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Transportation from Madrid to Granada and best spot for Flamenco show in Granada

We land in Madrid at 9 a.m., for our April visit, then want to head right to Granada. Any advice on whether it's best to rent a car and drive or to take the train? And if train, how far is station from airport (would we take a taxi from airport to train station?)

In Granada, looking for best place to see a Flamenco show. I know they are all going to be filled with tourists, but the most authentic and interesting place to see flamenco, the better.

Any other tips on sites in Granada, Cordoba and Seville (or day trips nearby) would be awesome!

Thank you so much!

Posted by
993 posts

I took the train. In March 2022 when I went to Spain, I had bought train tickets from Madrid to Seville, from home, online, from RENFE, the train company in Spain. I suppose there was a risk of wasting my money on the tickets if I couldn't travel but I didn't want to risk the train being sold out. My plane arrived at 9am too. I picked train tickets for about 3pm. I took the subway from the airport to Puerta de Antocha station, from there I had time to walk to a small grocery store and back with time to spare. I have rented a car twice in my life but for travel in California and Florida, and not anywhere in Europe. At other train stations in Spain I took taxis to my hotels. OR you could probably take a taxi in Madrid. All the train stations had a place just outside the station where you wait in line for the next available taxi. Taking the train from Madrid to Granada isn't that different than what I did. No I was not sure I would figure out how to get to Puerta de Antocha until I figured it out and arrived. Look at the subway system map on the wall or Google maps or maybe Rome2Rio.

Posted by
8545 posts

I took the train from Granada to Madrid, so the reverse of your journey. It was very easy and enjoyable. We were tired and it was late at night so we took a taxi from the train station to a hotel near the airport. I think it cost about 20 euros. There is a train that goes from the train station to the airport as well.

We had an extremely wonderful tour of the Alhambra using a guide we had heard about on this forum, Margarita. She made the place come alive for us and we learned so much about what we were seeing. I feel that this is a location where the value you get from a guide far outweighs the cost of the guide. If interested, her contact is [email protected]

Posted by
27367 posts

Definitely take the train from Madrid to Granada; do not drive.

You can get from the airport to the Puerta de Atocha (main) train station by train, subway (transfer required, I think, so this wouldn't be my choice with luggage), bus or taxi. I've used the train once and the bus once--both very easy.

I've never traveled on from Madrid on my arrival day, so I can't give you any guidance about how much time to allow between your scheduled flight-arrival time and the departure time of the train to Granada. However, here are some facts:

  • There's no way to predict whether your flight will arrive on time or how quickly you'll get through Immigration, so many folks suggest not buying day-of-arrival train tickets in advance.

  • On the other hand, you'll probably save a lot of money by buying the Madrid-Granada train ticket in advance. The risk is that the ticket will only be good for the specific train you choose.

  • Spanish express trains do sometimes sell out. I don't know whether that's an issue between Madrid and Granada (you can monitor this by checking Renfe's website for upcoming trains), but I see it quite often on trains linking Madrid to Cordoba and Seville. The Granada trains go through Cordoba, so...

  • There aren't many trains from Madrid to Granada to start with.

  • The folks at the small train station at the airport will sell you a ticket to Granada. If you decide to take the risk of sold-out trains and wait to buy your Granada ticket at the Madrid airport, the logical thing to do is to use the local train to get from the airport to Puerta de Atocha downtown.

  • It's critical that you not get stuck buying the ticket to Granada at a staffed window at Puerta de Atocha station downtown. The lines there can be hours long (not an exaggeration). The vending machines at the station are easy to use, but occasionally a US credit card doesn't work in a foreign vending machine; that would be a disaster at Atocha because of the lines.

As you can see, it's a complex situation.

How many nights are you planning in Granada, Cordoba and Seville? That will help us determine what sights and side trips might be most appropriate.

Posted by
2267 posts

There’s no way to guarantee anything, but I’d suggest four hours as a minimum comfortable buffer between landing a train departure. If all does well that would leave you with about two hours to kill, but if the flight is delayed a bit, you’ll be grateful. (As acraven mentioned, there aren’t a whole lot of trains between the two cities, so 4 hour minimum may end up meaning longer for the next train.)

If booked well enough in advance, Renfe’s first class, Preferente, isn’t crazy expensive. It would be a worthy splurge for this leg, given that the ticket would include access to the lounge at Atocha.

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks to all for your very helpful replies!

To Carol, re: Margarita of Alhambra Tours in Granada. Thank you for the suggestion. I had already, in fact, booked a tour with her. Read such wonderful things about Margarita. Super excited and feeling lucky I was early enough to get a spot with her. Best, RS

Posted by
270 posts

Flamenco Show - We went to the show at Cueva la Rocio. It was incredible and we still talk about it a lot (we went two years ago). Now, I can't compare this show to others - I haven't been to others. But for us, it was great. One thing - we took a taxi to the show (it was a bit away from the city center). The taxi driver gave us his tel. number to call him when we finished, since there weren't taxis waiting around afterwards.

Posted by
5 posts

It's best to take a train from Madrid to Granada. The train station is located about 12 km from the airport, so you'll need to take a taxi or public transportation to get there.

In Granada, the Sacromonte caves are considered one of the most authentic and interesting places to see a flamenco show. The caves are located on the hillside opposite the Alhambra and offer great views of the city while you enjoy the show.

In Granada, you should also visit the Alhambra, the famous Moorish fortress and palace complex. In Cordoba, visit the Mezquita, the impressive mosque-cathedral, and the Jewish Quarter. In Seville, visit the Alcazar, a palace and fortress complex, and the Cathedral of Seville which houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

If you're interested in day trips, I recommend visiting the towns of Ronda and Antequera. Ronda is famous for its dramatic gorge and ancient bridge, while Antequera is known for its dolmens, ancient tombs dating back to the Neolithic period.