Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Getting from Madrid to Pamplona

Here is some information for those of you flying into Madrid, and wanting to meet our group in Pamplona.  

From the Madrid airport, you can catch a city bus to the Avenida de Americas bus terminal, get off the bus, go upstairs and purchase bus tickets at the kiosk. It's under two euros to get to the bus terminal and they have free wifi on the bus!

If you are going to meet us in SJPP, you can check to see if the new shuttle is running from Pamplona to's a new shuttle bus they started running last year during busy season. It's cheaper than a taxi.

If you are trying to purchase train tickets and having problems, this is because you can only buy tickets online two months in advance for any Spanish train.   If you purchase the tickets when they first become available, you can save well over half of the regular price. For every train, there is a limited number of "web fares" (cheapest) and "estrella fares" (next cheapest).
One experienced pilgrim, Laurie, says tickets on the RENFE website is hit or miss. One thing you definitely want to do is call your credit card company before you try to book them, and that might eliminate the problems that many people have. She says many people  go all the way through the complicated site, make their reservations, only to find that the payment isn't accepted.

As of 2012, ticket brokers can now sell the cheap tickets themselves, but only within the two month window. So Raileurope,  Petrobax, and others will sell you the same cheap fares with their service fee (about $8 US). Or you can try it yourself on the RENFE site and save the service fee.

Yet another alternative is to buy the tickets when you arrive in Spain. If you're over 65 (or is it 60?), you can then buy a special card that allows you a discount off the fare.  For ALSA and Renfe you are a senior citizen at 60.

There is a Tarjeta Dorada" (Golden Card) offered in Spain. This provides discounts to those over 60.  It costs 5.05 euros, and is available in RENFE train stations, RENFE ticket offices, and travel. It's valid for one year.  The discounts are taken off the regular ticket price (not the web specials) and are as follows:

For the AVE (high speed). Monday, Tuesday, Wed., Thurs., 40% discount with advance purchase. Friday, Sat., Sunday, and all days without advance purchase, 25%.

For the AVANT (next fastest). 25% discount M-F; 40% discount Sat-Sun (I know this is the opposite of the discounts for the AVE, but I'm just reporting what the RENFE website says).

For the regular trains: 40% discount all the time

Cercanias: 40% discount all the time

If you can get the online web fares two months out, they are even cheaper, but if not, or if you plan on  purchasing tickets while in the country, the Tarjeta Dorada may be the way to go. 

I'll post updated information as I find it.
Thanks Laurie!

See my website at 
for more information about
Guided Walks on the Pilgrimage Trails of Europe
Walking the Camino Santiago

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