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Some Seville, Granada, Madrid questions

Leaving in 46 days. Will be my husband and our 9 & 10 year old boys. We fly in to Madrid, landing 8am on 2/22 and we depart Madrid on 3/1.

Questions...

  1. I need to book the train to Seville for after we land. What time would you recommend? We land at 8am.

  2. We will take the bus from Seville to Granada. How about Granada to Madrid? Bus the entire way or switch to the train?

  3. Do we consider a car rental instead?

  4. Where should we attend a flamenco show? Prefer an earlier 7-8pm start. Kids can't handle the late ones.

  5. We do have our Alhambra tickets already.

  6. Where should we stay in Madrid? At the airport or in the city?

  7. Seville day trip...planning Cordoba for a day. Or is there a coastal town we should do instead? I know it's not beach season but young boys don't care.

2/22 arrive, four nights in Seville, two nights Granada, one night Madrid, fly home 3/1.

Thank you all!

Posted by
4598 posts

I am just leaving Spain after 10 nights including 3 in Seville.
I would give myself 5 hours to make that train from Madrid or just wait until you get there to buy The train ticket
The buses run pretty smooth so either way.

We went to the coastal town of Cadiz on a day trip from Seville. That is about an hour and 45 minutes away. I recommend that.

We slept one night in Cordoba. I recommend that.
So I highly recommend seeing a flamenco show at Tablao El Cardenal in Cordoba. There may be 3 each evening.
You may want to go straight to Cordoba from Madrid.I
That worked perfectly for us.

Posted by
53 posts

Okay, I'll plan a 1pm train from Madrid to Seville.

Cordoba....I think if we go, we'll stick with a day trip. We only have 7 nights and I don't want to add in yet another lodging change. I need to pack up and move 4 people every time.

Posted by
437 posts

Qu 2 - Coach/rail combination can be a little quicker and the rail part more comfortable with food available (for some AVE fares it's included in the price). But coach ("bus"), all the way avoids the need to change along the way and there are probably more departure choices (some of the coach/rail options will be on slow MD trains that make the journey much longer than going by coach all the way). If the timetable suits, I'd do coach/rail using the express AVE train. Or you could fly on Iberia Regional.

Qu 3 - with your itinerary, I don't think you should hire a car. Indeed it would be a disadvantage for being in the three cities. A car would help if you planned to stop at a few places along the way, but I don't think that is what you are intending.

Qu 7 - since you only really have time for one day-trip, I'd stick to Cordoba. But if you prefer to go to the seaside then Cadiz is easy from Sevilla and it is delightful, but no "wow" sight like Cordoba's mezquita-cathedral, just a lot of smaller things to see (some like the fortress in the sea may interest your sons more than the mezquita?)

My advice for flamenco is don't bother. It's dull, clattery and slightly ridiculous. As someone once said, try everything once except incest and folk dancing. Spend the time touring the bars eating tapas instead.

Enjoy your holiday!

Posted by
1836 posts

I think bus or train is fine. There’s track work so you might be in a bus either way. For the cities mentioned, no need for a car. You won’t drive in the cities (narrow streets, no parking) so you’d just be paying to leave it in a garage.

Flamenco - Seville is the home of it so go there if you can. We went to Casa De La Memoria which was very good and not late night. With kids we also went to one in Granada. It was good but the one in Seville was better.

Day trip - Cordoba is a good choice. Very historically significant and pleasant to visit.
I agree that kids would like the coast, but a lot of beach towns are pretty dead in winter. In late spring/early summer we enjoyed Nerja (1.5 hours from Granada) but I don’t know how it is in winter. I have not been to Cadiz, but if you want a day trip to a bigger town on the coast it’s somewhere to look at. Not far from Seville.

Madrid - it depends on when you arrive. If you get there in the afternoon or early evening then having a few hours to explore Madrid and stay in the city is worth it. Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor, walk, dinner, museum if you are ambitious. Much more fun last evening than stuck by the airport!
But if you arrive super late then maybe just going to the airport would be easier.

Posted by
2145 posts

I think Cordoba is wonderful. Of course the Mezquita is extradonary, but Cordoba is so much more than the Mezquita. The historic Jewish quarter is beautiful with its white homes, blue trim, flowers and patios.

Are you considering prebooking your train tickets to Sevilla? That's risky, you never know what will happen with your flight. We landed actually early at 7pm. We took a bus to terminal 4 and then purchased our train tickets. We then took a train to the main train station at Atocha to transfer to a high speed train. I'm pretty sure we were in Sevilla by 1.

Posted by
53 posts

I'm not sure what to do about the train tickets to Seville. I'm nervous to book ahead of time just to save $100. I think we may wait until we get there and deal with the extra expense.

Flamenco - I feel like since we are there, we should go see a show. I'll check out the ones mentioned above.

Madrid - Looking at the time tables, I think we'll arrive around 1330. So enough time to do a brief tour of Madrid. Now to figure out which station to arrive at from Granada.

Posted by
53 posts

Mira - Casa De La Memoria is a two minute walk from our apartment. And they have an early show. Perfect!!

Posted by
12036 posts

If you take the train (bus/train combo, I think) from Granada back to Madrid, you'll arrive at Atocha Station (the Puerta de Atocha section). It's near the Prado and Retiro Park. It you go the all-bus route, you arrive at Estacio Sur and could then take a taxi or the subway to get to your ultimate Madrid destination. There's some variation in the time required for each combination trip or all-bus departure, but overall there's not a lot of difference in the time required, assuming the buses don't get slowed down by traffic.

The train would be more fun for the kids since they can move around, but seats on the ALSA buses are very comfortable, and it's a lot easier to get suitcases onto a bus: The larger ones are put in the hold undernearth.

To make you feel better about that trip to Seville on arrival day: The AVE (express train) takes under 3 hours from Atocha Station (you can get there from the airport by train or bus). Driving takes over 5-1/2 hours from the airport, not counting time dealing with the car-rental agency, looking for parking, getting lost or traffic issues.

Posted by
2145 posts

Right now there are a handfull of threads going on re. Andalusia. I was there in November and this is a link to another thread. In this thread is my trip reports (4) that answer some of your questions. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/spain/renting-a-car-in-andalusia

We didn't attend a flamenco show in Sevilla. It was our first stop so the first couple days we were wanting to go to bed by 9:30/10. And my husband wasn't too excited about going so I didn't push it. I have heard that there can be more impromptu flamenco shows at some bars. Those would cost you the price of drinks/food.