Meeting Your Trip in HENDAYE

This page offers help (concrete or informational) on reaching your trip. Topics include...

  1. Where you Join Your Trip (see immediately below)
  2. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  3. Suggestions on how to time your trip to the trip, whether you are having us arrange your travel, or doing it yourself.
  4. Service information regarding train travel to your trip start location.
  5. Suggested pre-trip visits, especially when these are not geographically obvious, but are rendered economical and convenient by direct rail connections.
  6. Hopefully helpful hints for those setting up their own travel to the trip.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.


1. WHERE and WHEN Do You Join Your Trip?

Your trip assembles at the Hendaye railway station, on the French/Spanish border, Saturday between 1 and 3p.
If you wish to more fully use the day, an earlier meet is offered upon arrival of the overnight trains, early Saturday morning.  This lets you spend the bulk of the day on the beach at St.-Jean-de-Luz, instead of looking out a train window.

We will send you details of meeting time and place with your final itinerary.

If you wish to make your own way to the trip (in other words, not to set up your travel arrangements through us), a couple of hints on getting there are offered at the bottom of this page.


2. Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of January 31, 2012

The closest intercontinental airports are Paris, Madrid and Barcelona.  But Hendaye is still 6 hours by daylight train from any of these.  If you are travelling intercontinental, reaching Hendaye in time for trip start on the date on which you land in Europe is dauntingly difficult. Thus all of the options on offer below include a bed (rolling or not) on Friday night.

Base (Starting) Access Package Price:  111€.
To see what this means in your currency, look here:  http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html
Ride the Bike Train Discount fare:  49€.


Availability
at some price is usually good until 35 days prior to trip start, but the prices are not guaranteed.  Discount fares are capacity-controlled, and are often unavailable on Friday trains, which generlly sell out by departure date.

Included:

  • Train tickets to Hendaye from Paris, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, Madrid or Barcelona, plus a Friday night hotel in Hendaye, based on shared occupancy, and including breakfast.
    Singles willing to share may ask to do so, but must be willing to pay the single supplement if no roommate is found.
    Included tickets are in 2nd class, but economical 1st class upgrades are available.  See below.
    OR
    Friday overnight train from Paris or Nice.  Price is 86€ instead of 111€, and includes a couchette on board.
    - Upgrades to “Comfort Couchettes” are available.
    - Night trains from Paris are artificially slowed down, in order to take 8 hours for the trip, and thus permit a fuller night’s sleep. These save a day otherwise lost to travel.  However, if you are not used to them, or are coping with jet lag, you will sleep fitfully.
    - Train tickets are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered.  See below for higher cost flexible tickets.
  • Seat or bed reservations on your selected trains.
  • A printed schedule / itinerary, highlighting any connections.
  • Our “Route Sheet to the Trip,” helping you through your journey.
  • All irritating extra charges that are usually hidden until the end (taxes, agency fees, baggage charges and the like).

Bike Train:
The bikes travel to Hendaye on the overnight train on Friday night, or on the first morning TGV from Paris on Saturday.
Ticket price includes a couchette on board.  Upgrade to “Comfort Couchette” available if desired.

Options Offered at an Extra Cost (subject to availability)
Prices are in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price.
For a general discussion of train upgrades, see here.  Topics include the relative comfort of first versus second class, and different types of accommodation available on overnight trains.

  • Tickets from London.  Add 79€ if you are also purchasing tickets back to London, 109€ if not, or if you prefer a changeable return (in 1st cl., add 109€ or 149€; 1st class tickets include meal service).
    Paris stop-overs are available for 15€ if travelling to Hendaye via daylight train, at no cost if via the overnight train.  If you opt for the overnight train, you may use the “Ride the Bike Train” discount, if spaces are available.
  • Friday overnight train from Lisbon:  +42€.  Includes T-4 sleeping car berth.
    Sleeping car upgrades available to double or single cabins, regular or deluxe.
  • Exchangeable / refundable tickets:  +26€.
    Tickets are exchangeable, on a space-available basis, at any time until the train’s departure.  In France, they may even be exchanged up to one hour after the train’s departure, provided you do so in the departing station.  Cost is 10€ if you make the exchange yourself at the station, 20€ if you make it through us.  Tickets are refundable less 20% before the train’s departure (the physical ticket must be returned to the issuing office to obtain a refund).
  • First class train tickets (in lieu of 2nd class) on daylight services.
    - From Madrid or Barcelona:  +43€.
    A meal service is included in the ticket price. 
    - From Paris or Charles de Gaulle Airport:  +27€.
    This sharply discounted rate is a good deal for the long trip, but is not always available.  The full-fare upgrade is 102€.  Some intermediate fare codes also exist:  we will propose the lowest available when you make your booking.
  • Upgrade on overnight train:
    - +29€ to “Comfort Couchette” (available from Paris, Nice or Geneva)
    - +39€ / person to a double sleeping car cabin (from Lisbon)
    - +99€ for a private single cabin (from Lisbon)
    - add 37€ more per person for “deluxe” cabins, including ensuite shower and WC, and a 3-course dinner in the train’s excellent restaurant.
  • Paris airport train tickets, from Charles de Gaulle or Orly to Paris center.  Follow this link for details.
  • Friday hotel night in Paris or Madrid, Sa early train to Hendaye.
    - The 5a wake-up call implied is not recommended if this is your first night in Europe.
  • Private single hotel room in Hendaye, Madrid or Paris, +38€.

