The two most popular tourist cities in beautiful Spain are 623 km apart. Distance from Barcelona to Madrid can be covered by four means of transport:
- by airplane
- by train;
- by bus;
- by car.
The following comparative description will help you choose how to get from Barcelona to Madrid.
Direct flights between Barcelona and Madrid are operated by Air Europa, Vueling and Iberia. All planes depart from the first terminal of Barcelona-El Prat airport and land in Terminal 4 of Madrid-Barajas. Barcelona Airport is accessible during the day from the Passeig de Gràcia railway station (in the city centre) by R2 Nord trains. They run every half hour and will take you to the airport in 17 minutes.
Air Europa operates the most frequent flyer flights during the day. The first flight is at 6:50 a.m. and the last one is at 10:30 p.m. Vueling and Iberia planes fly twice a day. The ticket price is 50-100 EUR depending on the air carrier. It is lower in the early morning and late evening. You can lower the price even more significantly if you book in advance on the ticketing website. You can also see the exact schedule on it.
The time spent on this mode of transportation is not limited to hours and a half spent in the air. From Barcelona you need to get to the airport, and not later than an hour before departure. After landing at Madrid airport, 13 km away from the city, you should get your luggage and get to Madrid. Yellow express buses run from Terminal 4 to the centre of Madrid. Travel time is 20 minutes, ticket price is 4 EUR.
According to statistics, the cheapest month for Barcelona’s flight to Madrid is November. Among the days of the week these are Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Trains from Barcelona to Madrid depart from Barcelona-Sants Train Station at the beginning of Avenida Roma. It can be reached by using the green or blue metro line (4 EUR) at Sants-Estacio Station. You can save a lot of money by buying a ticket via the Internet on the website of Spanish trains.
From Barcelona to Madrid, you can travel by train, either by high-speed or regular train. During the daytime from 5:50 a.m. to 8:25 p.m. high-speed Renfe AVE trains depart almost every half hour. Less than 3 hours later, they arrive at the Estación de Atocha station in the centre of Madrid. The cost varies greatly depending on the choice of one of the three wagon classes – two touristic and the first class. For a trip in a standard turista wagon you will have to pay 60 EUR, but a ticket to a more comfortable wagon will cost more than twice as much – 130 EUR. Even more expensive – up to 180 EUR, it is a trip in the preferente first class.
Combinado trains also run between Barcelona and Madrid during the day. They are not as fast and comfortable as AVE and spend twice as much time on the road – 6 hours. On the other hand, a trip will be much cheaper – about 50 EUR.
Another cheap but problematic alternative is the Costa Brava (Estrella) night trains. They depart from Barcelona-Sants station at 10:20 p.m. and arrive at 7 a.m. at the other station in Madrid, Chamartin. The ticket costs 40-50 EUR, but the coupe is designed for 8 people. Two of them will have to spend the night sitting down. Therefore, when buying a ticket you should buy one that gives you the right to use one of the six shelves in the compartment.
Comfortable buses of the European company ALSA go to Madrid from the Barcelona bus station Mendez Alvaro from the platform Nord. It is conveniently reached by a red metro line at a cost of 4 EUR and is accessible at Arc de Triomf station. The first run is at 7:00 a.m., the last one is at 1:00 a.m. In Madrid, there are bus stops at the Avenida de America bus station and also at the Madrid-Barajas airport.
The most economical way to get there will be a trip in a regular Normal bus – 32 EUR. You will have to pay 40 EUR for your ticket to Express. In terms of comfort, the only difference is the width of the seats. In both cases, you will have to spend a significant amount of time on the road – 7-8 hours (depending on the number of stops – 1 or 4). The preferred option is a single stop in Zaragoza. You can book your ticket on the website “Buses in Europe”.
It will take 6 hours to drive a rented or own car. You can take the Barcelona – Madrid toll motorway A2 (marked Peaje) or the free E-90. Both roads are in excellent condition, have 2-3 lanes on each side, and clear markings and road signs. Permissible speed is 120 km/h. After 8:00 p.m., some petrol stations are closed.
Gasoline consumption for the trip will be about 50 liters, which will cost 55-90 EUR. To these should be added a toll for possible travel on a more comfortable toll motorway, and the daily cost of rent. Choosing a company to rent a car can be done at the car rental site in Spain.
A taxi may be preferable to a company of travelers. Such collective transfer (550-700 EUR) will cost each of the four tourists approximately the same amount without the need to drive. Taxis arriving at the hotel in Barcelona at any time of the day and reaching any point of Madrid – a convenient option for families with children, large luggage or wealthy elderly travelers.
The fastest way to get from Barcelona to Madrid is by plane. However, given the pre- and post-flight procedures, and transfers from the city to the airport and back, air travel will require more time than travel by high-speed AVE trains. In addition, travel on such trains is less troublesome. These conveniences generally justify the higher cost of a ticket for such a train.
Tourists who prioritize saving money should choose a bus or a regular train. The time required for these two options to travel is the same.