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Newby First Timer Looking For Guidance

  • 21 February 2024
  • 5 replies
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Hi Everyone. Just to introduce myself as Dave from “Up North” (Middlesbrough). I’m looking to purchase a Flexi Pass (4 days) for the first time as I’m thinking about treating myself to a trip aboard for my 55th birthday next month. Due to my irrational fear of flying my preference is to try the train option. For me the purpose of the train option is basically a means to an end as I’m looking to spend 5 days in Benidorm. In a nutshell I’m thinking 2 days travel each way with an overnight stop somewhere between. If i can call on your good selves experience do you think this is doable with a 4 day pass? Also, can I use my first day on the pass to travel from Darlington to Paris (as i was a little confused with The Man In Seat 61’s explanation)? I’m trying to factor in costs but am i right in saying its a bit of an unknown due to the varaible cost of seat reservations. Will that cost make the trip financially nonviable maybe? Thanks in advance for any help as it will be well received. Dave

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Best answer by thibcabe 21 February 2024, 14:59

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Userlevel 7
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What a great idea! :)

It won't be cheap I'm afraid. Eurostar and the TGV to Barcelona have one of the highest fees…

Expect to pay 130€ return for the fastest route (on top of the pass) but there are ways to save money as soon as you don't mind spending a bit more time.

Middlesbrough/Darlington - London - Paris is fully included, don't worry. On two of the pass days you may travel in your own country basically.

You should book the London - Paris Eurostar well in advance as it's a popular route and there's a passholder quota. The 2 x 30€ fee is unavoidable.

After Paris multiple options :

- direct high-speed train to Barcelona (35€)

- night train to the Spanish border : 20-25€ for a couchette. I'd definitely go that way towards Spain or back -> inexpensive while you save a night accommodation!

- high-speed train to Montpellier/Perpignan and then across the border on a reservation-free regional train (you don't necessarily have time for it)

I'll post a good itinerary towards Alicante in another post.

Questions very welcome.

Userlevel 7
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For example using the night train :

- Middlesbrough - London King's Cross 07:08 - 10:20

- margin for delays and time for passport controls

- Eurostar London St. Pancras - Paris-Nord 12:31 - 16:04 30€

- métro to Gare d'Austerlitz (tickets in the Eurostar Café), time for dinner and a little walk

- Intercités de nuit Paris-Austerlitz - Latour-de-Carol 21:40 - 10:07 20-25€ for a couchette (outside peak season you mightget lucky and have the whole compartment to yourself!)

Day 2 : you wake up in the middle of the Pyrénées, beautiful!

- R3 Latour-de-Carol - Barcelona-Sants 10:30 - 13:54

- lunch near the station, also possible to get off the R3 a stop earlier to end up in the center proper

- Euromed Barcelona-Sants - Alicante 16:10 - 21:34 10€

I don't know how you reach Benidorm then, I guess by bus from Alicante? Looks like Valencia could work too.

This is the route I would definitely take to Paris in any case. Instead of the night train you could take an evening TGV to Lyon or push to Montpellier and spend the night there. Also possible.

Feel free to ask questions, we'll be glad to answer.

Thank you so much for your time. I need to grab myself some time away from my work and digest all that information. Really appreciate your time. First look though I didn't realize the reservations would be so costly so need to do the math before I purchase a pass. However they are currently on sale at 15% reduced so that helps the situation financially. Never considered an overnight train to be honest but maybe that’s the best option. Thanks again, I will have a good look and keep you posted. Dave

Userlevel 7
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You’re welcome. Feel free to ask anything.

Yeah it’s a pretty expensive (and popular) route… regular tickets aren’t a lot less either. I’d say that a pass remains good value, if only for the Middlesbrough - London leg.

Interrail is very good value in Germany, Switzerland, Austria (and the UK) where seat reservations are optional and last-minute tickets are pretty expensive. The pass lets you remain flexible.

If Benidorm isn’t set, there a few beautiful railways in the Alps, like the Albula & Bernina : https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/bernina-express.htm

This route leads to Lake Como and Northern Italy.

Hope you have a good trip!

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

Just for info:,

 

Alicante to Benidorm is now served by a regular tram service not included in your pass. You can change in Benidorm to the onward service to Denia (via Albir, Altea and Calpe).

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