We are doing this tour in 2015. We plan to linger in Sevilla for 3-4 days, day trip to Cordoba. Is there enough to do in Sevilla? Also, looking at flights, everything seems to go to Madrid with about a one hour connection. Short layovers make us nervous, and we don't mind another day in Spain. So we were thinking of the train back to Madrid, spending another day and night there, flying out the following day. I'd be interested in hearing from those who have done this tour and what they think of our as yet unbooked plans, or if they can suggest other happy endings.
Two summers ago, when the RS trip also included 2 nights in Tangier, we took the high speed train back to Madrid, and used the free afternoon and evening to go to a bullfight at the Madrid arena and for one last night out (pigs' ears and sangria). If you buy your train tickets on line about 60 days early (I think) you can get great discounts. Also, you could stop in Cordoba en route back to Madrid (I think they have a luggage locker at the Cordoba train station). As to spending 3 or 4 extra days in Seville - I thought the city was the most atmospheric in our whole trip, and we really enjoyed the street life, but if you're into maximizing exotic experiences, you could back track to Tarifa, take the ferry across to North Africa, and do an overnight in Tangier. I would suggest pre-hiring a quality guide to make the most of that experience and to minimize the anxiety. We really thought the Moroccan side-trip was a highlight, but some other folks weren't as comfortable, especially as the passport/immigration process on the ferry was a bit stressful.
Hubby and I took this trip in 2012 when it still included Tangier. The tour ended in Sevilla and we took the train to Madrid where we stayed an extra day before our flight home to the US direct to Atlanta. One couple stopped in Cordoba on the way to Madrid for a short day trip but they planned to spend the night in Madrid. We were all on the same train to Madrid; they exited, we stayed on to Madrid. I personally loved Sevilla over the other cities; it best represented my romanticized ideal of Spain.....each city in Spain was distinctly unique and wonderful, but Sevilla won my heart. Check out the RS's guide to Spain and highlight the sights in Sevilla you may want to see (and times recommended for touring) and that will give you an idea of how much time to allow for Sevilla. Happy travels!
Agreed that Sevilla is a lovely, atmospheric, and relatively relaxing city. At least one more day in Sevilla would be good for shopping, wandering, and marking off a few more of the tourist sites. A day trip to Cordoba or a stop en-route to Madrid also makes sense.
If it's beach weather, a direct bus to Portugal's Algarve takes about 5 hours each way, but gets you no closer to Madrid.
If you want to visit Tangier, plan to spend at least one night there and one night in Tarifa or Algeciras. Bus from Sevilla to Tarifa takes 3 hours, then boats run about hourly from Tarifa to Tangier, so you can get there by afternoon, or might want to sleep in Tarifa and take an early boat to Morocco. To head from Tarifa to Madrid, you'd start with a half-hour bus ride to Algeciras. Direct trains from Algeciras to Madrid run about 8:40 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (or the 11:45 departure requires two train connections).
The last time we were in that area. We went on to Granada and then home from Malarga. Big international airport with direct flights to the US - for us it was New York. If that would be new territory for you, it would add to your trip especially the Alhambra.