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Santiago De Compostela Barcelona
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Spain’s geography is quite unique in Europe : Madrid, its centrally-located capital city, stands surrounded by a host of regional capitals spread along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts.

Spain’s geography is quite unique in Europe : Madrid, its centrally-located capital city, stands surrounded by a host of regional capitals spread along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, including Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, and Bilbo. And that’s probably why planes would easily have replaced trains if not for two major rail rejuvenation projects in the Eighties : the AVE, super-fast trains that run up to 220mph while linking major cities with Madrid, and hotel-trains, Spain’s “hotels on wheels” that serve routes with lesser traffic. Both are highly convenient, offer a superior experience, and boast one of the best on-board (fresh) food service in Europe.

Seasoned American travelers typically use AVE when visiting Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville. Yet, why not be a bit inventive and explore such hidden gems as Valencia, Bilbo (a city re-energized by contemporary art), and Malaga. Don’t hesitate to hop on a hotel train (Premier compartments offer privacy and comfort, with shower), and discover what makes Spain so wonderfully diverse.

And if you want to seriously venture off the beaten-track, take an AVE train from Madrid or Barcelona to Zaragoza. There, take “El camello” (the camel), a back-in-the-day regional train. The track snakes between medieval castles in the ocher-tinted Aragon desert and ends up in a stunningly surreal place in the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains : Canfranc Railway Station. The largest in Europe when it opened in 1928, it was an ambitious project meant to link the France and Spain network. But the Great Depression and the Spanish civil war affirmed its demise. Yet, its architecture remains incredible, and you’ll feel like you’re frozen in time as you walk past abandoned tracks, buildings, and carriages. As for the Spanish rail-side, it’s now being restored to its original glory, with a luxury hotel and casino. Did we hear someone say “dinero ?”

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Reviews & ratings

  • Convenience
    Special Meals |
    "The train ride experience has always been excellent. I normally take the first class ticket for comfort. Meals were served but since I only take halal food, I have not had the opportunity to enjoy this service. On my Madrid - Seville trip, I asked the hostess about this. I was told that I could order a "special menu" at least 24 hours before the trip. I tried searching for this option on the website for the Cordoba - Madrid trip but failed to find it. If it is available on the website, some effort should be made to make this option "more conspicuous". I am definitely sure many others like me do travel on your train. Having this option for "special meals" would surely make your train a much more attractive choice of transport. "

  • Value for money
    Paris to Barcelona by TGV |
    "The ride was excellent. We were on 1st class coach and it was very comforting and clean. Excellent experience. "

  • Convenience
    Too good to forget. |
    "No hassle at all in booking, taking the train and arrival. So ease to be a part of our trip that we don't even have recollection for a 13 day abroad traveling. Superb. "

  • Convenience
    Madrid to Seville return |
    "Clean, safe, spacious and fast. A great trip although a little expensive. "

  • Convenience
    Travel With Style |
    "My 2 adult children and I wanted to travel to Madrid by flying but was advised by a friend to use the AVE train instead. Indeed we never reqretted our decision. The process from the security control to the boarding of the train was smooth. We enjoyed our ride and arrived with big smiles on our faces. "

  • Convenience
    Fast  |
    "Very enjoyable and stable ride, being able to commute to Barcelona in just 3 1/2 hours. No check in nightmare like that at airport. Would take the Rail Europe again in the future "

  • Convenience
    Not comfortable, but worth it |
    "My trip was from Madrid to Lisbon (about 9 hours). I simply purchsed a seat, not a bed in the private rooms, for the night train that would arrive in Lisbon around 7:30am. I found tickets for cheaper than a flight would have cost and I enjoyed not wasting valuable travel time. Highly recommended. But be sure to bring your neck pillow and some snacks ! "

  • Convenience
    everything was nice  |
    "thanks for your good job , and everything was nice "

  • Convenience
    Excellent trip |
    "It was in fact our first rail trip in Europe. We took the Barcelona to Madrid trip to enjoy the scenery and the travel in the fast train. We enjoyed the service and the timely schedule such that we continued our travel by road to Granada and other places in Spain as planned. Thank you. "

  • Convenience
    Good Train Journey |
    "we traveled to Spain and booked online. Booking is easy with refundable options provided as well. We could print tickets at home and all you need to do is present them at the station to gain access. Comfortable seats and journey, and good quick way to travel inter city especially when visiting Italy and Spain "

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