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frankgold Oct 10th, 2012 04:27 AM

Barcelona to Salamanca: bus or train?
We will be in Barcelona late next month and will need to get to Salamanca. The RENFE site shows one train daily, leaving 14.10 and arriving 22.51. I'm told the bus is faster and cheaper, but less comfortable. Does anyone have advice to offer about how much faster and cheaper, how to find schedules, whether it's best to buy tickets online in advance, etc.? Thanks for any help.

PalenQ Oct 10th, 2012 05:26 AM

There are several train connections though there may only be one that is direct - easy to take the hourly or more AVE trains Barcelona to Madrid then change to trains to Salamanca. Can't see how buses can match the speeds of up to nearly 200 mph Barcelona-Madrid trains do - though the train to Salamanca is a slow train.

For lots on Spanish trains and buses I always spotlight these IMO superb sites -; and

There is also an overnight train Barcelona to Madrid - save time and hotel cost and go onto Salamanca in the morning.

frankgold Oct 10th, 2012 05:47 AM

Very helpful advice. Thanks. I'll check out that website.

sofarsogood Oct 10th, 2012 06:38 AM

as you discovered RENFE is really rubbish at suggesting train options

Use for routes through Madrid. Even though its the German railway site it's unbeatable for train schedules throughout Europe.

You won't be able to book tickets with so it's back to RENFE for that

(or you could always fly!)

kanadajin Oct 10th, 2012 06:46 AM

The fastest way time-wise (shortest en-route journey) would be going through Madrid. Sound advice above to take the AVE high-speed from Barcelona to Madrid. Then, I found bus travel Madrid-Salamanca to be a cinch, with frequent (hourly?) departures and involving a roughly two-hour journey with the bus company AutoRes, part of the Avanza group, which I used on a few occasions in the past. The round trip fare is less than 20 euros, and choose an express bus for fastest route.


Robert2533 Oct 10th, 2012 08:20 AM

As noted, the quickest way travel would be the AVE from Barcelona to Madrid, with the option of taking the train from Chamartin station to Salamanca or the bus. If you opt for the train, you'll have to catch the Cercanías (commuter train) from Atocha station to Chamartin.

frankgold Oct 10th, 2012 12:22 PM

This is all great advice. Thanks to all.

amer_can Oct 10th, 2012 12:50 PM

Two hours plus a little via train from
Chamartin is really nice. You can get up and move about. It isn't exactly a milk run but does have a few stops (3??) Loved it. The bus likewise is good..There are senior discounts and student discounts if you can qualify. check Avanza bus website. Discount cards can be purchsed at the train station..Paid 5 euros in April but they may have gone up. Saved about 25Euros all told for my 4 back and forth train trips to MAD from Salamanca. Salamanca is a special place. If you haven't been there you will love it and if you are returning good for you!!! Hit Calle Van Dyke for tapas and think of me!!

frankgold Oct 16th, 2012 02:01 PM

What helpful information! So, one more question, if you'll indulge me: the AVE from Barcelona to Madrid seems best. Then from Madrid to Salamanca, if I go by bus, is it advisable to purchase the tickets in advance, or just wait until I'm in Madrid? If I go by train, I assume buying in advance from RENFE or is better. I'm in the US, and so I'm not sure how the bus tickets would get delivered - electronically?

sofarsogood Oct 17th, 2012 03:39 AM

Knowing Spanish buses I don't think it's worth buying the ticket in advance - the walk up price won't be that more expensive (if at all, but have a look on the website quoted above), plus there are frequent buses so seats should be plentiful.

As for the train, bigger savings can be made if you book. And yes the ticket will be delivered by email, which you would print out - or there may be a ticket less option to your mobile phone

kanadajin Oct 17th, 2012 08:17 AM

I have pretty well always bought my bus tickets in person at the bus station on the day of travel. AFAIK little or no price difference from advance purchase. I would not lose any sleep over this.

PalenQ Oct 17th, 2012 11:56 AM

also me too like kanadajin - just buy bus tickets before boarding the bus - my understanding is that often they put extra buses on the route so they rarely sell out (not sure if this is still the case as it was several years ago at least).

frankgold Oct 28th, 2012 12:03 PM

Another question: can anyone tell me where the bus station in Madrid is located for buses going to Salamanca? I had thought it was the Estación Sur de Autobuses, but some guidebooks say those buses leave from Auto-Res or some other station. I'm trying to plot in advance how best to get from Atocha to the right bus station -- or perhaps just to Chamartín and catch the train. Thanks.

amer_can Oct 28th, 2012 02:08 PM

One site is the 2 hours give or take. Train from Charmartin is also resonable. If you are 55 you can get a gold card for discounts. Check Avanza website for bus, Renfre for train. If you have luggage I would suggest a cab.Less hassle, no questionable passengers or stress. Warch your luggage carefully as the baddies are very slick!!!

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