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Bus/Train tickets Madrid>Cordoba>Granada>Ronda>Seville>Madrid

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Jun 25th, 2014, 11:09 AM
  #1
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Bus/Train tickets Madrid>Cordoba>Granada>Ronda>Seville>Madrid

We are planning a trip in mid-October to these places. We are flying in and out of Madrid ,spending the last night there to be safe (we used freq flyer miles, and no options were available flying directly into Andalucia).
Our legs are:
Madrid>Cordoba by train
Cordoba>Granada by bus or train
Granada>Ronda by train (didn't see a bus)
Ronda>Seville by bus or train
Seville>Madrid by train

We plan on taking the train to Cordoba upon arrival in Madrid. About how much time after Madrid arrival should we allow for baggage, immigration, travel to train station, etc, 3-4 hrs?

Do we need to buy the train tickets in advance? From what I read, about 2-3 months prior they will become available. I plan on using the Renfe website to purchase the train tickets. Do I need reserved seats? Is there anything I need to know about different ticket options in general? Are there any discounts for seniors (my husband is 65) or anything else I should be aware of?

On the legs that have bus/train options, I will look for the best schedule. Do I also need to buy the bus tickets in advance? Any preference between the bus and train on these legs?

Thanks.
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Jun 25th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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YOU don't "need" to buy train tickets in advance, but you can usually get better prices when you do. I don't think reserved seats are usually an option, if you must have them, it includes them in the fare. It should be obvious.

No, you can't get discounts just for being a senior. There are some senior cards you can buy, I forget the details, but it is cheaper to just buy an advance fare.

The ticket fares are shown and they list the terms of each, you just read them and choose what is best for you, as well as the classes (turista, turista plus and preferente). IF you get a discounted advance purchase, it won't be refundable, generally. The fares show their terms, the cheapest doesn't allow changes and there is a 50 pct cancellation penalty. Another one doesn't allow changes or seat selection, etc. The most expensive you can change with no fee and cancel with only a 5% cost. The Promo fare doesn't allow you to seat a seat on Madrid to Cordoba, for example. I would hope they don't sell too many, you just don't get to choose your seat, I think (not sure). I would pay the few euro extra to choose my seat.

Can you read Spanish? I think the Renfe website has some things that are not translated from Spanish (such as info on the type of ticket, I forget), but you should be able to manage.

I haven't done Cordoba to Granada so can't advise on bus vs. train. I'd do train myself probably, but the bus only takes a little bit longer and is cheaper if budget is priority (you can save about 20 euro per person). I don't think you can usually even buy bus tickets in advance online for those type of buses, not sure. I've never bought bus tickets in advance in Spain. I'm planning a trip to Andalucia next Fall myself, and have found these websites helpful
http://www.andalucia.com/travel/bus/granada.htm
http://gospain.about.com/od/andalusi...To-Cordoba.htm
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Jun 25th, 2014, 12:25 PM
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Seat reservations are compulsory on nearly all non-local trains in Spain and will come with the ticket if so. As Christina says you can get nifty discounts by booking ahead but check the conditions on refunding or changing the specific train it books you on and to get them - as they are sold in limited numbers on each train and can sell out weeks in advance (or may not) - be sure of your dates and times.

Also check on the France-Spain Eurailpass to see if it is in the ballpark of all the fares you add up - if so go for it as then you can make your train reservations as you go along - fully flexible tickets the pass is - likely the pass would be cheaper only if you could not get discounted tickets but check (for some reason the Spain only pass seems to be more espensive than the France-Spain Pass which of course can only be used in Spain if you want.

Great sources of info on Spanish trains: www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

The Ronda - Seville bus passes thru some of the iconic perched white towns where buildings are all in white in this extremely hot area.
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Jun 25th, 2014, 01:13 PM
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Tarjeta Dorada...from RENFE gives you good discounts on the spot
It is available for those over 60 for about five euros.
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Jun 25th, 2014, 01:24 PM
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Oops - this year the Spanish Railpass is cheaper than Spain-France Pass as makes sense (but did not when it was not) with a 5-days pass (flexipass to be used over a 1-month period - can be consecutive or separated by any number of non-train days) is $325 or about $64/day or about 45 euros a day but you then have to pay for seat reservations on top of using the pass - about 10 euros each trip - that factoring in would make the discounted tickets, if available, cheaper I'm sure but if you want full flexibility then the pass may compare favorably to full fare prices - perhaps. The senior discount seems hard to beat.
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Jun 25th, 2014, 01:52 PM
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take into account the risk of pre-buying non- refundable train tickets for your arrival day. One never knows if there will be a strike or storm. If losing the money from the ticket does not upset you, then act accordingly. But if that possibility does.. then just buy the tickets at the airport at the Renfe office giving yourself an hour and a half or so to get to the station on local transportation and situate yourself. (Less, of course, if you use a taxi).
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Jun 26th, 2014, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for info.

