Getting to Andalucia and Getting Around
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It’s not too complicated to get to and from places in Andalucia.
You can travel by car, bus, train or plane. You can even reach Andalucia by ferry from Morocco and other spots. Some people visit Andalucia on a Mediterranean cruise.
Trains and buses can be a lovely way to get around Spain. Leave the navigation and driving to someone else and just enjoy the scenery of olive groves, hills covered in chaparral and small towns.
Quick Guide to Transport in Southern Spain
Let’s look at a few ways of getting to Andalucia and getting around.
Getting to Andalucia by Plane
If you are flying into Andalucia you will probably arrive in either Malaga (AGP) or Sevilla (SVQ), as more flights serve these airports. Airlines like Vueling, Norwegian, Ryanair, EasyJet, and British Airways fly to Malaga and Sevilla from cities across Europe like Amsterdam, London, Paris and Berlin. Check Skyscanner to compare the best prices and flight schedules for multiple airlines.
Madrid (MAD) might be the closest major airport for overseas trips. Read on for tips on how to get from Madrid to Andalucia by train and bus.
Getting to and around Andalucia by Train
RENFE is Spain’s rail network. They have high speed rail called AVE, Avant which are fast trains on short routes, and Media Distancia trains for connections between cities, towns and villages.
AVE high speed trains connect Spain with France and can transport you across the country quickly and smoothly. Hop on a train from Paris to Barcelona and on to Madrid. You can then grab an AVE train on to Cordoba, Malaga and Sevilla. The AVE trains are fast, clean and comfortable. They are also popular in high season and can fill up fast so book in advance. Check Trainline for ticket and route options.
The fast trains are a very efficient way to get around in Spain. The train from Madrid to Sevilla takes less than 3 hours, while driving takes more than 5. The train from Madrid to Malaga also takes less than 3 hours.
As another example you can get from Malaga to Sevilla on the Avant train in less than two hours. It connects through Cordoba.
The Media Distancia trains connect towns like Cadiz, Almeria, Jaen and Huelva. See the Andalucia Media Distancia map below. Note that some routes might be currently under construction and temporarily served by bus.
The train from Madrid to Granada is currently under construction but you can get there by bus.
By the way, if you love train travel, take a look at the Trenhotel overnight options. You can travel from Spain to Portugal on the train. There are two night train options from Madrid or San Sebastian to Lisbon. Check Trainline for tickets.
It is also possible to get to Portugal from Spain via bus in the north and south. Check Flixbus prices and schedules or take a look at ALSA. There are regular buses between Sevilla and Faro in Portugal’s Algarve.
Getting to and around Andalucia by Bus
The most common way to get around in Andalucia without your own car is with the ALSA buses. The bus takes about 3 hours from Granada to Cordoba for example. Coaches are comfortable and clean with multiple buses a day between cities and towns.
Some of them have a toilet on board while others stop midway for a break. It’s a good idea to check in advance whether your bus has a restroom before downing those three coffees. For example, the bus from Madrid to Granada does not have a toilet and many people only realize this after they try to find it.
Luggage is stored under the bus so you may want to pack valuables and essentials in a small bag to carry with you to your seat.
Buses between cities and towns usually leave from the bus station in most larger cities like Cordoba or Granada. In smaller villages you might meet the bus at a stop along a main street. You can usually reach the city center on foot or with connecting local transit. Of course taxis are also an option.
If you are traveling across Europe by bus, the least expensive option is usually with Flixbus. You can find ticket prices as low as €4. Check here for Flixbus prices and schedules.
Do you need to store your luggage when sightseeing or while doing day trips? Some larger bus and train stations have luggage lockers and you can look for private shops that will store your bags for a few hours to a week. You can also have your bags delivered door to door with Luggage Forward.
Getting to Andalucia by Car
If you don’t have a car of your own you can rent one or do what the locals do and use shared Blablacar.
Madrid to Seville is over 5 hours by car. Traveling by car it is about 1.5 hours from Sevilla to Cordoba, 2 hours from Malaga to Cordoba and 4 hours from Madrid to Cordoba.
Getting to Andalucia by Boat
Are you a fan of boats like me? Ferry boats connect Andalucia with Morocco. You can go from Almeria or Malaga to Mellila on the coast of Morocco or Algeciras to and from Ceutas. You can also catch a ferry from Tarifa to Tangier.
There is a ferry service from Cadiz or Huelva to the Canary Islands too.
You can also reach Mallorca and Ibiza via ferry but you’ll have to head northeast to Valencia.
Many people visit Andalucia by cruise ship, the area is a popular port for Mediterranean cruises. Did you know you can even take a CroisiEurope cruise on the Gualquivir River through Andalucia?
Cruise ships typically stop at the ports of Malaga, Cadiz and Almeria. From those ports you can easily access other areas with port excursions.
Andalucia Local Transport
Most cities in Andalucia have handy public transport that you can use to get around the local area. Malaga even has a metro system that you can take to and from the airport. Check out our individual city guides for in depth tips on local transport.
One of the easiest ways to get oriented in a new city as a tourist is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus, especially if you don’t have a lot of time in the city. This allows you to see the main sights and get off at the ones you’d like to explore. Most of the cities in Andalucia have a hop-on-hop-off bus. You can purchase tickets for them below:
- Hop on Hop off bus in Malaga
- Hop on Hop off train in Granada
- Hop on Hop off bus in Seville
- Hop on Hop off bus in Cordoba
In addition to local transit and HOHO buses you can use taxis and Uber to get around. And of course, many Andalucian cities, towns and villages are easily seen on foot.
Enjoy your trip to Andalucia!