Fastest journey5hr 58m
The train from Madrid to Almería takes 6 to 7 hrs. What this journey lacks in speed it makes up for in scenery. The Talgo train to Almería follows the classic route south to Andalucía through the Sierra Morena, so the views are remarkable.
The Spanish rail operator releases tickets in batches, so you can often find cheap tickets as much as 120 days in advance. You will often find that the extra cost for a Turista Plus ticket is not much more than the regular Turista fare. If that is the case, then it’s well worth taking.
Madrid to Almería
The twice-daily Talgo trains to Almería start in Madrid at Chamartin station, stopping 20 minutes later at Madrid Atocha Cercanías. The latter stop is especially useful for travellers wanting to connect onto the Almería train using high-speed AVE trains from other parts of Spain (all AVEs arrive in the Spanish capital at Atocha). The morning train from Madrid to Almería makes three stops en route; the afternoon service stops more often. Look out for La Mancha windmills and then enjoy the rugged grandeur of Despenaperros Pass as the train cuts through the hills to get to Andalucía.
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Image credits: Domingo Leiva