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How to Get from Madrid to Barcelona Fast & Cheap (2024)

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Wondering how to get from Madrid to Barcelona but not sure which transportation option to choose?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various ways to travel between Madrid and Barcelona.

I’ll delve into the pros and cons of each option and try to help you with budgeting too.

Let’s figure out how to get to Barcelona from Madrid!

sagrada familia at sunset with mount tibidabo in the background

How Far Is Barcelona from Madrid?

First things first, know that Barcelona is approximately 621 kilometers away from Madrid.

For our American readers, that’s 385 miles of ground to cover.

In all, this is a fairly long distance by European standards to don’t expect to get there any quicker than 3 hours – plan ahead to avoid any time surprises.

⚠️  Coming to Barcelona from Madrid? ⚠️: Barcelona’s top two attractions must now be booked in advance.

You can book fast track tickets to both individually or get them as part of a discount pass:

You will not be able to book these tickets on site – lock in your tickets ASAP or you could miss out.

How to Get to Barcelona from Madrid

Traveling from Madrid to Barcelona offers an exciting opportunity to explore two vibrant cities in Spain, each with its unique charm and attractions.

The journey between Madrid and Barcelona can be made via various means of transport:

  • High-speed trains: known for their comfort and efficiency.
  • Local trains: known for comfort and frequency
  • By car: flexibility and the chance to stop at intriguing towns along the way.
  • By bus: cheap options with frequest departures
  • By air: quick, direct travel often as reasonable prices with low-cost carriers

Of course, before you start planning your Barcelona itinerary – let’s go a bit deeper on these transport options to get to Barcelona from Madrid.

Coming to Barcelona? Give us a like on the Barcelona Hacks Facebook page – I respond to all DMs looking for holiday advice!

train from reus airport to barcelona city centre

How to Get to Barcelona from Madrid by Train

Time: 2.5-3 hours (high speed), 5-8 hours (local)

Frequency: About every 30 minutes

Price: From €28.00

Traveling by train from Madrid to Barcelona provides a comfortable and scenic way to traverse the picturesque Spanish landscape between these two iconic cities.

The high-speed trains such as AVE (high speed), Avlo (low-cost high speed), and Renfe (normal Spanish trains) offer a seamless travel experience with their modern facilities and services.

Passengers can enjoy spacious seating, onboard Wi-Fi, and convenient dining options.

Madrid to Barcelona Trains
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bus from reus airport to barcelona city centre

Madrid to Barcelona by Bus

Time: 6-7 hours

Frequency: Every hour

Price: From €19.00

Opting for a bus journey from Madrid to Barcelona presents an affordable and flexible travel option – in fact it’s the cheapest way to get to Barcelona from Madrid.

Expect modern buses (obviously!) equipped with comfortable seating, ample legroom, onboard amenities such as Wi-Fi, and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable journey.

There are about half a dozen companies offering the Madrid to Barcelona route, so it’s best to check a price comparison site to lock in the best prices.

Madrid to Barcelona Buses
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barcelona airport to city centre

Madrid to Barcelona by Plane

Time: 1 hour flight + 2 hours of airport security/airport transfers

Frequency: About 10 a day

Price: From €20.00

Flying from Madrid to Barcelona offers a swift and convenient travel option, ideal for those seeking to minimize travel time and maximize their exploration of these two vibrant Spanish cities.

There’s a very short flight duration between Madrid and Barcelona, often less than an hour.

The main airlines flying between Madrid and Barcelona are Vueling, Iberia, and Air Europa.

Do keep in mind though that you’ll have to calculate 90 minutes for check-in plus about 30 minutes of travel to the city centre using Barcelona public transport.

I usually use the flights comparison site Skyscanner:

Madrid to Barcelona Flights
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car driving from madrid to barcelona

Madrid to Barcelona by Car

Time: 5 hours and 45 minutes

Frequency: Whenever you like

Price: ~ €80.00 (2024 gas prices)

Embarking on a road trip from Madrid to Barcelona via car rental allows travelers to chart their course, relishing the freedom to explore charming towns and captivating scenery along the route.

During the drive rolling hills dotted with olive groves give way to dramatic mountain ranges, and quaint villages beckon for impromptu stops to savor local delicacies.

The flexibility of a car journey allows you to veer off the beaten path, discovering hidden gems and unique viewpoints along the way.

With a car, you can personalize your itinerary, creating detours to visit historic landmarks such as Montserrat or the medieval town of Girona.

Madrid to Barcelona Car Rental
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Get Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Batllo, and a 10% Discount Card!

What’s the Fastest Way to Get from Madrid to Barcelona?

The fastest way to travel from Madrid to Barcelona is by high-speed train such as the AVE or Avlo, providing swift connections and reducing travel time between the two cities.

High-speed trains are undoubtedly the top choice for commuters and travelers looking for a quick and efficient journey between these bustling Spanish cities.

The renowned AVE service, operated by Renfe, is a pioneer in high-speed rail travel, boasting cutting-edge technology that allows it to reach speeds of up to 310 km/h.

This means the 621-kilometer journey from Madrid to Barcelona takes just under 3 hours.

tourists sitting on the mosaic benches at park guell in barcelona spain

Which Is the Cheapest Way to Get from Madrid to Barcelona?

The cheapest way to get from Madrid to Barcelona is by bus, especially during off-peak seasons, offering budget-friendly fares and the opportunity to enjoy the scenic landscapes en route.

During off-peak seasons, the cost-effectiveness of bus travel stands out, making it a compelling option for those seeking affordable transportation.

The best bus service is provided by Alsa, who have providing competitive rates and convenient schedules.

The flexibility of bus travel accommodates last-minute bookings, making it a practical choice for spontaneous trips or for individuals who prefer a more relaxed travel pace.

Madrid to Barcelona FAQ

  • How do you get from Madrid to Barcelona?

    To get from from Madrid to Barcelona you can go by train, bus, car, or plane, offering various options for convenience and budget.

  • How far is Madrid Spain to Barcelona Spain?

    Madrid, Spain, is approximately 620 kilometers (385 miles) away from Barcelona, making it a journey of a few hours by train, car, or plane.

  • How much time does it take to get to Barcelona from Madrid?

    The journey from Madrid to Barcelona typically takes about 2.5 to 3 hours by high-speed train, 7-8 hours by bus, or 1 hour by plane.

  • How to get from Madrid to Barcelona by train?

    To travel from Barcelona to Madrid by train, use the high-speed AVE service, which connects the two cities in approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.

  • How to get from Madrid airport to Barcelona?

    From Madrid Airport to Barcelona, the quickest way is by taking a direct flight, which lasts about 1 hour.

  • How to get from Madrid to Barcelona cheap?

    The cheapest way to get from Madrid to Barcelona is often by bus or by taking advantage of low-cost airline tickets and early train booking discounts.

  • How to get from Madrid to Barcelona fast?

    The fastest way to travel from Madrid to Barcelona is by taking a direct flight, which takes about 1 hour, or the AVE high-speed train.

Need More Madrid to Barcelona Transport Options?

Yes, you could walk or bike but I’m not gonna recommend it!

That said, if you need help on how to get to Barcelona from Madrid – in the form of custom advice – I’m just a click away in the comments below.

Enjoy your trip from Madrid to Barcelona 🙂

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