight we should not miss, what would that be?

Please, no alternative suggestions for other forms of travel such as bus..

Thanks for your help!
I rented a car at MAD and drove to Santiago. Roads are great and it was generally positive. Two comments 1) I accepted an upgrade, they gave me the biggest van in Spain; a nightmare on small town roads. 2) The highway tolls were huge but the highways were great. The Chinese van was also standard transmission, I nearly plunged into a river until I figured out how to get it into reverse. At least I had an adventure to talk about.
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
To go back to the beginning: a desire not to have to go to the centre of Madrid from the airport. You can avoid this hassle by taking an ALSA bus from Barajas to Burgos , for example. The bus stop is across from the airport exit and takes only a couple of hours. Burgos is, I believe, the nearest point on the Camino Frances.
 
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Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
So sorry, I just re read you post which ended by saying you didn’t want to hear about bus alternatives... but I’ve travelled a lot with ALSA and have had only good experiences with them.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
I have used one-way car hire from Madrid, Barajas Airport to Vigo and return Santiago to Madrid. We used the car hire company Enterprise. It's not cheap, as you'll need to factor in fuel costs and insurance, but it's definitely much more convenient.

We are exploring the option of renting a car at MAD airport and dropping it off at either Leon or Burgos? Has anyone else done this? I already have a reservation, which I can cancel. Any personal experience is welcomed. This would avoid having to take a cab, or public transportation to Madrid. This seems a good option, rather than taking a taxi and our luggage through train screening, lines, and then a several hour train ride at a busy time (beginning of September). It would cost us about 50 euros more plus gas and tolls, so about 80-90 euros more for two persons, but would be safer with regards to distancing.

We were thinking of staying the first night in Valladolid. There is parking under the hotel there...but it is not guaranteed. We should arrive early enough..by 2pm to secure it.

i have driven in europe many times, sometimes for two months at a time and am comfortable driving a stick...and yes, I will obtain an international license.

Has anyone done this? Here are my questions.

Does anyone know if a special permit is needed to drive in the city of Valladolid? Is there a no drive zone?

Is this city safe to walk around in? Some vacation sites warn about thieves on bicycles?

Is there a festival that occurs in Valladold at the beginning of September, that would impact travel.

We are only stopping overnight, but if there is one sight we should not miss, what would that be?

Please, no alternative suggestions for other forms of travel such as bus..

Thanks for your help!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I agree the larger car thing is a pain. You reserve a small car and they twist your arm with the large car for the same price as the small car because they are out of small cars at the time. Now you have a parking issue wherever you go.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I agree the larger car thing is a pain. You reserve a small car and they twist your arm with the large car for the same price as the small car became they are out of small cars at the time. Now you have a parking issue wherever you go.
Even in US this happens. This is when I tell the company they must give me a gasoline credit for taking the larger vehicle!
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
Leon or Burgos
Just looked at the map - If you're heading to Leon, I guess Valladolid is a reasonable mid-way point on the route. If you're aiming for Burgos, you can pretty much head directly north on the A1 and reach Burgos in roughly the same time (Google says 2h09m) that it takes to reach Valladolid.

In fact, if you're heading to Leon, Burgos is about as good a mid-way point as Valladolid ...
 
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Raggy

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Year of past OR future Camino
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Last edited:

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
But since @Marbe2 has walked the Francés many times, I think getting the chance to see the untouristed yet charming small city of Valladolid would be more fun.

Yes! @peregrina2000 I would like to experience Valladolid, even for a very brief visit! But I thank @Raggy for the alternative suggestions.

