This article was updated on July 3rd, 2018.
Traveling within Spain by bus is one of the best ways to discover the unrivalled landscapes the country has to offer – including a few gems you’ll definitely miss with the plane. With more bus paths than train routes, not only is the bus cheaper and greener, but it’s also the chosen mode of transportation among the locals. If you’re currently in the Iberian Peninsula or planning an upcoming trip, here are our 10 tips & tricks for bus travel in Spain.
1. Ride off the beaten path
Travelers with a penchant for wanderlust usually revel in the idea of an offbeat adventure, and choosing the bus will help you get there. Taking the bus in Spain is perfect for visiting more than one city or village off the beaten path because they usually take routes that don’t exist by train. With prime views of the peninsula’s panorama, unearth the many wonders that dot the landscape. If you pass through small towns, you’ll even get the chance to observe how the locals live.
2. Take advantage of full stops
Another great way to snap Instagram-worthy pictures is by getting off the bus! Not only are these breaks welcome after hours of sitting, they’re ideal for uncovering Spain’s picturesque backdrop. If you’re traveling by day, you’ll begin sightseeing before reaching your destination and you’ll get a view of the scenic bus route on the Spanish countryside – for free.
3. Discover Spain’s regional dishes
Delving into the local fare is a fun way to discover other cultures. Want to begin sampling the region’s food before stepping off the bus? Pick up a slice of Spanish tortilla, croquettes, or empanadas for lunch breaks. These goodies are easy to pack, making them perfect for on-the-go munchies.
4. Dress for both hot and cold temperatures
Depending on where you are going, it can get pretty hot, meaning your bus will most likely have the air-conditioning cranked up. While driving along the coast to and from sunny locations like Cartagena and Murcia will leave you dreaming of sunbathing on the beach, it can get chilly inside the bus, so pack an extra sweater or a small blanket.
5. Make time for la siesta
When in Spain, do like the Spaniards do…and take a siesta! Typically held in the afternoon after lunch, take the time to adjust to the Spanish style of living before you arrive. It’s even a good excuse to catch up on some much needed sleep during the long trek.
6. Research and book your bus tickets online
Search your departure date & time and book your ticket with Busbud. Once that’s done, simply arrive at the bus terminal and board stress free! This is also the easiest way to ensure you are booking through a safe and reliable bus company – and it’s an eco-friendly alternative to other modes of transportation.
7. Upgrade for luxury
Consider upgrading to first class for ultimate comfort, as Spain has some pretty luxurious coach buses that are at par with some airline cabins. The majority will offer reclining leather seats, extra legroom, WiFi, power outlets, movie screens, air conditioning, as well as onboard snacks and meals.
8. Stay organized
Many buses journey to neighboring countries, and though most Western countries in the European Union do not have border checkpoints, passport checks still happen from time to time. Be sure to keep passports and bus tickets in order and within reach.
9. Talk the talk
Knowing a few key words and phrases in Spanish and Catalan will come in handy for bus travel in Spain: Bus (autobús), bus station (estación de autobús/estació d’autobús), Where is the bus stop? (¿Dónde está la parada del autobús?/On és la parada de l’autobús?), schedule (horario/horari), arrival (llegada/arribada), departure (salida/sortida), destination (destino/destí), bus driver (conductor de autobús/conductor d’autobús).
10. Chat with your bus driver
If you do speak the language, chat your driver up during breaks. You’ll be amazed at how much they know – and how much they’ve seen. They will even give you tips on which side of the bus you should sit on to get the nicest views…and photos!
Have you taken the bus throughout Spain and have some tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below!