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Necessary to book train tickets from Santiago to Madrid in mid-October?

Time of past OR future Camino
2018 From Porto
2022 September from SJPDP
Are the trains to Madrid from Santiago usually very crowded on a Monday in mid-October?
Is it necessary to prebook train tickets well in advance? Thanks!
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
There are relatively few trains on this run; I learned to book my ticket as soon I had determined mky travel dates. IIRC there was a RENFE desk near the pilgrims' office--- perhaps someone can confirm this.

Remember that, if you are of an age of wisdom and discretion (in Spain, 60) you can purchase the tarjeta dorada (golden card) for 6 euro. Do so in advance of your booking (or at the same time) and you can score some astonishing discounts. Much of the time I could ride in preferente (1st) for less than the young folk in steerage.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Are the trains to Madrid from Santiago usually very crowded on a Monday in mid-October?
Is it necessary to prebook train tickets well in advance? Thanks!
Hola @EmmaATX I am in the "book early"camp also. You can usually book up to 60 days in advance. This gives you the best chance of a forward facing seat. Plus there was a discount for early bookings back in 2013. Not sure if this still applied.
One word of warning, there will be a change from Summer timetable to Winter timetable, more likely around the weekend that summer time finishes. But if your Spanish is OK you might be able to confirm the date of this change. Cheers
 

SusannTravels

"Don't dream your life, live your dreams!"
Time of past OR future Camino
2009 Frances
2022 Frances
I would book early. I am a german native living in Texas and when I visit home in Germany tickets tend to get more expensive when not booked early. Also keep reading the news as I have read that Spain is planning to have free train service in the month of september - maybe into october as well.
 

Houlet

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino Sanabres 2015
Camino Norde 2017
I only used this route once in May and booked in advance. On the day of travel there were a few people turned away as the train was full. I think advance booking is a necessity.
 
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Deacon Jason

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Caminho Português (2023?)
Are the trains to Madrid from Santiago usually very crowded on a Monday in mid-October?
Is it necessary to prebook train tickets well in advance? Thanks!
+1 for book early. When I rode it in mid-October of 2016 it was pretty full. I booked online beforehand...it was one less thing to worry about at the end of a very long journey.

Grace+Peace

-Jason
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Hi,
Oct12 is a big national Spanish holiday and you may find tickets less plentiful around this time. Booking in person is more expensive so you may want to try booking on the Renfe App or we had good luck using the Trainline App.
Janet
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Book early! I can’t say for sure, whether your Monday train will be filled. but when I returned from SdC in May, faster trains were booked up /out at least two weeks before the dates of departure. The only available trains were slow moving, connections-required ones that took circa 7 to 8 hours to get to Madrid.


We are returning from SdC to Madrid in mid October and we bought our tickets already. If you buy Comfort class tickets they are 70 percent refundable.
 

Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I’d encourage you to purchase tickets well in advance. Two issues affected our travel out of SdC just this past May. Trying to buy a ticket at the last minute, no seats were available on the day we wanted to travel. We had to spend an extra day in SdC. Second, prices were much higher. If you go to the RENFE website and choose a mid-October date, you’ll see that tickets might be as much as 50% less than tickets to Madrid for a day this week. Buy early. You’ll know you have seats and you’ll get the best price available.
 
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CWBuff

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Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May-June/2022
Finisterre June-July/2022
"necessary"? - perhaps not but here is another voice firnly in the column of 'book early'.
As already mentioned - you get a discount and a choice of the seat as to your liking.
Plus - when the time comes you just waltz-in into the train station and relax instead of being 'bothered' by having to buy tickets "NOW"

I do not see any reason why buying ahead would be a problem. If God Forbid something happens - well... thats what Travel Insurances are thee for and I would NEVAH leave for any trip to Europe without one

Good Luck & Buen Camino
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Hello,
I have been scouring the Renfe site and cannot find the spot to purchase the tarmeta doroda card. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The card must be purchased in person at the Renfe counter. You have to show your passport so they can verify that you are 60 or older. You are then registered in a database. More than once we were "spot checked" and had to show our Tarjeta Dorada when we boarded the train to make sure we really were eligible for the fare.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Hello,
I have been scouring the Renfe site and cannot find the spot to purchase the tarmeta doroda card. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I don’t think you can purchase it on line. And BTW it is offers no savings the for the fast trains
 
