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Andalusia March Itinerary feedback please

Hi all,

My daughter (20) and I are going to visit Spain for the 1st time during her Spring break. We fly roundtrip to from the US to Madrid arriving on March 2 in the a.m. and departing on March 11 (so 9 nights). We will not have a car so will be relying on the train and buses. Here's what we have sketched out:

March 2 – land in Madrid, train to Granada

March 3 – Granada (Alhambra)

March 4 – Granada - Late train to Cordoba

March 5 - Cordoba (Mezquita)

March 6 – Cordoba

March 7 – train to Sevilla

March 8 - Sevilla

March 9 – Sevilla; train to Madrid

March 10 – Madrid

March 11 – fly home

Thoughts? We're also interested in Toledo. Would you recommend a stop there and if so, how would you edit our itinerary to fit Toledo in?

Thank you!

Posted by
1253 posts

I am happy to see that you are staying overnight in Cordoba, which is a lovely city and so much nicer in the evenings when the daytrippers have left and the city is illuminated.

However, instead of spending 3 nights in Cordoba, I would suggest spending 2 nights in Cordoba and adding an extra night to Seville. Right now you only have 2 nights in Seville, so one full day and 2 half-days. Seville is a larger city than Cordoba and has more important historical and interesting sites to visit, such as the amazing Alcazar, the Cathedral, Casa di Pilatos, the stunning Plaza de Espagna, the Triana neighborhood, etc. Go for a carriage ride; see a flamenco show.

We enjoyed Toledo, too, but I prefer the Andalusian cities to Toledo. That's my personal opinion. You only have 9 nights, which is really not a lot, so IMO, to add in Toledo will make your trip more hectic. More time spent on trains.

And you do not need a car for this trip. It will be more of a hindrance and more stressful. Relying on trains and buses is the way to travel in this area. We did a similar trip in 2017, (longer trip that included Toledo and Malaga) and we used only trains and buses, and it worked out perfectly.

Another suggestion is to change the order of your itinerary. You should check train schedules to see if this route might work out better for you:
Madrid, Granada, Seville, Cordoba and Madrid.
Cordoba is closer to Madrid than Seville so staying in Cordoba after Seville will shorten the train ride to Madrid and eliminate backtracking.

Posted by
1253 posts

Also want to add that if you really want to see Toledo, you could spend only one night in Cordoba. For example, take a late night train to Seville on March 5. And then add that extra night to Madrid so that you will have one day in Madrid and one day to visit Toledo as a daytrip from Madrid. It's not what I would do. I think it makes the trip more hectic. It depends on what kind of traveler you are and how badly you want to see Toledo.

Posted by
1752 posts

I'm a big fan of Madrid, but I'd suggest you look at cutting that whole day there on the 10th, and just take the train in for one night before the flight home. Reallocate the time to a 'wholly' Andalusian itinerary, and leave Madrid for another visit, when you have the time to do it justice.

Posted by
248 posts

We're doing a very similar trip here in a few weeks. We decided (with some help on this forum!) to go to Seville, then Cordoba, then Granada. The reasoning is that there are more trains from Madrid-Seville daily than Madrid-Granada, and we opted not to buy train tickets for our arrival day. So a greater chance of getting to our destination (Seville) as early as possible, and without the risk of buying tickets and then missing our train if the plane arrives late.
Haven't traveled yet, so can't say if this strategy is the best, but I think so! Besides that first trip, we bought the rest of our train tickets ahead of time so those are all sorted out. Good luck!

Posted by
19 posts

Thank you for the great feedback!

If we do decide to save Madrid for another visit, would it make more sense to just fly directly to Madrid from whatever city we are visiting at the end of this trip?

@AmandaR, are you returning to Madrid by train or flying? May I contact you directly after your trip to hear how the itinerary went?

Posted by
1779 posts

My thoughts-subtract a night from Cordoba and add on to Seville. You will see many, many similar Moorish architecture in Andalusia and beside the Mosque, I think Sevilla is a much more beautiful and interesting town. I do think you should spend a day or two in Madrid just to see a different style and I love Madrid.

Posted by
1752 posts

shariwashburn- If you fly out of Sevilla on your departure day it would have to be a (painfully) early flight to make a connection to Chicago. Some people chose to take a train to Madrid for one night before flying back to North America—it adds some logistics and maybe a few $ of cost, but is more chill. It's a "pick your poison" choice.

If you do take the training the night before, there are plenty of hotels near the station, which also positions you well to get to the airport the next morning, and is totally walkable in the direct center of the city.

Posted by
19 posts

Hmmm... I'm trying to look at the frequency of trains to each of these cities and am finding that there is no information available for trains after December 10. Should I assume that the schedules will be roughly the same in March 2023 as in December 2022?

Posted by
24064 posts

The frequency should be similar for the same day of the week, unless your travel day or the comparison day is a holiday or something unusual like line maintenance is going on (or a strike)--the sort of thing that's not generally predictable.

Posted by
47 posts

We are in Seville right now (flew in from Lisbon), and agree that it is a beautiful city with lots to see, even 4 full days felt a bit short for things we want to do (it is still very hot here now, 31C).

We stay here for 5 nights, then -> 3 nights Cordoba -> 4 nights Granada -> 2 nights Ronda -> 4 nights Madrid, all by train.

When I looked at the train tickets on renfe website back in June and July, they didn’t have anything for September or later, except on the national holiday (Oct 12th). So I bought tickets for that day (Seville to Cordoba), and bought the rest in late August. For travel in March, you can buy them in Jan, with good price. But the schedule could be a bit different, eg I have to book two separate sections from Granada to Ronda for Late October, while only need do one booking if travel in July.

Posted by
19 posts

looked at trains and everyone's feedback and adjusted our itinerary to make the train options on our arrival day plentiful and the return train short. Right now we have 3 nights/3 full days (2 full and 2 partial) in Sevilla, 3 nights/2.5 days in Granada, and 2 nights/2 days (1 full and 2 mostly full) in Cordoba. Should we spend less time in Granada and more in Cordoba? Any other tweaks? Any "don't miss" neighborhoods? Excited to book lodgings next!

March 2 – land in Madrid, train to Sevilla (S1)
March 3 – Sevilla (S2)
March 4 – Sevilla (S3)
March 5 - Sevilla; train to Granada (G1)
March 6 – Granada (G2)
March 7 – Granada (G3)
March 8 – early train to Cordoba (C1)
March 9 – Cordoba (C2)
March 10 – Cordoba; late train to Madrid
March 11 – fight home