Travel guide for Spain

5 Things You Should Know Before Taking the Bus in Spain

This article was updated on September 25th, 2018.

So you decided to travel through Spain by bus? Congratulations – you’ve already neatly adapted to the local way of getting around! In fact, Spaniards prefer traveling by bus over other modes of transport. It’s the most convenient way to travel the country and it’s also one of the only ways to get to and from some of its towns. What’s more, traveling by bus in Europe provides the ultimate comfort. Here’s what you need to know when taking the bus in Spain:

1. Bus your way around the country
There’s a ton of Spanish towns that don’t have an airport or a train station. So, as you can imagine, the only way to get there is by bus! Among the myriad of Spanish bus providers, you will surely find one serving your route. And if you book online, it will save you the hassle of finding out which ones offer routes to your city. There are different companies you can book from, all of them on Busbud, so if you want to take an Alsa bus in Spain or any other bus from other companies, check out these links and compare prices and bus tickets all across the country

ALSA's spanish bus Supra class
ALSA’s Supra class

2. Main bus routes
It’s easy to visit all of Spain, along with neighboring countries – like Portugal, Italy, and France – with the bus. Even though the bus network covers the entire country, there are a few inter-city routes that are especially hot. Not surprisingly, most lead to Madrid!

3. Main bus companies
The following operators offer bus routes in Spain: ALSAAgredaAndorinhaBus Almeria Madrid BAMComesCondaDaibus-InterbusDamasDaincoGarciaHifeiDBUSLa SerranaLinebusLa UnionLycarOUIBUSTherpasa

The biggest and most-used bus operator in Spain is definitely ALSA. In short, the probability of finding the bus connection you need is exponentially high as ALSA serves all of the major cities. Founded in 1889, ALSA stands for quality service and punctuality and has a long tradition of innovation and excellence. It’s no wonder they’re the Spanish flagship among bus operators.

4. WiFi is available on most buses
Yep, you read right! There is free WiFi available on most city routes in Spain. In case looking at the scenery seems too boring of a thing to do for hours on end, or in case you need to catch up on work during your vacation (we hope not!), you will get internet connection on the road. There’s no internet deprivation in Spain!

ALSA bus spain interior

5. Ride with class
Much like in air travel, most buses offer several class options linked to different services and price ranges. What can you get? Depending on what you opt for, you’ll find everything from movies, to TV, and even a hostess! ALSA, for example, offers several class options that generally come with the following benefits: Special waiting lounge, journals and magazines, choice of entertainment (movies and music), ample legroom, and free earphones. Each class offers the following sets of perks:

  • Premium
    Luggage control, special menus, touch-screens for entertainment (more than 30 channels, movies, music, games), free WiFi, USB + plugs, special assistance for children, the elderly and the disabled, baby seats and bottle warmer, space for pets, and door-to-door pickup service. Premium is available to and from Madrid on the following routes: Madrid – San SebastianMadrid – LogronoMadrid – GranadaMadrid – Bilbao.
  • Supra Economy
    Free WiFi, additional travel security, free bottles of water, and animal transport.
  • Supra+
    Free WiFi, additional travel security, free bottles of water, animal transport, child care service, baggage control and service, catering & drinks, leather upholstered seats with leg rest, hostess to cater to your needs, and gifts for customers on weekends.
  • Eurobus
    Preferential treatment, fast embarking, and free bottles of water.
ALSA's Premium class
ALSA’s Premium class

So what are you waiting for? Book your next bus ride through Spain!


66 thoughts on “5 Things You Should Know Before Taking the Bus in Spain

  1. I don’t know what Eurobus you took, but the one I took from Montpellier, France to Barcelona, Spain, was horrible. I’m not particularly tall, but still had problems with leg room, worse than some airplanes. I was not allowed to bring my small bag into the bus, it did not have a lock, and things were stolen. I had insurance, filed, and never heard from them again. Forget the busses, take the train. Never had a problem on the train, much more comfortable, and if you book early, about the same price.

    1. Hey Reggie, very sorry to hear you had a bad experience! Certain bumps on the road are to be expected when traveling, but luckily there are many ways to prevent things like this from happening. It’s actually something we are trying to solve with Busbud by making it easier for you to compare and choose the right option for you. We work with many amazing bus companies all around the world and the majority of these companies offer information on their websites about onboard services, luggage allowances etc. we’re also adding this information directly on Busbud as well with a list of amenities and bus details. This way you’ll be well-prepared and there won’t be any unpleasant surprises! While I can totally relate to your experience, bus travel still remains the most affordable transportation option in Europe and a great option in most parts of the world. Good luck in your future travels!

