Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Malaga airport to Estepona

Carol wrote in this week: "Hi Mike, is there a direct public bus service from the airport to Estepona? If not what is my best option arriving on a Sunday afternoon and how much will it cost me?

I wrote back to Carol saying: "It's easy to get to Estepona from Malaga airport. First take the special bus from Malaga airport to Marbella bus station. At the moment it costs just under €4.50 one way.
Travelling in June, you will need to look at the column for winter departures from the airport. If you are travelling in July, look at the summer departures column.

Then when you get to the Marbella bus station after you get your luggage off the bus from the airport buy your ticket for Estepona from the ticket office in the Marbella bus station. There is an electronic board announcing departures in the departures hall and the board gives you the number of the bay where the bus is standing so you just look for the Estepona bus and also check on the windscreen before you get on. Here is a list of bus schedules for the route, look for the MARBELLA - ESTEPONA bus schedules. In June of 2009 this journey costs €2.58.

If you are getting off at an intermediate stop before Estepona, like Paula who has just written in, then this list of bus stops between Marbella and Estepona will be useful. Tell the ticket office clerk where you are getting off because it might be a little cheaper if your intermediate stop falls in a different zone. As you get on the bus tell the driver where you are getting off.

YOu will see that there are two buses every hour and so for less than €10 you will get all the way to Estepona from Malaga airport.

Check out all the information above and timings and compare them with your arrival time too. If anything doesn't make sense or you need some extra information, write back to me on the blog contact form below.

Best wishes from Marbella Carol and Paula and thanks again for your contact"

Mike

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Friday, 1 August 2008

Malaga Airport Bus

"What time's the next bus back to Marbella?" I was phoning my wife as I went through the passport control right next to the airport concourse this morning. Back home on her computer she had already consulted the Malaga airport to Marbella bus station schedule linked to the day's airport arrivals and departures page so she knew exactly where I was. "It's at 1.00pm!" I had 5 minutes. With only hand luggage I made a break for the airport bus stop

I had intended to stop and look over the Malaga airport car rental floor downstairs from the ground floor arrivals level but the airport bus to Marbella bus station waits for no one so I left this for my next visit to the airport and raced through the baggage reclaim area, turned right and then right again and emerged in the 32º heat and noise of the covered taxi and bus pickup zone.

My bag was about the last one on board and even though I am always telling travellers who ask "Where do I buy tickets for the Malaga airport bus?" not to be polite when it comes to getting on the bus, I found myself the last one on board. Apart from about five empty seats covered in bags or newspapers with their owners in the adjoining seat studiously averting their eyes from mine (We all do this don't we?), the bus was full.

I took the picture from where I stood at the back of the queue because it shows the airport bus on the left and the L19 bus service just in front, about to pull out from the bus stop. The twice hourly L19 bus takes travellers right into Malaga city centre and also to the main Malaga bus station which is right next to the train station. On the door of the airport bus you will see the new fare on the Marbella airport bus door, it's 4.26 euros one way from the airport to Marbella bus station, an absolute bargain for the non stop 45 minute journey.

When I got off the bus in Marbella I asked the pleasant young driver if the airport bus was ever full and if he had to leave passengers behind. He said it had only happened around midday in the summer and not every day. I wondered if gomarbella was responsible for the increasing use of this service, I guess so. I am sorry about that and the only thing I can suggest if you find the bus is full, is wait for the next one, which won't take long in the summer or hire a car!

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.


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Friday, 18 July 2008

Marbella Bus Station

I took my son-in-law Chris looking fit and tanned up to the Marbella bus station this morning to catch the special Marbella to Malaga airport bus service. He was flying back to London. We got his ticket and as we put his bag onto the bus I was delighted to bump into Raquel, seen in the middle of the picture. She was also bussing to Malaga airport and then flying on to Barcelona. Raquel is an former travel agent student of mine.

Quite a lot is written in the local press about the Marbella bus station and the CTSE Portillo bus company that operates it. One recent article mentioned that at night the lights above the taxi rank in front of the building weren't working. Another mentioned the state of the toilets. My impression was that first thing in the morning the bus station looked clean. There was however no paper in the gent's toilets and I am sure there would have been none in the ladies' so if you think you might need a pit stop at the Marbella bus station before your onward journey best to bring your own loo paper.

