I'm SO happy I found this forum , the information and help on here is FANTASTIC!
I have a question ...
I'll be flying into Paris on Oct/26/07 and would like to take the rail to Lisbon , and possibly stopping off in Spain for a couple days first. I am going to the Golega Horse Festival in Portugal and have my plans for there semi-solid.
But I was wondering which route and rail service(s) is (are) the best to take to go through to Lisbon? From what I have seen online , there are many different rail services , but I havent found one that goes straight through to Lisbon.
I've been told that the rail passes can sometimes be very overpriced , even though they seem like such a great idea. I was wondering if it would be cheaper/easier to get my tickets when I get there or if a rail pass is the way to go. I would like to use a pass to travel around Portugal once I'm there , so I am not a burden to my busy friends ( working and school) The 5 day 3 country pass from Eurail seems like a good idea. Let me know any and all of your suggestions please
When I leave to come back here to Canada , I'll be flying out of Lisbon, Nov 16th.
I just wanted to try and add a little more to my trip by using the rail to get from Paris to Lisbon , I would love to stop off in Spain if there are any suggestions as to where , that would be GREAT! I was thinking of Madrid.
Thanks so much for reading this post I cant wait to hear everyones suggestions.
Hi Welcome To TP...
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Believe me,i'm a train connaisseur,everything you'll need to know will be this particular website...Let me know how you get on...
the (almost) direct train connection between paris and lisbon is via hendaye (a rail transportation hub on spanish-french border). you go from paris to hendaye then change the train (no waiting) to hendaye-lisbon.
hendaye-lisbon passes through some very interesting spanish towns, salamanca being the most interesting. burgos is next. it also passes thru vitoria, which is very close to donostia-san sebastian.
of course you can choose another itinerary - go from paris to madrid and then catch madrid-lisbon night train. but madrid-lisbon line is very boring - no interesting places for a stopover.
as to extensive use of train in portugal, i m not sure if it is a good idea. fast and comfortable train services are only on the main line braga-porto-lisbon-faro plus suburban train network in lisbon and porto city zone areas, train connections in other regions of port are not very good - slow, not very frequent, inconvenient schedules. buses are a better idea in these places.
I cant help you with the pass thing, but I recomend you to spend 1-2 days in San Sebastián, near the french border, and/or 2-3 in Madrid.
I recommend you use the map on Rick Steves' site to get an idea how much a train ticket from Paris to Lisbon would cost you. Then compare it with the price of the pass. If you are only taking the train to go from Paris to Lisbon and some local trains in Spain, I think a point-to-point ticket would be cheaper.
If you are considering to take the 1st class selectpass for 5 days in 2 months for 429 USD, I think you are better off with point-to-point. Only if you qualify for the selectpass youth for 279 USD is there is a small chance that you'll save anything, but then you'll have to make several long-distance trips in Spain or take the long route via Barcelona.
The Rick Steves' site gives 170 USD as the approx. price from Paris to Lisbon via San Sebastian and 230 USD via San Sebastian and Madrid, btw.
If you want to see more of Spain, I can recommend visiting Moorish Spain. October is one of the rare months when it isn't so blazing hot and totally overcrowded there.
Plus the journey down there would make the Eurail pass worth it.
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 25, 2007, at 7:46 AM by t_maia ]
As your plans are fairly fixed, i'd suggest point to point (cheaper as you'll only be doing 2main journeys), and buy in advance. Realistically, you will be travelling from Paris to Hendaye/Irun on the Spanish border.
You then have the choice to go direct to Lisbon (maybe with a stop over in San Sebastien/Bilbao near the border, or via Madrid. There are lots of other interesting places to see, but if you want to be in Lisboa by the start of November, i'd stick to either SS/B or Madrid. If you do go via Madrid, you can either change at the border (overnight Irun - Madrid) or go direct from Paris, though this normally costs more [unless you book in advance].
You also obviously have the option (or plan) of a few nights in Paris beforehand.
Thank all of you for your replies!
I will go check out the sites you guys gave me , I've been an internet maniac for the last few days , trying to find out as much as I can.
I was thinking about point-to-point it just seems to make the most sense , but I'll double check all my info on that.
Thank you all for your suggestions as to where to visit as well, I really dont want to go to any ultra-urban tourist type place . I'm a farmgirl and want to see alot of the countryside and samll , historic places.
The bus is a great idea as well , as I was looking into the trains within Portugal and it looks like its not quite as consistant as I was first told.
Thanks again for all your input guys! I can't wait to hear more about your adventures and suggestions!