We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Train travel

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
10 posts
28 reviews
Save Topic
Train travel

We are traveling by train from London to Paris, staying a few days then traveling from Paris to Barcelona for a night, then to Madrid for a night, then on to Portugal. As it is apparently holiday season, I don't know whether I should book my tickets and reserve seats now, or buy tickets when we get there. We would like to travel in the most comfortable class. Any advice would be really appreciated.

Paris, France
Destination Expert
for Paris, Loire Valley
Level Contributor
22,541 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Train travel

Have you done any transportation research? It could take you almost 7 hours to reach Barcelona from Paris, possibly longer. I would book as soon as I could. When do you plan on this trip?

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
10 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Train travel

Thank you for your response. We realise it will take over 7 hours, my husband loves train travel. We thought it would be a relaxing trip. I am hoping we will be able to have some meals on the train. We are going in August. Should I book the tickets now?

Paris, France
Destination Expert
for Paris, Loire Valley
Level Contributor
22,541 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Train travel

I would have booked tickets in May. You have absolutely nothing to gain by waiting. Ticket costs are rising and availability is diminishing.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
10 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Train travel

Apparently the bookings have only just opened last week as you need to wait for the summer schedules. I will book tomorrow. Thank you for your advice.

Paris, France
Level Contributor
17,082 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Train travel

Tickets for train travel, in France, through August 24 went on sale on April 3. Tickets normally go on sale 90 days in advance. I'm not as familiar with Spain, but you can use www.renfe.com for tickets there. For Paris-Barcelona you may be able to book on Renfe too, otherwise try wwww.capitainetrain.com

If at all possible I'd suggest spending more than a night in Barcelona. I'd probably skip Madrid and then take a cheap flight from Barcelona to Portugal.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
10 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Train travel

Thank you F1Racegirl, our accomodation is already booked and non refundable, so I think we are stuck with it. We are happy to take the train as we were hoping we would see more that way, the cost is not an issue. My travel agent and Euro Rail said we couldn't book the tickets until the schedules opened I received an email last week advising bookings were open.

I didn't realise we could book through other companies other than Eurorail. I will take a look at your suggestions.

Thank you very much.

Le Bugue, France
Level Contributor
14,097 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Train travel

I'm not even sure what EuroRail is - do you mean Rail Europe? Either way, don't use them. They charge a lot more than the national railways, and they don't even list all the available trains.

Adelaide
Level Contributor
4,621 posts
205 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Train travel

Book your travel within or departing from France from wwww.capitainetrain.com. They're the same price and easier to use than the Frence SNFC official site.

Book your travel in or departing from Spain at www.renfe.com. Spain to Portugal is a bit problematic by train. You might want to look at a cheap flight for this leg.

Sadly, all too often Travel Agents just haven't got a clue when it comes to booking trains. They shunt you to the easiest (for them) solution, and aren't prepared to put in the research or work to get you the best deals.

As others have said, dont use EuroRail (whoever they are) Rail Europe, or Eurail. They're just very high priced resellers, and don't operate the trains.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
10 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Train travel

I thank you all very much for your responses, we are now considering flying between destinations. A friend has told me we won't see much from the train anyway.

Adelaide
Level Contributor
4,621 posts
205 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Train travel

Sharon, I know from personal experience that your friend is very much mistaken. And for the shorter trips on your itinerary, train is actually faster and far more convenient.

Edited: 02 May 2014, 13:51