Another article in the La Tribuna newspaper 4 July 2008 mentioned that the CTSE Portillo company was trying to introduce online booking but something had "blocked the systems" That meant that even travellers who had plane tickets booked would have to queue in the morning to make sure of their seats on the bus up to Malaga airport. (I have never seen the bus full although it must happen one day)

Twenty nine ago when I travelled by bus up to Málaga periodically to renew my registration with the British Consulate to get a certificate which was essential in those days, I would have to wait until the bus I was going to catch had left Estepona. The Estepona bus station would then phone Marbella to say how many empty seats there were on the bus. The travellers in Marbella could then buy their tickets to Fuengirola or beyond. Once the bus had left Marbella, the number of empty seats would be phoned through to Fuengirola and so on all the way to Málaga. Any moment now this will be a thing of history....

I have had a good week replying to visitors to the Costa del Sol. Rulette from Holland wrote in to the "Spain Now and Then" blog to ask about the Santa Marta bus stop near Bena Vista, so I popped down there to check it out and put up a page for her. Then you will see my correspondence in the comments section with Vivian, who is coming to visit her sister in Torrenueva and who asked about the nearest bus stop and through helping her I found out that the Unicasa bus stop is actually called Torrenueva on the ground.

Sarah is somewhere in Europe right now backpacking her way down to the Grangefield Oasis Club 2 km inland from Riviera del Sol and asked if she would need a hire car or if she could get to Oasis Club from the Riviera del Sol bus stop on foot. (Yes and no.) Last summer Mike Dusswaldt wrote in from the USA to say his daughter Melissa would be staying at Riviera del Sol and I have been meaning to put up this information ever since about the Riviera del Sol bus stop. Check out my impressions of how things are at the Miraflores bus stop!

I never thought there would be such interest in the list of bus stops between Estepona and Marbella, followed by the list of bus stops between Marbella and Fuengirola and then finally the list of bus stops between Fuengirola and Torremolinos.

The bus page to watch which is climbing in Google's rankings is my Bus and Train Questions section. It is starting to overtake the Costa del Sol bus schedules page little by little.

Shortly I will be bringing my bus travellers recommendations for car hire. Quite a few visitors to the Costa del Sol, take the bus from the airport to their destinations and then hire a car for a few days in a row. I'll be adding my recommendations for day excursions too!

Please contact me for any information through the ¨Spain Now and Then¨comments box at the bottom of the page. The system works very well. I don't get to see your email address and neither do the spammers. Other readers can share our interchanges. My reply to you will be emailed automatically through the system. I like to have a name to write to if possible even if you make it up!

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

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Sunday, 26 August 2007

Jeréz Airport

I like Jerez Airport and driving there is always a pleasure. When you park the car the smell of the pines around the airport comes flooding in. Jerez town, Cadiz city and the Atlantic are all just minutes away.

Sometimes we pick up a €0.01 ticket to Stanstead with Ryan Air and the drive through the rolling cork oak covered mountains more than compensates for the extra hour spent on the road.

Last year we were putting our suitcases into the car for the return journey to Marbella one morning when we heard the snarling of Formula One engines at the track just over the Sevilla road. Three euros later and we were watching Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher testing their cars on the winding high speed circuit.

On this last trip a girl approached us in the check in queue in Jeréz Airport. She was a rep for Terravison which operates the Stansted Airport to London coach service. Seconds later we had a return bus ticket into London.

Getting back to the Costa del Sol needs some concentration, but if you make for the Cadíz Sevilla road, then Cadíz Algeciras, then Algeciras, then Los Barrios you can't go wrong.

Tell me what you think about Jeréz Airport or ask if you need some information on how to get there.

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations from the Costa del Sol through to Jerez de la Frontera using the gomarbella reservation system.

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Friday, 30 March 2007

Okefenokee and Marriotts Marbella

As a kid I had read about alligators in the Okefenokee swamps in south Georgia in a National Geographic magazine so imagine my surprise when a very pleasant Okefenokee dweller, Pauline, wrote to me last year to ask how to get to Marriotts Marbella on the Costa del Sol from Malaga Airport. I mean do you correspond with anyone from Okefenokee?

