By Regina Winkle-Bryan
Should you fly, ride the train or take the bus? Or maybe even rent a car? You’ve got options for travel within Spain, but some modes of transportation are more expensive or take longer than others. We’ve got the scoop on how to get from here to there and in-between.
Flying a cheapo airline such as Vueling or RyanAir is usually the least expensive and fastest way to get around Spain. Of course, one should factor in that flying is not great for the environment, still, most destinations within the country are a little more than an hour away by plane. Also check Iberia Airlines.
‘Train’ and ‘Europe’ used to go hand-in-hand, but nowadays many people opt for flying because it saves time. Or does it? If you take the AVE, Spain’s fast train from Madrid to Barcelona it’s just 3 hours. Considering wait time at the airport and travel time from the center of the city to the airport, I think the AVE works out to be less travel time. It’s about $140 one-way to travel on AVE between these two cities. Check out AVE’s webpage for additional AVE destinations and pricing.
Other trains may be less expensive but in general they take a looooooong time. That same trip from Madrid to Barcelona could take up to 8 hours on a normal Spanish train. When traveling to nearby destinations, such as Barcelona to Girona, the train is the way to go.
On a couple sad occasions I took the bus between Spanish cities and even up to France. My gawd it took a long time and we seemed to move at a snail’s pace. While the bus is almost always the cheapest option, you must ask yourself if you are ready to be sitting on a bus for many, many hours. I have found that these days my answer to that question is NO. I do have one friend who likes to take the bus back and forth at night from Madrid to Barcelona. She sleeps on the bus.
If you have a driver’s license then driving is a fast and fun way to tour around. However, you will need to add in drive time, gas (not cheap) and tolls. Lots and lots of tolls. There are roads that do not have tolls but they are usually not as well maintained and crowded. Some areas of Spain have more toll roads than others (Catalonia is covered with them!). Renting a car is usually around $60 a day. The Scoopettes like Sixt.com which has fair prices and no hidden fees (we hate hidden fees and the whole nickel-and-dime you thing).
Of course if money is no issue, then a Private Jet is the best way to travel between Madrid and Barcelona or Barcelona and Malaga, for example. This is by far the fastest way to travel!
Have questions about planning your trip and how to get from point A to point B? We’ve been there and are happy to help! Leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.