Southern Spain – confusion simplified itinerary

I’m flying round trip from the US. 10 days planned. Which routing is most logical.
Option A US to Madrid to Sevilla to Granada to Cordoba to Madrid and depart to home

Option B US to Madrid to Cordoba to Granada to Sevilla then depart to home

Option C US to Madrid to Sevilla to Cordoba to Granada to Malaga and depart to home

Option D US to Madrid to Granada to Sevilla and depart to home

UPD I’m going to simplify things
I’m flying from NY
I will have 10 days but only need to see Seville and Granada

So where to fly into and out of ?


  1. Have you plugged them into the appropriate search engines to check? (Renfe for train, bus requires some legwork.) Maybe someone will know…but it would help if you shared your airport. The flight home would be a big consideration for me.

  2. Yes, your international flight options are key. It’s great if you don’t have to do that extra train trip back to the Madrid Airport, but for some of us a flight to or from Madrid (or Barcelona) is hundreds of dollars cheaper than departing from Granada, Seville or Malaga. The difference for me was about $500 (one way) in 2019.

    If you find yourself in a similar situation, you can somewhat mitigate the time loss caused by a Madrid round-trip by heading right to one of your other destinations on your arrival day. Of the cities you mention, Cordoba is the easiest and cheapest to reach by train. By going on to Cordoba, you set yourself up for spending all your Madrid nights at the end of the trip and avoid the time-waster of checking in and out of Madrid hotels twice. Toledo works even better for this strategy, because it is much closer to Madrid and has fixed-fare rail service. That means you don’t have to worry about escalating train ticket costs if you don’t want to buy in advance because of uncertainty about when you’ll actually arrive in Spain and be ready to get on a train.

  3. Time is your most valuable commodity, especially while traveling.

    For decades we have visited Spain and offer the following recommendation:

    Using open jaw airfare fly to Granada via Madrid on the same day of travel preferably on Iberia. Most likely you will land in Madrid early to mid-morning and the connecting flight will provide 90 to 120 minutes of time to get from gate to gate. Suggest you use only carry on luggage to facilitate the connection. Using air travel to access Granada is most efficient manner to arrive without having to leave Madrid airport, commute to train station, pay and wait on train (we love the RENFE train system, but prefer the efficiency of traveling by air while already at the airport).

    From Granada train to Seville.

    From Seville train to Madrid.

    Cordoba is great, and some folks would pick Cordoba over Granada, but with limited time we feel Granada and Cordoba overlap a bit.

    Above recommendation provides same day connection to Granada.
    Then one half day of travel to Seville.
    Then one half day of travel to Madrid.
    Thus minimizing travel stress and maximizing time on ground optimizing opportunity to create wonderful travel memories.

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