Spain’s high speed train system, otherwise known as AVE, has recently completed its link with Figueras on the French border meaning that it’s possible to travel now from Malaga in the south of the country to the French border completely using the high speed train network.
The country is large and internal flights have been popular and to some people, essential, for years. Now the aeroplane has a true competitor for domestic travel; or does it?
Let’s assume you want to travel from Madrid to Barcelona on the 5th March and return the next day. The cheapest air fare is currently €68 with Vueling but you have to pay extra for anything bigger than hand luggage. You’ve also got to get to the airport which is a little out of the city centre meaning either a taxi or underground fare on top of your ticket. Madrid’s train station
is almost in the centre of the city meaning it’s easier to get to if you live there. You can take a suitcase on board with you but the cheapest ticket for the same dates as the flight comes in at €85.40. The benefit of the train is that the prices remain constant no matter which date you travel but flight prices vary with popularity meaning that the same journey the weekend before Easter will cost €107 with the cheapest carrier Iberia but the train will cost €85.40 still.
"You’ll often find discounts for the AVE fares too".
When you take travelling time into consideration too, the definitive answer appears. The train takes an hour longer than the plane but when you think of the greater likelihood of a delay in the plane time and the hour before departure that you have to be at the airport then the train seems a lot more attractive.
The icing on the cake comes in the form of more legroom and more comfortable seats on the train as well as a great view as you pass through Spain.
Travelling the other direction; to Seville, and there are more savings to be made. The flight time may be nearly an hour and twenty minutes shorter but the plane ticket on the weekend before Easter is €151 compared to €60.40 on the AVE. Even that extra thirty minutes travelling time will pale into insignificance compared to the ticket savings.
So, with the AVE network in full swing and with further route extensions coming on line in the next few years, it’s no wonder that passenger numbers on Spain’s trains are dropping. With all the facilities of an airport found in the stations including car hire, you should seriously consider the train as your preferred way of getting around Spain.
So if you are contemplating using the AVE to get around Spain and still need a rental car when you arrive at your destiantion, we have hire cars available from all major Train Stations as well as Airport to make transition from plane to train even easier!