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Visiting Andalucia in Oct

Hi,

We plan to to go Spain in Oct and visit some sites in the Andalucia region, starting from Seville as:

Seville (5 nights) -> Córdoba (3 nights) -> Granada (3nights) -> Ronda (3 nights) -> Madrid (4 nights)-> flight home

We would prefer to use train instead of driving or bus. We looked on the trainline website, looks like there are likely trains (direct or with one transfer) between these cities/sites. We would like to hear from others who know or have travelled there before:
1. These cities/sites are indeed all connected by train?
2. Which site is better to book train tickets, trainline or renfe?
3. Will it an okay idea to take train on Oct 12 (Spain national holiday)?
4. Oct is bit too far out to book yet, but it is a bit strange that I can see lots tickets in July and some in Sept, but most are marked as "sold out" in August. Does anyone know why?
5. The number of days we planned in each city/site seems okay to you? Any other tips?

Note we have visited barcelona (and Madrid) before, but it would be our first time to Andalucia (and our first away trip since 2019). Thanks!

Posted by
7263 posts

I have used Renfe with success; the ap worked better than the desktop site; many here complain about it. Trainline is more user-friendly; I have not used them since the pandemic shut everything down so I don't know if they still charge a fee that Renfe does not

All of the cities are connected by train. Ronda which I have not been to takes the longest. We had a pleasant experience using the Alsa bus from Seville to Granada and then to Malaga.

We took the train on a national holiday New Years Day from Seville to Cadiz. The trains don't stop running for a national holiday when people travel to get together
People over there just like here generally take a lot of August off before the kids return to school in September.

Posted by
15053 posts

ALSA buses are very comfortable (based on others' reports) and the schedules may be more convenient, especially to/from Ronda.

Oct 12 is a big holiday. High speed trains are fine, but regional ones could be very crowded, especially difficult if you have luggage. Also the train stations could be much more crowded, meaning longer lines to buy tickets and for security checks for high speed trains.

3N in Ronda sounds like one too many, unless you'll have a car to daytrip to other towns. Since you've been to Madrid before, why are you thinking of spending 4N there?

Posted by
4718 posts

Three nights in Ronda is too long. It's a very small town and can be seen in a day.

Posted by
21312 posts

In 2019 I daytripped from Ronda to Grazalema by bus. Without plans for a day trip of some sort, I agree that 3 nights sounds like rather a long stay in Ronda. Perhaps not if you like to wind down at the end of your trips, but I feel like there would be more casual things to do on a winding-down day if you were staying in one of the larger cities.

Posted by
2764 posts

If you were shortchanging other more "wow" towns, I might agree that you don't need three days in Ronda, but you do have good allotments for the other towns--and two days is certainly not a long amount of time. Sometimes it is great to chill after constant sightseeing (not that Ronda does not have some interesting sites itself), Ronda is a fun town (I don't know the Spanish term for the Italian passeggiata, but Ronda has a kicking one!), and there are day trips in the area. I was there without a car, and enjoyed taking the train/bus to Montejaque for a hike. Applauding the sunset over the gorge with a crowd was a highlight of my first visit to Ronda.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks to all for your answers and suggestions.

We like the idea of a day trip from Ronda, so will keep it as 3nights, but we will reduce one night in Madrid and add it to Granada. Also will book 1st-class train tickets (to avoid the crowds) on Oct 12 National holiday.

Seville (5 nights, fly-in from Lisbon) -> Córdoba (3 nights) -> Granada (4nights) -> Ronda (3 nights) -> Madrid (3 nights for museums)-> flight back home (Canada)

Any suggestion of day trips from Granada within ~2hours by bus or train? Thanks!

Posted by
134 posts

I love your trip plans, it perfect to me. Both Cordoba and Ronda can be done in two nights but why not three if you have the time. Don't stress about the train tickets. I use the RENFE site which can be fickle the English page never seems to work so I have always had to use the Spanish page. I think you will end up using the train for the whole trip, but the bus system works well too and the ALSA sight works easy. The only thing I think is really important is to arrange your trip so that your in Granada on Fri., Sat., Sun night. The weekends are so much fun, all the locals are out, dancing in the square, tons of buskers, wedding parties (the bride or groom will dressed the weirdest of the weird). I even saw a father leading a donkey down the hill with his daughter, the bride, riding on the donkey and behind her was all the bride maids, everybody was dressed up and covered in flowers. J

Posted by
879 posts

Have you been to Toledo? Instead of 4 nights in Granada, I would spend a night or two in Toledo. It's a 30-minute train ride from Madrid. And it's much nicer to stay overnight in Toledo than to day trip there. In the evenings, the daytrippers have left and it so much more peaceful and quiet. And Toledo is so beautiful when it is illuminated.

Posted by
46 posts

I buy all our transportation tickets on www.omio.com - love the simplicity (tickets are easily retrievable on their smart phone app is you don't want to print them) and the customer service is top notch.

Posted by
2682 posts

Any suggestion of day trips from Granada within ~2hours by bus or train? Thanks!

The Dolmens of Antequera (UNESCO World Heritage Site), about 1 hr west of Granada, are well worth a visit. They are incredibly well preserved 4000 year old megalithic passage tombs

Posted by
21312 posts

Priego de Cordoba is an attractive town that makes a nice, laid-back day trip. You can Google for photos. I can't remember whether I traveled there from Granada by bus or train.

For something more rural, there's bus service into the foothills--an area which seemed to be good walking country. My bus stopped in Pampaneira, Bubion and Capileira. I walked downhill along the road from Capileira to Bubion. I didn't visit Pampaneira, but it looked the liveliest by a considerable margin. At the end of April I seemed to be the only foreign tourist in the first two towns, though I saw two hikers kitted out for some significant walking. I think these places are in the area referred to as the Alpujarras

Posted by
4784 posts

Another vote for staying a couple of nights in Toledo, one of my favorite medieval cities in Spain.

My mom and I took a bus from Granada to Sevilla on October 12. Thanks to the hotel staff who recommended for us to get to the train station ( via taxi) much earlier than expected in order to avoid street closures due to the holiday’s processions (parade). When we arrived to Sevilla, our taxi driver had to take some detours to try to get us close to our hotel since many streets were still blocked from the holidays processions.

Check the weather report a few days prior to your trip.
We experienced warm/ hot days in Córdoba, Sevilla and Granada, and a few showers in Córdoba and Toledo.
Our hotel in Córdoba had a pool on their terrace and I’m so glad I packed my swim suit!
The weather was much cooler in Toledo at the end of our trip.

I booked our train trips on the Renfe website and didn’t have any issues. We took ALSA bus from Córdoba to Granada, and from Granada to Sevilla. Buses were comfortable and also had A/C.

Wishing you a wonderful trip!

Posted by
15053 posts

I liked Malaga. There's definitely enough to fill a full day trip from Granada.

Posted by
83 posts

I'll add yet another vote for spending a night, if not two, in Toledo, only because I didn't (I made a day trip), then afterwards wished that I had!

Posted by
46 posts

For variety's sake, I'd include at least 2 nights on the Mediterranean, either in Malaga or Nerja.

I'd do:

Seville (5) > Córdoba (2) > Granada (3) > Nerja (2) > Ronda (2) > Madrid (4) > fly home