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train tickets

We leave for Spain in a couple of weeks. Which train (and bus) tickets on the following itinerary should we buy in advance? Should we try to book any from the US or will we be ok waiting? Since we are four traveling together I have booked all hotels but would like some flexibility as to what time of day we leave one town and head to the next. If it's better to book transportation ahead, should we do that at the Atocha train station when we arrive in Madrid or just wait and do it in each town?

5/14 morning - arrive Madrid Barajas. Express bus to Atocha. Check bags and walk off jet lag in Retiro Park. Buy some train tickets in advance - which? Fast train to Toledo. See cathedral. Early bed.

5/15 Toledo sights

5/16 Morning fast train to Madrid. Prado Museum. Walks.

5/17 Royal Palace. Zarzuela performance. (ok to buy tickets on arrival?)

5/18 AVE to Córdoba (prefer 13:00 train) Palacio de Viana patios and/or Al-Andalus museum

5/19 Mezquita. AVE to Sevilla 12:55 or earlier.

5/20 Sevilla sights. Flamenco performance.

5/21 Morning bus to Granada. (didn't want to get 6:40 train) Non-Alhambra sights. Alhambra at night.

5/22 Alhambra reservation 9:00. 17:32 train to Málaga. (or bus if Sevilla-Granada bus was ok) Hotel near train station.

5/23 Morning train to Málaga airport.

¡Muchísimas gracias!

Posted by
16877 posts

Some commuter-timed departures from Toledo to Madrid can get full, so you'll probably buy both reserved directions of this ticket when you arrive in Madrid. There's no deadline to buy train tickets. They can be cheaper up to 3 days in advance, even at the station, but you have a better shot at cheap fares by booking now, if you're pretty committed to the times you listed. At the moment, I think the user friendliest web site for that is I have never booked a bus before arriving in that city.

Posted by
1178 posts

Check the following web site....the man in seat 61 has excellent information on trains and tickets.

Also, the trip advisor site has a good instruction on purchase of Renfe (Spanish) train tickets. If you purchase in advance you can save a substantial amount, but the tickets are set, can not be changed. The tickets, no matter where your purchase is made, will have the car number and the seat number on them.

I think you can safely purchase the train tickets on the day of, or a day or so ahead, travel for the routes you have noted. Madrid to Toledo, and Toledo to Madrid, Madrid to Cordoba and Cordoba to Seville. You could purchase all at the time of your initial train trip I think, but it might get a little confusing to the clerk. Have the dates, times, routes written out to give to them, especially for four people traveling together.

At Atocha, if you wait to purchase the tickets, when you go in to the area to purchase the tickets, get a number, just like in the ice cream stores here in the states. Actually, all of you might get numbers in case you need to make individual purchases and not a group purchase.