How to travel from Madrid to Zaragoza – Transport Guide
Spain certainly has no shortage of gorgeous, historic villages, cities and towns. One such being Zaragoza, the capital of the Aragon region located in the north east of Spain.
Set along the Ebro River and featuring a mix of beautiful Baroque, Islamic and Gothic architecture, Zaragoza is definitely a must see.
Considering that it’s set pretty much in the middle, between Madrid and Barcelona, the city makes for a great stop over as part of a road trip through Spain.
If you’re arriving into Madrid and wondering exactly how to get from Madrid to Zaragoza (or vice versa), then this guide is for you.
Below, I will outline in detail all the different forms of transport available to you in order to travel between these two Spanish destinations.
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Madrid to Zaragoza Train
Journey Duration: Fastest train service – 1 Hour 15 minutes
When considering travel by public transport throughout Spain, the great news is that Spanish rail operator, Renfe, manages a range of high-speed rail services. This, resulting in a fairly quick connection from Madrid to Zaragoza by train.
These high-speed AVE trains take between 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 21 minutes, making it a very convenient way to travel between these two destinations.
Another plus is that Renfe operate a frequent and daily service with over 20 departures on weekdays (and only slightly less on weekends).
You are able to consult schedules and book tickets directly through the Renfe website.
On average the ticket prices on the high-speed service ranges anywhere between €30 to just over €55 (or even more if the train has limited availability left).
It is a good idea to try and secure your seats in advance, but note that you can usually only do so roughly 2 months ahead of departure.
Tip: I have heard of travellers experiencing issues when trying to book a return fare online through the Renfe site. If you experience a similar problem, then rather split the journey and book as two one-way fares and this should solve the issue.
Do be sure to check the journey times as you will also find trains with a travel time of over 3 hours. These are usually slower regional services. So, be aware when booking to make sure you choose the correct option.
Train from Madrid to Zaragoza
As already mentioned, The Madrid Zaragoza train services offers over 20 weekday departures.
On weekdays these start running from as early as 06:30 am up until the very last departure at 21:30 pm at night.
On weekends, there are less departures. Saturday trains run from 06:20 am until 20:30 pm, whilst on Sundays, trains start around 06:30 am until 21:30 pm.
Zaragoza to Madrid Train
Upon the return, the Zaragoza Madrid train service also operates over 20 departures on weekdays starting from 06:25 am until the last train leaves at 22:43 pm.
Saturday services start and end more or less the same times as the weekday departures. Whereas, on Sundays, services only start operating from around 08:31 am until the last train again at 22:43 pm.
Although these times are accurate as at the time of publishing this post, it is advisable to check and confirm schedules when planning your trip, as these times may change or vary over time.
When arriving into Madrid (or departing from), the high-speed AVE trains all arrive at Madrid’s main railway station, the Madrid-Puerta de Atocha station.
The Puerta de Atocha train station is conveniently linked to Madrid’s underground metro system (metro station name is: Atocha Renfe).
If you happen to book one of the slower rail services then do check the departure and arrival info on your ticket. These often leave from Madrid’s Chamartin station.
In Zaragoza you will arrive into or depart from the Zaragoza Delicias rail station. The train station is located only a short 2 kilometres from the city centre.
You can easily reach the city by taking the bus #34 which departs from outside the train station, costing around €1.35 for a one-way trip.
Bus from Madrid to Zaragoza
Journey Duration: Fastest bus service – 3 Hours 30 minutes
The next option in terms of travel by public transport, would be to make use of the Madrid to Zaragoza bus service operated by coach company ALSA.
Similar to the train schedule, ALSA offers daily and frequent departures too. The quickest bus journey lasting only around 3 hours 30 minutes and the longest 4 hours 20 minutes.
Travelling by bus is also much more cost effective compared to taking the train as you can get fares on the bus for as little as €5.45 one-way. A massive saving compared to the rail ticket costs!
Fares do work on availability and could increase to just under or just over €20.
