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Trenhotel from Santiago to Madrid

Rambler

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
Plan on making our reservations back to Madrid and was interested in taking the trenhotel. any of you ever do this?
I looked online and can get a cheap web special for around 20 euros but I cannot tell if this included the bed or not. I definitely want to get a bed.
Do you just get the bed on the train or can you reserve it? I would prefer to have a cabin my daughter and I could share, but none of that information is available online.

Any help?
Thanks.
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ivar

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Staff member
I am pretty sure you have to reserve it.... and I am pretty sure you can do it, once in Spain at any train station or online.

I tried their web page, I thought you could do that on http://www.renfe.es (select your language at the bottom left where it says "Seleccione su idioma"). I tried to go through the booking process and got a bit lost.. but give it a try.

Saludos,
Ivar
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I took the Tren Hotel train in 2002. We booked online and just as well - dozens of pilgrims had to wait days to get a train back to Madrid.
We paid extra for bedding - small sheets, pillow and blankets - in a 4 bed compartment. Some passengers had not booked bedding and had to sit up all night in more crowded comparments. I hadn't slept in a train since I was a child so it was quite an exciting way to travel.
Two years later, 191 people were killed in the Madrid train bombings - among them pilgrims returning from Santiago. Many confraternities, including the South Africa CSJ, signed the e-condolences list.
 

Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member
Hello Rambler,

For whatever it's worth, I don't think the 20 euro includes the bed, even if this is slow season. Last May 28 I took the trenhotel from Santiago to Madrid at 133 euro for the single cabin. I purchased the ticket at the train station about six hours prior to departure. Don't know when you plan to take this train but online reservations are very complicated and require purchasing the ticket within a certain time period.

The extra fare for the bed is certainly worth it!

Buen camino :arrow:
 

Rambler

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
Hmm...
I just made our reservations online and got a great web rate 20 Euro per person, but it never offered me a bed or sheets. I guess I will have to call them and see why it was not offered. I know the preferente class was not offered so maybe all the beds are full. :?:

Thanks.
Rambler
 
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Rambler

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
:( Oh boy!
Big lesson learned here.
You cannot make reservations for the beds online "supposedly" more than three days before you arrive in Spain, because you have to pickup the train tickets within three days of purchase from a station. Since I bought the Web special tickets, I am not able to change them or refund them.
But it was not clear if what I have printed here is a ticket or if I have to pick up these tickets also in three days or they are not valid. It does not say that anywhere on the printed sheets.
So I guess I will try to buy the tickets again when I get to Spain and I will have these as emergency backups in case the trains are full.

Looks like I am out 40 euro for trying to plan ahead! :oops: We have a flight out at 11:00 that morning so I wanted to make sure we were on this train and didn't leave it to chance.

But I just tried to see if I could select a bed for the train two days from now and it did not give me that choice, so you may not be able to do it unless you make reservations over the phone or in person.

I hope this helps others so they don't run into the same issue as I did.

Rambler
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Could I pick them up for you? I could pick them up and mail them to you maybe? ...unless you have to show id at the time of pickup... let me know if you would like me to try this.

Ivar
 

Lillian Rodriguez

Active Member
Rambler said:
:( Oh boy!
Since I bought the Web special tickets, I am not able to change them or refund them.
But it was not clear if what I have printed here is a ticket or if I have to pick up these tickets also in three days or they are not valid. It does not say that anywhere on the printed sheets.

Did you pay with your credit card or just made the reservation? I just checked the renfe web page and it states that the Web rate has up to 60% discount in tourist class as long as the purchase is finalized (picked up and paid for) 15 days prior to the date of travel. Seats are limited and no changes are allowed. By the way refunds carry up to 50% fee of the ticket price.

If you need translation with the document you just printed, scan it and email it to me at lillirod@gmail.com and I'll get back to you right away.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
renfe.es page is horrendous and misleading all over the place, but it is worth it to get the ticket in advance so as to save money. You would not manage to have 4 winks in a seat in a train that stops every feew minutes, it is worth it to get a bunk bed at least.

As to airlines... try rumbo.es, iberia.com, vueling.com and good luck!

the only problem is that in such case you HAVE to be in Santiago by a specific date, and that takes some freedom away...
 