      1. This is just twaddle and totally unconvincing. Spin somewhere else Alain Wong, please. If I can’t take my small bag on board, I’m not coming.

    2. Alain, We are abotu to travel by bus from Malaga ( airport) to Seville. Cannot find any information about which type of service and whether or not the service is express or local on yoru recommended BUS site. Please guide us to the right location for this information We look forward to a nice trip . Please respond by email, Thanks in advance Richard Stanley

  2. My daughter left €600 in cash on a bus from Barcelona to Andorra – she assumed it was stolen somewhere in the city.

    The following day the same bus arrived back in Andorra and the cash was returned in full by the bus driver/company – after they went to some effort to find her.

    I have nothing but praise for Spanish buses ever since!

    1. Wow, that’s an amazing story! Thank you Dessie for sharing it. Would it be possible to contact your daughter so that we can get more details on this story?

    2. we went on a tour bus and my mother left her passport in the hotel, told the guide some 15 minutes after departure, she said my mother would get it mailed to the other hotel, she had to pay.

          1. Do you know if bus like ALSA in spain have x-ray like train station and airport? because if dont have i would prefer to take a train to stay more safe

  3. There’s a ton of Spanish towns that don’t have an airport or a train station

    Can you tell me a Spanish city without train station without airport?

    1. Thanks for the comment, Manuel. Fisterra is an example of an area that is extremely mountainous, therefore they don’t have a train station. Andorra (also mountainous) doesn’t have a train station or an airport, yet it offers plenty of bus services. In terms of airports, visitors coming from small villages in Spain, like Zamora, often need to travel to the next town or city to reach one. Hope that helps!

          1. And Zamora has always been a tactical place for some logistic companies due to its good railway link. Furthermore, Zamora has a high speed train since 4 or 5 years ago.
            And Fisterra is actually a village. There’s no buses even. You’ve got to take a local bus.
            I’m afraid you’ve lost the best of Spain traveling by bus.

          2. Do you know if bus like ALSA in spain have x-ray like train station and airport?a because if dont have i would prefer to take a train to stay more safe

          3. Hi Daniele,

            Normally there aren’t x-ray facilities at the bus stations. Sorry about that, but don’t worry. Normally bags are checked and buses are safe.

            From where to where do you want to travel?

      1. There’s no train station IN Granada. You have to travel to the train station that’s located outside Granada. Depending on your destination, it may be more efficient and cost effective to travel by bus. When moving between Madrid and Granada, we bus. The train is inconvenient.

    2. Hi Manuel, thanks for your question! Although the Spanish rail network is quite extensive, there are several small towns that are inaccessible by train or plane. When I was young, my family and me often went on vacation in a small town called Torrevieja in the province of Costa Blanca, a town which does not have a train station or an airport. We normally flew to Alicante and either drove or took the bus from there – it was always an adventure!

    3. The immense majority. Town does not mean ciudad, or gran ciudad. Also, even if you’re going someplace with an airport, most airports are in a different township than the one they’re associated with (Barajas is not Madrid, El Prat is not Barcelona, Llodio is not Bilbao…) and you still need to get to the city itself. In quite a few towns which do have a train station, it happens to be in a location that’s horribly inconvenient to anybody going downtown (the kind of place known in English as “the end of nowhere” and in Spanish as “la quinta leche”, being polite); for example, Pamplona or Tarragona.
      While this blog talks about long-distance buses, very often the best way to go from an airport or train station to any location nearby is a bus; sometimes local, sometimes “intercity” (not necessarily “long-distance”, but served by the same companies which serve long distance rather than by local networks).

  4. This is commercial stuff sponsored by Alsa. The best way, by far, to
    travel inside Spain is the train, as Spain has got the largest high
    speed rail network and good mid distance trains. Train is faster for most
    links between cities, more confortable and very often, cheaper. For
    instance, it’s better to use train connections between major cities
    (Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, Sevilla…) rather than the bus.
    Regarding towns like Granada, Salamanca or Teruel is certainly better
    to use the bus…but only there. If you want to save time especially in
    major connections, use spanish trains.

    1. I quite agree with Fran R. Rail travel in Spain is great – the fast train from Madrid to Barcelona is wonderful! Bus travel only when strictly necessary, and then on short journeys from town to town – certainly not to be done for any ‘pleasure’ aspect! Otherwise, it’s pretty mediocre. The piece must have been written for some kind of special consideration! I wonder also why we are told that there are bus routes from Madrid – Granada and Granada – Madrid, and Madrid – Bilbao and Bilbao – Madrid. Presumably if a bus leaves from Madrid to Bilbao, there is a return option?!?! Might have been more useful for the article space to have informed of other, perhaps less well-known bus routes.

