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Review: Renfe Alvia Train, Spain

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Review: Renfe Alvia Train, Pamplona to Madrid
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Spain’s national train system is run by Renfe, a government run train system.

They offer a variety of products and services, and I tried Renfe’s Alvia service from Pamplona to Madrid, about a 3 hour ride.

I booked one ticket in their Preferente (Business) class, and paid about $100, which I covered using my Barclaycard Arrival+ World Elite Mastercard miles. In all, Business Class is simply a 1×2 train car seating, vs. the coach class which has a 2×2 seating. It’s about 30 EUR more than coach, and isn’t worth it, though I figured it would be something more. Amtrak even offers more service in it’s regional business class.

Pamplona’s train station is situated on the outside of the city, though it’s about a 20 minute walk to the historic center. I wouldn’t advise walking from the train station to the old city, so keep that in mind if you plan on staying in the center.

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The train boards just inside the station about 15 minutes prior to departure. A long line forms to the side, though I found it easily marked to say “Madrid,” the city I was traveling to.

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Onboard the train, you’ll find the Preferente class in a 1×2 seating. Unfortunately, that’s it. There’s an overhead tv, though all of the programming is in Spanish, and it’s a “communal” channel, everyone in the car watches.

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My seat was directly across from a handicapped seating position, which mean it had extra legroom. 🙂

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Upon arriving in Madrid, it was easy getting off from the train, and then back into the terminal.

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I booked my ticket on Rail Europe’s website, and it was easy enough. Rail Europe books tickets on a variety of carriers across Europe, and I was able to get the boarding pass emailed to my phone prior to departure.

I wouldn’t splurge for the Preferente (Business) class, and would stick with coach next time, though I certainly can agree the train was the easiest way to get from Pamplona to Madrid Atocha Station.

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Comments

  1. Joey says

    Thank you for this! I’m going to Spain for Labor Day weekend (leaving on Thursday!) and I plan on using renfe at some point. Good to know to stick to coach!

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