I am not really concerned at all about driving in traffic. I do not want to sound over-confident but, I grew up competing with NYC taxi drivers, and have driven a stick in London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Florence, Milan, Brussels, Munich, Vienna, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hannover, and many other cities, so I was really only concerned about parking. Valladolid is a relatively small city. Valladolid’s streets do not appear to be any narrower than the streets of Siena, Innsbruck, or Salzburg so I think I am experienced enough of a driver, to handle Valladolid. My biggest concerns were the parking of the car...and that issue has been resolved, the physical safety concerns, which I now understand are no-worse, than Leon, or Burgos, and what one site might be interesting when we arrived.
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
V. Fran (2019) in progress
C. Primitivo (2019)
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C. Finnisterre (2015)
We are exploring the option of renting a car at MAD airport and dropping it off at either Leon or Burgos? Has anyone else done this? I already have a reservation, which I can cancel. Any personal experience is welcomed. This would avoid having to take a cab, or public transportation to Madrid. This seems a good option, rather than taking a taxi and our luggage through train screening, lines, and then a several hour train ride at a busy time (beginning of September). It would cost us about 50 euros more plus gas and tolls, so about 80-90 euros more for two persons, but would be safer with regards to distancing.

We were thinking of staying the first night in Valladolid. There is parking under the hotel there...but it is not guaranteed. We should arrive early enough..by 2pm to secure it.

i have driven in europe many times, sometimes for two months at a time and am comfortable driving a stick...and yes, I will obtain an international license.

Has anyone done this? Here are my questions.

Does anyone know if a special permit is needed to drive in the city of Valladolid? Is there a no drive zone?

Is this city safe to walk around in? Some vacation sites warn about thieves on bicycles?

Is there a festival that occurs in Valladold at the beginning of September, that would impact travel.

We are only stopping overnight, but if there is one sight we should not miss, what would that be?

Please, no alternative suggestions for other forms of travel such as bus..

Thanks for your help!
Short answer: Yes, I've used this "tactic" a number times both in Spain and in Italy - quickly departing from MAD or FCO and leaving a rental car in Bilbao, Salamanca, Ponferrada, Valencia or Firenze. Generally, the one-way rental or "drop off" charge can add an addition $100- $150 (USD) to the rental but I am fortunate that I was able to budget for it. It does takes a bit of "hunting" for a supplier who's fees are reasonable. In addition to saving me a good 1/2 day of ground logistics, I generally can arrange for an additional side trip visit to a city/town/site (i.e., Avila & Segovia) prior to departing on my camino.
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide 2013-2016
Your idea sounds fabulous! I have done one-way car rentals in Spain many times, and I have loved the freedom to explore that incredible country. I found driving along the Camino Francés to be especially fun and rewarding; having walked many times it feels like returning home.

In case anyone is interested, some more experience renting cars in Spain:

I have always used the company AutoEurope(.com). I have found their prices to be very reasonable, and I have had no trouble with any of the companies they represent (Hertz, Eurocar, etc.) I have also never paid a one-way drop off fee (as recently as October 2019), and I have picked up in Pamplona, Burgos, Santiago, and Bilbao, and have dropped off in Pamplona, Santiago, Bilbao, and Madrid. On my last couple of trips there was a fee for picking up the car at an airport rather than a city center location. I think it's around €50.

MasterCard also offers insurance coverage, so I have never had to succumb to the pressure at the rental location. That last time I was going to Spain I had read that you needed an international driving license in Spain so I got one from AAA. Not needed. No one ever even brought it up.

On one trip I actually had the opposite of what you would call a bad experience with the rental company (not quite good because - my fault - I didn't read the fine print on my insurance plan and therefore didn't realize I could submit a claim until it was too late). I damaged my rental car in a parking garage in Logroño - big car, small space. A friend took me to her auto body place and they quoted me €150 to repair it. I am certain that had that been in the US, the quote would have been ten times that. When I returned the car to the airport, they assessed the damage and charged me . . . €150, plus their admin fee. No fleecing. No inflating the charge. No excessive fees that hadn't been disclosed.

My one caution when driving in Spain is to mind the speed limits, especially in road construction areas ('obras' in Spanish). I got caught on camera going what amounted to 35 in a 30 zone and was hit with close to $100 in fines - after I had returned home. (I was guilty, btw!)

One final note, I found driving in the Madrid City Center to be absolute madness. To/from the airport wasn't bad, but around the Atocha train station, never again. That giant roundabout, yikes.