      1. Hi DJBM, thanks for your comment and feedback about the article! Personally, I enjoy the slower pace of bus travel, it gives me more time to look at my surroundings! People’s opinions are always very much affected by their experiences, so maybe there is no perfect way to travel, it just has to do with individual tastes and preferences. We simply wanted to share some of our positive experiences with you! 🙂

    2. Hey Fran, thanks for your comment! I’m sure that some cities are easier to get to by train and some by bus, and I think it’s great that there are several different options to choose from. I personally enjoy the slower pace of bus travel; I love looking at my surroundings while I listen to music and sometimes I feel like the train is just too fast for that. Each to their own! 🙂

      1. I’ve got a question and a half for everyone.I may possibly have to transport my cats in their boxes by coach or train from Alicante to Almería and don’t which would be best,if possible,and least stressful.I know the Supra coaches say animal transport but that makes me think they’ll be put below in with large and loose suitcases which I really would not be happy with.

        Does anyone have any experience of taking cats on board a Supra coach or any other bus in Spain?

        I’d really appreciate your coments as I’m up against a stupid deadline thanks to a dodgy transport pet company who have landed me in the proverbial without a paddle and at the last minute and on a bank holiday.To say i’m stressed out is an understatement so all ideas and opinions are welcome.

    3. Fran, not entirely true – I’m planning a trip in mid June from Madrid to Granada – there is no direct train Madrid to Granada – it goes first to Malaga and change trains to Granada – a total of 4:35 hrs trip for 56E. The direct ALSA bus takes the same time and costs only 18E for the Normal bus and 37E for the Premium which has free WiFi, TV screen and snacks, etc – hmmm, wonder which one is a better deal?!

      Also, from Granada to Cordoba, you have to change trains in Antequera – really? NO direct train? Not to mention that the train cost more (33E) and the bus is only 5E and 17E the more fancier bus – the trip by bus is also 50 minutes shorter. This is my first trip to Spain and haven’t traveled with either one, bus or train, but so far the bus looks less expensive and more convenient.

  5. I am not a fan of these things where people make statements about things that are misleading but on this occasion there are many things that readers need to know.
    The first is that it is NOT easy to book a ticket with ANY bus company in Spain from a website
    Spanish people are racist and they will not willingly speak to you in English(unless your money is involved)
    They will NOT answer emails in English…..normally(its like the uk where sending an email from out of the uk is very difficult and normally does not get an answer)
    An example of a bus journey may be entering by bus at Seville and wishing to go to another place not served by the entry station………….the other is an hours walk away, face being robbed by a Spanish taxi driver which is normal or wait for the bus that is supposed to do a circuit(unless the 3 hour lunch break kicks in)
    The lady whose Daughter got her money back was a miracle and l don’t believe in miracles
    From my first trip to Spain in 1985 l had 3 different people try to rob me in petrol stations when giving change on one journey
    I have lived in Spain since 1989 and have bad things to say about it from the first day l moved there, l also live in Portugal and it is the same there. so l would warn you all when l hear you say “oh they are lovely people”
    Buses are good l agree if you are HERE and buy your ticket, even the most outlandish village has a service and you can buy a ticket from an obscure office from someone who maybe does not know about the EU
    Lastly?, Spanish buses crash a lot, they crash on a daily basis and there have been serious bus crashes that kill many people, the last was about a month ago in Murcia when l think 13 died, 2 months before there was a crash with 2 buses and many died, before that earlier in the year another went off the road and killed many on the way back from Portugal…………….How many death crashes using buses do you get in the UK?
    Whatever you do Spain is good, its like a company its always good………just the employees are bad!