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Tricia W

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
I am enjoying learning all about booking a train. I am beginning May El Camino by flying into Barcelona and touring the city for two days. I did purchase a Renfe train ticket to get to Pamplona. From there, I’m not sure how I am going to get to Saint John Peter Porte. I’ve recently heard there was no longer a bus and I would need to get a ride. Any suggestions?
I apologize if I horned in on somebody else’s question. I knew it this. Should I have started a new string?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I am trying to book a train from Madrid to Leon 1/10/22 but those tickets are not yet available. Then I need another from Santiago to madrid 15/10/22. I will figure it all out. I think I just need to be patient. 🤣
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I am trying to book a train from Madrid to Leon 1/10/22 but those tickets are not yet available. Then I need another from Santiago to madrid 15/10/22. I will figure it all out. I think I just need to be patient. 🤣
There is a Spanish Holiday Oct 13 so that may bleed into before or later for train tickets as many people will take a long weekend. We bought our tickets through the Trainline App which was easier for me in the US than Renfe.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Hi,
I’ve been using the rail europe app but I will check that too. I will take any and all advice as this my first Camino. It will only be from Sarria, but it’s a start.
 
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Sheesh

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2009, 2013, (2022)
I am trying to book a train from Madrid to Leon 1/10/22 but those tickets are not yet available. Then I need another from Santiago to madrid 15/10/22. I will figure it all out. I think I just need to be patient. 🤣

Sue, have you tried directly on the Renfe site for your 1/10/22 Madrid-Leon ticket? Seems to be listed as available now for booking.

My experience with booking on the Renfe site is that it doesn't like most non-European credits cards, but I have had success booking using my Paypal account.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Hi,
I’ve been using the rail europe app but I will check that too. I will take any and all advice as this my first Camino. It will only be from Sarria, but it’s a start.
Should be a good time to walk weatherwise! Are you saying Oct 1 you need a ticket Madrid to Leon or Jan 10. The European way of writing the date can be tricky, I could see where January wouldn't be available.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
OK, I can see tickets on Trainline Oct 15 from Madrid to Santiago from Madrid Chamartin at 8 a.m.,10 a.m. 11:20, 13:15 and 1600. There is more than one train station in Madrid and the trains to Santiago leave from Chamartin usually.

I see a train from Madrid Chamartin to Leon at 14:40 p.m. only. None from Atocha. It might be easier to take a bus and cheaper. Several buses for about half the cost for that day leaving from the airport on Alsa.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2022
OK, I can see tickets on Trainline Oct 15 from Madrid to Santiago from Madrid Chamartin at 8 a.m.,10 a.m. 11:20, 13:15 and 1600. There is more than one train station in Madrid and the trains to Santiago leave from Chamartin usually.

I see a train from Madrid Chamartin to Leon at 14:40 p.m. only. None from Atocha. It might be easier to take a bus and cheaper. Several buses for about half the cost for that day leaving from the airport on Alsa.
Decided on the bus. The train (at least from my view) is in the day before and the day after I need. But, the bus is much more affordable. Thanks again
 

geraldkelly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
It's generally a good idea to book as soon as possible. A reserved seat is required on long distance trains and they often sell out. You're also more likely to get a better price.
 

frjuliangreen

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Inglés (2018)
Camino Portugués (2019)
Vía de la Plata/Camino Sanabrés (2020)
Are the trains to Madrid from Santiago usually very crowded on a Monday in mid-October?
Is it necessary to prebook train tickets well in advance? Thanks!
My experience is that these trains run at capacity or near capacity. So it is recommendable to buy in advance. Renfe does not make all tickets available at the same time and some October tickets might not yet be available. One other consideration is that 12th October is a national holiday and it might mean there is more demand on 10th October, just possibly.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
In my opinion, skip the train and fly Ryan Air back to Madrid from SDC. It is inexpensive and faster. 20 euros or so for taxi to airport, then like 20-60 euros for flight.
 

Housedog

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 2022
Are the trains to Madrid from Santiago usually very crowded on a Monday in mid-October?
Is it necessary to prebook train tickets well in advance? Thanks!
I'm going in October and after checking the trains to Pamplona I chose to fly for 3 hours of extra sleep and 5€ more. I then booked a flight back from Santiago for 35€. I love trains but you can't beat that.
 
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Don Kim

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017
There are relatively few trains on this run; I learned to book my ticket as soon I had determined mky travel dates. IIRC there was a RENFE desk near the pilgrims' office--- perhaps someone can confirm this.

Remember that, if you are of an age of wisdom and discretion (in Spain, 60) you can purchase the tarjeta dorada (golden card) for 6 euro. Do so in advance of your booking (or at the same time) and you can score some astonishing discounts. Much of the time I could ride in preferente (1st) for less than the young folk in steerage.
Would you please tell us where you can purchase the tarjeta dorada (golden card). I’m in the age of wisdom and discretion I hope. Thanks for the advice.
 

