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Train, car or fly from Madrid to Andalusia

Train, car or fly from Madrid to Andalusia

Sep 2nd, 2005, 08:48 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 314
Train, car or fly from Madrid to Andalusia

We are two women just beginning to plan our Spain adventure. Using FF miles we can get to Madrid in November. We will probably stay 2-3 nights in Madrid and then I know we want to go South to the Andalusia area - Granada, Ronda and then not sure where else yet. My question - is it feasible to rent a car in Madrid when we are leaving and drive South? Is the drive far longer (time wise) than the train or plane, or should we train down and rent a car in Granada. We are experienced Euro drivers so that's not a problem. (We brake for nice leather shops!)
rfbk50 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:29 PM
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Probably the most convenient way to get to the general Andalusia area is by train, in particular, the AVE which runs at 280kph from Madrid to Sevilla, with a stop beforehand at Cordoba. It is thus about a three hour trip, and not even a plane is faster point-to-point. By car would be a much longer trip. Granada will need at least a two night stopover if you are to visit the Alhambra, while Ronda is possibly a day trip, and well worth it. I thought the Alcazar in Sevilla was the equal of the Alhambra, and Sevilla a more interesting destination than Granada. The Mesquita in Cordoba was probably the best thing I saw in that part of Spain, but the rest of Cordoba was less interesting than a lot of similar Spanish cities. A car might be the most convenient means of travel, but the bus services between the cities mentioned are frequent, and very inexpensive. If I had decided to hire a car, I would probably have done so in Sevilla.
adeben is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2005, 09:32 AM
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As already pointed out, the AVE is the easiest way to travel between Madrid and Sevilla, but you also end up missing out on a lot.

You donít mention how long you plan to be in Spain, but after spending your first couple of nights in Madrid, you may want to pick up a rental car and head south to Toledo for the night. One should be enough. Take some time to explore the city. There is a nice tapas bar, Taberna El Antojo, on Bajada de San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo where you can stop before going to dinner.

From Toledo you can head south to Ciudad Real and then east to the historic city Almagro, on the road to Valdepeñas. From Valdepeñas you can head south to Úbeda where you can spend the night in the Parador and enjoy this city filled Renaissance palaces and churches. After Úbeda you can then head to Córdoba for a morning visit and then on to Granada for the night. From Granada you can then head for Ronda by way of Málaga before finally arriving in Sevilla, where you can drop the car off and spend a few days exploring the city before taking the AVE back to Madrid.
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2005, 08:11 PM
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Posts: 314
I'm original poster. Sorry, I failed to mention that we probably will have 11-12 nights. Is is possible to go through any of the "white villages"? I think that is what they are called. Thanks
rfbk50 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2005, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Yes, you can swing up through some of the inland white villages if you drive from Málaga to Ronda along the coast to Estepona and take the A377 north to Ronda on the back road. Vejer de la Frontera, the classic white village overlooking the Mediterranean south of Cádiz, may be out of reach on this trip.
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2005, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'm with Robert. On the train, it whizzes by, but in a car you smell it & feel it. To put driving in perspective, it's about a 4 - 5 hr drive from Madrid to Granada non-stop. On the way, you see the plains of La Mancha with grape vines & dusty farms all around, always with wonderful mountains in the distance. In Andalusia, olive groves are everywhere & you can smell the olive processing in many of the towns - many of which have a castle overlooking the town. I loved the driving, the countryside & the freedom to stop & explore. But then, I'm a driver . . .

Ian is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you have not alread locked in your plane tickets, see if you can get an open jaw itinerary -- fly into Madrid, train/car combination to and around Andalucia, fly out of Seville or Malaga.
I did this last spring and it was a wonderful trip. I'm sure you'll have a great time too.
kayd is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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We visited Madrid and Andalucia about a year ago, and out plan worked out great, this is what we did:
Flew into Madrid, and did 2 nights there. We then took the AVE train down to Seville - very comfortable and relaxing. The countryside between Madrid and Seville didn't look particularly interesting, somewhat similar to the Southwest in the USA. Stayed in Seville for a few nights. Seville is wonderful, we could easily have stayed a few more nights. We then rented a car and explored the white villages near Ronda for a few nights. Very beautiful! A little 'white knuckle' driving thru the mountains, but not too bad. We then drove east to Granada for a few nights. Granada was nicer than I thought, but not as nice as Seville. We then stayed at the charming seaside town of Nerja, which we enjoyed very much. We had an open jaw ticket out of Malaga which was an easy drive from Nerja.
zootsi is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 03:23 PM
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Posts: 268
We are also considering a trip to Spain this Nov so this is good information.

I have a question. If you only have 14 days, is it worth going to the Canary Islands as well? What about Lisbon, Tangier, or Barcelona?

Also, do you need to be experienced European drivers to drive in Spain?

gnrbernstein is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 07:32 PM
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You can do a lot in two weeks, but I would stick with the mainland and save the islands for another trip. You can spend a couple of days in Lisbon and take a day to visit Tangiers, but try not to spend all of your time traveling from place to place. You end up missing far too much.

One of the main things about driving in Spain is to remember to keep to the right except to pass. If you remember that, and can read the road signs, you'll be in good shape.
Robert2533 is offline  

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