When travelling by bus there are also a few night-time buses that depart after midnight and arrive early morning.
The ALSA site is extremely user friendly and you are able to check times, fares and also book online.
Note: An important note is to consider the fare rules you are booking. Some of the cheaper fares (as mentioned) are highly discounted and does not allow any changes or cancellations. If you’re after flexibility then rather book a slightly more expensive ticket that will allow you to do so.
All of the pricing tiers and rules are clearly shown on the site when searching for availability, so it’s pretty easy to compare.
Bus – Madrid Zaragoza
When taking the Madrid Zaragoza bus, ALSA offers plenty of departures daily. Usually, starting from as early as 06:40 am, the service runs throughout the day and into the late night / early morning with the last bus departing Madrid at 01:45 am.
Weekend departure times may vary slightly but starts and ends at the same times.
It is best to consult the schedules online when firming up your exact travel plans. ALSA does allow bookings roughly 5 months in advance. Booking ahead of time also gives you a better chance of bagging those super cheap bus tickets!
Bus – Zaragoza Madrid
Upon returning, the Zaragoza Madrid bus route starts running from 06:20 am all the way through till 04:50 am the following morning.
Arriving into Zaragoza, you will do so at the Estacion Central de Autobuses which is located pretty much in the same terminal as the Zaragoza Delicias train station. Thus, access into the city is straight forward, using the bus number 34 or even catching a taxi, depending on your preference.
In Madrid you have the option to depart either from the Avenida de América bus station or directly from Madrid’s international airport (with the ALSA bus departing from Terminal 4).
The main Avenida de America bus terminal does link up with the subway system, the metro stop being “Intercambiador de Avenida de América” on the purple line 9.
Driving from Madrid to Zaragoza by Car
Journey Duration: Quickest route – roughly 3 Hours 20 minutes
If you would far rather drive this route yourself instead of making use of, or being restricted by public transport, then hiring a car and driving from Madrid to Zaragoza would be a natural choice. The distance from Madrid to Zaragoza is roughly 316 kilometres and would entail driving for more or less 3 hours and 20 minutes via the A-2 motorway.
I do however have to point out that the travel time does depend on where you will be leaving from in Madrid. Do keep in mind that Madrid is a large city and traffic, especially during peak hours can be gridlocked. Depending on the route driven, it could also take up to or over 4 hours. As such, the time I’ve indicated is a rough guideline and contingent on several other factors, making it difficult to guesstimate an exact journey time.
Very important to also keep in mind when planning a road trip and working out your travel budget, is that Spain has both free and tolled highways. I found this excellent printable road map which I love as it lays out the Spanish road network and guides you on which motorways are tolled and which are not. In fact, a section of the road between Zaragoza and Madrid is tolled if travelling via the A-2.
Renting a car
If you are still wanting to book your hired card for this trip, then why not check out – RentalCars.com. We’ve used them before in our own personal capacity and the site is super easy to navigate and compares a host of different rental agencies. Thus, allowing you to compare rates, availability, terms and book all on one website.
Where to stay in Zaragoza
Are you staying over in Zaragoza or still need to confirm your Madrid accommodation? Go ahead and check out availability, reviews and rates on Booking.com here View accommodation in Zaragoza here. Go here for accommodation in Madrid.
What to do in Zaragoza
When visiting a new city or place I always plan all basic travel logistics first and then start adding more detail later on. One such detail would be to check out all the available tours, activities or unique experiences that will help make my trip more fun and worthwhile.
If you’re like me, then why not check out a range of activities in Zaragoza that you can book through the link below. Check out rates and book Zaragoza activities & tours here.
Whether you are travelling from Madrid to Zaragoza by bus, by train or by car, you shouldn’t have any limits. There really is an option to suit everyone’s budget or preferences.
If you’ve already travelled this route then I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences as to what you think the best way to travel between these Spanish cities would be.
Or, if you have any questions or insider tips and suggestions that I may have missed out on, then feel free to leave a comment further down below in the comments section.
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