Another Spanish train question

Three of us will be travelling in Spain in the fall. The following is our itinerary, almost all of which will be via rail: Madrid to Cordoba Cordoba to Savilla Savilla to Algeciras Algeciras to Tarifa (by bus) Tarifa to Algeciras (by bus) Algeciras to Granada Granada to Madrid (for one of us) Granada to Valencia (for two of us) Valencia to Barcelona Barcelona to Madrid My two questions are: Is rail the best option for each of these legs and is it best to purchase tickets/reservations as we go rather than get a rail pass? Thank you for your help.
Roger

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

Looks like you are flying in and out of Madrid. Why not fly into Madrid and home from Barcelona. Not much between Madrid and Barcelona. Second, what is your age? There is a discount card for those over 60. The train is generally the best but the bus system is very good. You can buy deep discount tickets a couple of months in advance but that locks you into a very fixed schedule. That is the trade off for cheap tickets.

Posted by Neil
Whittington
583 posts

'Is rail the best option for each of these legs' - what do you want from 'best'? Are you time or money wealthy? Does comfort matter? 'is it best to purchase tickets/reservations as we go rather than get a rail pass? ' - probably neither - certainly not on the ground immediately prior to travel if you want to save money - you appear to have a set itinerary so purchase in advance on-line to take advantage of up to sometimes 70% discounting. Perhaps you should read the hugely informative http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g187514-c80518/Madrid:Spain:Buying.Renfe.Tickets.Online..html I hope you have three weeks for this itinerary. And, as already pointed out, why not fly back from Barcelona.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7209 posts

As a general statement, consider busing out of Granada either to Madrid or Valencia and possibly from Valencia to Barcelona. I haven't taken all these legs (opted to rent a car for most of our trip). My impression, when planning our trip, was train service is excellent for a roughly C-shaped route between Barcelona, Madrid, Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada. Outside that C, there are some good branch lines off the basic routes that also work well (e.g. Madrid to Toledo). Once you get past those, a bus will be your better option - both cheaper and faster. Busses in Spain are nice, clean, cheap and a common transportation choice of middle-class Spanish. Don't shy away from using them.

Posted by Roger
Calgary
21 posts

Thank you for the responses. The TripAdvisor posting was more than helpful and I will order online.
Roger

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

Do we conclude that he didn't like our responses?

Posted by Roger
Calgary
21 posts

Frank: Not at all. However, purchasing on line seems to preclude a seniors discount and my wife has decided that she no longer wants to go to Barcelona. So, we will spend a few more days in some of the smaller towns in the south. Both points however, were definitly worth exploring which I would not have done without your suggestions. Thanks again
Roger