From now until August 31st 2014 there is a new high-speed rail service allowing passengers to travel from Málaga to Alicante in under five hours.
The trains will run every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, leaving Málaga at 08:40. The service involves an ‘integrated’ ticket – use of two train services for a single price. The route is from Málaga to Córdoba where passengers will connect with the Sevilla to Alicante AVE high-speed train, stopping in Antequera, Puente Genil, Cuenca, Albacete and Villena amongst others and arriving in Alicante at 13:35.
Quite a convoluted route, which explains why it takes less than 2 hours to Madrid (413 km) and 5 hours to Alicante (380 km as the crow flies). Driving to Alicante from Málaga (472 km) is rated at approx 4.5 hours.