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I'm trying to plan a train travel for me and my family from Madrid – Puerta De Atocha to Malaga.

While it is possible to have the front page of Renfe in English, the page on which you apparently choose times of the train outbound/inbound is in Spanish, and I can't figure out what the little icons mean: there's a P, P+, F, one with two arrows, and one with the Greek letter mu (μ) and an M. The prices for these vary greatly, and I can't figure out which to choose. Of course, I would like to choose the cheaper ones, but I do not know what we'll get for it.

Is it also possible to buy there at the spot (maybe it'll be easier to communicate what we want), or will the prices be very high then, or do you really need to make a reservation?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted
  • The Mu is actually a 4 and a M. It's a special fare if you book four seats around a table at once. The fare shown is for one seat but you must book all four (e.g. for a group or family). If you have a party of four people, it can be a very good deal but you can also choose that to have the comfort of seating on your own.
  • P is “promo” (“discount”), non-refundable, non-changeable tickets. You can't choose your seat either.
  • P+ is a slightly more expensive discount fare. Tickets are changeable and refundable but with a significant penalty (20% to change the ticket, 30% to cancel).
  • The two arrows mean “return ticket”. Just like air travel, it's cheaper to book a return than a single ticket (I am not sure why you wouldn't do it or why the next fare is shown at all if you are looking for a return journey).
  • F means “flexible”. Tickets are changeable for free and refundable with a 5% penalty. Obviously the most expensive fare in a given comfort class.

As far as I know, Promo and Promo+ fares aren't available at the station (at least not shortly before departure) but the 20% return discount and possibly the 4M fare should be. has more details on this (in English).

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Thank you so much for your extended explanation! I'm reading the seat61site at the moment, trying to go through the steps of registering, but even though I filled out all the fields, it tells me to "please fill in all the fields". Quite frustrating. Would you happen to know if you need to buy seats for children < 4 years? – Garth Marenghi Aug 10 '14 at 10:41
@GarthMarenghi The official RENFE website has a page in English about the rules for children. – Relaxed Aug 10 '14 at 14:48

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