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Is Granada a reasonable day trip from Seville?

I'm planning my first trip to Spain for April 2016. I plan to arrive in Madrid and leave from Barcelona. My thought is:

  • Madrid - arrival day from U. S. plus 3 full days
  • Seville - arrival day from Madrid (train) plus 3 full days
  • Barcelona - arrival day from Seville plus 4 full days

1. Is it reasonable to do a day trip to Granada from Seville?
I really want to see the Alhambra and I'm thinking that if I can do a day trip from Seville rather than travel to Granada it would save a bit of time and be one less change of hotel I would have to make.
2. If a day trip makes sense does anyone know of a good tour company to go with?
3. What is my best option for getting from Seville to Barcelona - train or air?

Posted by
5158 posts

To answer your questions:

  1. No, Granada is 3+ hours from Seville via train or bus. Córdoba is a better choice-- only 45 minutes by AVE train.
  2. see #1
  3. Best option is to fly. If you choose to take AVE train, travel time is 5.5 hours.

If you really want to see the Alhambra, you could skip Seville & travel from Madrid to Granada then to Barcelona.
Madrid, Seville & Barcelona are all far apart from each other, so you will lose much time traveling from one city to the next.

If you add a couple of days to your trip, you may be able to visit Granada as well as the other cities on your itinerary.

Posted by
2766 posts

Granada is not really a logical day trip, but it can be done. Plenty of companies do it, but I can't recommend any specific ones - I've never done this. It's 3 plus hours each way, plus you should spend at least 3-4 hours at the Alhambra. IF you are not ever going to return to Spain and you just can't squeeze a night in Granada, it's worth considering as a very long day trip, IMO. Just be aware that it's a ton of travel time and you will miss a lot (because of limited time there, because of the travel time!). I love Granada, and there is more to the town than the Alhambra, but the Alhambra is a magical once-in-a-lifetime site. If you can handle all that travel time for a comparatively short visit, go for it. But if there's any way to do a night or two, I'd do that.

Seville to Barcelona. The train takes 5.5 hours, city center to city center, the flight is 1.5 hours. Factor in travel times to/from the airports, etc, and the flight is still faster but not by as much as you might think. I prefer train travel when it is close in time (30 min to get to Seville airport, 2 hours ahead of time, 1.5 hour flight, 1 hour to get to hotel in Barcelona - that's 5 hours right there, and the train would be maybe 6 hours with getting to the station). So it's really a judgement call about your preferences, the time of the train/plane, and the costs. I'd do train in this case, but I dislike flying.

Posted by
7175 posts

It is not clear how many nights total you have on the ground in Spain. I am thinking 13 ??

Day 1 Arrive Madrid (4 nights)
Day 5 Train to Seville (3 nights) via Cordoba
Day 8 Bus or train to Granada (2 nights)
Day 10 Fly to Barcelona (4 nights) (check low cost carrier Vueling for cheap fares booked well in advance)
Day 14 Fly home

Don't even think of Granada as a day trip from Seville.

Posted by
40 posts

Thanks, everyone for the replies. I appreciate your help. We've decided to add some time to our trip so we can stay for a couple of days in Granada.

Posted by
169 posts

I asked the same question before our trip this past May. We did it and it worked out great for us. It's a long day - but was worth it.
Added benefits are not having to worry about tickets to Alhambra, etc. There are several companies that do this - many offer pick up and drop off at your hotel.

Here is the link with all the responses: