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From Barajas to Ponferrada

Font007

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None
Hello all,

I am planning my first Camino for this coming June 2017. It will be my husband (45), my niece (38), her husband (40), their daughter (16), and myself (50). We'll be arriving from Miami, Florida, USA, but we haven't bought the plane tickets yet. The flights into Spain arrive anywhere from 11:00 to 14:00. I was planning on continuing on to Ponferrada by train, so we could get a good night's sleep and start the Camino the following day. I have been looking into forums and threads, websites, train schedules, and it seems very difficult to connect into Chamartin Train Station, in order to get a train into Leon and then to Ponferrada with enough time for everything. Taking into consideration that the train fare is about 35 Euros, would it be easier and less costly to rent a car and just drive from Barajas into Ponferrada? Has anyone done that? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I've never done it, but I can't imagine it being "easier" to rent a car, get out of Madrid, and drive to Ponferrada, especially given jet lag. Personally, I book flights that depart and arrive at civilized times, and don't mind staying an extra night en route to start the camino. Once I walk out the door of my house, I relax and take on a Camino mentality.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
You could try ALSA bus.

Chamartin is easy to access from Barajas.

- Renfe operates Cercanias from T4 every half hour with trip time of 16 minutes

-Madrid Metro from T1T2T3 and from T4. It runs every 6 - 10 minutes. A transfer is required but the travel time is less than one hour.

You'll have to do your own options analysis regarding car rental. Most rentals add a hefty fee if drop off point is not the same as the pick up point.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Alsa buses https://www.alsa.es/ have services from Barajas airport (look for Madrid Barajas T4) to Ponferrada. It is slower than train, but you avoid the hassle of connections.
Anyway you choose, it is around a 5 hrs travel (or more), and you will arrive late afternoon, or by night. It is doable, but it seems also a really, really tough schedule right after an intercontinental flight
Ponferrada, besides, it is not only a good starting point, but it is also a very interesting place. I'd respectfully suggest an extra day to "decompress", travel calmly, enjoying the places, and start your walk in a more relaxed way.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
It is doable, but it seems also a really, really tough schedule right after an intercontinental flight
Ponferrada, besides, it is not only a good starting point ...

I find taking the bus is a great way to get over jet lag: you open and close your eyesrepeatedly getting lots of short naps, enough to rest, not enough so that you won't sleep at night. Perfect to start walking the next day.

You could make it a shorter day if you wanted and visit the Templar castle before you staet walking. I don't usually do the tourist monument visits but walking this fortress, which has been extremely well restored I did not regret.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Year of past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I find taking the bus is a great way to get over jet lag: you open and close your eyesrepeatedly getting lots of short naps, enough to rest, not enough so that you won't sleep at night. Perfect to start walking the next day.

As to Ponferrada not being a good place to start, I am stunned. Why not? For one thing, it's the start of the Invierno, so it must not be such a bad place to start.

No need to add anxiety for people walking for the same time with comments like this one.

For one thing, you will get to see a most incredible templar fortress from the middle ages.

I think he said that Ponferrada was "not only a good starting point, but it is also a very interesting place"--this means that in addition to being a good place to start, it is a very interesting town. He recommended they spend extra time seeing all the town has to offer. He was encouraging them to see and enjoy the town. He was not negative nor was he anxiety-provoking.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Exactly. Thanks, @Smallest_Sparrow
And anyway, we are all entitled to our own opinions, right? This is what a forum is about, I think. A diversity of point of views. Although I can't imagine somebody not liking Ponferrada...An interesting city, really.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Year of past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I echo the opinion that the bus may be less of a problem...and the buses I took were very modern, clean, and comfortable...some even had seats that reclined a lot for sleeping. I wouldn't start the next day for a couple of reasons. First, as others said, relax, decompress, adjust to the time difference, and especially see Ponferrada. Besides the Templar castle and the cathedral, please so see Santo Tomas de los Ollas, just 2 km from the cathedral. You will be glad you did. This is also just in case you lose luggage or something else enroute, it will have time to catch up to you in Ponferrada. Book a hotel and let them know you will be arriving late, and stay the extra day (two nights in the hotel). Then start. That extra day I think will do a lot to making the rest of the trip enjoyable.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Year of past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Exactly. Thanks, @Smallest_Sparrow
And anyway, we are all entitled to our own opinions, right? This is what a forum is about, I think. A diversity of point of views. Although I can't imagine somebody not liking Ponferrada...An interesting city, really.
I think it is just a language glitch. :)
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Year of past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Now on your return to Madrid from SdC, then I'd take the train. maybe get a sleeping cabin. That is a nice upgrade from the bus. :)
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
My appologies, will go modify my post. I could not understand why someone would have thought it is not a good starting point, after all Camino arrows are posted in the bus station parking lot!
 

gregorygwilliams

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 late May to early June Ponferada to Santiago
2017 Apr 11 St. Jean to May 13 Santiago
In May 2015 I took the overnight sleeper train to Ponferada from Chamartin Station. We slept well enough and arrived very early and started walking. By the time we were out of town it was light and we had a good start on our first day.
 

pjacobi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
I suggest getting a high speed train out of Chamartin to Leon (~2hrs.) then switch to alsa bus to Ponferrada (1 hr.). This plan also provides a chance to stop-over in Leon.

-Paul
 
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Alsa buses https://www.alsa.es/ have services from Barajas airport (look for Madrid Barajas T4) to Ponferrada. It is slower than train, but you avoid the hassle of connections.
Anyway you choose, it is around a 5 hrs travel (or more), and you will arrive late afternoon, or by night. It is doable, but it seems also a really, really tough schedule right after an intercontinental flight
Ponferrada, besides, it is not only a good starting point, but it is also a very interesting place. I'd respectfully suggest an extra day to "decompress", travel calmly, enjoying the places, and start your walk in a more relaxed way.
I agree. Plan to spend the first day un-winding and touring Ponferrada. Lots to do and see there. We spent an extra day there and loved it. Buen Camino to your group. Ed
 

Font007

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None
I echo the opinion that the bus may be less of a problem...and the buses I took were very modern, clean, and comfortable...some even had seats that reclined a lot for sleeping. I wouldn't start the next day for a couple of reasons. First, as others said, relax, decompress, adjust to the time difference, and especially see Ponferrada. Besides the Templar castle and the cathedral, please so see Santo Tomas de los Ollas, just 2 km from the cathedral. You will be glad you did. This is also just in case you lose luggage or something else enroute, it will have time to catch up to you in Ponferrada. Book a hotel and let them know you will be arriving late, and stay the extra day (two nights in the hotel). Then start. That extra day I think will do a lot to making the rest of the trip enjoyable.
Thank you all for your replies. Now that I am only three weeks away from leaving for Spain, I have decided to take the bus from Barajas. Whether or not I start walking the following day is still not decided. I will see how I feel once I get there.
 

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