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“Efficient and timely but service a bit lacking on overnight train” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of RENFE

RENFE
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Efficient and timely but service a bit lacking on overnight train”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2012

We caught the overnight train from Barcelona to Granada. In terms of facilities and timeliness, the train is good. However, we ran into some trouble just before boarding. From what we could gather, two of the same tickets had been printed. We were running quite close for time, and having gone through the scanner and handed over our tickets, we were stopped by a woman at the counter who started speaking rapidly in Spanish while brandishing our tickets. We were travelling in a group of seven and half of our number had already gone down the elevator towards the train. We explained that we had limited Spanish, and her response was to speak louder, faster and more aggressively. We tried to find out what was wrong or to ask if anyone could explain but noone was able to explain it to us. Eventually she got a supervisor who was friendlier but who also could not explain. She got visibly frustrated and kept waving the tickets at us and saying "duplicado". We showed her our online booking which showed seven different tickets but she just kept saying the same thing over and over again as it got closer and closer to our train's leaving time. In the end the supervisor waved us on and we got on the train just in time. They checked our tickets again on the train and there were no problems.

The service left a sour taste of what was otherwise a good train service - regularly cleaned toilets, bar cart, four person compartments made up of two comfortable bunk beds, free bottles of water, and a basin in the room.

Visited November 2012
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Thank ElizabethTAF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
56 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Good travel experience in Spain”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2012

We recently travelled Barcelona (Passeig de Gracia) to Figueres return, also one way Granada Cordoba, Cordoba Ronda and Ronda San Roque (for Gibraltar). All trips were good except for the outbound Barcelona Figueres, we took an all stops local which pretty much was a stuffy subway car ride for over 2 hours. Our fault for not doing a better job on choosing our train. Also Passeig de Gracia station is under construction, platform was very hot and crowded, we probably would have done better boarding at Sants. The trip back was a semi-express, more comfortable cars and food/bev vending machines. Toilets were reasonably clean by railroad standards.

All the other trips were on Alteria equipment, comfortable and fast enough, although with stop for gauge adjustment at Antequerra to and from Cordoba. This seemed to take about 15 minutes. Scenery was interesting on all routes in Andalucia, especially into Ronda and down to San Roque. None of the trains were crowded except the outbound Barcelona Figueres.
We were Tourist (2nd) class.

We waited until arriving in Spain to get our tickets, and bought them (except for Barcelona - we bought those with no trouble at P de G station) at a Travel Agent (Viajes Ecuador) near our hotel in Granada. Not sure how their pricing compared to the RENFE website but the tickets seemed reasonable enough and it was an easy process.

Some differences in Spanish rail travel vs other parts of Europe, in Granada and Cordoba we lined up and were checked in airport style at the gate when boarding started, you then just find your seat and your ticket is not looked at again. But give yourself some extra time at the station before boarding as I think they shut off check in a few minutes ahead of departure, no last minute dash onto the platform and into the train as it pulls away! Also in Cordoba they do a luggage x-ray before you check in and go down to the platform but this didn't take long. Just be aware that at major stations it is a bit like boarding a plane. Ronda was traditional get on when the train pulls in. Also we had trouble seeing the car numbers when boarding, they seemed to be a little random, i.e car 10 was next to car 6 on one occasion. Station stops are very short, be ready to get on and off promptly.

Didn't check out food/bev on Andalucian trains, may have also been vending, not many people seemed to be consuming it. Trains were all on time, stations well marked, staff were helpful and competent, stations (except P de G) were pleasant and clean. This was a good way for us to get around in Andalucia.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank 492traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zionsville, Indiana
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“AVE = Always Very Excellent”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2012

We choice to use the AVE to travel between Madrid and Malaga and were delighted by the experience. The train stations are easy to navigate and travel announcements (audio and visual) made the trip easy. The AVE is the high speed train, ours maxed at 303 KPH (188 MPH) and the ride was pleasant. The seats were comfortable, luggage easy to stow and the environment was clean and quiet. We were amazed at how smooth was the ride. The trains were timely and the on board service pleasant and polite. To our surprise there were movies and free headsets to listen to music or the movie. The train can be as expensive as the plane, but the experience of being able to view the country side far exceeds the benefit of saving money or time. Use Trip Advisor forums to learn how to save money by purchasing on line at RENFE's notoriously difficult web site (the savings are well worth the hassle).

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank marbleskies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A grand day out”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2012

Journeyed from Jimena to Ronda for a day out. Train on time, modern, clean, vending machine on board, not expensive - 12 euros return for an hour long journey through some of Andalucias most stunning countryside.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank sjk58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
63 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Better than Iberia!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2012

I flew in from Miami to Madrid and needed to go to Malaga in a hurry. The taxi ride from the airport to the train terminal is about 20-25 minutes and costs around 30 euro.

Help was ok, I encountered someone who spoke English. Only first class tickets were available and after a long intercontinental flight, that was what I needed. It's still a bit cheaper than buying an Iberia ticket.

It was smooth training. Service was better than coming back, though. Plenty of leg room, outlets and drinks. No-one to help you with your luggage though, and they were standing at the door greeting you. No wireless internet as well, which is a bit of a downer, considering a lot of European trains do offer that.

It took 2,45 hours to get to Malaga.

For the trip back, I tried booking online. It's a bit of a hassle, but eventually it went through.

I would do this again and see if I will indeed save money on this trip. Getting rid of the airport hassle in Madrid was pleasant.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank DoDutch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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