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Getting around in Spain

LOCALLY TAXIS: The cities and larger towns have metered taxis with a green illuminated light on the top of the vehicle indicating that it is available for hire and can be hailed in the street. This is not the case in the smaller towns, where there are no meters but an official price list according to your pick-up point and destination. Taxis do not stop in the street, and must be picked up from your local rank.

We would suggest that the first thing to do when you arrive at your holiday destination is to find a local map. Your hotel should be able to provide one, or there may be one in your apartment or villa. Maps are available at the local tourist office. If it’s not already marked, ask them to indicate the location of the local taxi rank. An alternative, armed with your map, is to try out your Spanish and ask a passerby: ‘Where is the taxi rank please? – ‘¿Donde está la parada de taxi por favor?’

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BUSES: The tourist office will also be able to provide you with details of the local bus service.

NATIONAL TRAVEL RAIL: The Spanish regions and major towns and cities are connected by a network of lines running local or commuter trains – ‘cercanías’ in Spanish – medium distance trains, and long distance. Long distance includes the AVE high speed rail service, which although more pricey, can cut down your journey time substantially. Spain’s railway service is operated by Renfe, www.renfe.es for information and bookings. The site is reasonably user friendly and is also available in English and French. A discount is offered for booking your tickets online rather than at the station.

BUS: Spain has an excellent national bus service, with a comprehensive network providing cheaper travel than by train as well as being more extensive. The major operator is ALSA, which is part of the UK’s National Express Group. Their website www.alsa.es is available in English, French and German. You can either book online or at the bus station in your town. Your key phrase here for directions to the local bus station would be: ‘¿Donde está la estación de autobuses por favor?’ It’s worth noting that the bus stations in the smaller towns may be little more than a lay-by for the buses to pull in and, in some cases, a ticket kiosk.