Destinations > Europe > Spain

Transportation in Spain

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Getting there by Air

Main International airports:

Madrid (MAD) - located 13km (8 miles) northeast of the city. Transportation to and from the airport by bus, metro or taxi. Airport facilities include: duty-free shop, bank, car rental, tourist information desk.

Barcelona (BCN) - located 3km (2 miles) southwest of the city. Transportation to and from the airport by bus, train or taxi. Airport facilities include: duty-free shop, bank, car rental, tourist information desk.

Alicante (ALC) - located 12km (7 miles) southwest of the city. Transportation to and from the airport by bus or taxi. Airport facilities include: duty-free shop, bank, foreign exchange office, car rental, tourist information desk.

Málaga (AGP) - located 10km (6 miles) southwest of the city. Transportation to and from the airport by bus, train or taxi. Airport facilities include: duty-free shop, bank, foreign exchange office, car rental.

Valencia (VLC) - located 8km (5 miles) west of the city. Transportation to and from the airport by buses or taxi. Airport facilities include: duty-free shop, bank, foreign exchange office, car rental.

Approximate flight times to Madrid are 2 hours 20 minutes from London and 8 hours 35 minutes from New York.

Getting there by Rail

There are convenient, direct trains between Madrid and Paris or Madrid and Lisbon, as well as direct connections to Barcelona from Zurich, Milan, Montpelier and Geneva. There are also TGV trains that leave from Paris Montparnasse but you'd need to change the train in Irún towards Madrid or TGV trains from Paris Gare de Lyon that head towards Barcelona, with a change of train at Montpellier or Narbonne.

Getting there by Bus

There are many regular buses operated by Eurolines from Paris and other French cities linking France with Spain. A Paris-Madrid trip takes about 17½ hours, Paris-Barcelona takes (15¼ hours).

There are also many connections from Portugal - on the north from Porto to Tui, Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña in Galicia, or from Lisbon to Madrid via Badajoz, to Seville via Aracena or to Málaga via Badajoz.

Getting there by Car

The most popular road crossing into Spain from France is at the north-east Spanish corner, which links up with AP7 tollway going down south to Barcelona and following the Spanish coast. There are also many links across the Pyrenees from France and Andorra into Spain, and routes on the north into the Basque Country. The route via Badajoz from Lisbon is the most popular from Portugal.

With the exception of Andorra, there are no border controls on the road crossings, since Spain, France and Portugal are all within the Schengen Zone.

Getting there by Water

There are regular ferry services from the UK, Canary Islands, Italy, Algeria, Morocco and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The main ferry operator is the Spanish national ferry company, Acciona Trasmediterránea. Main ports are Barcelona, Cadiz, Santander, Valencia and Vigo.

Getting around by Bus

Spain has a very good network of bus connections, from long, intercity routes, to local links between small towns and villages. There are many bus operators in Spain and they offer inexpensive and efficient services. In general buses are cheaper than trains particularly on long haul routes. Advance purchase of bus tickets may not be always possible - on many regular connections tickets sold at the station are valid for the next bus only. With longer trips, advance purchase is usually possible and recommended.

Getting around by Rail

Renfe is the state-owned company that runs most of the trains in Spain, connecting all the mainland Spain regions. There are several types of trains available: local trains (cercanías) in and around big cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Málaga and Valencia), long distance that stop on every station (regionales), faster long distance and also high-speed trains (AVE) connecting Madrid with Seville (journey time is 2 hours 15 minutes), Tarragona and Barcelona.

All long-distance trains have 2 classes - 1st (preferente) and 2nd (turista), with the first one costing about 40% more. In general, fares are more expensive for faster trains.

Getting around by Air

The main operator of Spanish domestic flights, Iberia, has an extensive network that covers all of the country, including major cities, the Balearic and Canary Islands and the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.




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