Barcelona bus or train to Madrid


Aug 9th, 2011, 11:40 AM
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Barcelona bus or train to Madrid

Would appreciate recommendations for an inexpensive way to get from Barcelona to Madrid without flying.
Eurail and Renfe sites show train prices from $80.00 to $115.00 pp/one way.....and the bus site is very confusing!

Is it best to buy tickets online or just as reasonable in cost to buy in Barcelona? All help is appreciated!

Thanks in advance.
travelnaia is offline  
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Aug 9th, 2011, 12:33 PM
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for spanish buses IME you can just go to the bus stations and get on and buses are usually significantly cheaper than trains but on this route will take much much longer as the new high-speed train does it now in just a few hours - not the marathon train ride of just a few years ago.

And there is an overnight train too - that does take all night and you sleep on the train, thus not having to pay for a hotel.

Check out these fab IMO sites for more on spanish trains -; and As for trains scour for online discounts, with restrictions of course and which to guarantee must be booked as early as possible as there are a set number of allocated fares at this price. For full fare just show up and buy your ticket - so many trains now it would be rare not to get on I think.
PalenQ is online now  
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Aug 9th, 2011, 12:46 PM
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EurRail is an agency which will surely rip you and you should be dealing with the RENFE website, for any value.

You do not say what date you are looking at, nor whose $? In five weeks time I see €47.00.

Whose bus site?

Neither do I follow how you can see any country's $ on the RENFE website.

Seven and a half hours by bus compared to less than three by train in a quality experience.....

Ask, if you need more.
WomBatt is offline  
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Aug 9th, 2011, 01:06 PM
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What exactly confuses you on the bus website?
I assume you have checked for bus services?

The only confusing thing could be that there are usually two starting points in Madrid: Aeropuerto (which is the airport), and Intercamb. Av. Americas (which is the "downtown" point of departure you want to choose if you stay in Madrid proper).
The bus costs around €30 and takes 7.5-8 hours. Check the list of connections for "supra economy" services. Those buses have only 3 seats (instead of 4) in one row and offer more space and amenities - for just €5 more.

Is there any reason you don't want to fly?
The route between Madrid and Barcelona is not that scenic - unless you are a fan of lunar landscapes.
The fast AVE trains are the best option, IMO.
The cheap flights would be my 2nd choice.. check
The bus.. well, I would not like to spend more than seven hours even on the most luxurious bus.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
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Aug 9th, 2011, 01:13 PM
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agree with Cowboy...
flights are the cheapest option
RENFE tickets ( with discount, if you can get it ) are about the same
danon is offline  
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Jan 10th, 2012, 08:36 AM
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I've done it by train about 8 years back, I've done it by bus and I've flown. I paid my flight in full, so you really need to know where to look....

Bottom line, it depends on how much you want to spend on a ticket and how much time you have to transit.

If you're on a budget, using the bus is your best option. You can use this site for schedules, prices and bus company info:,Spain
If you want to use the train, I'd go with what Cowboy said.
If you want to fly, I'd suggest
Kim_Gradek is offline  
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Jan 10th, 2012, 09:04 AM
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Don't take the bus. Too long.

Why can't you fly?

If your time means nothing, you can take the slow train (just under 6 hours) and it will likely cost about the same as the bus. If your time means something to you, take the fast train (< 3 hours). And if you want the best deal, get a flight on Vueling or FlyEurope.
BigRuss is online now  
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Jan 12th, 2012, 06:22 PM
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flying you see only airports and tarmac and not the land in between - trains are just as quick now city center to city center and fares can be cheaper than flying. Flying you also have to figure in cost and time of getting to airport and then into city, etc. And flights can always be late.

take the train as most Spaniards would no doubt do.
PalenQ is online now  
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Jan 12th, 2012, 07:55 PM
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Even after the introduction of the excellent and half-hourly high speed train services, Madrid-Barcelona still is Europe's busiest air route, even busier than any within North America.
As OP has found out, AVE train fares can be quite expensive as it is more convenient and faster to travel between Madrid and Barcelona by train than by plane. IMO, this convenience is worth some extra euros, but each traveller has his own budget limitations and preferences.
Costs for getting to/from airports in Madrid and Barcelona are neglectable, two and five euros respectively.
Costs and restrictions for checking luggage should be checked, though.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
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Jan 15th, 2012, 02:24 PM
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Book a train ticket at or from 48 euros.

It's centre to centre in as little as 2 hours 30 minutes, zero check-in, hassle-free.

No way do you want hours on a bus on a motorway or hours in airport security queues.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
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Jan 15th, 2012, 02:58 PM
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With all due respect, this is nonsense advice.

There had been no discussion (even months ago when OP started this thread) that the high speed train is the fastest and most convenient way to travel between the two cities.
And yes, you can buy a train ticket "from 48 euros" as well as you can buy a Ryanair ticket "from 1 euro".
The initial problem had been that this wonderful 48 euro web fare had not been available for the train and that OP was looking for alternatives.
And I never ever spent "hours" in security at BCN or MAD airports. Usually it took 1-10 minutes for domestic or intra-Schengen flights.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
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Jan 17th, 2012, 04:15 AM
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See only airports or also the lay of the land in between. I guess folks want to see just big cities and airports in the European ventures?
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