IBERIA HOTELS - Online Reservation service for Spanish hotels


Spain's national airline is IBERIA (IB).
For free advice on air travel, call the Air Travel Advisory Bureau on (0171) 636 5000 (London) or (0161) 832 2000 (Manchester).

Approximate flight time: From London to Barcelona is 2 hours; to Ibiza is 2 hours 20 minutes; to Madrid is 2 hours and to Málaga is 2 hours 20 minutes.
From Los Angeles to Madrid is 13 hours.
From New York to Madrid is 7 hours 25 minutes.
From Sydney to Madrid is 29 hours 5 minutes.

International airports: Alicante (ALC) (Altet), 12km (7 miles) southwest of the city. Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, bank, exchange office, car rental desk and restaurant. Coach service runs every 60 minutes to the city from 0730-2330. A taxi service is available to the city. There is a taxi connection between Alicante and Valencia Airport.
Barcelona (BCN) (del Prat), 9km (6 miles) southwest of the city. Airport facilities include a 24-hour bank, restaurant, bar, several car rental companies, hotel reservation and tourist information desks and a duty-free shop. Bus service to the city departs every 30 minutes from 0630-2300. Rail service is every 30 minutes from 0613-43. Taxi service to the city is available.
Bilbao (BIO), 10km (6 miles) north of the city. Taxi service to the city is available. Airport facilities include a restaurant, duty-free shop, tourist information desk and car rental offices.
Madrid (MAD) (Barajas), 13km (8 miles) east of the city. Airport facilities include restaurants and bars (0700-2400), 24-hour bank, several car rental offices, hotel reservation and tourist information desks and outgoing duty-free shop. Coach service departs to the city every 15 minutes from 0545-0015. Taxi service is available.
Málaga (AGP), 11km (7 miles) southwest of the city. Airport facilities include duty-free shop, bank, restaurant and car hire firms. Bus runs every 30 minutes from 0600-2310. Train service runs every 30 minutes from 0715-2345. Taxi service to the city is available.
Santiago de Compostela (SCQ), 10km (6 miles) northeast of the city. Bus service from 0715-2215. Taxis are available to the city centre.
Seville (SVQ) , 12km (7.5 miles) from the city. Taxis are available to the city centre.
Valencia (VLC) (Manises), 10km (6 miles) from the city. Airport facilities include several car hire firms, 24-hour bank, restaurant, bar and duty-free shop. Taxis are available to the city centre.

Brittany Ferries operate a service to Santander (on the north coast) from Plymouth, taking 24 hours. An twice-weekly service is provided by P&O from Portsmouth to Bilbao.

There are direct trains between Madrid-Paris and Madrid-Lisbon, as well as Barcelona-Paris, Barcelona-Zürich-Milan and Barcelona-Geneva. These services are called Talgo, Estrella or Train-Hotel. On other international services to and from Spain, a change of train is necessary.

The main route from the UK is via France. The main autoroutes to Spain from France are via Bordeaux or Toulouse to Bilbao (north Spain) and via Marseille or Toulouse to Barcelona (east Spain). A number of coach operators offer services to Spain. In the UK, Eurolines, departing from Victoria Coach Station in London, serve more than 20 destinations in Spain. For further information, contact Eurolines, 4 Cardiff Road, Luton LU1 1PP. Tel: (01582) 404 511. Fax: (01582) 400 694.
See below for information on documentation and traffic regulations.

Internal Travel

Domestic flights are run by Iberia (IB), Aviaco (AO), and Air Europa (AEA).
Scheduled flights connect all main towns as well as to the Balearic and Canary Islands and enclaves in North Africa. Air taxis are available at most airports. Reservations should be made well in advance.

There are regular hydrofoil and car and passenger ferry sailings from Algeciras to Ceuta (North African enclave); Málaga and Almeria to Melilla (North African enclave); Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante to the Balearic Islands; and Cádiz to the Canary Islands. There are also inter-island services.

The state-owned company RENFE operates a railway network connecting all the regions on the Iberian peninsula. It is mainly a radial network, with connections between Madrid and all the major cities. There are also some transversal services connecting the northwest coast with the Mediterranean coast, as well as services from the French border down the Mediterranean coast. Principal trains are air-conditioned, and many have restaurant or buffet service. Reservations for passenger services in Spain may be made in the UK through Ultima Travel (tel: (0151) 339 6171) or E. Raymond & Co/Special Trains International. Ltd. (tel: (0151) 236 2960).

