The Mezquita in Córdoba (photo © Bjeayes /

17th edition: Historic Spain (Route 20)

Through the Despeñaperros gorge to southern Spain

Route introduction

If you take the modern high-speed line south to Andalucía described in Route 21, you’ll find it slices through the Sierra Morena like butter. You’ll hardly notice the hills. But if you have a few hours to spare why not take the old rail route that runs through the gorge at Despeñaperros. It’s the route we describe in Route 20. This is truly one of Europe’s finest rail journeys, and it’s a creative way of linking Barcelona with southern Spain.

Countries covered

MAP Double click on the map (or double tap on mobile) to zoom in. You can connect onto other routes in places shown in red. Change to a layer showing a more familiar road map view by clicking on the menu at the top right of the map. Get back to the original view by clicking on the house icon shown in the top left menu on the map.

Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide

Whether you are making a long grand tour or just planning a couple of weekend breaks, Europe by Rail is the perfect guide. The book describes 50 key routes in detail. Together, they span mainland Europe and the British Isles. Find out more about the guidebook below.

The new, fully updated 17th edition of the definitive guide to exploring Europe by rail was published on 12 April 2022. With tips on ticketing, fares and accommodation, Europe by Rail has become the definitive guide to exploring Europe by train. Read here the book's word of welcome.
Europe by Rail contains all that's necessary to plan your rail journey through Europe: 50 route descriptions, a country gazetteer, rail connections, information on Eurail and Interrail passes and more.
The 17th edition of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide was published on 12 April 2022. You can get hold of a copy in any good bookshop. Here, we list a few additional places where you can buy the book.