Alternate Arrangements, in lieu of our usual packages (subject to availability)
Prices are complete (in other words, they are not in addition to the “Base” Access Package price).

  • Hotel in Hendaye (additional nights, or without rail tickets, subject to availability — Hendaye hotels can be tough on summer weekend nights):  52€ shared, 81€ single.
    Shared rate guaranteed to singles on pre-trip Friday night only, and only until 35 days prior to trip departure.  Price includes our booking charge, all taxes, and breakfast.



3. TIMING Your Trip

Hendaye offers a pretty town center, and a beautiful beach.  The latter is 2 kilometers from the station neighborhood, and from our usual hotels (taxi & bus service available, or the walk is pleasant).  Anyway, arriving on Friday, with time to kill on Saturday morning, will not be a sacrifice.

Like airplanes, trains to Hendaye require reservations.  You must not only tell us by which gateway you wish to arrive, but at what time of day you wish to travel.  Allow ample time to connect from a flight:  the railroad is not responsible for (chronically) late planes. Moreover, it can take intercontinental travellers up to 90 minutes to clear customs, immigration and baggage claim upon arrival.  If you are attempting a tight connection, we suggest modifiable tickets.


4. Service Information
Schedules are approximate – exact timetables can be consulted at
http://www.raileurope.com/index.html
Best trains are mentioned.  Others are slower or have multiple connections.

  • From Madrid.  Travel time is a shade under 6 hours on an express.  Express trains run at 8a and 4p (from Chamartin, direct).
    Additionally, there is an inconvenient overnight service, involving a 1a connection (couchette and sleeping car accommodation available on the second train, but it is still a short night — Hendaye arrival is at 7a).
  • From Barcelona.  Friday daylight trains at 7:30a (arrive 1:30p) and 3:30p (arrive 9:30p).
    These trains actually only travel to Irun, across the border from Hendaye.  A taxi from the Irun station to Hendaye costs circa 15€, or connections are available by public transit.  The train at 7:30a on Saturday morning can get you to Hendaye in time for the 2p meeting. 
  • From Paris.  Travel time is 6 hours, 5 trains spread thru the day.  Overnight train leaves from Austerlitz station at 11p.
  • From Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.  10a, 1p or 4p (all with one connection).  Trip time is 7 - 8 hours.
  • From Lisbon, overnight train:  departs at 4:30p, arrives at 7:30a.
  • From London.  Friday 9:30a departure, with 2 connections, arrive 8p (1 hour is lost to the time change).  Or via Paris and the Friday overnight train (depart London circa 6p, earlier if you would like to stop for dinner in Paris).


5. Suggested PRE-TRIP VISITS

Lisbon is a beautiful and exciting city.  While Paris, Madrid, and Barcelona are, too, it might be tougher to work Lisbon into your next trip....  If you do visit Lisbon, treat yourself to a sleeping car upgrade for the trip to Hendaye.  They are relatively economical on this route.

Or, we have a nice hotel in Biarritz, if you would like a little time lounging on the beach....


6. Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY to the Trip
Guests subscribing to an “Access Package” need not read this section.

See also “Timing Your Trip” and “Service Information,” above, as either of these may additionally help.

We gladly provide travel consulting (schedule or routing information) concerning pre-trip individual travel. In particular, we have invested a great deal to become railway experts.  Our service fees are reasonable:  a 20€ charge for all but the most complex projects – or the most simple (for instance, only a 10€ charge applies if the service is limited to the preparation of a routine rail ticket).  You will generally find them well-justified by the time they will save you in research, standing on line, overpaying for your tickets, or all three.

But, for some, this type of research is fun.  So, here are some hints, intended to start off hardened “do-it-yourselfers.”

Trains.  Schedules for all routes can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

Hendaye is on the French / Spanish border, and is a long way from any “major” airport. Overnight sleeper trains come from Paris, Geneva, Nice, and Lisbon, with connections from elsewhere.  This is the least time-intensive way to get to Hendaye, in that you don't sacrifice a day to travel (though you will probably sleep fitfully on the night train if this is not a mode of transport you are used to).

Planes.  The tiny “San Sebastian” airport is a short taxi ride from Hendaye station, the trip meeting point.
Biarritz airport is also close by (half an hour by train).  Bordeaux and Bilbao are slightly larger airports, both about 3 hours away by ground transport:  Bilbao via bus, Bordeaux via train (there are also trains from Bilbao, but they take an hour longer than the bus).

Connecting in Madrid or Barcelona for a flight to San Sebastian, or in Paris for a flight to Biarritz, would be the only way to arrive in Europe from North America on the morning of the trip start and still join the trip on time.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.

Info for
Trip Members


Getting Ready

Access Packages
How to meet & leave your trip.


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