For the train the day we arrive in Madrid, I'd definitely purchase the kind that can be cancelled or changed. As far as others, they should be pretty set.

I did read that the Renfe site is in Spanish, and found some info with translations. I speak a little Spanish as well. I looked at it and think I can figure it out.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 11:10 AM
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I looked at it and think I can figure it out.>

Well then you may be the exception if the legions of novice users' complaints about this very fickle site working upon first encounter.

One thing - tell your c card bank a foreign transaction from Spain will be coming in or may be blocked as a security measure.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 12:43 PM
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I read this http://www.livingthedreamrtw.com/201...ckets-for.html and http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...ts.Online.html

They do mention the CC issue, among others, and include some of the key translations.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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I think 2 hours is sufficient from landing to Atocha station if by cab. You don't need to buy tickets in advance unless you want to take advantage of the Renfe discount, or if the trip coincides with a major Spanish festival in Cordoba or Seville. If you make a reservation and you miss it I believe you can get on the next train with your tickets.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 02:07 PM
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from the REnfe website

"Alighting from, or missing, the train at the departure station of the journey, or during the journey, will not entitle the passenger to any reimbursement."
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Jun 27th, 2014, 05:00 AM
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"Alighting from, or missing, the train at the departure station of the journey, or during the journey, will not entitle the passenger to any reimbursement.">

What kind of tickets are you or they talking about there? Full-fare tickets which I thought were fully refundable and changeable or for a nominal fee so you are saying full-fare tickets are non-refundable if you miss the train you booked a seat on.

So there are no fully flexible tickets on Spanish trains?
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Jun 27th, 2014, 05:44 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I will definitely buy the 1st train ticket when I get to Madrid, and we will most likely take a cab to the station. I will double check festivals, but I don't think there are any when we are going (mid-October).

I can't wait to go. Andalucia has been on my list for years.
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Jun 27th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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not if you MISS the trim and don't show up? Refundable within a time period.. some up to 5 minutes before. others up to 15 minutes before.. some with small penalty and paying the difference of new ticket, others.. cancel beforehand and pay no penalty to rebook.
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Jun 27th, 2014, 01:29 PM
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thanks for clarifying that lincasanova - this is different than in most countries where if you say in France miss the TGV with full fare I believe you just lose your reservation fee - 3 euros usually - so is a big difference - again thanks for clarifying.
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Jun 27th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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well.. that's what I gathered from the website.. missed train.. lose your money. If I find anything contrary to that, I'll post.

sorry about the question mark and typo in previous post.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 05:19 AM
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thanks for your response!
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Sep 6th, 2014, 10:06 AM
  #19
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I ended up booking my train tickets on the Renfe site. I used these 2 references as guides as to how to use it (http://www.livingthedreamrtw.com/201...ckets-for.html
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...ts.Online.html
) and had no problems. At first my credit card was declined, but I used Paypal without issue, then called bank, and was able to use the credit card as well.

As far as the one leg from Ronda to Seville, it turns out we're getting a ride (meeting friends in Ronda who will go to Seville with us!).
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Jul 28th, 2015, 10:40 AM
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My wife and I are planning similar trip in late September. We will skip Madrid stay as we were in Madrid/Barcelona 5 years ago so we would go straight to Toledo for the night and then by train to Cordoba via Madrid. We plan on staying in Cordoba for 2 nights and travel to Granada for 2 nights. It seems bus travel from Cordoba to Granada is the way to go from the replies. We also want to stay a night in Ronda on route from Granada to Seville. I looked into the train schedule and routes and thought bus travel is the way to go through the region. I wanted to drive but my wife is dead against it as she feels we are more relax with train/bus travel. We will spend 2/3 nights in Seville and then high speed train back to Madrid to catch flight back. I read there is senior pass that you can get at the station to enjoy deep discount with train fares. Has anyone done that before and is there any complication of getting a senior pass by a foreign vistor? Any comment to this itinerary would be grateful also.
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