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Train from Madrid to Seville with a possible stop in Cordoba

My wife and I are flying into Madrid and plan on taking a train directly to Sevilla the same day. Depending on how tired we are that day from the long flight, I am wondering if we would have the option of getting off in Cordoba for a few hours, then getting back on a later train? Or would that require two separate purchases in advance? I'd like to be able to have the flexibility to either get off in Cordoba, or stay on all the way to Sevilla if we are too tired to see Cordoba, but I'm not sure this is possible.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

Posted by
353 posts

Hi Jay,
If you plan on stopping in Cordoba on your way to Sevilla, then you should buy 2 separate tickets - one from Madrid to Cordoba and another from Cordoba to Sevilla. You might see how you feel when you arrive in Madrid. If you aren't too tired, buy the ticket on the next train to Cordoba upon arrival in Madrid. When you get to Cordoba, drop your bags at the bus station across the street from the train station (no luggage storage at the train station), spend a few hours seeing Cordoba, then buy your Cordoba-Sevilla ticket when you are ready to leave. These trains run frequently, at least hourly from Madrid to Sevilla (all of which stop in Cordoba) and from Cordoba to Sevilla. It's usually not a problem just buying the tickets on the spot for the next train.

Posted by
12 posts

Hi Rich,
Thanks so much for the reply. I like your idea about just waiting to see how we feel when we arrive in Madrid, however I was under the impression, after doing some research, that we should buy our tickets before we arrive in Madrid, as many trains sell out in advance? it's also a bit cheaper online in advance, but I would rather pay a little more for the flexibility. I was just concerned about the trains being sold out if we waited until we arrived in Madrid. Should I not worry about this?

Thanks again,
Jay

Posted by
353 posts

It's possible the next train could be sold out, but since they run every hour, it shouldn't be a problem. I've flown into Madrid twice and bought tickets on the spot to both Cordoba and Sevilla and never had a problem.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks Rich. That sounds like a good plan to me. I like the option of being flexible and deciding when we arrive. I see the bi-annual flamenco festival will be going on when we arrive (10/2). Hopefully that won't create an issue.

I appreciate the suggestions!

Posted by
21733 posts

Not sure where you are doing your research but our experience with Spanish rail is that they rarely sell out. If over 60 you can get a discount card. You can buy your train ticket in the terminal at the airport. That one rarely has any lines. Personally I would spend the night in Cordoba. It is worth more than a couple hours dragging your luggage since there is no luggage storage at the train station. You can store luggage across the street at the bus station but that is a pain. You will need separate tickets for each leg of your trip.

Posted by
4535 posts

You don't just save a little with advanced purchase, you can save up to 60%. That's pretty significant for the Madrid-Sevilla run. But if money is not an issue, then do as recommended and buy your ticket at the airport (lines at Atocha can be VERY long). Just leave enough time to get to Atocha Station from the airport.

I really doubt you will want to sit on the train, then walk around Cordoba all afternoon, then get another train to Sevilla - all on your first day. Keep in mind that it's a long 20-30 minute walk from the train station to the Mezquita. A nice walk, but long if you're tired. The bus station across the street does have lockers so you don't have to carry your bags.

Personally, I'd either stay the night in Cordoba or come back as a daytrip from Sevilla.

Posted by
12 posts

Frank and Douglas, Thank you both for the tips. That's a good idea about buying the tickets at the airport instead of Atocha.

Of course budget is always an issue (I can be a major tightwad actually!), but it was only 15 Euros difference between Full and "P" fare, so I thought it might be worth waiting to buy there to be flexible.

Regarding my research, I read in Rick Steves' book and on other forum posts that trains often sell out quickly, so it's best to buy tickets in advance, but given we are flying in from the US, I would rather buy them when we arrive since you never know if a flight is delayed, etc. I would hate to miss my train and have paid for it already.

One more question, I see there are also several "intercity" trains that run to Seville and are much cheaper full fair (57 Euros vs. 75). And they also seem to only take 2.5 hours to Seville. Are these trains ok to take too, or should we stick with the AVE? We will only have backpack carry-on size in terms of luggage.

Posted by
353 posts

nothing wrong with the InterCity trains, esp. since they are cheaper. The AVE trains just run more frequently and are faster.

Posted by
11857 posts

This route is very well served by high-speed trains (can't say that about too many routes in Spain). The difference between high speed train fares bought right then and fares bought well in advance, however, is gigantic. I'm a budget traveler and would skip the AVE, in favor of a bus, rather than pay last minute fares. I think you would be better off planning a night in Cordoba and continue to Seville the next day and purchase all tickets well in advance.

I don't recall storage in the train station. If you need storage, there may be some at the bus station - immediately across the street (maybe 20 feet) from the train station.

Posted by
12 posts

Are you saying the "Full" price online will be cheaper than buying at the station when we arrive, or are those the same?

Thanks for the suggestions about staying in Cordoba. I wish I could, but since we are only spending 3 nights (2 full days) in Sevilla, I'd rather not cut that part short and keep unpacking. Perhaps we are better off just skipping Cordoba altogether, or backtracking if we really want to go back to it for a quick trip. I just thought it would be efficient to stop on the way in to Sevilla, but I think we may be too tired as others have pointed out.

We are doing 3 nights in Sevilla, 2 nights in Ronda (non-negotiable with my wife), then flying to Barcelona for 4 nights.

thanks for the help.

Posted by
21733 posts

Full fare is full fare either in person or on line. The European train system is adopting the US airline pricing structure. Early purchases on-line can be highly discounted but just like our airlines most of those ticket come with major restrictions. Since you are flying in that day, it general is not smart unless you pad it by six hours to purchase a discount ticket. Grant full price tickets are more expensive but rail fares are fairly reasonable to begin with.

Also, what we are trying to say is that Cordoba is more than an one hour stop. You can easily take a half day or more seeing the sights. Given your current plans, I would save Cordoba for a future Spain visit.

Posted by
4535 posts

It depends on which train you take, but a quick search on renfe shows that the cost savings can be 30 euro or even more. Some less and closer to 15 euro. And some trains will be sold out of discount fares already. Be sure you are looking on the renfe site, not RailEurope.

Cordoba is only a 40-45 minute trip from Sevilla. It is an easy daytrip from there.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you so much. Really appreciate the suggestions. It's helped.

Posted by
14925 posts

I would definitely wait until arrival to buy train tickets. You never know if you're going to land on time, even if you're only taking cabin baggage and won't have to wait to collect checked bags. It would be a shame to have tickets and miss the train.