|The AVE Malaga to Madrid High Speed Train|
I recently had the opportunity to try the much talked about AVE high speed train service from Malaga to Madrid that takes just two hours and forty seven minutes from the centre of Malaga to Madrid city centre.
I had to make a last minute business trip to Madrid and had three travel options at my disposal.
I evaluated all the options and the AVE worked out the most convenient, who really wants to spend over ten hours driving in a single day? Taking a flight meant security check ins, possible delays and getting to the city centre and back from Madrid airport. It seemed that the AVE made the most sense.
I called the Renfe booking reservation number on their website (www.renfe.es) and asked to speak with an English speaking operator. I can speak some Spanish but I didn’t want to take any chances and end up somewhere else in Spain! I was immediately put through to an English speaking operator who was helpful and courteous. She confirmed my booking, I paid by credit card and was given a booking reference number
Malaga Train Station
The AVE is available from the Maria Zambrano station in the centre of Malaga (see map ). It is the new station that also combines a very modern and stylish shopping mall. To get there drive into the centre of Malaga on the Avenida de Andalucia. When you arrive at the El Corte Ingles roundabout take a right turn. Go straight on until you come to a roundabout with an Eroski shopping centre. Turn left at this roundabout, drive a few minutes and you will see the Maria Zambrano station and mall on your right. Park up in the underground car park and head towards the main terminal. Once there you will spot some automatic ticket machines. Enter your booking code and your tickets will be printed for you.
On my journey I went first class on the way there and tourist class on my return journey so that I could get a good idea of how they differ and which offers the best value. I was told by the parking operators to go to the ticket office in the underground car park on my return with my train tickets and I would not have to pay and parking costs. If you travel first class (preferente) you get 24 hours free parking for each way. This means that if you book a return first class trip you will get 48 hours free parking.
Timing and Punctuality
In the UK people are constantly complaining about train delays. No such problem here. The train leaves dead on time and arrives on time. If it doesn’t Renfe the train operator will compensate you. End of story. On my three trips so far the train wasn’t even a minute late.
There are three classes of service, tourist, first and preferential. I traveled first class on the way to Madrid and tourist class on my return journey. On the first class service you are served a meal and free drinks and the seats seem wider. Even though the trains are still quite new I have to say that I was really impressed with the cleanliness of the trains, no litter or graffitti in sight!
On the tourist class there is no food service however there is a great bar coach where you can order a coffee, tea, soft drinks, sandwiches, pizza and alcohol. The seats are very comfortable and there is plenty of legroom. The first class service costs around 117.00 euros and the tourist class costs around 79.00 euros although there are often special offers and discounts for early bookings.
I was really impressed with the service and convenience of the AVE service and will only travel this way to Madrid in the future. You arrive pretty refreshed and bang in the centre of town rather than having to travel from the airport to the centre which just adds time and stress to your journey. If you get a chance I thoroughly recommend trying the service and treating yourself to a fun weekend in Madrid. For more information on the Renfe service click on www.renfe.es
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