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What options do we have for traveling from London to Southern Spain?

Are high speed trains the only option? The route I have found is London-Paris-Barcelona-Malaga, in Eurostar, TGV, AVE. I'd be OK with a slow overnight train at some point of the journey.

  • Impressively, London-Málaga is actually possible in a day, departing London 05:40 BST, arriving Málaga 23:40, with the route you describe. – gerrit Oct 10 '17 at 13:13
  • @gerrit: I'd prefer the route London-Lyon-Barcelona-Malaga, since I discovered that it exists. Is there a site where you can buy all the tickets, or do you have to go shopping for them and purchase them through 2-3 providers? – Quora Feans Oct 10 '17 at 13:25
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    I believe loco2 can buy them all at once but you're probably cheaper off buying them separately. London-Lyon is infrequent but London-Lille-Lyon is daily. Also note that if you travel after the 2nd-weekend-in-december timetable change you will run into the problem that Eurostar, SNCF, and RENFE all open their bookings at different dates, and that many Spanish trains do not show up on international travel planners. Therefore I would buy London-Barcelona through SNCF and Barcelona-Málaga through RENFE. But as NickC noted, The Man in Seat 61 is an excellent source for all information you need. – gerrit Oct 10 '17 at 13:53
  • There are also ferries from the UK to Spain, and you could proceed on RENFE from there. – Andrew Lazarus Oct 10 '17 at 19:07
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The Man in Seat 61 suggests that the best route is as you've described - London to Paris by Eurostar, Paris to Barcelona by TGV, then Barcelona to Malaga by AVE.

If you want to avoid Paris, you can also go via Lyon, as per Option 2 on this page, which takes the Eurostar to Lyon, then the AVE to Barcelona, or Option 3, London->Lille by Eurostar, Lille to Nimes by TGV, then Nimes to Barcelona by AVE the following day. Either way, you'd then get the AVE from Barcelona to Malaga.

There is also an overnight train from Paris to Latour, then the local train from there to Barcelona. Again see the London-Barcelona page on Seat61

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  • "Best" is relative. I want to avoid transfers, maybe include a sleeper train and limit cost. Apparently to travel long distances in Spain all you can get is high speed trains. The connection over Lyon (the city) seems an improvement than the route I described above for these reasons. – Quora Feans Oct 10 '17 at 12:16
  • There used to be sleeper trains between Paris and Madrid/Barcelona, but they have been withdrawn. The French domestic overnight trains are cheap but standards are poor even in first class (which is still cheap). – gerrit Oct 10 '17 at 13:10
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To some extent your requirements are incompatible since you want to lower cost and avoid transfers. If you take the route from London to Barcelona first and then stay overnight you can work your way along the southern Spanish coast.

This map of the AVE network shows you routes where there is no AVE although I have not checked whether any of them might need a bus transfer. If you have no preferred final stop then you could make a tour of it and stop a few times on the way in Alicante or Murcia

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