From Avignon, it takes just over 7 hours to reach Madrid on the direct high-speed AVE
. The AVE reaches the Mediterranean coast at Sete, running past saltwater lagoons, nature reserves and vineyards, cutting through the Pyrenees and heading southwards through green hills and olive groves to call at Barcelona. From Barcelona, the AVE continues through cava-producing vineyards and onwards to the plains of Aragon. Continuing west, you meet the mighty River Ebro and follow its valley around Zaragoza, then wind easily through the Sierra de Armantes and its impressive red-clay rock formations. On the other side of the sierra stretch the plains of Castilla La Mancha.
You arrive at Madrid’s Atocha station mid-afternoon for your onward connection to Castile or Andalucia. Beneath the station’s Victorian glass and wrought-iron roof is a lush botanical garden with palm trees, surrounded by cafés.
...onwards to Castile
For the Classical Cities of Old Castile
touring holiday, you change stations in Madrid, taking the metro a few stops to Chamartin station, where you board a high-speed train for the 30-minute journey to Segovia.
...onwards to Seville, the Grazalema Sierra & the Aracena Sierra
When connecting from Madrid Atocha, allow 25 minutes for baggage scans on entry to the high-speed platforms.
Take a direct AVE across the windswept, fertile plains of Castilla La Mancha and cross the wooded hills towards the Sierra Garganta, traversing a short tunnel under the mountains. Descending from the mountains, you follow the Guadalquivir Valley westwards through olive groves and orange orchards. Just 2-and-a-half hours after leaving Madrid, you arrive at Seville’s Santa Justa station. Here, you alight and either take a taxi for holidays such as the Trail of Three Cities
touring holiday or White Towns & Rugged Mountains
walking holiday, or collect a hire car to reach our Treasures of Aracena
walking holiday (if you prefer to avoid driving through the city centre, you can make your way to the airport and collect your hire car there).
...onwards to the Alpujarras
To reach our Valleys of Las Alpujarras
, Valleys & High Slopes of Las Alpujarras
and Life in an Alpujarran Village
walking holidays, take a direct AVE south from Madrid through Córdoba to Málaga (2hrs 45mins). From Málaga Maria Zambrano station, you can avoid city-centre congestion by taking a suburban train three stops to the airport to collect your hire car. You then have a splendid two-hour drive towards the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
...onwards to Almería (with an additional overnight stay)
For the Coast of Almería
walking holiday, take a high speed AVE train south from Madrid to Córdoba (1hrs 45mins) for an overnight stay before embarking on a high speed train to Granada to embark on a scenic ride through the Nacimiento and Andarax river valley with views towards the Sierra Nevada mountains which become more dramatic closer to Almería. Our taxi driver will meet you at Almería station for the one-hour drive to Las Negras.