High-speed AVE train network expansion
One of the most pleasant ways to travel around Spain, without a doubt, is by train. Both long-distance and suburban Cercanías trains are, barring the occasional exception, comfortable, clean, on-time and very reasonably priced. So, the news that the high-speed AVE train will soon be linking Granada to other parts of Spain is much welcomed.
Specifically, the infrastructure is in place to run the first high-speed routes from Granada to Madrid and Granada to Barcelona in the first phase of an ambitious expansion project undertaken by the Spanish transport agency RENFE.
Granada, left out until now
For many years, the exquisite city of Granada, whose Moorish influences are still evident to this day, has been cut off from other large Spanish cities by not being linked to the high-speed AVE train network, despite drawing in hundreds of thousands of tourists per year (and, through the revenue generated due to tourism, being a heavy contributor to the Spanish economy).
But all this will change on 26th June when the first service will run between Madrid and Granada, with the route timetabled for three departures per day from each station of origin.
The 568-kilometre stretch will take the high-speed AVE train three hours and five minutes to negotiate, shaving almost an hour off the journey time for motorists making the same trip.
How much will it cost?
The tickets won’t be dirt cheap, though. I know I said before that train travel was affordable in Spain – lord knows it’s a darn sight cheaper than in the UK – but one must remember that the AVE is the express version of Spanish rail travel: the crème de la crème of passenger transport, if you will.
The normal single fare will be €80.30, while a return trip will cost you €128.50 (€64.25 each way).
If you want to go from Granada to Barcelona, though – the other route that will start at the end of this month – you’d be looking at €118.10 one-way or a €189 round-trip. In fairness, though, it is a fair bit further in terms of distance than Madrid (682 kilometres, to be precise) and will mean you’re sat down for almost six and a half hours.
When will it link up to Málaga?
I know what you’re thinking: “This is all great, but what about the Granada-Costa del Sol high-speed AVE train link?”.
Well, this is certainly in the pipeline and is part of phase two of RENFE’s project. The second part of the Granada AVE project is to connect the Alhambra city with both Málaga and Sevilla, although there is still no official word on when this will be exactly. Fingers crossed it will be soon.
This would mean a lot to both the cities of Granada and Málaga and would be yet another string in the bow of the Spanish rail system; especially when compared to other modes of transport and travel. Uncomfortable bus journeys, delayed flights and slow regional trains will no longer be the go-to option for travellers and passengers can travel in style!
Do you travel the Málaga-Granada route frequently? If so, would this improvement to the rail network make a big difference to your journey? I will keep my eyes peeled for any announcements about the Málaga link and will publish something when the news is out there!