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Navigating Atocha station

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Ann Arbor, MI
5 posts
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Navigating Atocha station

Coming from Barajas by airport bus. Need to move efficiently to AVE side for train to Malaga as may have only a short time to catch train. We have tickets and seat reservations in hand. Where do we check in? Do we need to pass security? Do we go first to the upper level or start on ground level. We would appreciate any advice as we don't want to wander aimlessly and the station and posts about it make it seem complicated for older travelers.

Albuquerque, NM
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970 posts
43 reviews
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1. Re: Navigating Atocha station

The bus stop is next to the round entry area the street from the main entrance. You go down one level on escalators and the entrance to the long distance waiting area is on the right. There is security but it consists of putting your bags on an X-Ray machine. There is seldom a line and I have never seen them open a bag after it went through the machine. Some Long Distance AVEs or ALVIAs board downstairs but you won't know that until the track is posted on the departure board. Most board from one of the many portals upstairs and you walk down sloping ramps to the tracks. The lines get long boarding with no order other than first come first serve but you have your seats so it only matters if you have large bags and want to put them in the luggage niches at the end of the car.

Ann Arbor, MI
5 posts
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2. Re: Navigating Atocha station

Thank you. That clarifies things. There is no available plan of the station. This response was a big help.

Malaga, Spain
Destination Expert
for Malaga, Costa del Sol
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5,120 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: Navigating Atocha station

I am an expert in the field of arriving late to catch the AVE to Málaga from Madrid; been doing so weekly for the last decade. It is quite easy, just follow the instructions above.

Helsinki
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177 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Navigating Atocha station

I hope it's ok to jump in. I'm coming from the airport as well but my question is: Is the airport bus the best option to get to Atocha? I think you can take the cercanias train as well but I might be wrong?

Albuquerque, NM
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970 posts
43 reviews
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5. Re: Navigating Atocha station

Depends on a number of things including the time of day, the train which is normally slower might be better during rush hour. But the most important reason to ate the cercanía is IFE you are catching an AVE, the Cercania is free. If you have a real. ticket there will be a code to use on the ticket machine. If you just have an e-ticket you can go to the RENFE office across from the entrance to the Cercanias and they will give you a ticket. But other than that we prefer the bus because it goes every 20 min vs every half hour, it is faster and you get to see something.

Madison, Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Madrid
Level Contributor
8,111 posts
18 reviews
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6. Re: Navigating Atocha station

"The train is normally slower...than the bus". If there is no traffic, that may be true, bus bus must contend with traffic, which you allude to talking about rush hour.

MacPollo, I got a kick out of (enjoyed) your response about arriving at the last minute for the AVE-Malaga for the last decade. Has it really been running that long? Time flies when you're having fun.

7. Re: Navigating Atocha station

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