    1. if you do not like the country and the people I guess no one is forcing you to go there. if for you, the fact not to speak English means people are racist… What would you say about brits or americans that only speak english and thing the rest of the world have to learn their language? In my opinion is more you being arrogant and thinking you are superior. As far as I can recall some crashes did happen this year in the UK….in Bath, Stanley… nevermind….if you are still living in Spain, after all you mention…looks weird to me…

      1. Sadly you never read my post and just decided to make a nasty comment, its normal and there are millions like you that surf the net trying to get under the skin of others. Your first 7 words are incorrect if you took the time to read well my statement. Arrogant?, yes l am, l took the time to speak fluently Spanish and Portuguese, English people l have met speak only a few words after 10 years and don’t wish to integrate(they normally expect the locals to understand them) of course all English l have met know the way to get them to understand first they speak in their normal tone and in their local dialect then they shout out what they want because as all English people know when you shout at someone you get what you want… (that has nothing to do with Brits or Americans coming on holiday). Racist is not in speech but in person, not black, not white, but ‘race’, l have been abused by both races that l live with, l know them to be thieves too. On meeting me or just reading my book if you have hair now its possible it would stand on end hearing stories l have to tell, looking at me and hearing this you would wonder why l still have hair.
        As an MD of companies and also a distributor of a major UK PLC it has been my job to have my eyes open and to see what others do not and that, if you wish to call me, means l am arrogant.
        Buses? so you are knowledgeable and there have been as many bus crashes in the UK and the dead go into double figures on many occasions?, that’s good at least you got one up on me but l don’t see those on Sky News so they are slipping up on the news, each time one happens maybe their is an air crash killing hundreds and the old bus crash gets left behind.
        Now you could read my last few words in my first post and understand it.

    2. Hi Tom, thanks for your comment! The situation that you are describing (difficulty of booking bus trips on different websites, Spanish people being unwilling to speak English etc.) is exactly where there seems to be a gap in the market, a gap which we at Busbud are trying to fill. You will be able to complete your order in the language of your choice, we currently have 11 to choose from! This way you don’t have to be in Spain in order to buy a bus ticket in a convenient way 🙂

    3. Tom, what do you think will happen to me (I am Dutch) when I walk in some ghetto or tourist trap in the UK or US, not able to speak English and obviously being a tourist? Even in a more safe environment, I will be singled out… And why didn’t you learn to speak some basic Spanish? They will like the fact that you at least try, and will easier switch to English, or at least give it a try. It might well be that your behaviour was the reason why some things went wrong.

    4. Tom – I assume you are from UK – please correct me if I’m wrong. I find it rather amusing that you call the Spaniards racists for not being fluent in English – especially now when UK citizens voted for Brexit because they hate all the Pols and Romanians who are doing all their dirty jobs.

  6. One thing you don’t generally find in Spain is competition between bus operators. If, for example, you try to find an ALSA service between Valencia and Madrid, you’ll search in vain, as the route is only operated by Avanza (which, oddly, is not mentioned in the list of operators above). In brief, you need to find out the name of the operator first before booking a seat.

    1. Thanks Adam. I’ve added Avanza to the list.

      What you describe (“searching in vain” with only one specific company) is exactly the problem we’re solving with Busbud. You can use the Busbud app to search for bus service between two cities, without specifying the operator. We’ll then show you a schedule of departure/arrival times as well as pricing rates so that you can compare and pick the best bus for your trip.

    2. You don’t have competition, because in order to optimize bus routes, since 1920’s the companies need a special permit for every single route. If they want a good one (high profit) they will have to take a bad one (no profit). And there is no need for competition because the prices are -more or less- fixed by law. So there’s no point for several companies exploiting the same route.

      1. I’m afraid that this argument is getting seriously out of date. Airlines compete, so do ferries and the government is introducing rail competition, so why not buses? Governments are useless at controlling markets and, if I can switch to the example of local buses now, the usage of buses in Spain is very poor compared to the United Kingdom. In a study I undertook comparing Denia and Great Yarmouth (similar sizes, same issue with summer tourists), the buses in Great Yarmouth were used nine times as much.

        Poor quality government control has led to ridiculous examples of bus services being provided for the benefit of the operator but not the consumer. Denia and Javea are the two largest towns on the Costa Blanca but the monopoly provider (Autocares Carrio) has no services at weekends. So, even though ALSA provides several services per day between these two towns, they are not allowed to sell tickets, even when the official operator does not run.

        “Optimised”? Not for the consumer!