Discount Rail Travel: The Spanish rail system is one of the cheapest in Europe. A discount of 10% applies to standard return tickets and 20% to day returns. Groups of eight or more qualify for up to 50% discount on advance bookings. Children under 4 years travel free, and children aged 4-11 years pay half fare. Travellers can purchase a Spanish Railways Tourist Card allows unlimited travel from three to ten days within two months and is valid for on all RENFE long-distance trains, with the exception of high-speed ones (the Ave and Talgo 200). No supplements are payable other than sleeping facilities on overnight services. There are no selling points in Europe but travellers may obtain the card at major railways stations in Spain, on presentation of their passport.Travellers can also enjoy savings by using any one of the European passes available, such as the Euro Domino Freedom Pass, which enables holders to make flexible travel arrangements. The Euro Domino Freedom Pass is available in 19 European countries, but must be bought in the country of residence for which a valid passport or other form of ID has to be shown. In the UK, this pass is available from British Rail International. The tickets are valid for 3, 5 or 10 days within a month. Also available from British Rail International, the Inter-Rail Pass entitles UK residents under 26 to unlimited rail travel for one month. The Rail Europe Senior (RES) card entitles senior citizens to 40% discount on rail travel throughout Spain even during peak hours. The card is available from all British Rail stations.
Note: Seat reservations are required on all intercity trains. This ruling applies to the passes and cards mentioned above.

High-Speed Trains: The Ave service connects Madrid and Seville in under three hours, with 12 services each way via Córdoba. Some services also stop at Ciudad Real and Puerto Llano (La Mancha). The Talgo 200 connects Madrid and Malaga thrice-daily in less than five hours. Holders of most of the cards and passes mentioned above qualify for discounts, albeit less substantial than the rates quoted above.

Motorail: Services are operated on night trains. Although not all routes are bookable outside Spain, reservations can be made in the UK for the following routes: Barcelona-Málaga, Bilbao-Málaga, Bilbao-Cádiz and Bilbao-Alicante. For further information and reservations, contact Rail Shop in London. Tel: (0171) 203 7000.

Tourist Trains: The Transcantabrico and Andalus Express offer a pleasant way of discovering their respective regions. There are also a number of privately-run narrow-gauge railways in Spain, located mainly in the north of Spain as well as the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands, which run at a leisurely pace through picturesque scenery. For more information on tourist trains, contact the Spanish National Tourist Office.

There are more than 150,000km (95,000 miles) of roads. Motorways are well-maintained and connect Spain north-south. Tolls are in operation on some sections and have to be paid in Pesetas. Trunk roads between major cities are generally fast and well-maintained. Rural roads are of differing quality.
Bus: There are bus lines which are efficient and cheap, operating between cities and towns. Departures are generally from a central terminal at which the operators will have individual booths selling tickets. Most places have a bus link of some kind, even the more remote villages.
Car hire: All major car hire companies are represented in major cities. Minimum age for car hire is 21 years.
Motorcycles: No person under 18 may hire or ride a vehicle over 75cc. Crash helmets must be worn.
Traffic regulations: Traffic drives on the right. Side lights must be used at night in built-up areas. Spare bulbs and red hazard triangles must be kept in all vehicles. Traffic lights: green for go, amber, then red for stop; two red lights mean 'No Entry'. Seat belts to be worn by travellers of any age on the front seats; seat belts have to be worn in the back where fitted. The speed limit for motorways is 120kmph (75mph) in general, but for buses and lorries the limit is 100kmph (60mph); in built-up areas the limit is 50kmph (30mph); for other roads it is 90kmph (56mph).
Documentation: An International Driving Permit is required or a translation of the national driving licence (available from the Consulate), or a new EU-format driving licence (3-part pink document). Third Party insurance is also required and a Green Card is strongly recommended.

Traffic in Spanish cities is normally heavy, and urban driving takes some time to adjust to. City public transport facilities are generally good. Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and Madrid have metros as well as buses. Pre-purchase multi-journey tickets are sold. Other towns and resorts are well served by local buses. Metered taxis are available in most major cities and taxi drivers expect a 2-3% tip.

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