Tessera

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (Fall 2015)
Would you please tell us where you can purchase the tarjeta dorada (golden card). I’m in the age of wisdom and discretion I hope. Thanks for the advice.
The Renfe site indicates that you must buy the Tarjeta Dorada in person (at stations or travel agents). https://www.renfe.com/es/en/viajar/prepare-your-trip/descuentos/mayores-de-60

Does anyone know if I can purchase a discounted ticket online now (from the U.S.) for the discounted Tarjeta Dorada fare, and then buy my Tarjeta after I arrive in Spain? [Answered my own question, I think; looks like a discounted purchase online requires putting in the number of the Tarjeta Dorada. Which I have not got. Yet. Great prices though, if the train doesn’t sell out before I get to Spain!]
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Would you please tell us where you can purchase the tarjeta dorada (golden card). I’m in the age of wisdom and discretion I hope. Thanks for the advice.
I
The Renfe site indicates that you must buy the Tarjeta Dorada in person (at stations or travel agents). https://www.renfe.com/es/en/viajar/prepare-your-trip/descuentos/mayores-de-60

Does anyone know if I can purchase a discounted ticket online now (from the U.S.) for the discounted Tarjeta Dorada fare, and then buy my Tarjeta after I arrive in Spain? [Answered my own question, I think; looks like a discounted purchase online requires putting in the number of the Tarjeta Dorada. Which I have not got. Yet. Great prices though, if the train doesn’t sell out before I get to Spain!]
You must buy the Tarjeta Dorada at a Renfe ticket counter where they can look at your passport and register you in the system. You can't buy it online or buy tickets with the discount without the registration number for the card you get at the Renfe counter. It is good from one year of the date of purchase.
 

Tessera

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (Fall 2015)
I
You must buy the Tarjeta Dorada at a Renfe ticket counter where they can look at your passport and register you in the system. You can't buy it online or buy tickets with the discount without the registration number for the card you get at the Renfe counter. It is good from one year of the date of purchase.
Gracias!
 

AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
Are the trains to Madrid from Santiago usually very crowded on a Monday in mid-October?
Is it necessary to prebook train tickets well in advance? Thanks!
Yes, I would suggest you pre-book. I booked last week for my return to Madrid on Oct. 26 and the premium (comfort) section was already sold out, so now we are forced to travel regular (standard).
 
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AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
OK, I can see tickets on Trainline Oct 15 from Madrid to Santiago from Madrid Chamartin at 8 a.m.,10 a.m. 11:20, 13:15 and 1600. There is more than one train station in Madrid and the trains to Santiago leave from Chamartin usually.

I see a train from Madrid Chamartin to Leon at 14:40 p.m. only. None from Atocha. It might be easier to take a bus and cheaper. Several buses for about half the cost for that day leaving from the airport on Alsa.
My friend who will meet me in Santiago is arriving in Madrid from Canada and taking another flight to Santiago de Compostela it will only cost her something like 68 euros
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
Yes, I would suggest you pre-book. I booked last week for my return to Madrid on Oct. 26 and the premium (comfort) section was already sold out, so now we are forced to travel regular (standard).
It’s not really much of a hardship though, is it? Standard class on a Spanish high-speed train feels rather luxurious to those of suffering the UK offering.
 

AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
It’s not really much of a hardship though, is it? Standard class on a Spanish high-speed train feels rather luxurious to those of suffering the UK offering.
That's right not a hardship, but the point is you may not get the desired seating or worse yet, the train may be sold out hence my recommendation to buy your ticket ahead
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
It’s not really much of a hardship though, is it? Standard class on a Spanish high-speed train feels rather luxurious to those of suffering the UK offering.
Ok, just be careful of Ouigo routes (Barcelona to Madrid as an example). Double decker seating. Very little legroom. Little storage area, but cheap tickets
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
My friend who will meet me in Santiago is arriving in Madrid from Canada and taking another flight to Santiago de Compostela it will only cost her something like 68 euros
I can't do the jet lag. I need a night in Madrid and then another sleep on the bus/train the next day. Plane travel is pretty nightmarish right now in Europe and North America. I will take the bus or train myself.
 
