There are many options to arrive to Madrid. Bus might be a good option if you are traveling on a shoestring. But remember that paying less for transport is synonym of longer hours spent on the road until you reach your final destination.
Bus services in Spain run to more than 170 destinations in a maximum journey time of 12 hours. There is a myriad of companies operating buses over the 16,000+ kilometers of highways that you can find throughout the country.
Buses work great to fill in when train schedules are sparse or nonexistent.
If you want to plan your bus trips around Spain, have a look at a complete tutorial about bus travel in Spain. There you can read all the information you need to organize your train journeys throughout the country.
The different Madrid bus lines
There are different types of bus lines linking Madrid to other cities and towns in Spain.
- Larga distancia. Long distance buses, very comfortable and extremely reliable.
- Autobús regional. Traditional buses with multiple stops along the way.
- EMT. It’s the city’s municipal bus service and covers local buses in and around the city.
Long distance routes (Larga distancia)
Spain has a comprehensive national network of bus services. So, contrary to what happens with trains, you can get just about anywhere in Spain by bus.
Long distance buses in Spain are provided by many different bus companies. The biggest of these Spanish bus companies is Alsa, which operates an extensive network of bus routes throughout the country including international routes to Andorra, France and Portugal.
But generally Spanish buses are clean, comfortable and equipped with air conditioning. In addition to this, some companies offer special luxury buses like Alsa’s Supra, Premium and Eurobus vehicles that have leather seats, extra legroom and hostess service.
So, if you are traveling on a low budget or plan to include in your itinerary less visited destinations, long distance buses get you almost everywhere for little money. Students under 26 years old and senior citizens sometimes can access lower fares.
Regional buses (Autobús regional)
Spain’s efficient train system serves major population areas, but it has many gaps. For example, there is no train service between Seville and Salamanca, or between Seville and Cáceres. And sometimes, buses are faster are more comfortable than trains which is the case between Madrid and Bilbao.
Moreover, the train system has little impact in less-populated regions such as western Spain near Portugal or the Basque Country. This is where regional buses come into play.
Most of the operators are private companies, but they will get you where you want to go for very little money. Buses are generally clean and modern but make sure that you have a look at the schedules. Sometimes regular weekday services can switch to one trip on Saturday and none on Sunday.
City bus network (EMT)
The EMT or city bus services comprises 170+ bus lines, plus 27 night ones that run all over the city.
How to get your Madrid bus tickets
All companies have tickets offices at every bus station, and the major ones do offer ticket machines as well.
But the easiest and most comfortable option is to purchase your tickets online.
A complete guide on Madrid bus stations
The city has two main bus stations:
- Estación Sur de Autobuses. This bus station is also known as Méndez Álvaro, and it is Madrid’s main bus station. It is in the south of the city.
- Avenida de América. Located in the north east of Madrid, this bus station mainly serves north and northeast destinations.
There are a couple of other bus stations but these are mainly for local routes.
Additionally, you can also read more information about getting around Madrid by bus.
This article is part of a complete tutorial about bus travel to Madrid where you can read all the information you need to organize your bus trip.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide: