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Tips for landing in Madrid and then taking the train to Seville after landing

Hi all,

I did not want to hijack the other thread regarding going directly to Seville after landing in Madrid so I figured I would open my own thread.

I am going to be landing in Madrid on Wednesday September 29th at 9:15am. Should I buy train tickets to Seville in advance? If so, how much time should I give myself? I see On the RENFE website there is a 11:50am train and the one after that is a 1:30pm train. Do you think the 11:50 is reasonable? Or should I plan for more time and go for the 1:30?

If I buy the 11:50am and miss the train for whatever reason (plane is delayed, problems at the airport, etc. etc.) will I have to buy a brand new ticket at full price for the next departing train?

Thanks for any advice!

Posted by
21202 posts

Buy the ticket when you get there. There is a ticket office in the airport where you board the bus to the train station. When you get to the station you are not allowed on the platform until about 30 mins prior to departure. There will be light security check prior to entering the platform. OR, at least, that was the procedure a couple of years ago. Everything subject to change.

Posted by
3892 posts

Please do not buy the ticket in advance, especially now when things are changing so often. There are so many reports of travelers whose flights are cancelled, delayed, etc., MULTIPLE times.

We did exactly what you are doing a few years ago. Our plane was supposed to land at about 7am. It was actually at least a half hour early and then we breezed through passport control. We just went directly to the RENFRE office and purchased tickets. From the office, it's literally around the corner and down the stairs to the train that goes to the Atocha station which goes to Sevilla. By not purchasing in advance we first of all did not take on any risk of missing the train, but also we got on a much earlier train than we would have, had I built a buffer to purchase the tickets in advance. I think not purchasing in advance cost me $40 for both of us. I believe the potential loss was about $140. We were able to get on an earlier train, sleep a bit on the way and then arrived to Sevilla to enjoy a good part of the day.

If you feel you must purchase the ticket in advance, consider staying in Madrid or Toledo a day or so, or first go to Cordoba for a few days before Sevilla. Cordoba is closer and would be cheaper and then you could go to Sevilla from there.

Posted by
18892 posts

The one thing you should not plan to do is buy the Madrid-Seville tickets at a staffed ticket counter at Atocha Station in Madrid. The ticket lines there were unbelievably long in both 2016 and 2019; it's a really bad situation. The ticket machines have worked for me, but occasionally someone has trouble using a US credit card in the machines, so it is a much better idea to buy your Madrid-Seville ticket at the airport train station as the others have suggested. Those folks know how long it will take you to get downtown by train and will sell you a ticket for a suitable train to Seville. If you want extra time at Atocha to pick up food or something like that, tell them so.

Posted by
3892 posts

Yes, buy the train tickets to Sevilla at the airport. The staff in the airport office spoke English and timed both trains perfectly. In fact, I questioned whether we had enough time to get to the first train, and she said, "you will be fine". I then replied if we missed it, would she give me new tickets, and she smiled and repeated we had enough time, but she would help us. We had enough time.

Posted by
106 posts

I would check the current fare difference (and maybe change fees, but most carriers have done away with those) to book a connecting flight to SVQ on the same ticket. It is likely to be the cheaper, easier solution.

Posted by
41 posts

Looking into this a bit more, I am flying Delta and I understand they use Terminal 1. I’ve also learned there is an express bus from T1/2/3 that goes from the airport to Atocha. Does anyone know if there is a RENFE office in Terminal 1 where I can buy the tickets to Sevilla before taking the express bus from terminal 1 to Atocha? Or do I actually have to take the shuttle between Term 1 and 4 to get to the train station at terminal 4 and buy the tickets there? And then take the train from Term 4 to Atocha?

Thanks again for all the help!

Posted by
41 posts

I think I answered my own question. Looks like I will have to go to T4. I just watched a video that said there is no ticket counter though just automatic machines.

Posted by
3892 posts

I tried to google to confirm, but my recollection is that Delta arrives to T1 or T4. I also feel like it wasn't terribly clear when we landed what terminal we were in. I know very little Spanish. I will say, we were easily able to figure it out.

If you feel like you need help with Atocha, I did get information with a link to photos from Enric. I have to dig a bit to find it.

Posted by
21202 posts

I remember it as not being that difficult but my memory is not what it use to be. There was a ticket office right at the bus stop. I think it will be fairly easy to follow and find.

Posted by
12 posts

The transfer bus between T1 and T4 takes forever - like 20-30 minutes. Plan for that. If time is an issue take the metro from T123 to T4 or take the metro into town to Atocha and skip trying to get the train from T4.

Posted by
6841 posts

Fly to Seville since you already are at the airport.

Only attempt to do this if you know your flight into Madrid is 100% certain to arrive on time or you have a ton of money to spend.
You would pay beaucoup $ buying a plane ticket on the same day at the airport especially if you can't buy it on your phone.

Posted by
73 posts

I also have to put in the good word for Toledo. I feel like that's a must visit if you find yourself so close in Madrid. Maybe there is no time but if it can be squeezed in I recommend it. I would think one could go the short 30 minutes to Toledo and then continue on via train to Sevilla.

Posted by
18892 posts

I love Toledo, but to clarify: If traveling south from Toledo one must first return to Madrid. Toledo's on a spur rail line that doesn't connect to anywhere other than Madrid. I once looked for buses heading south and didn't find any, though I can't swear I checked all that carefully on the buses.