Barcelona to Madrid – How to get there on the cheap


Barcelona to Madrid – Two of Spain’s/World’s Greatest Cities!

Barcelona to Madrid is a journey I seem to be making more and more frequently recently. I am becoming quite the expert on travel routes between the two cities. Barcelona to Madrid may strike you as a simple journey, which it is, but if you aren’t careful, you could end up paying more than you may imagine. Barcelona to Madrid….Vamos!!

Barcelona to madridAt the time of writing, I have been living in Barcelona for the best part of two years, I’ve loved every moment of it, the ups, the downs and the sideways bits in-between. However, as with everything in life, it has been nothing like I imagined it to be. When I moved to Barcelona, I had visions of  jetting off every weekend, to some other beautiful part of Spain…or perhaps Italy or France. Not to say I haven’t explored because I have, but life does have a way of getting in the way of things. Once I started working and paying for things like rent and food, it became difficult to find time to enjoy Barcelona, let alone fly to Madrid or Paris!

Recently though, I met a girl…(queue dramatic operatic film music) who lives in Madrid. She’s one of a kind and I’m happy as Larry, to say the very least. The last few weekends, I’ve been flying from Barcelona to Madrid to see her, being careful to spend as little as possible on the journey,  and as much time as possible with her, food, wine and all the other good stuff that goes hand in hand.

Barcelona to Madrid – What are the options?

What I have come to realise, is that when travelling from Barcelona to Madrid, the cheapest option is not always the best option. However, I appreciate that some of you SuiteLifers may disagree so I will give you the low-down on what’s hot-to-trot.

The AVE Train (RENFE) – High Speed

Why use the AVE train to get from Barcelona to Madrid?
A comfortable and fast way to travel between Barcelona – Madrid, the RENFE AVE Train is a a high speed train travelling from Barcelona Sants/La Sagrera Train stations to Madrid central train station.

How long does the train take from Barcelona to Madrid?
The journey time is more or less 3 hours. When you consider that you get on the train in Barcelona and don’t have to travel to the airport, the journey time is more or less the same as if you were to fly. Especially if you were  to get to the airport an hour or two in advance.

When do the trains leave from Barcelona to Madrid?
I think the real beauty of getting the AVE RENFE high speed train, is the frequency of which they run. There is one if not two trains from Barcelona to Madrid leaving every hour from 6am to 9pm. For a good look at the timetable just click —–> Here 🙂

How Much is the train from Barcelona to Madrid?
It’s not cheap and will cost you €120 return and as tourist. However, it must be said that as flights from Barcelona to Madrid fluctuate, the AVE Train does not. I always use this as a reference, if a flight is considerably more than this amount, you know the train price will remain the same.   

The Estrella Night Train (RENFE) – Not So High Speed

barcelona to madrid night train estrellaWhy use the Estrella Night train to get from Barcelona to Madrid?
Bottom line, the Estrella Night Train run by RENFE offers the cheapest way to get from Barcelona to Madrid. If you have time but no money, the Estrella Night Train from Barcelona to Madrid is your best bet.

How long does the Estrella Night Train take to get from Barcelona to Madrid?
The journey time is more or less 9 hours. If you have a sleeping bag and a pillow, and you can get comfortable, I suggest you get some shut eye and sleep well knowing you are saving a bunch of money not only by using the cheapest travel route, but also saving yourself from shelling out for a nights accommodation.

When does the Estrella Night Train leave from Barcelona to Madrid?
As there is only one night in a day, there is only one night train, so be careful you don’t turn up late and miss it. Typically the Estrella Night Train leaves Barcelona at around 10pm. For a good look at the timetable just click —–> Here 🙂

How Much is the Estrella Night Train from Barcelona to Madrid?
It’s cheap, in fact, it’s dirt cheap. €44. Need I say any more about this? I don’t think so.

Fights from Barcelona to Madrid (My personal recommendation)

Why fly from Barcelona to Madrid?
Often, but not always, you can get some great deals on Barcelona to Madrid flights. If like me, you don’t have much time, but a great desire to be in Madrid, then flying offers quick and flexible way to travel.

How long is the flight from Barcelona to Madrid?
The flight itself is more or less ONE HOUR. However, bare in mind that Barcelona/El Prat Airport is outside of Barcelona city and typically you will need to set aside an hour, just to get from the city to  the airport.

To get from Barcelona city to the airport, I usually use the train, which goes from Clot, Paseo de Gracia and Barcelona Sants. It’s cheap and only takes about 30-40 minutes. But be careful as there are only one or two trains every hour, meaning you often have to wait for 30 minutes for it to arrive.

NB – The train from Barcelona to El Prat Airport takes you to Terminal 2, flights from Barcelona to Madrid leave from Terminal 1 which means you have to jump on the little shuttle bus (free of charge), this adds an extra 15 minutes to your journey which I didn’t realise and nearly missed my flight. BE CAREFUL!

If time is not your friend, I suggest jumping on the Aerobus in Placa Cataluyna (Barcelona center) which costs about €5-6 and stops at both terminal 1 and 2. Stress free and perhaps a little easier.

Who offers the best Flights from Barcelona to Madrid?

fly to madrid from barcelona barcelona to madrid

There are certainly many companies offering “cheap flights from Barcelona to Madrid” but it must be said that the prices fluctuate rapidly and seemingly without reason. So far, I have found Vueling to offer the best prices, although recently while I was booking a ticket, the price dropped from €99 to €35. Of course I was happy about this, but it just seems that sometimes it’s worth waiting and watching for the prices to change.

Vueling – Great Service, Punctual and THE BEST PRICES!

How Much are flights from Barcelona to Madrid?
It’s not bad, but it’s not great. Baring in mind you can get the AVE Train for €120, I usually use that as a base. So far, I have paid about €130 return from Barcelona to Madrid, it seems that flights from Madrid to Barcelona are cheaper than the other way round.  It seems that during peak periods (which is generally on weekends or holidays when I want to fly), the flights are about €99 each way….no thanks!!

Spanair
Spanair always sound very attractive, but they are one of those companies that don’t include things like taxes in their price, so it may start off at €50 return, it normally ends up being considerably more than that, and in my experience, Spanair do not offer the best value on flights between Barcelona and Madrid.

Rumbo
http://www.rumbo.es/
are great in the way that they search for routes of various companies. For example, you could fly from Barcelona to Madrid with Vueling, but then return with SpanAir. They mix and match cheap flights so you don’t have to scour the different sites for the best deal.

So there you have it, Barcelona to Madrid. I hope you enjoy your travels as I have done. Madrid and Barcelona are very different, but both incredible places and I’m happy to have experienced them as I have.

THE BUS FROM BARCELONA TO MADRID?

Well, I haven’t taken the bus from Barcelona to Madrid. I must say, it would be cheaper, but not necessarily cheaper than the night train. Considering it takes more time I would not even bother with the bus, unless of course, you are on a massive budget and want to take your own sweet time!

Ben Holbrook – SuiteLifer and BCN to MADRID Frequent Flyer!

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Traveling



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