When I look at the RENFE web site it looks as though there are only 3 trains per day between these cities, 2 leaving early in the morning (6:50 AM) and 1 at night (8:25 PM), and all of them costing more than €70 per person - is this right? Seems weird to me.
There are no trains between the cities. Toledo is served to Madrid by a suburban commuter train (30 minutes). They run quite frequently and it takes you to Atocha Station. From Atocha, you can get quite frequent AVE service to Sevilla (2.5 hours). So book your AVE train from Madrid (Atocha) to Sevilla and then just take a train from Toledo based on the schedule of your Sevilla train. You can purchase the Toledo-Madrid ticket the day of or day before (or as a round trip when you buy your ticket from Madrid to Toledo). Know that the AVE requires check-in and boarding 30 minutes prior to departure.
That's interesting - and helpful! :-) So, we must backtrack from Toledo to Madrid (just a 30 minute detour, so not bad) in order to connect from Madrid to Sevilla?... Okay!
What Douglas says.
The big trip is Atoche station to Seville. Once you have that planned, trains (or buses) to and from Toledo aren't a big deal.
The fast trains to Seville can be expensive. The best price can be had 62 days ahead of time, you can't buy tickets before that and they go up in price as tickets are sold.
Thanks Brad, very helpful! :-)
Hummmm.. I just went from Madrid to Toledo, then Toledo to Cordoba, then Cordoba to Sevilla. Took a bus from Sevilla to Torremolinos. All the trains were fantastic, and not very expensive. Maybe you are looking at the wrong schedule?
I did not purchase the tickets until I was in Spain. So they were at most 2 weeks in advance.
Hmm. I just looked at the Renfe site. Two weeks from today there is only one train going from Toledo to Sevilla, at 20.25 in the evening, taking nearly 4 hours, and costing about €50 per person.
Also this web site - "How to Get from Toledo to Seville: Travel details from Toledo to Seville (or from Seville to Toledo)" also seems to suggest that you can't get from one to the other by train. http://goo.gl/hR0zHc
I'm not sure why you are still confused. You take the commuter train from Toledo to Madrid Atocha Station. From Atocha you take the high speed AVE train to Cordoba. There are no direct trains (or perhaps there is the one you see posted, but it still goes through Atocha Station). Toledo is not on the rail line between Madrid and Cordoba so you have to connect back in Madrid.
So search renfe for a train taking you from Atocha Puerta to Cordoba (there are MANY). Buy that ticket in advance to get the promo rates. Once you know that schedule, plan to catch the train from Toledo about 2 hours earlier. You can buy those tickets online, but there is no reason to or discount (just get the tickets round trip when you head to Toledo).
See Sally's posting. She says she had no problem going direct, that there were plenty of trains at an affordable price (and suggests that I am not reading the schedule properly, which I believe I am). This is the direct opposite of what you are saying.
Sally left out the part about changing trains in Madrid.
There are a lot of AVE trains from Atocha to Cordoba (and slower speed ones too). With advance purchase you can get great deals, about 60-70% off full price. But those sell out so you might not see any promo deals on certain trains when you search.