02 January 2020

What’s the best way to get around Spain? Travelling in cars, trains & planes

Anyone travelling to Spain for the first time might be surprised by how vast a country it is. Getting from point A to point B may take longer than you think, depending on which form of transportation you choose. Whether you’re on a backpacker’s budget or pressed for time, there are many ways to get around in Spain. Read on to find your best options.

Plane views of a Spanish coastal town
Plane views of a Spanish coastal town

Travelling by bus in Spain

There are many bus companies around the country that offer good deals when bought ahead of time. Remember that Spain is a large country and you should be prepared to spend long hours on the bus if this is your transportation of choice.

Getting around Spain by car

Renting a car is a great option if you want to go away for a weekend somewhere or even for extended road trips. You should keep in mind that the price for fuel is quite higher than in North America and that some regions of Spain, such as Catalonia, have tolls which can add to the final price of the trip. It’s also better to book a car ahead of time as last-minute bookings can go up very much in price. Some car rental companies are Sixt, AutoEurope, Hertz and Avis.

The view from a car driving through Catalonia
On the road in Catalonia

Making trips with BlaBlaCar

If you want to share a more intimate space with someone that is most likely a local, you have the option of taking a BlaBlaCar. This is a car-sharing service that allows a person to post a trip that they would otherwise be taking alone. If someone is going to San Sebastian from Madrid, for example, they can post their trip and offer seats in their car to share the gas costs or for some company. You can then see if there is anyone going in the same direction as you are. BlaBlaCar is a great way to meet new people, engage in some interesting conversation and get to your destination faster than you would with a bus.

Travelling by train in Spain

If you have a more generous budget or are short on time, the trains in Spain are a wonderful way to get around. There are lines that connect most major cities all around the country. The AVE is the relatively new high-speed train line that has revolutionized travel in Spain. Instead of taking a 9-hour bus ride from Madrid to Barcelona, the same journey will take you about 3 hours on the AVE. If you know your dates of travel, it’s best to book ahead of time as ticket prices increase closer to a “last-minute” purchase.

Spain Railway Map
Spain Railway Map

Plane travel in Spain

The larger cities in Spain are well connected with their airports being large hubs, making it possible to travel easily within Spain or elsewhere in Europe. As in most of Europe, there are a few budget airlines that can get you to your destination for a reasonable price.

Ryan Air is one of the most well-known budget airlines in Europe and for good reason. They sometimes have seat sales starting at just €6 for one trip. Of course, luggage or seat selection is extra but if you’re not fussy, it’s an excellent way to get around. There is also the Spanish airline Vueling that offers good deals on flights both in Spain and to destinations around Europe.

Plane views of a Spanish coastal town
Plane views of a Spanish coastal town