I wish you a fun and delightful trip!

~ Nancy
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Your idea sounds fabulous! I have done one-way car rentals in Spain many times, and I have loved the freedom to explore that incredible country. I found driving along the Camino Francés to be especially fun and rewarding; having walked many times it feels like returning home.

In case anyone is interested, some more experience renting cars in Spain:

I have always used the company AutoEurope(.com). I have found their prices to be very reasonable, and I have had no trouble with any of the companies they represent (Hertz, Eurocar, etc.) I have also never paid a one-way drop off fee (as recently as October 2019), and I have picked up in Pamplona, Burgos, Santiago, and Bilbao, and have dropped off in Pamplona, Santiago, Bilbao, and Madrid. On my last couple of trips there was a fee for picking up the car at an airport rather than a city center location. I think it's around €50.

MasterCard also offers insurance coverage, so I have never had to succumb to the pressure at the rental location. That last time I was going to Spain I had read that you needed an international driving license in Spain so I got one from AAA. Not needed. No one ever even brought it up.

On one trip I actually had the opposite of what you would call a bad experience with the rental company (not quite good because - my fault - I didn't read the fine print on my insurance plan and therefore didn't realize I could submit a claim until it was too late). I damaged my rental car in a parking garage in Logroño - big car, small space. A friend took me to her auto body place and they quoted me €150 to repair it. I am certain that had that been in the US, the quote would have been ten times that. When I returned the car to the airport, they assessed the damage and charged me . . . €150, plus their admin fee. No fleecing. No inflating the charge. No excessive fees that hadn't been disclosed.

My one caution when driving in Spain is to mind the speed limits, especially in road construction areas ('obras' in Spanish). I got caught on camera going what amounted to 35 in a 30 zone and was hit with close to $100 in fines - after I had returned home. (I was guilty, btw!)

One final note, I found driving in the Madrid City Center to be absolute madness. To/from the airport wasn't bad, but around the Atocha train station, never again. That giant roundabout, yikes.

I wish you a fun and delightful trip!

~ Nancy

Autoeurope is a great rental company, however, they require a minimum of a three day rental, and I am only renting for one night.

Most rental car companies do not even ask for an international drivers license, but , if you get stopped by the Police in Spain without one, you are likely to get fined. Available in USA at AAA for $20 + 2 passport pictures.

I usually download the approximate location of the speed cameras from two sources, google maps and Micheln and try to be particularly aware of my speed at those times. But your experience of receiving a ticket for being only 5km over the speed limit, @nreyn12 is something I will also be especially cognizant of. Thanks!
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Most rental car companies do not even ask for an international drivers license, howerver, if you get stopped by the Police in Spain without one, you are likely to get fined. Available in USA at AAA for $20 + 2 passport pictures.
As I understand it an international drivers license is really just a translation of your home's driver license. The data is put in a certain place so the police can easily tell things like if a date is a birthday or a license expiration date. It is to avoid things like this embarrassing incident where the Irish police were hunting down a man named Prawo Jazdy with 50 driving citations against him.

 

Marcus-UK

Old Git
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017 Considering Invierno late (2020) In lieu of VdlP (2020)
We are exploring the option of renting a car at MAD airport and dropping it off at either Leon or Burgos? Has anyone else done this? I already have a reservation, which I can cancel. Any personal experience is welcomed. This would avoid having to take a cab, or public transportation to Madrid. This seems a good option, rather than taking a taxi and our luggage through train screening, lines, and then a several hour train ride at a busy time (beginning of September). It would cost us about 50 euros more plus gas and tolls, so about 80-90 euros more for two persons, but would be safer with regards to distancing.
It used to be quite common to use one way travel vouchers to pick up a car from the airport and drive to a work location and return the hire car to the hiring company at a local office or a pick up from a hotel.
I checked this out a short while ago when I was contemplating doing the Invierno in autumn 2021.
Enterprise Rent a car allowed this from Madrid Barajas to either their local office near the train station in Leon or from Ponferada.
 

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