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Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

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Lagos, Portugal
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Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

We recently had the misfortune to book Superior First class on the Sud Express from Lisbon Oriente to Hendaye. Having read that it was akin to the Orient express we decided to treat ourselves as according to the literature that we had read it include dinner and breakfast on the train and a steward to make up the beds and return them to seating.

We boarded a very old and dirty train, with no restaurant car, no breakfast included and no steward. The staff were very surly and unhelpful and where they got the idea that it was an Express I don't know, it stopped many times, was very rattly and noisy making it difficult to get any sleep. When we arrived in Hendaye it is a very old tatty station with no lifts, escalators or porters so it all had to be taken up and down stairs by hand and at 76 years of age it was no joke.

So my advice if you are planning this trip is DON'T !!!!!!!

Algarve, Portugal
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for Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
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1. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

Sorry about your experience. Where did you read that it was akin to the Orient Express?

Albufeira, Portugal
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for Algarve, Faro
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2. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

I am interested as this does not sound right to me. Express it is not, but old and dirty I find difficult to believe.

And French railway stations do not have porters and luggage attendants.

Cheadle, United...
6 posts
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3. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

We are currently staying in Lisbon having taken this same train from Madrid. Regrettably our experience has been the same as the writer. We had read on the Renfe site that it was a luxury service which included a pre dinner aperatif, a gourmet dinner whilst staff made up the beds and a full breakfast. Therefore we were completely unprepared and had to eat an inferior meal propped up against the bar and to add insult to injury had to pay a vastly overpriced amount for it.

Unfortunately, due to our schedule we are commited to taking this same train to Hendaye in a couple of days. I am not looking forward to it at all. What adds insult to injury is that we deliberately built this part of our extended train tour of Europe around this 'hotel' train.

Never again!

Quainton, United...
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
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4. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

The dinner is no longer included in the Gran Clase fare and the restaurant car is discontinued, and the fare is a bit lower as a result. So that needs to be borne in mind.

But it's still a comfortable Spanish trainhotel and should have proper beds in private compartments. There's a cafe-bar car with polished wooden bar and bar-stools which serves snacks, drinks and hot meals. It's the true descendant of the famous Sud Express.

I've used these trainhotels on many occasions, and it's always been comfortable, and reasonably quiet and smooth. But it's a 'real' train, not a deluxe tourist train, so expectations need to be realistic.

It certainly beats airport stress and cramped flights.

Cheadle, United...
6 posts
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5. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

OK I will have to disagree re the misleading information. Right up to the time we began our trip and after we had reserved places in Grand Class the website was showing details regarding dinner etc etc. The staff on the train were VERY unhelpful and surly to the point of being agressive. We have travelled many thousands of miles by train on this trip, all in 1st Class, and with the exception of just one other train in Italy the Lusitania has been the worst. I fully expect that the Sud Express that we are due to take tomorrow will be as bad, based on the original writer's comments.

I suspect that this service is moving towards being a back-packers mode of travel and those looking for service and comfort that we have experienced on other trains should avoid this one.

Manchester, United...
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32 reviews
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6. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

Unfortunately Jan E is correct, based on my experience too. I used the Sud express as part of an Interrail trip. However it is clear that the locals just do NOT regard it as a valid method of getting between Madrid and

Lisbon. Low cost air travel would be a much better option for anyone making just this journey.

The days of "business class" sleeper travel being available in western Europe is now over.

Italian and Spanish high speed train travel is absolutely superb (Frecci-whatsit & AVE). Until a high speed line exists between Madrid & Lisbon anyone other than student backpackers should avoid this travel option.

However I can't agree with the negativity about the "express" bit.. What does it matter if the train stops or not if one is asleep ?

And the surliness of the staff, whilst definitely the case, is I am sure due to them being fed up with having to take the abuse of passengers who have been miss-sold by their employers into expecting a level of service which just does not exist.

Lagos, Portugal
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7. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

I can't remember exactly where but it was in the popular press reviews, somewhere ! but take my word for it It was awful and an experience that I would NEVER want to repeat. However the Portuguese trains were very good, it all changed when we boarded the "Sud express" apparently now run by the Spanish rail company. To be avoided at all costs !!!

Lagos, Portugal
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4 reviews
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8. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

Believe you me, it Was old and dirty and if you don't believe me ask the rest of the party that we travelled with!

Lagos, Portugal
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9. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

They don't have lifts or escalators either !!!

Lagos, Portugal
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5 posts
4 reviews
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10. Re: Sud Express, Lisbon to Hendaye

Very well said, exactly the same as our experience. Avoid it like the plague !!