Best way to get around Spain & Portugal? Barcelona-Granada-Lagos-Lisbon-Porto-San Sebastian

Barcelona to Granada to Lagos to Lisbon to Porto to San Sebastian. Anyone know the best possible way of getting around? Trains/buses - day and or overnight?? Help please! :)
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 19, 2012 18:38
    Hi Rachel,

    For the requested itinerary, I would recommend purchasing the Eurail Portugal-Spain Pass. You can purchase this pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-portugal-spain-pass/index.html.

    There is an overnight train from Barcelona to Granada. Otherwise, a day connection would take 8 to 8.5 hours in duration and involve changing trains once in Madrid along the way.

    One important thing to note is that there are only a few train routes between Spain and Portugal. In fact, the only reservable trains between Spain and Portugal are the Lusitania night train connecting Madrid and Lisbon and the night train that connects San Sebastian/Irun with Lisbon/Coimbra. There are no routes connecting Spain and Portugal in the south. To travel from Spain to Portugal in the south, you would take a bus that goes from Seville to the Algarve (Faro, Albufeira, Portimão, and then Lagos). Therefore, you would take a train from Granada to Seville in order to connect to the bus. You would pay to board the bus locally upon arrival.

    A rail connection from Lagos to Lisbon would take about 4 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in Tunes along the way.

    There are direct trains from Lisbon to Porto that take about 2.5 to 3 hours in duration.

    A rail connection from Porto to San Sebastian would involve taking a train from Porto to Coimbra, where you would connect to the night train that goes to San Sebastian (Spanish Night Train).

    For travel with a pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage.

    The night train from Barcelona to Granada (Spanish Night Train) would require reservations in addition to the rail pass.

    If you opt to take the daytime connection from Barcelona to Granada, the trains from Barcelona to Madrid (high-speed 'AVE' trains) would require reservations, as would trains from Madrid to Granada (high-speed 'Altaria' trains).

    Trains from Seville to Granada are regional trains that don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board.


    For your trip from Granada to Lagos, you would just use your pass to take one of these same regional trains back to Seville, where you would purchase a ticket for the bus that will take you to Lagos.

    For your trip from Lagos to Lisbon, the trains from Lagos to Tunes are local trains that don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. The connecting trains from Tunes to Lisbon do require reservations, however, it is not possible to book reservations for trains operating within Portugal from anywhere outside of Portugal. Therefore, you would just purchase reservations for this train locally upon arrival.

    The direct trains from Lisbon to Porto will also require reservations, but you would purchase these reservations locally as well.


    For your trip from Porto to San Sebastian, the trains from Porto to Coimbra and the night train from Coimbra to San Sebastian would both require reservations. If you don't see a sleeping compartment that accommodates your party when you do your search for the night train from Coimbra to San Sebastian, you can call us at 1-800-622-8600 to verify what's available. Once again, you would have to purchase reservations for the train from Porto to Coimbra locally upon arrival.

    Generally, reservable trains in Spain, and the night train from Coimbra to San Sebastian can be booked within 60 to 90 days of an intended date of departure. If your intended travel happens to fall outside of this time frame, you would just enter dates within the next 60 or 90 days to get an idea of the reservation costs and view schedules when searching the routes on our website.

    For planning purposes, you can just view the schedules for the trains we aren't able to reserve (trains between Seville and Granada, trains from Lagos to Lisbon via Tunes, trains from Lisbon to Porto, and trains from Porto to Coimbra) under 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage. Once again, you would purchase reservations for the trains from Tunes to Lisbon, Lisbon to Porto, and Porto to Coimbra locally while you're in Portugal.
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    • Jeff (Official Rep) June 21, 2012 16:08
      Hi Rachel,

      If that is the case, the countries you'll be traveling through are Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, and Germany (a connection from the Cinque Terre to Munich would pass through Austria en route). The Eurail Select Pass is for 4 countries. Therefore, I would recommend purchasing a Eurail Global Pass, which is the only single pass that will cover travel to more than 5 countries (it covers travel within 24 European countries).

      You can purchase the Eurail Global Pass by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-global-pass/index.html.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) June 21, 2012 16:47
      Please note, travel from southern France to Italy would involve taking a regional train from Nice to the town of Ventimiglia, just across the border in Italy. These trains only go as far as Ventimiglia, so you would have to change trains there to continue on to your destination in Italy. These regional trains from Nice to Ventimiglia do not accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. For planning, you can just view the schedules for such routes by entering the route under 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage and not indicating that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass.

      For travel to the Cinque Terre, you would search schedules to either Monterosso (the northernmost town of the Cinque Terre) or La Spezia (the town just south of the actual Cinque Terre). There are direct trains from Ventimiglia to Monterosso and La Spezia. The direct trains from Ventimiglia to Monterosso and Ventimiglia to La Spezia are regional trains that don't accept reservations. The regional trains on this route will have 5 digit train numbers. Any trains with 3 digit train numbers on this route will require reservations (the connections on this route that are comprised of the reservable trains would involve changing trains once in Genoa along the way).

      To take any of these reservable trains, you would book the reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with, when prompted. Reservable trains in Italy can be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

      From Monterosso or La Spezia, you can hop on any of the frequently operating regional trains that make stops in all 5 towns of the Cinque Terre in between (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore). Therefore, if you have a day to spare on your pass, you would use it to travel on these regional trains between the Cinque Terre villages; stopping and boarding wherever you wish. Otherwise, you can just pay to board these regional Cinque Terre trains locally upon arrival, as it would just be very small fee.

      There are several different possibilities for daytime connections from Monterosso to Munich. From La Spezia, however, a connection to Munich during the day would take about 10 hours in duration and involve 2 train changes along the way; once in Parma and then once in Bologna. The trains from La Spezia to Parma are regional trains that don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all that would be needed to board. The trains from Parma to Bologna that would make up this connection are high-speed 'Frecciabianca' trains that do require reservations, and the trains from Bologna up to Munich are EuroCity that also require reservations.

      When you book the reservations under 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations', you would do one search for trains from Parma to Bologna and then another search for connecting trains from Bologna to Munich. For planning purposes, you can just check schedules for the non-reservable trains from La Spezia to Parma by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage, entering the cities, and not indicating that you'll be traveling with any type of rail pass.

      However, the easiest connection from the Cinque Terre to Munich may be one that involves taking a regional train from La Spezia to Florence, where you would connect to an overnight train that goes right to Munich. The regional trains from La Spezia to Florence don't accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. The night train from Florence to Munich (a 'City Night Line' train) would require reservations. Generally, the night train from Florence to Munich can be booked 90 to 180 days in advance of a departure.
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    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
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