I have not fully explored this because I am driving myself, but there is a way to go from Zaragoza to Pau via the Canfranc tunnel.
The Canfrance railway line was one of those grand ideas that never materialized - it was to become a grand link between Spain and France. A large station at Canfranc was built but it never saw passengers.
There is a long road tunnel that now replaces the railway and I believe that French railways - SCNF - now operates a bus going from Pau to Canfranc on the Spanish side. The bus follows up the Aspe Valley. You can see the times of this on this link - hope it works;
I am not sure where you find the bus times from Zaragoza to Canfranc but I guess there is some switchover at Canfranc.
I looked up Spanish Rail and there are two trains or maybe buses advertised by RENFE on http://www.renfe.es/mediadistancia/index.html
from Zaragoza to Canfranc. You will need to look at the details. It certainly looks as though a link from Zaragoza to Pau is doable but will need some more investigation and probably time !
I found this fascinating history of the railway line :
and there is a Hotel on the site of an old customs building not far from the station called Santacristina.
Although there isn't a through train service, there is still a limited train service to Canfranc on the Spanish side. www.renfe.es says that there are two direct trains per day from Zaragoza Delicias at 7:52 and 11:15, arriving Canfranc 11:45 and 18:59, fare EUR 11.75.
Cadiz Lover's link says that there is a bus from Canfranc at 12:47 arriving Oloron Ste Marie station 14:08, with a connecting train to Pau arriving 15:08. There isn't a connection from the later train. French Railways' main site quotes a fare from Canfranc to Pau of 12.90.
Neither website admits that it's a through route, and I have no experience of this crossing.
I would assume that one and a half hours should be time for delays and frontier formalities, but you might be wise to Google on Canfranc and see if you come up with any reports from people who have done the journey.
A little more research indicates:
From Zaragoza to Canfranc Estacion, there are the two trains as mentioned above advertised on RENFE.
As a matter of interest, there is also a bus service operated by http://www.alosa.es/ (Automóviles la Oscense S. A.) that has services between Zaragoza and Jaca.
From Jaca to Canfranc Estacion there are buses. The details are on Jaca site - look under the picture of the bus ! http://www.jacetania.es
From Canfranc Estacion to Oloron (near Pau) and then at Oloron to Pau you switch to the train. As above.
The tourist office in Canfranc is http://www.canfranc.es/
There is another tourism site for the French side - Aspe valley and Canfranc at: http://www.aspecanfranc.com/
For future references, I've made the trip.
The right way is:
- Take the 13:45hs train from Pau to Canfranc (you must change to a bus in Oloreon to cross the mountains) Approx. 13€
- When arrival at Canfranc, just in front of the bus stop there's another bus stop with buses from Canfranc to Jaca bus station. Approx 2.5€
- At Jaca bus station take the next one to Zaragoza. Approx. 13€
The only thing to book in advance is the train from Pau, you can pay on-board the bus at Jaca and then at the train station.
I arrived at Zaragoza at 20:00hs approx.
Then, you have many options from Zaragoza. Booking online an AVE (high speed train) to Madrid cost me about 21€ (one week before) and is just 1.1/2 hrs
I did this journey in November 2008 from Zaragoza to Pau, leaving Zaragoza at 07.00 for a 4-hour (€11) train journey to Canfranc, waiting an hour, (time for the menu del dia in the local bar) and then bus to Oloron Ste Marie and train to Pau, ariving at 15.00. The French part was booked online on the SNCF website (tickets arrived in UK within 48 hours) for about €13.
Does anyone know whether the train from Zaragoza to Canfranc is still operational? If so, how do I view the schedule? I can't seem to find a station labeled Canfranc in Renfe's website. Thanks for all your help
There are two trains a day from Zaragoza to Canfranc, at 07.40 (arrives 11.40, bus to Oloron leaves 12.47) and 15.13, (arrives 18.39, no bus until the following day at 11.20)
On the RENFE site www.renfe.es/horarios/english/index.html (in English) go to "If your station does not appear on the drop-down list, enter at least 3 letters of the name of the station from which you wish to begin your journey."
Enter ZAR, click "search" and find Canfranc in the list. Click on it, and from the list of destinations, click on ZARAGOZA-DELICIAS. This will give you the Canfranc - Zaragoza timetable.
At the bottom of that page, click on "Choose the train on the return route. ZARAGOZA-DELICIAS - CANFRANC to get the timetable you want. The one-way fare is €12.30
The SNCF site, for buses from Canfranc to Oloron and onward trains to Pau, is a bit trickier, and is in French only.
On the main SNCF site, click on the scrolling list at the top of the page and, from the drop-down menu, click on "ter" (French regional trains)
On the pop-up, click "Aquitaine" on the purple map
Under "Mon point de départ" put "Canfranc frontiere"
Under "Mon point d'arrivée" put "Oloron"
Select your date and time of departure from Canfranc and click "Lancer la recherche"
In the next page, under "Plusieurs arrêts sont possibles, sélectionnez celui de votre choix" choose "Oloron-Sainte-Marie - gare de Oloron-Sainte-Marie" and and click "Lancer la recherche" again, checking that your date and time of departure has not changed.
The train journey is definitely worth it, so is the bus ride over the top of Col de Somport and down the other side. There are a couple of cheap hotels in Canfranc
i am trying to get from Barcelona to Pau. do you have any idea how i can get there? i found a way from barcelona to toulouse, by train, but it is with TGV and it costs 64 EUROS one way trip, which i think is very expensive. isn;t there any other sollution?