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Spain Today

Tour Packages
There are numerous travel and tour packages available through travel agencies in Spain, who could make arrangements if you have not done so prior to arriving in the country.

Spain by air Spain's domestic airline, Avianca (Maudes, 51, Madrid, Tel: 254-93-76), affiliated with Iberia, offers service to all large cities in Spain. Barcelona, Seville and Bilbao are all about 50 minutes flying time from Madrid.

Trains in Spain
RENFE, the Spanish rail company, operates a very complicated rail system schedule. Express trains have 4 levels of speed and luxury: Electrotren, TER, Talgo and Pendular. When you try to use either an InterRail or a Eurailpass on RENFE trains, be prepared to pay supplements for travelling on express trains and some other trains. Reserve a ticket in advance if possible or obtain a RENFE railpass in Spain (where they cost less than purchased outside of Spain). RENFE tickets may be purchased at the railway stations or travel agents with a RENFE sign. Reserve a seat on the train for long trips, which can be crowded.

Persons over 65, families travelling with children, young people 12 to 25 years old, couples travelling in Coche-Cama and other special circumstances of travel may qualify for a big discount, so ask. Ask the RENFE office for a calendar of Blue Days (Diaz Azules), non holiday periods, when discount sare provided on the return portion of trips. Various weekend and one-day excursions are also disccounted.

A flexi-ticket will allow 4 days of travel in any 1 5-day period. These passes do not include the scenic north coast rail line from Bilbao to El Ferrol or the other private rail line from Alicante to Denia, both run by FEVE. Purchase a Tarjeta Turistica in Spain and it will entitle you to unlimited travel on Spanish trains without paying additional supplements.

Bus service is comfortable and reliable throughout Spain. Prices are roughly 600 ptas. or $6 per 60 miles (100 kilometers). Since many small towns do not have bus stations, the main problem will be finding out where the bus you want leaves from if you did not arrive in town on a bus owned by that company. More than one company's bus may be going to the same destination but by a different route. Check out the departure point for the bus you want when you arrive in town so that there are no surprises and delays when you want to leave town. Likewise check the timetable care fully to be sure that the bus you want runs that day, for example, Saturday and don't plan to travel on Sundays or holidays. Pay as you board for short trips or buy tickets in stations for longer trips. There are no reservations therefore arrive early.

The quality of Spain's major and secondary roads is improving dramatically. The A-1 roads and 4 lane highways charge toll. N roads (which mean National roads) with only one lane in each direction, are still the main routes for tourist travel since they go through most towns and villages, where speeds must be reduced. Speed limit ranges from 75 mph on autopistas to 62 on National highways to 55 on other roads unless otherwise indicated. Speeds should not exceed 40 mph in towns.
(see highway security notice)

Car Rental
Most major U.S. car rental companies have Spanish subsidiaries. You must be 19 years of age or older with an international drivers license or a valid license from your own country to drive in Spain. You have to rent with a major credit card or pay a very large deposit. See Europe Today Holiday Autos for details.

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