Valencia is one of the two most popular cities on the east coast of Spain (no prizes for guessing the most popular) and with more and more flights to Spain's third biggest city, a lot of visitors to the country plan to start their trip in Valencia before exploring the rest of the country. And though north to Catalonia and northwest to Madrid are the most obvious destinations to visit from Valencia, a lot of you are probably tempted by the jewels of Spain's Andalusian cities, namely Seville, Cordoba, and Granada.
Is Andalusia a Sensible Destination From Valencia?
The journey from Valencia to cities such as Cordoba and Seville used to be quite tortuous until they opened the AVE high-speed train line from Madrid to Valencia. Now that route is quicker than that of Valencia to Barcelona (which doesn't have a high-speed train connection) and opens up access to Andalusia, making Seville and Cordoba particularly convenient.
Valencia to Andalusia at a Glance
- To Cordoba: One daily three-hour train.
- To Seville: One daily four-hour train.
- To Granada: No direct train. Go via Cordoba or take the bus (7h 30m).
- To Malaga: (620km) Fly or take the train, transferring in Cordoba. Better still, stay in Cordoba.
Flying From Valencia to Andalusia
There are regular flights with Vueling and Iberia to Seville and Malaga, with the cheaper flights usually originating in Vueling. This can be the quickest option, especially for getting to Malaga (which has no direct trains from Valencia) but consider the direct train to Seville (thus avoiding the hassle of airports) or visiting Cordoba on the way first.
Driving to Andalusia
As the crow flies, the route from Valencia to Cordoba has nothing of interest, with the dusty city of Albacete the only major populated area on the way. As a result, there are no major roads here. You might be tempted by the idea of getting 'off the beaten path,' but there is a reason this path isn't beaten, and you'd quickly get bored making the six- or seven-hour drive to Cordoba or Seville.
Similarly, heading south along what looks like the 'coastal route' isn't much better, as you will rarely actually follow the coast itself. The major roads here take you via Murcia, a pleasant enough city but nothing to write home about.
Instead, the best option is to drive to Madrid (via Cuenca) and then down to Cordoba.
Suggested Itinerary to Seville or Malaga Via Cordoba, Madrid, and Cuenca
Both Cuenca and Cordoba can be seen in a day, so make use of left luggage facilities in each city and visit en route to and from Madrid. Your time in the capital should be as long as you can spare; there is so much to do in the city, and then you have the day trips to occupy you the rest of the time.
There are direct trains from Cordoba to both Seville and Malaga (choose Seville). Alternatively, base yourself in Cordoba and take a guided tour of Andalusia from Cordoba.
Clearly, the train is the best option, but there are cheaper alternatives.
The train from Valencia departs around 8am and arrives in the afternoon at about 11am. The train going the other way leaves at around 7pm, which means this could even be done as a day trip! Tickets are around 50 euros. You can buy tickets from Rail Europe. There is only one direct train each day.
The bus from Cordoba to Valencia takes between eight and ten hours and costs around 50€. There are three per day. Book tickets through Movelia.
Again, the train is the most sensible option.
Train and Bus
The new high-speed AVE train from Seville to Valencia takes under four hours, but there is only one direct train per day. Both train times work out well; the Valencia arrival is at 10pm, but the station is well located and is likely to be close to your hotel, which is also good for the early morning train to Seville. Train prices vary, but they're usually better than the bus.
Buses from Seville to Valencia take 11 hours and cost between 50 and 60 euros. There is little point in taking the bus.
With no direct train, you're better off going via Cordoba or Seville.
Train and Bus
There is no direct train from Granada to Valencia.
Buses from Granada to Valencia take between seven-and-a-half and nine hours and cost about 50 euros.
Going to Malaga is a little inconvenient. We recommend flying or visiting Cordoba first.
There are no direct trains from Malaga to Valencia, but you can take two high-speed AVE trains, changing in Cordoba. This journey only takes four hours.
Buses from Malaga to Valencia cost about 55 euros and takes about 11 hours. Unlike with the train, there are frequent buses from Malaga to Valencia throughout the day.