I am thinking of renting a car in Seville after arriving by train or bus from Madrid. Is it better to rent a car in Seville, so I can see the White Hill villages, or better to go on an organized Tour out of Seville to the villages? Any other ideas concerning travel in Spain is very appreciated. I will be traveling with daughter and two other women for this part of trip.
Depends on your level of comfort. The roads through the coastal mountains are narrow and windey...not for the faint of heart. Spanish highways generally have narrow or non-existent shoulders, even the more modern ones, so there's little room for error. And many four-lane highways have very poor on and off ramps. You'll also pay more for a standard than the comparable manual transmission car. If you're not a confident driver, bet on the tour instead.
We just returned from Spain. We rented a car from AVIS from the Granada airport after we were done sight-seeing in Granada, drove to Nerja, up to Ronda and returned the car in Sevilla at Santa Justa railway station before exploring Sevilla. The car was stick shift; roads and traffic were similar to driving here in Chicago. We were blessed to find "free" parking in front of our hotels so our only big expense was gas, but we only filled the tank one time to make sure it was full for return.
Before we left I debated car vs. public transportation for awhile. The freedom of the car, especially with 3 passengers, 1 being a child, won.
We would not usually consider an organized tour and would always prefer to hire a car - freedom and flexibility and not wanting to be with other people mainly. We rented a car from Seville airport at Xmas time and found driving relatively easy - and we are used to driving on the left, not the right. Can I suggest you rent a GPS as well - we found that of great assistance and would have been lost (literally) without it. Also, depending on where you are staying in Seville you will find driving and especially parking a problem. So check out that aspect before deciding.
I have just returned from a trip to Granada where I rented a car. It provided easy access to all of the white villages and was a great way to get around.
Whatever you do, do not rent from Easycar / Centauro. I waited nearly 2 hours to pick up the car and had to pay a 50 euro fuel surcharge that wasn't disclosed. I'm not the only one who had a bad experience with them, either. Check it out: Easycar Review.