South Spain 4 bundle best option?? Madrid - Cordoba - Seville - Granada - Madrid

Was wondering what would be the best option for booking Madrid - Cordoba - Seville - Granada - Madrid? Can all these spots be accessed by train, and would the 4 bundle work best? This would be for October.
Thanks!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 30, 2016 18:18
    Hi Ben,

    For this particular itinerary, your most economical option would be the Eurail Spain Pass. For this pass, you would click here: https://www.raileurope.com/europe-travel-guide/spain/index.html.

    Each of the destinations you mentioned is able to be accessed. However, due to ongoing construction on the rail line just outside Granada, you would currently only be able to get to Granada by taking a bus from the town of Antequera. Conveniently, the rail pass is valid on the buses between Antequera and Granada.

    Please note, the trains on these routes do require reservations in addition to the pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. the 'Eurail Spain Pass').

    Also, due to an error on our website, when booking passholder reservations for trains in Spain, you will need to choose the specific hour for each set of departures you wish to view. For example, if you want to view trains departing during the 1 o'clock hour, adjust your preferred departure time specifically to '01 pm' rather than keeping it at '08 am' and clicking the 'Later Trains' button to view more options. This is because, due to an error, our website will only display the actual 'passholder' rates (reservations) for the first 4 or 5 departures in the results that turn up, with regard to searches for trains in Spain.

    Generally, trains in Spain can only be reserved once within 60 to 90 days of an intended date of departure. Since your intended travel falls outside of this time frame, you would just use an earlier date, some time within the next 60 or 90 days, to get an idea of the reservation costs and schedules in the meantime.

    Madrid to Cordoba

    Trains from Madrid to Cordoba are high-speed AVE, Alvia, or Altaria trains. These trains do require reservations in addition to the pass.

    Cordoba to Seville

    Trains from Cordoba to Seville are high-speed AVE or Avant trains. There are also regional Media Distancia (MD) trains on this route. These trains all would require reservations in addition to the pass.

    Seville to Granada

    Due to the construction I alluded to above, the connection from Seville to Granada would involve taking a train from Seville to Antequera, where you would switch to a replacement bus that will take you into Granada.

    You would purchase reservations for your train from Seville to Antequera, and then the rail pass is all you would need for a bus from Antequera to Granada. Trains from Seville to Antequera are Avant or regional Media Distancia (MD) trains.

    Granada to Madrid

    A connection from Granada to Madrid would involve taking the bus back to Antequera, where you would board your train up to Madrid.

    The rail pass is all you would need for the bus from Granada to Antequera, but the trains from Antequera to Madrid require reservations in addition to the pass. Trains from Antequera to Madrid are high-speed AVE, Avant, or Altaria trains.
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  • Great, thanks Jeff!!

    So just to confirm, I did a test booking on renfe, and a first class ticket was coming up as $78CAD for Madrid - Seville. A 5 day pass for first class was $350CAD.
    I am now thinking of traveling:

    Madrid - Toledo - Madrid (Day trip)
    Madrid - Cordoba
    Cordoba - Ronda - Cordoba (Day Trip)
    Cordoba - Granada
    Granada -Madrid

    So I'm guessing with the day trips, even with Reservation costs, a 5 day Eurorail pass is best option? I've always thought renfe was the cheapest option?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 01, 2016 16:10
    You're welcome, Ben.

    Between the Renfe Spain Pass and the Eurail Spain Pass, we usually do find the Renfe Spain Pass to be the most economical option. However, for the first itinerary you laid out, the Eurail Spain Pass is more economical than the Renfe Spain Pass. This is because the Renfe Spain Pass goes by 'travel segments' and not 'travel days'; and a connection from Seville to Granada alone would be 2 'travel segments' on a Renfe Spain Pass, as opposed to just 1 'travel day' on a Eurail Spain Pass. A segment refers to each individual train you would be taking (i.e. 4 segments=4 different trains). That means you would have to devote 4 segments just for your trips into and out of Granada, whereas this would only amount to 2 'travel days' on a Eurail Spain Pass.