Anyway I only give advice on what I know about so I tooled out on my motorbike one Sunday morning to find out exactly where Marriotts Marbella was. OK it’s true that on April 7th of this year I will have lived in this part of the world for 27 years, but I don’t know everything about the Costa del Sol.

Now and again I am asked for information on getting to Marriotts so I took the opportunity of taking a few photos of the area and put together a page with suggestions on how to get to the popular time share resort Marriotts Marbella. I hope you find it useful. If you were wondering why I have shown you a picture of a bus stop, this is where you have to get off for Marriots.

Pauline, thank you again for writing in from Okefenokee. I have dedicated this page to you. Watch out for those pesky alligators now.

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Saturday, 10 February 2007

Easyjet from Malaga Airport

Juggling a jacket, car keys, watch, laptop, loose change and a belt and showing a boarding card all at the same time at the airport security scanner is about the hardest part of the Easyjet flights from Malaga airport.

London’s big draw is our 13 month old grandson Sam whose bedtime lullaby includes thanks for all that we have and enjoy. Whenever I take over this happy routine be it here in London or back home in Marbella, I always include a little song of praise for Easyjet for making it possible for us all to be together so often.

Before leaving yesterday on this trip I checked into my Easyjet online account and for €7.50 one way added an extra piece of hold luggage. It was a bookshelf which I had made for Sam. Sure enough it showed up on the screen at check-in. With a big “Fragile” sticker on it, we were through in record time.

Back at the beginning of 80s, well before the internet, the words "cheap flights" didn’t exist in the vocabulary of travel agents in Spain. Not many of us on the coast at that time had much money either so we worked out our own way of getting low cost flights to London. Needless to say it fitted in very well with the easygoing lifestyle on the Coast.

We would go down to Palms Beach Bar in the Marbella Puerto Deportivo. “Got any good tickets to London for me John?” Looking up at a row of charter airline tickets clipped to a line behind the bar with clothes pegs, John would check available dates. “Here’s one for a male passenger leaving this Friday. The guy wants 5000 pesetas for it.”

What we were actually buying was the return leg of someone else’s ticket to the UK. The charter airlines had to sell return tickets originating in Britain and a charter ticket was the cheapest way for holiday makers to get out to Spain. It often happened that travellers would fall in love with the Coast and simply decide not to go back home. To try to get some money back on the return flight they would leave the unused return ticket at the local English bar for a quick sale.

You have to remember that this was 20 years before 9/11. In those days at check-in you just showed your ticket. At immigration you just showed your passport. As long as you travelled on a ticket which corresponded to your gender you would board. It was Monarch Airlines who led the way in notching up security by introducing periodic checks at check-in to see if names on both ticket and passport corresponded.

A careful traveller I preferred to pay the extra 1.000 pesetas, about 6 euros now, for the original ticket holder to come with me to Málaga airport. He would check himself and my suitcase in, showing his passport which of course corresponded to the name on his ticket. Huddling to one side he would then hand me the boarding card in his name, I would press cash into his hand, take the boarding card from him and go through passport control where they would look only at my passport.

Coming home meant a scan of the Daily Mail last minute travel ads followed by a same day visit to a Soho based London bucket seat flight operator. With a round ticket in my name I would fly home ready to face any pre-flight spot checks. No sooner home I would pop down to Palms and John would peg my ticket up on the line to sell to some other needy traveller. A Mediterranean beachside bar is always seductive and a couple of ice cold San Miguel beers to complete the deal were as much a pleasure then as they are now.

The snows in England last night meant a 2am last plane landing at Gatwick. As we trudged silently along deserted walkways in the South Terminal building towards passport control I caught a glimpse of our Easyjet plane out on the frozen runway. It had brought us yet again safely to London.

Waiting for the first 3.05am train out of Gatwick to Victoria I thought about the two hours of sleep that we might get before Sam woke to find us. I decided that I did actually prefer the brilliant splash of orange along the side of the Easyjet planes and its internet booking system to choosing an airline ticket off a clothes line.

“He loves us all he really does
And Easyjet gives us a buzz

Good morning Sam!”

PS: Booking tickets is now a little more modern and you can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system!

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