The Mezquita in Córdoba (photo © Bjeayes /

Route 13: Historic Spain

Through the Despeñaperros gorge to southern Spain

Route introduction

If you take the modern high-speed line south to Andalucía described in Route 14, 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 13. 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 over 50 key routes in detail. Together, they span mainland Europe and – brand new for this 16th edition – now also the British Isles. Find out more about the guidebook below.

This 16th edition of the definitive guide to exploring Europe by rail was first published in mid-October 2019. The most recent reprint was in February 2021. With tips on ticketing, fares and accommodation, Europe by Rail has become the definitive guide to exploring Europe by train.
Europe by Rail contains all that's necessary to plan your rail journey through Europe: over 50 route descriptions, a country gazetteer, rail connections, information on Eurail and Interrail passes and more.
The 16th edition of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide was published in mid-October 2019 and reprinted in January 2020. You can get hold of a copy in any good bookshop. Here, we list a few additional places where you can buy the book.