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AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
I can't do the jet lag. I need a night in Madrid and then another sleep on the bus/train the next day. Plane travel is pretty nightmarish right now in Europe and North America. I will take the bus or train myself.
I am also spending the night in Madrid before taking the train the next day, thank goodness I will have a comfortable seat in comfort zone which includes a meal
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I am also spending the night in Madrid before taking the train the next day, thank goodness I will have a comfortable seat in comfort zone which includes a meal
Yes, that is good. The train meals are pretty nice. We had a breakfast unexpectedly that I didn't realize was included on one trip.
 

ilbestro12

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
Yes, that is good. The train meals are pretty nice. We had a breakfast unexpectedly that I didn't realize was included on one trip.
Do people go to madrid after camino to catch flights? I noticed compostela flights are hard to find sometimes
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
During July 2019 I booked the night before while in Santiago de Compostela. It was simple and not particularly full.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Do people go to madrid after camino to catch flights? I noticed compostela flights are hard to find sometimes
One thing to check out if you haven’t bought your tickets to Spain yet, is adding the Santiago to Madrid leg to your original ticket. I fly from the US and find that adding domestic flights both from Madrid to my departure city (Valencia, Almería, Sevilla, Pamplona, Irún, etc) and from Santiago to Madrid usually adds no more than the cost of the extra days you would spend getting to start point and getting back to Madrid.

If you fly American or another One World partner (like BA and Iberia) it will be much more economical and convenient. And if your flights are all on one ticket, if delays mean you miss your connection, you are protected and the airline will rebook you. We’ve had several threads on this topic recently, and the strong advice from many forum members is never to flly into Madrid in the morning hoping to make a connection to a US-bound flight unless it’s all on one ticket.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
One thing to check out if you haven’t bought your tickets to Spain yet, is adding the Santiago to Madrid leg to your original ticket. I fly from the US and find that adding domestic flights both from Madrid to my departure city (Valencia, Almería, Sevilla, Pamplona, Irún, etc) and from Santiago to Madrid usually adds no more than the cost of the extra days you would spend getting to start point and getting back to Madrid.

If you fly American or another One World partner (like BA and Iberia) it will be much more economical and convenient. And if your flights are all on one ticket, if delays mean you miss your connection, you are protected and the airline will rebook you. We’ve had several threads on this topic recently, and the strong advice from many forum members is never to flly into Madrid in the morning hoping to make a connection to a US-bound flight unless it’s all on one ticket.
Interesting. I usually book my inbound/return flight from the USA to Madrid and back separately from my in country travel. Usually it's because I want to be flexible about timing and which route I actually want to take.

I stay in Madrid the night before I go back home, so the risk is diminished I guess... but I have been tempted in the past to do the early early flight from SCQ to MAD (Ryan Air) and immediately jump on my original scheduled return flight without leaving the MAD airport. That's a lot of flights for one day tho, seeing as direct flights from MAD to LAX were only enjoyed for like 2 years b4 Covid.

Also, Ryan Air is usually way cheaper than Iberia... but after this next trip is done I'll check it out. Thanks for the advice!
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Ryan Air has had a lot of cancellations in Spain lately so I would use caution right now. (I used to love to fly them 20 years ago when I lived in Germany due to the low cost.) Just have to be careful on luggages/backpack size and pay ahead if needed when you buy the ticket.

We also usually spend at least one night in Madrid before flying home. Usually our flights are very early in the morning and there is no such thing as a direct flight to Laramie, WY, or even Denver, CO, from Madrid at this time...Usually at least three flights to get home and Ryan Air would add a fourth leg.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
guess... but I have been tempted in the past to do the early early flight from SCQ to MAD (Ryan Air) and immediately jump on my original scheduled return flight without leaving the MAD airport.
That would be quite the risky decision, but maybe you are a high roller. Here’s what could happen (I have seen it). If your Ryan Air flight is late into Madrid, and you miss your international flight back to the US, you are doubly screwed. First, you will lose your ticket from MAD to LAX. Second, you will have to buy a last minute one way ticket from MAD to LAX. I saw this in Madrid, and you can bet there was a lot of screaming and crying. Maybe the young woman whose flight from Greece was late just happened to be particularly rude, but she had to call her parents to get them to use their CC for her ticket. No one was particularly happy that day.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
That would be quite the risky decision, but maybe you are a high roller. Here’s what could happen (I have seen it). If your Ryan Air flight is late into Madrid, and you miss your international flight back to the US, you are doubly screwed. First, you will lose your ticket from MAD to LAX. Second, you will have to buy a last minute one way ticket from MAD to LAX. I saw this in Madrid, and you can bet there was a lot of screaming and crying. Maybe the young woman whose flight from Greece was late just happened to be particularly rude, but she had to call her parents to get them to use their CC for her ticket. No one was particularly happy that day.
Yah, that's why I haven't done it! But I've been tempted!
 

Aspigrina

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte
I would book early. I am a german native living in Texas and when I visit home in Germany tickets tend to get more expensive when not booked early. Also keep reading the news as I have read that Spain is planning to have free train service in the month of september - maybe into october as well.
The free thing is for everyday commuters, not for long distance trains.
That said, I would recommend booking in advance , I had to pay over 100€ because everything was full two weeks before muy journey.
 
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