Are you planning a trip from Malaga to Madrid?
In that case, you landed in the right place.
This guide has all the information you need to plan your trip from Malaga to Madrid, including details of prices, distances and where to book your tickets if you travel by train!
The distance between Malaga and Madrid is approximately 530 km (not exactly a day trip material).
What is the fastest way to get from Malaga to Madrid?
The fastest way to get to Madrid is definitely by train.
There is a high-speed train connection between Malaga and Madrid and the journey takes only 2.5 hours, compared to nearly double the time it would take you with a car (with the added hassle of parking in the city). For more details on the train connections check below.
What is the cheapest way to get from Malaga to Madrid?
Depending on when you’re travelling, it’s probably the cheapest to get the train.
Even if you travel in your own car, you will have to pay some tolls and then there is the added headache of finding and paying for parking in a big city like Madrid, where even hotels can charge from 20 euros per day for parking.
Can I get from Malaga to Madrid without renting a car or driving?
Yes, definitely. Train is the best option. Even though there are bus connections too, this takes considerably longer and its not as convenient as the train connection.
On my recent winter trip to Madrid, I took the train option and it was super convenient, easy and affordable.
The trains to Madrid depart from Malaga Maria Zambrano station and run a few times per day.
It’s not the standard train, but the high-speed train travelling at a crazy speed over 250 km/hr. It was the first time I used such a train and I was impressed by the services offered and how comfortable it was to travel, even with a child in tow. Even though the train travels at an insane speed, you really don’t feel any difference compared to a normal train.
The train has very comfortable seating and is super spacious compared to the smaller commuter trains. It also has a restaurant vagon and plenty of storage options for your luggage.
Foodservice operates twice on the journey that takes just around 2.5 hours. The train has also electric sockets for charging your phone or laptop and they play a movie during the journey (they will provide free headphones so you can listen in).
Buying train tickets
The best way to get your tickets is to do it online, and preferably in advance of your trip. Book directly from the renfe website and not the promoted paid placements you see in top search results – you might end up paying booking fees if you use them.
When you buy your tickets online, you get to select your seat and they also have a small selection of business class seats.
You can check online in advance how the ticket prices are changing and select the most convenient and cheapest option for you. The price of the trip will also vary quite a bit depending on which train you take on the given day.
The tickets can be printed or you can simply save them on your phone and show the QR code before you enter the train.
For my trip in November, a return ticket for one person from Malaga to Madrid cost around 80 euros, but the price may vary depending on the season, time of the week and how far in advance you buy the tickets.
Generally, if you purchase them a few weeks in advance, and travel during the week and not weekends, they tend to be cheaper.
Keep an eye on your email in case there are any alterations to your journey or seat allocation – it happened to me and it wasn’t a nice surprise.
They cut down the number of coaches, and I got the new seats assigned for my husband and my son, but my seat was in the non-existent coach number. I didn’t get their email notification with the new seat assigned and the renfe office assistant in Madrid was next to useless in helping to find the right one. I ended up travelling at the front of the train in first class, separated from my family until the train service person came mid-journey to tell me which was my correct seat.
Malaga Train Station
The trains leave from Maria Zambrano station in center of Malaga. The station has security checks before you enter the train where they scan your luggage.
How to get to Malaga Train Station
If you’re staying in Malaga, the easiest way to get to the train station is by taxi. It would be a lot of hassle navigating through public transport.
If you’re coming from the airport, the train from Fuengirola stops at the airport and continues to both train stations in Malaga, and it’s only a short walk from the arrivals terminal.
Madrid Train Station
The trains arrive at Atocha train station in Madrid, which is the main train station.
From there, you can simply walk to catch a local bus or get a taxi to your destination. There were dozens of taxis waiting when my train arrived, so you don’t have to worry about catching one.
You also have an option to use an Uber in Madrid, it’s slightly cheaper than a taxi in some cases, but the journey might take longer especially if you’re going to a central part of the town (like Gran Via) where only taxis can use the designated faster lanes reserved for buses.
Atocha train station has a few small food places where you can get a sandwich as you head back, and a couple of souvenir shops. There is one small restaurant serving the usual tourist menu consisting of burgers and pizza.
I have no experience of driving from Malaga to Madrid, but here are the basics you should know before the journey.
The highway Malaga to Madrid
There are two options to travel to Madrid from Malaga – the faster is via A-4 which takes just over 5 hours, and a slower one via N-502 which takes over 6.5 hours.
Tolls may be due at any point on the highway.
Parking in Madrid
As expected for a capital city, parking in Madrid is not cheap.
When I was searching hotel options in Madrid, most offer parking to guests, but the prices start from 20 euros per day and can go up to 35 euros per day.
If you’re using residential parking, the street parking is regulated by zones. If you’re a visitor and not a resident, you can use the blue painted zones up to 4 hours. Detailed information with useful tips about parking in Mardrid is available here.
To find underground car parks in the city, you can use this free website which will point you to the closest one to you.
Going to Madrid from Malaga by bus is going to be one of the slowest options available, and one I would suggest avoiding.
The easiest travel connections you can find are at minimum two connecting buses with travel time starting around 7 hours. That’s a full day of travelling, when you can get to Madrid in just 2.5 hours with a fast train.
Yes, there is a high speed train directly from Malaga to Madrid. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours hours adn the train travels at speed over 250km/h.
Yes, there is a direct high speed train connection between Malaga and Madrid, with numerous trains departing from Malaga Maria Zambrano station to Madrid, with no stops. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours.
To get to Malaga from Madrid, take a train from Madrid Atocha station. Its a high speed train connection that will get you to Malaga in just 2.5 hours.
No, they are both coastal cities on Costa del Sol, but very different. Malaga is much bigger and more cosmopolitan compared to Marbella. Marbella is more of a holiday resort with flashy parts like Puerto Banus and a charming old town. Malaga is known for its museums, beaches, night life and restaurants. It is also home of Picasso museum and a stunning cathedral.
The bus tickets vary and are generally around 30 euros one way, but keep in mind there is no direct bus connection between Madrid and Malaga. You can get connecting buses but the journey will take at least 6 – 8 hours.
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