Winter vacation in Spain – travelling by train and bus

In 2024 my wife and I finally went to Spain in Feb/March to escape the cold weather. Something I wanted to do for a long time. We decided that instead of flying somewhere and then stay there in one place, we rather wanted to make a “roadtrip” out of it: Travelling in Spain by train and bus. Doing it the sustainable way πŸ™‚

Indeed now looking back I think this was a great decision. However, it wasn’t all that straight forward planning this trip. I spent a lot of time figuring out what destinations we could reach by only going via train or if we have to by bus. I did want to see and also stay in smaller towns/ villages. That meant those places needed some sort of public transportation and a restaurant. Plus a supermarket open in the winter as we mostly stayed in Airbnbs. Something we learned the hard way from our Elba visit in spring 22 πŸ™‚ Maybe this post will help folks figuring how to travel that way in Spain with train and bus. Maybe it encourages someone to give it a try. We had an amazing time, saw and experienced so many great things in those 2 months.

Big thanks to Jordina from “1000 hotels” who gave us great tips for our trip. Among them to visit “Altafulla”. Definitly one of the highlights of our trip.

Booking our Spain travels

The easiest way to get to Spain by train is via Avignon in France. We booked the trip to Avignon via Deutsche Bahn which was straight forward. In Avignon you arrive on the TGV station, from there you can take the shuttle train into town. We arrived late in the evening and we got a shuttle train in a few minutes. You can easily buy the ticket when you arrive at the machine. The french/ spanish connection I checked and actually also booked with β€œtrainlineβ€œ. Within Spain I used the Renfe App via Desktop and App. Renfe brought us (with a few stops) all the way to Valencia. From there we wanted to follow the coast going to Denia and then south. However there is no train connection Valencia to Denia…. so we went via bus with β€œAlsaβ€œ. The bus was super comfortable, we could bring our luggage into the cabin as it was rather empty.

Alicante Tram – the gamechanger

The big trick from Denia onwards was going via the small regional train β€œAlicante-Tramβ€œ which is going from Denia to Benidorm (ugly, don’t go there, we only switched train there) one line and from there another line down to Alicante. We used the Alicante Tram a lot, also for daily trips to little villages – highly recommended!

The last stop on the coast was Cartagena, from there we wanted to travel to Granada which was another section which was not possible via train. That meant taking the Alsa bus for 4h. We were a bit afraid whether this would be uncomfortable, but it was actually okay. We did see great landscape along the way and before we knew it we were there. In case you are wondering, yes the bus had a toilet. I saw someone using it so in case you really have to…there is the option πŸ™‚ The rest from Granada to Cordoba and onwards to Saragossa, Avignon, Berlin we could do by train. Its worth mentioning that the only delay during 2 months was on our way back changing trains in Mannheim with Deutsche Bahn. I am super impressed by the spanish trains and their punctuality!

Keeping an overview with Google docs

I used this table below on Google docs for planning and keeping track of the possible connections. This table was a living document, now in the final stage. I only booked the beginning of the trip and then shortly before we left on our trip I also booked the return train as I realised we have Easter coming up early. Booking those long train-rides early meant they were rather cheap and we could easily book 1. class. Planning the trip with this online Google Docs allowed us to check it on our mobile phone when on the go which was helpful. Believe me when you are on the road for 2 months, travelling in Spain by train and bus in many stops/ hotels/ airbnbs, you will loose track of what is booked and what not! πŸ™‚

Travelling in Spain by train and bus – a very affordable alternative to flying

Above you will see the prices for our transportation during the two months – adding up to around 1000€ for two months and two persons – I think you can agree that this is a great alternative to flying. Yes you will get much cheaper flights to Spain but then you are “stuck” in one place. That way we travelled slowly and saw many things during our trips. We had no hassle with parking and in overall could do all that in an sustainable way.

Photo gallery of my travel photography

Below a gallery with some of the photos I took with my travel camera Nikon Z30 and the kit-lense 16-50mm. If you like those, check out my Portrait Photography here πŸ™‚ . The Z30 is an amazing camera, small, light and great quality. Perfect for taking on our adventures exploring the cities and the many hikes along the coastlines and countryside of Spain. The photos below are sorted in chronological order starting in Avignon all the way down to Saragossa.