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Rambler

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
Thanks for all the offers of help with getting these tickets. I am going to call Renfe with my wife who is fluent in Spanish today to clarify the situation. There were several questions I did need to answer. We purchased tickets online 3 years ago from Renfe and I remember that we could not print them at the time because they had to see our ID and credit card, but I was told that from then on I could print them online. I used my Renfe userID to purchase these, so I really think I have the tickets here and they are valid.
My wife thinks that the beds are treated totally separate from the train seats and that you need one of each. I am hoping that when we arrive in Madrid I can go to the Renfe desk and buy the beds in person.

The flight option would be cheapest except that we are limited in time. We are going all the way to Finisterre and have to come back from there and get to Madrid all in the same day. This is Saturday June 21 and It appears there is only 1 bus from Finisterre to Santiago that does not leave until 16:00. This makes it too late to catch most flights.
Is there another way back from Finisterre?

Rambler
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Rambler,

I've had the same experience as others with the confusing RENFE website. I took the Trenhotel from Burgos to Paris a couple of summers ago -- I made the reservation a few days outside Pamplona and picked it up in Pamplona. The compartments are small, compact, and perfectly adequate. They are sex-segregated, which was very nice for a single woman traveling. (I don't know if there are different options for couples). The train arrived in the morning and I had to get a flight from Charles deGaulle in early afternoon. I got a bit anxious when the two Spanish young women in my compartment told me they took the trenhotel train frequently and that it was notoriously late. I don't know if that's just the Madrid to Paris one or what, but they said that the train has a very low priority and frequently gets put over on the side tracks. But like many of my travel anxieties, this one was for nothing, as we were absolutely on time arriving in Paris.

Good luck with this, Laurie
 

Rambler

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
:D
Thanks again to everyone for all the help on figuring out these reservations.
I call back to Renfe today and in my broken Spanish think I have this all figured out now. You can buy tickets for the train online, but not beds. These have to be purchased three days before. The tickets and beds are seperate. So the tickets I got are valid and I will use them. I assume that you normally purchase the two combined if you walk up to a Renfe station. I was told that I can buy the beds in the Madrid Airport when I arrive to Spain, though now that i think about it, that does not fit with the three day rule she talked about. Maybe it is that you have to pick them up in three days; I am not sure.

But at least I know we will have a space on that train and get back home, as long as the train is not too late getting in.

Ivar:
I know you have alot of FAQs for the Camino, but I wonder if this would be one to post also. I was lucky that I could print the tickets because I had previously bought Renfe tickets online and shown my ID and credit card at a station. Those that have never set up a USerID with Renfe can't do that if they think they can. I woul dwrite it up for you, but I don't think I truly understand everything.

Thanks again for all the help. We are 5 weeks from leaving.
Rambler
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I am thinking of taking this train and would like sleeping accommodations. Does anyone have recent experience? I would be leaving Santiago on April 30th. Do I need to book in advance. The timing would be perfect. Sleep on train, arrive Madrid 8 ish, take Cercanias to airport. My flight leaves at 11:00. I would appreciate any more recent experience.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I am thinking of taking this train and would like sleeping accommodations. Does anyone have recent experience? I would be leaving Santiago on April 30th. Do I need to book in advance. The timing would be perfect. Sleep on train, arrive Madrid 8 ish, take Cercanias to airport. My flight leaves at 11:00. I would appreciate any more recent experience.

Ultreya,
Joe
Hi, Joe,

I took this train several years ago, so I'm sure there are some with more recent experience. But the one thing I'd advise is buying in advance. May 1 is a Thursday and a holiday, and the perfect opportunity for a "puente" (long weekend). So I expect the trains will be crowded on Wed. April 30. Now that RENFE has taken over the FEVE line, I would assume you could buy the ticket at any one of the stops on the FEVE line, but I don't know that for a fact, maybe someone else does. But I do know you pass through a lot of towns with FEVE stations on the Norte, so I would try there, that is if you can't figure out how to do it online. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Travellingman

Active Member
I took TrenHotel from Madrid to Ponferrada last June - booked online. The "cama turista" fare includes bed, sheets,blanket, in a 4 berth segregated compartment. There are some good "promo fare" deals to be had if booked a few weeks in advance. If you do book and pay online, you will receive an email with an attachment containing your (barcoded) ticket, which you can then print off - no need to pick up any additional paperwork in Spain. The journey was fine, but I didn't get much sleep, as you get the clackkety rails in your ear all night!!
Edit: I've just looked at the Renfe website, and for example, the promo fare Santiago to Chamartin for middle of next month is about 40 euros for cama turista. Only 9 euros more than ordinary seat.
 
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