Fly or Train? Granada to Madrid

Old Dec 4th, 2012, 07:05 PM
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Fly or Train? Granada to Madrid

Train Granada to Madrid is 4.5 hours, whereas the flight is 1 hour long.
How far in advance do I need to get to the train station versus the airport?
I'm trying to figure out if flying will save me any time, given the extra checkin time needed at the airport(maybe?) and the distance to travel between the city center and the airport in both cities.
I'm trying to minimize the amount of travel time, but also see if it's worth the extra price to fly.
This trip is in January.

Thanks for any input in advance!
umnumy is offline  
Old Dec 4th, 2012, 07:18 PM
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I think it's pretty much a toss up. By the time you get to the Granada airport, check in (at least one hour before flight), fly, then wait for your luggage and get into central Madrid it could take 3-4 hours. So I'd probably base my decision on prices and the schedule of the train vs plane.
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Old Dec 4th, 2012, 10:45 PM
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I don't think you save much time by flying considering transport times and check in at the airport. The trains are very comfortable in Spain. I am not sure about Granada but in Madrid we had to go through a security check before boarding. That precaution took only a minute-similar to airport. Why not consider upgrading your train to a first class seat if the price is not too outrageous? We enjoyed the seats and service.
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Old Dec 4th, 2012, 11:47 PM
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'How far in advance do I need to get to the train station versus the airport?' - You should be aboard two minutes before the train departs, because the doors usually close two minutes before departure.

As both above, I doubt there will be much difference in the duration of journey, but you could save as much as an hour with a flight.

Move now if this is after the 10th Jan. and you want the discounted web fares on the train.
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Old Dec 5th, 2012, 08:21 AM
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The train is a relaxing centre to centre journey in 4.5 hours.

The plane is a 3 to 4 hour journey by metro or bus or taxi followed by an hour at an airport fussing over liquids and the weight of your baggage, followed by a cramped flight followed by another taxi or bus ride. Disjointed and stressful.

There is no checking for trains ( if your on board when the doors close and it leaves, you go with it, if you're not you don't)

Book a cheap web fare for the train from around €30 at or if you have any problems paying simply use

If you splurge or Preferente (1st class) you'll get a hot tray meal with wine served at your seat included in the fare, possibly rounded off with a nice brandy.

Oh heck, why would anyone not on a stressed business trip fight their way out to an airport for a simple journey like this!! (Rhetorical! ;0) )
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Old Dec 6th, 2012, 03:13 AM
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I've done both in the past year and I would choose the train. The scenery nearing Granada is beautiful.

I would be sure to try to get the discount webfares mentioned by the previous poster. These should be available now.
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Old Dec 6th, 2012, 04:27 AM
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If you are over 60, then you can buy a Tarjeta Dorada ( 5E) that will give you a large discount when the webfare/estrella is not available. The estrella (fare) is similar to the senior fare also so if those two fares ( web or estrella) are available there is no reason to buy the senior card for this trip..
lincasanova is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2012, 03:11 AM
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i would do the train as its less aggravation then the airport. the renfe trains are nice and they always show a film on the journey. you can also visit the restaurant, if you can call it that, to get a few drinks and food. you will have more room on the plane and you only have to get to the train 5 minutes before the door shuts. so i would go for the train.
maiteland is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2012, 04:51 PM
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Thanks everyone for your feedback! The train it is!

I was able to purchase tickets on the petrabax website, after reading everything about renfe, all tutorials, posts, etc. and failed to get through on that site.

The petrabax website actually gave me cheaper tickets on one leg of my trip (I was comparing with Renfe as I'm booking and the webfare was not being offered on the Renfe site). The other legs turned out to be a few dollars more expensive per person, but I feel it was worth it.

After booking, a confirmation email is sent, and then the tickets were emailed to me. I'm able to print it at anytime before departure.
umnumy is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2012, 07:21 PM
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When I compare plane vs. train, I look at even more factors. With train, I can keep my smartphone and computers on for the entire duration of the trip. I can also bring as much food and liquid from a deli shop in town and eat anytime during the trip. I can walk around on the train and even when seated, even the cheapest train seats are more comfortable that the 1st class domestic flight seats. Additionally, for trains, I don't have to worry about packing carry-on vs. checked luggage to meet all the regulations: no lithium batteries and computers in checked luggage, no liquid more than 100ml and no knives and scissors with long blades, etc.

When I read discussion boards on high speed train vs. plane in the U.S., those who have never ridden high speed trains in Europe or Asia would proudly claim that airplane flight times are shorter than train travel times, and therefore high-speed trains are not needed in the U.S. What a simplistic and incomplete analysis.
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Old Dec 11th, 2012, 07:49 PM
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You're received a lot of biassed reviews, but based on personal experience, I'm inclined to go with taking the train, if I have the time to spare. Comfort should be number one and a few extra hours on the train are often well worth it.
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Old Dec 12th, 2012, 12:05 AM
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Having done the reverse-Madrid to Granada, I would take the train if you have the time. Its not the AVE high speed kind, but it was clean, comfortable and a relaxing 3 hour ride, through Spain. Boarding was quick and the whole experience puts Amtrak to shame.
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