  7. Tom, you´re a moron…..that´s communication in English for you. I seriously doubt that anyone would like speaking to you, even in English. And are you sure you were robbed? People with IQ´s under 60 tend to lose things….check again, moron

  8. catalan ANIMALS ARE SHITS. I speak of catalan peoples THAT ALL catalan peoples ARE ANIMALS. DON’T USE BUS in barcelona all barcelona peoples are SHITS. When you sit in barcelona bus the barcelona ANIMALS will push you, THE barcelona ANIMALS WILL MAKE MUCH NOISE. I travel the past year to valencia and i think it was 4 hours of travel and it was NIGHTMARE, the difference was that the NIGHTMARE WAS IN DAY and this catalan barcelona ANIMALS ARE REAL ANIMALS.
    And yestarday i was waiting for yoga in barcelona, i didn’t know what time they will open so i wait in the

    apartment after that i hear i BITCH OLD woman coming and telling me she don’t know me and i need to leave the apartment THEN I SEND THIS catalan woman ANIMAL IN THE SHITS. I TOLD THIS catalan woman SHUT UP YOUR MOTHER FUCKER BITCH CALLA TU PUTA MADRE. Yes there are EDUCATED PEOPLES IN SPAIN AND THIS EDUCATED PEOPLES ARE MADRID. YES THERE ARE ANIMALS AND THIS ANIMALS ARE barcelona. THE barcelona ANIMALS walk in the streets 4 four in horizontal LINE and when you pass them they scream I SCREAM TOO ON THIS barcelona ANIMALS.

  9. For sure,…never take a taxi,where ever, even at the airport without check with locals the prices of your trip!they will try to fool you! An the airport police is involved!

  10. How do I buy bus tickets and print them in a small Spanish town such as Albox; there real
    ly is no bus station here, just a place where the bus stops and picks up passengers.

    1. Hi Roger, I believe we don’t have buses from Albox yet on Busbud but we’re working on it. We currently have 1500 partners worldwide and are adding new ones every day. It’s true that in smaller towns, there may not be a bus station. In the meantime, the easiest may be to ask someone living in Albox for the pick-up location or contacting Alsa, the bus company that operates buses from there. I found this link that may be useful. It contains schedule information for the destinations from Albox to Granada, Mojacar and Huercal-Overa but you’ll have to book through Alsa: http://www.albox.es/Servicios/Informacion/informacion.nsf/lecturacss?ReadForm&id=04006&nv=Informacion&tipo=doc&r=006-MD-HA

      Hop that helps, and safe travels!

  11. Hi,
    I’m moving to from Barcelona to Madrid in about a week and am thinking about taking the bus. I have one very large bag and a normal carry on bag. Is this too much to bring by bus?

    1. Hi Rose,

      If you’re travelling from Barcelona to Madrid, you’ll likely be travelling with Alsa.

      Alsa allows you to have one carry-on and one checked luggage up to 30kgs free of charge. If you need more luggage, or if your luggage exceeds these dimensions, then a fee will be charged when you check in your bus.

      If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at support@busbud.com!

      Have a great trip!

  12. my mother went to peru and she says the bus was double decker with the lower level first class where she was and the seats could be reclined like a bed, is there these kind of seats on bus service in spain?

    1. Hi Angelo, thank you for your comment. The bus won’t be double decker but you can see from the article above that the seats are pretty confortable and most of them come with foot rests. I’d suggest checking the amenities section when you book your trip! If you have any doubts just send us an email to support@busbud.com. 🙂

  13. do you have to book these bus in advance? or is there an option to book it from the bus station. im asking this because i plan to leave my itinerary open and just decide when to go if im already in spain.

    1. Hi T, thanks for reaching out!

      You can book in advance to make sure you have your place on the bus. If you book a refundable ticket you can cancel it up to 24h before the departure in case you change your mind 🙂 If you have any other doubts you can also reach us at support@busbud.com.

      Happy travels!

  14. I’ve been always thinking that travelling by bus is uncomfortable, expensive and long. So usually we were travelling by cars and trains. Cars are not the most comfortable way but it might be cheaper if you are travelling with friends or family. And trains are my favourite way of transportation however you need to pay more to get to the city centre from the railway station. Everything has their pros and cons and you need to choose the most suitable variant up to your trip.

  15. I just bought ALSA tickets from Madrid to Leon and downloaded tickets with the scan code. The tickets do not show the departure time (17:41) but under time it says 00:30.

    1. Hi Suzanne, I’m sorry about the issue with your tickets. I’ve just sent you an email about it, I look forward to your reply.

      Thank you,

      Liseth from Busbud

  16. Are the busses on time in Spain? I will be taling a bus from Alicante to Denia and from Denia to Pego. In Denia I will have only 10 minutes for changing a bus. Are busses on time there in Spain and shall I manage to find and change the bus?

  17. I’m actually going to Spain in March and I will be traveling by bus for long periods of time so your guide was extremely useful in my individual case. Thanks 🙂

  18. Hi Is the alsa bus from seville plaza de armas to lisbon sete rios a direct overnight bus? do we need to change bus in the middle of the journey to lisbon sete rios?

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