    If you were to purchase a Renfe Spain Pass for that first itinerary, you would need to purchase it for 6 segments (also including the trains from Madrid to Cordoba and Cordoba to Seville, which are both direct trains). In contrast, if you purchase the Eurail Spain Pass, you would only need to purchase it for 4 'travel days' (one 'travel day' for the trip from Madrid to Cordoba, one 'travel day' for the trip from Cordoba to Seville, one 'travel day' for the trip from Seville to Granada, and one 'travel day' for the trip from Granada to Madrid).

    The second itinerary that you laid out would amount to 9 segments on a Renfe Spain Pass (the Renfe Spain Pass does not have a 9 segment option, so you would end up having to purchase the 10 segment option). However, for this same itinerary, you would only need a 5 day Eurail Spain Pass. Considering this, the Eurail Spain Pass would work out to be the most economical option for this itinerary, as well.

    Once again, for travel with a Eurail Spain Pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. the 'Eurail Spain Pass').

    Madrid-Toledo-Madrid

    Even the ride is very short, the trains between Madrid and Toledo would still require reservations in addition to the pass. Trains between Madrid and Toledo are AVE and Avant trains.

    Madrid to Cordoba

    Trains from Madrid to Cordoba are high-speed AVE, Alvia, or Altaria trains. These trains also will require reservations in addition to the pass.

    Cordoba-Ronda-Cordoba

    Trains between Cordoba and Ronda are AVE and Altaria trains on which reservations would be required in addition to the pass.

    Cordoba to Granada

    Due to the construction on the rail line leading into Granada, the connection from Cordoba to Granada would involve taking a train from Cordoba to Antequera, where you would switch to a replacement bus that will take you into Granada.

    The trains from Cordoba to Antequera will require reservations in addition to the pass. These are AVE, Avant, and Altaria trains. Since the buses from Antequera to Granada are replacements for the trains that previously operated along this stretch, the Eurail Spain Pass would still be valid.

    Granada to Madrid

    A connection from Granada to Madrid would involve taking the bus back to Antequera, where you would board your train up to Madrid.

    The rail pass is all you would need for the bus from Granada to Antequera, but the trains from Antequera to Madrid require reservations in addition to the pass. Trains from Antequera to Madrid are high-speed AVE, Avant, or Altaria trains.
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  • This reply was removed on 2016-07-01.
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  • Ok, great! I really do appreciate the advice. If I could ask one last question...
    Which oder would be best by train before I head to my last 2 nights in Malaga (by train)...

    1) Seville---Day trip Ronda---Seville---Day trip Cordabo---Seville---Granada 1 night
    2) Seville---Day trip Ronda---Seville---Day trip Cordabo---Granada 1 night
    3) Seville---Day trip Cordabo---Seville---Day trip Ronda---Granada 1 night

    Again, thanks:)
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 06, 2016 16:41
    Hi Ben,

    If it were me, I would definitely do the 3rd option. By making only one of the visits a day-trip (round-trip completed within a day), you would have less backtracking, so it would just seem more efficient. Cordoba is a shorter trip from Seville, better done as the one day-trip. In any case, a connection from Seville to Ronda involves changing trains in Cordoba en route.

    Seville-Cordoba-Seville

    Trains between Seville and Cordoba are high-speed AVE or Avant trains. There are also regional Media Distancia (MD) trains on this route. These trains all would require reservations in addition to the Eurail Spain Pass.

    Seville to Ronda

    As I alluded to above, the most feasible connections from Seville to Ronda involve changing trains once in Cordoba along the way.

    The trains from Seville to Cordoba are AVE, Avant, or Media Distancia trains. Direct trains from Cordoba to Ronda are Altaria trains. All of these trains would require reservations in addition to the Eurail Spain Pass.

    To book passholder reservations for a connection from Seville to Ronda, you would just have to break up your search once in Cordoba. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Seville to Cordoba and another search for connecting trains from Cordoba to Ronda.

    Ronda to Granada

    Due to the construction I mentioned in my previous responses, a connection from Ronda to Granada would involve a bus substitution for the final segment between Antequera and Granada. Therefore, you would take the train from Ronda to Antequera, where you would switch to the bus that will take you to Granada.

    Trains from Ronda to Antequera are Media Distancia or Altaria trains. You would purchase reservations for your train from Ronda to Antequera, and then the Eurail Spain Pass is all you would need for a bus from Antequera to Granada.
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