Madrid to Barcelona
Travel by train from Madrid to Barcelona in Catalonia is easy from Madrid Atocha Station. The Madrid to Barcelona route is one of the busiest on the AVE high speed network. Indeed, there are over 30 daily train services in each direction! And the fastest journey times are an astonishing 2hrs 30 minutes. Not bad when you consider that Barcelona is over 650 kilometres away and that the average car journey is over 6 hours. Trains arrive at the Barcelona Sants Station located in the Sants-Montjuic neighbourhood of Barcelona.
For more information on taking the high-speed AVE service from Madrid, see our guide to departing on the AVE from Madrid Atocha Station. But if you would rather do the longer drive from Madrid to Barcelona, see our Madrid Atocha car rental guides. Many car hire suppliers also offer one-way rentals within Spain. Although there is usually a surcharge, it’s worth considering if you’d rather start and finish your trip in a different location.
Best in Barcelona Travel
Along with the capital of Spain, the capital of Catalonia has long been a strong contender for best city in the country. One advantage Barcelona has over Madrid is that it’s located on the coast and has some lovely beaches. But there’s lots more to the city that makes it a wonderful city break even if you never stepped foot on its sandy shores. Famous for having a vibrant nightlife and a famous dining scene, Barcelona has some incredible cultural sights too. Helping to define Barcelona’s character is the fascinating architecture of Antoni Gaudi. His work is likely to feature several times in must-see lists of Barcelona. Highlights include the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and Casa Batllo.
The city also boasts several fantastic art museums including the National Museum of Art and the Joan Miro Foundation. Both of which are located on top of Montjuic Hill. It’s on top of this hill where you can also enjoy some of the best views of the city.
Best beyond Barcelona
Beyond Barcelona, you’ll find more fab beach towns (smaller and a little more low-key) along the coast around the Catalonian capital. Tossa de Mar, Blanes and Sitges are all easily accessible from Barcelona. About 90kms northeast of Barcelona, Girona is another great Catalonian city to visit. And 60kms northwest of the city, the Montserrat Mountain and monastery is a popular day trip. There are also a number of hiking trails around the mountain. Other great spots for enjoying the area’s natural landscapes include Tibidabo Mountain, Montseny Nature Reserve and the Nuria Valley. The Nuria Valley lies close to the French border in the Pyrenees. It’s also a popular place to ski in winter.
12kms southwest of the city, Barcelona Airport is the nearest airport. You’ll find a good selection of car hire there and it’s a good alternative to Barcelona Station for returning a car hire if you’ve got one and ending your trip here.