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Madrid/Barcelona Airports/Trains how from the city?

I'm still trying to debate taking the train or flying from Madrid to Barcelona. I have heard it is difficult getting to and from the airports. Does anyone know exactly how far it is for each city? I've been told I can take an easy subway to the airport from Madrid but not sure about Barcelona.

Also was wondering if it's the same general rule in Spain as it is in the US...arrive 2 hours before your flight? I'm thinking the plane ride with transportation, getting their early, 1 hr 10 min flight, getting to barcelona may be about the same amount of time as the 5 hour train ride? Any thoughts or preferences? I've also heard the Madrid airport is tricky to navigate.

My boyfriend and I can't decide...Thanks!

Posted by
4555 posts is not an EASY subway ride to Madrid airport. It's about 35 minutes from downtown, and depending where you get on, it may take three line changes. Once you arrive at the airport, if you're leaving from terminal 4, you must hike up to the main level and take a 15-minute bus ride to there. Taxis from the center of the city will be about 40 Euro plus baggage charges. As for Barcelona, their connection is a 30-minute bus ride to a ticket at the machine outside the airport or pay the driver. If you're on a discount airline like vueling, they close their check-in about 40 minutes before flight you should be there at least 90 minutes beforehand if you want to get two seats together. Overall, the time is probably close to that of a train journey, so the only difference may come down to cost and/or convenience...downtown to downtown on the train, or flying.

Posted by
31 posts

The Madrid Airport, is quite a laberinth, and to catch a connecting flight might take you at least 1.5 hours (no kidding). They even have the signs in the airport how long you have to walk (anywhere from 10 - 20 minutes) and how long a train ride (within the airport) you must take.
The Barcelona Airport is MUCH SIMPLER. However, all in all I think I would still prefer the plane ride, especially if you go on Vueling. If you are flying into Spain with Iberia, I would take the connecting flight to BCN (the price most probably will not vary) and they you can take an "open jaw" flight back home. This means you can fly back to Madrid and then stay there for a few days and then catch your flight back to the US. The advantage to doing it this way, is that should there be any delays, Iberia will take care of everything. If you choose two airlines, and one gets delayed, you will loose your unused portion of the other ticket.

Purchasing tickets from Iberia website is MUCH CHEAPER.