Although the train line to Granada is currently suspended due to construction works, Renfe provides excellent alternative with a connection via luxury coach from Antequera S. Ana station (there is another Antequera main station which should not be confused with Antequera S. Ana which is outside the Antequerra city limits).
Renfe buses are waiting just outside the station's only exit upon your train's arrival, with quite a few staff on hand to guide assist the passengers to the respective coaches. The coach drops you at the main Granada station and the reverse pick-up is from the same place as well.
The scenery on the way is quite spectacular.
Making bookings through Renfe is extremely convenient once you have created your personal ID (remember to mark 'frequent users' against names of individuals who are accompanying you on the trip. This will enable you to just pick their names for subsequent journeys and avoid re-entering all the details.
Ensure to select the English option of the site and use Google translate for some of the Spanish legends. On-line bookings also offers you good rates, which fluctuates as per the demand. It is just like making an airline reservation...check-in at the station is similar as well, whereby you will be 'boarded' on to the train after a security check. Hence, be at the station at least 20 min prior (30 min for large stations). The Renfe trains are just fantastic, with speeds reaching 300 Kmph quite often and is before time at the destination most of the times. Interior is high class and comfortable, even in Tourist class.
From Granada to Jerez de la Frontera
I wanted to go from Granada to Jerez d.l. Frontera. This is a long and awkward trip but can be done easily enough by train.
The trains in Spain are clean, comfortable and run on time.
I took a train first from Granada to Seville, Santa Justa for Euro 22.70 and then a train from Seville, SJ to Jerez d.l. Frontera for Euro 7.05. These were the rates with the WEB discount for tickets purchased on line 60 days in advance.
The first leg took 4 hours and the second 2 hour 10 minutes. I had a 1 hour lay-over in the Seville SJ station. The Sevilla train station is large, clean and well kept. Lots of places to eat or have a cup of coffee. Clean and well cared for rest rooms. Very safe, saw lots of police just 'strolling' around the station.
See here and here on how to purchase tickets on line in advance from RENFE.
The trip can also be made more cheaply by bus, but it is a very long way to travel by bus.
The best way was the train to Algeciras then the bus to Tarifa... but the train line has been cut (since the end of October) and trains won't resume before spring 2010.
So meanwhile, get a bus from Granada to Malaga, then another bus from Malaga to Tarifa. It's quite a long journey, better cutting it in Malaga for a couple of nights ! Check the bus company website for timetables : www.alsa.es
RENFE (National Spanish Railways) has one of their main hubs in Granada. There are two trains a day from Madrid, three from Barcelona and four from Seville. The main train station in Granada can be found on Avenue Andaluces in Granada.
The train from Madrid to Granada was pretty relaxing. Around Mid May it is not that busy so the train was pretty empty. Length of time is approximately 5 hours. You can bring your own munchies on the trip which is recommended. I did not buy anything from the snack bar on the train so I cannot tell you how expensive things are on the train. Once at the station in Granada you can walk a couple yards to get one of the public transit buses to get to your hotel. Another option is just taking a cab which for me was not expensive . Approximate cost to my hotel was 4-5 Euros.
There is no metro system in Granada, it is to compact. However Granada is fairly well connected by train to most other cities. The journey may require a change though. You can go directly to Sevilla, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and other BIG cities. If you want to travel to Malaga or
Cádiz you will have to change(for example at Dos Hermanas if you are travellling to Cádiz. This is usually about a 45-mins to an hour wait) .
Train prices are reasonable. It is cheaper to buy a return ticket even if you only need a one way. Ida is the going there journey, Vuelta is the return journey so to ask for a return ticket you ask for a Ida y Vuelta.
Remember the trip to Barcelona and will be more expensive as it's on the TALGO. Make sure you buy the right ticket and get on the right train as there are Cercanias and Andalucia Express trains that may go o the same place. Andalucia Express tickets are more expensive so you can't use a Cercanias ticket on them. Remember to check the timetable to see what type of train it is before you ask for your tickets.
The announcements for trains are made in Spanish, English and French.
The Train Station is located by the town centre which is a great advantage over the Bus Station which is located way out of town. You can walk to and from the train Station, but from the Bus Station you have to get an urban bus to the centre. The train station is on Avda. Constitucion
We took the overnight sleeper train - TRENHOTEL - from Barcelona to Granada. It leaves Barcelona at 9pm and arrives Granada at 8am the next morning. Although a bit pricey for the sleeper ($100 per person in 2002, we booked it through the Cortez Ingles travel desk in Barcelona), it was well worth it. It was very comfortable, and after a good night's rest we were ready for the Alahambra crowds the next morning.
Check out the train schedules for your trip online at the renfe website. I recommend booking this popular overnight train as soon as you arrive in Spain.
Theres trains departing everyday from barcelona to Granada, daily trains depart at 8 am from platform 8 in the sants estació, the train is named 'garcia Lorca' and its an arco, tickets must be buy few days before the departure cause they always use to be sold out. And night trains, departure everyday at 21.00 also from sants Estació, from Platform 9, the train is called Gibralfaro, arrives to Granada at 08.09 Am. Tickets for this train are even harder to get.
The most pleasant way to get to Granada is by train. It is a bit of a ride from Madrid (6+ hours), but the trains are comfortable, and the scenery is stunning. I paid 3,800 Pesetas (about $23 american dollars) from Station Chamartin in Madrid. I bought the ticket at the airport from the Renfe desk.
This is not the best way to go to or around Granada. Rather because you have to change trains if you want to go to other places. The best way is to go by bus.