How to Travel from Barcelona to Madrid: The Best Guide and Tips

Christian Petzold

Published August 4, 2021
Traveling from Barcelona to Madrid

Madrid and Barcelona are both fabulous destinations for travel. If you are in Barcelona, it is worth taking a look at venturing out to Madrid. In this article, we will show you the variety of ways you can travel from Barcelona to Madrid.

Madrid is a cosmopolitan city that is vastly different than Barcelona. One of the beautiful things about traveling is that two cities in the same country can offer their own unique culture, vibe and culinary specialities. Madrid is Castilian and Barcelona is Catalan, therefore you won’t be hearing any Catalan spoken in Madrid. 


Madrid has its own architectural flare, boasting a variety of stunning buildings as well as museums. As the largest city as well as the capital, Madrid offers more worldwide cuisine options as well as authentic Spanish food. 

It is less expensive to dine in Madrid compared to Barcelona. Although Madrid is the largest city, Barcelona has a much heavier trafficked tourism scene. In Madrid, there are much less tourists around, which is a nice perk. It is easier to find traditional restaurants without the tourist-driven prices. 

Stunning Madrid

As it can be a challenge to figure out the best means of travel, this article lays it all out for you, allowing you to make the best decisions for your trip. 

Barcelona to Madrid by Train

Barcelona To Madrid By Train

Train travel is a lovely, stress free means of gallivanting around Europe. You are often deposited right in the city centers and the seats are typically spacious and comfortable. 

Trains also give you a wonderful opportunity to see the landscape, countryside and small villages along the way. It is relaxing, cozy and hassle-free. 

Thankfully, Madrid is only two and a half hours from Barcelona on the fast train. The route runs a few times a day. The AVE is the high speed train with the most reliability and quickest route.

The train leaves from Barcelona’s Sants train station and arrives at Atocha train station, which is in the center of Madrid. There are conveniently frequent trains throughout the day, giving you plenty of choices to match your needs. 

In addition to the AVE, there are two other possibilities for train travel to Madrid from Barcelona. The Combinado train runs each day as well. This option has more stops, thus takes six hours to reach Madrid. 

The third option is the Costa Brava train. This train departs at 21:15 and is an overnight journey taking nine hours. 

Prices vary depending on the train routes you choose. Click here for additional information to help you in your planning and ticket booking.

Barcelona Sants station information and ticket reservations:

  • Contact No.: +34 91 919 0504
  • International Information: +34 91 232 0320
  • Address: Plaça dels Països Catalans, s/n

Barcelona to Madrid by Plane

Barcelona To Madrid By Plane

From Barcelona El Prat airport, there are various flight options to Madrid’s Puente Aereo Airport. Frequent flights depart to Madrid including budget friendly options. 

The flight time is around one hour and ten minutes, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a full day after your flight. From Madrid you can hop on the metro or take the airport bus to reach the city center. 

Flights are offered all day, giving you plenty of flexibility to match your travel plans. 

It is a smart choice to compare train and plane prices if you are on a budget, as sometimes flying is the cheapest option. 

Barcelona to Madrid by Bus

Barcelona To Madrid By Bus

Although it is not the fastest option, bus travel is typically the best way to access cities throughout Europe on a tight budget. The price for a one-way ticket is usually between 32-71€. 

Bus travel may be slow, however the pace of the trip gives you a firsthand look at the lovely villages and small towns found between Barcelona and Madrid. On some routes there is a quick rest stop on the way. The bus ride to Madrid takes between seven and eight hours. 

Departures are found at Barcelona Sants and Puerto Maritimo. The bus route takes you to Avenida or Estación Sur stations in Madrid. Alternatively there is an overnight bus option leaving Barcelona Nord station that brings you to Madrid’s airport. 

Barcelona to Madrid by Bus

Barcelona To Madrid By Car

Driving around Europe is lovely and exciting. Hitting the open road at your own pace is the ultimate freedom in travel. Renting a car is easy; you can check out options at the airport, the various rental car agencies in the city, or use this website.

Depending on the route you take, be prepared and have cash handy for the tolls. You can also pay some tolls with a credit card, but typically the card will need a chip. 

It is worth your time to break up your trip and visit a town along the way. There are many beautiful places en route to Madrid where you can enjoy a luxurious lunch and picturesque site seeing. 

Siguenza is a great choice. There is a fabulous architectural heritage here and the city was crowned a Historic-Artistic site in 1965. A few other ideas for a nice break during your drive include: Brihuega, Zaragaza, Montblanc and Monasterio de Piedra. 

Traveling to Madrid from Barcelona enhances your trip to Spain, encompassing more variety, culinary delights, culture and a larger scope of what this sunny country has to offer. As for comparing prices when you plan your travels, check out Omio, which compares bus, plane and train travels.

The wide range of prices, means of travel and flexibility ensure that your trip is catered to your schedule, budgetary requirements and travel needs. 

Our Sagarda Familia travel guide has everything you need to know to have a great time on your trip. Find out what to expect and how to have fun in Barcelona during December.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *