Spain shares land borders with France, Portugal and Andorra.
Apart from shorter cross-border services, Eurolines (www.eurolines.com) is the main operator of international bus services to Spain from most of Western Europe and Morocco.
For information on trains connecting Spain with France and Portugal, and onward services between France and other countries, visit the Viajes Internacionales (International Journeys) section of www.renfe.com, the website of the Spanish national railway company, Renfe.
Regular buses connect Andorra with Barcelona (including winter ski buses and direct services to the airport) and other destinations in Spain (including Madrid) and France. Regular buses run between Andorra and Barcelona’s Estació d’Autobusos de Sants (€31, three hours) or Barcelona’s El Prat Airport (€34, 3½ hours).
Travellers planning broader European tours that include Spain could find one of the following passes useful.
Busabout A UK-based hop-on, hop-off bus service aimed at younger travellers. Its network includes more than 30 cities in nine countries, and the main passes are of interest only to those travelling a lot beyond Spain. However, they do have a handful of Spain-specific itineraries, such as the seven-day Iberian Adventure (per person including six nights' accommodation from €579).
Eurolines (www.eurolines.com) Offers a high-season pass valid for 15 days (adult/under 26 years €320/270) or 30 days (€425/350). This pass allows unlimited travel between 51 European cities, including a handful of Spanish ones.
Interrail (www.interrailnet.eu) passes are available to people who have lived in Europe for six months or more. They can be bought at most major stations, student travel outlets and online.
Youth passes are for people aged 12 to 25, and adult passes are for those 26 and over. Children aged 11 and under travel for free if travelling on a family pass.
Global Pass Encompasses 30 countries and comes in seven versions, ranging from five days’ travel in 15 days to a full month’s travel. Check out the website for a full list of prices.
One-country Pass Can be used for three, four, six or eight days within one month in Spain. For the eight-day pass you pay €339/255/192 for adult 1st class/adult 2nd class/youth 2nd class.
Eurail (www.eurail.com) passes are for those who’ve lived in Europe for less than six months. They are supposed to be bought outside Europe, either online or from leading travel agencies.
Be sure you will be covering a lot of ground to make your Eurail pass worthwhile. To be certain, check the Renfe (www.renfe.com) website for sample prices in euros for the places where you intend to travel.
For most of the following passes, children aged between four and 11 pay half-price for the 1st-class passes, while those aged under 26 can get a cheaper 2nd-class pass. The Eurail website has a full list of prices, including special family rates and other discounts.
Eurail Global Passes Good for travel in 28 European countries; forget it if you intend to travel mainly in Spain. There are nine different passes, from five days within one month to three months' continuous travel.
Eurail Select Pass Provides between five and 10 days of unlimited travel within a two-month period in two to four bordering countries (eg Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland).
Spain Pass With the one-country Spain Pass you can choose from three to eight days’ train travel in a one-month period. The eight-day Spain Pass costs €325/261/213 for adult 1st class/adult 2nd class/youth 2nd class.
The principal rail crossings into Spain pierce the Franco-Spanish frontier along the Mediterranean coast and via the Basque Country. Another minor rail route runs inland across the Pyrenees from Latour-de-Carol to Barcelona.
In addition to the options listed below, two or three TGVs (high-speed trains) leave from Paris-Montparnasse for Irún, where you change to a normal train for the Basque Country and on towards Madrid. Up to three TGVs also put you on track to Barcelona (leaving from Paris Gare de Lyon), with a change of train at Montpellier or Narbonne. For more information on French rail services, check out the OuiSNCF (https://en.oui.sncf/en/) website.
There are plans for a high-speed rail link between Madrid and Paris. In the meantime, high-speed services travel via Barcelona. These are the major cross-border services:
Paris to Barcelona (from €39, 6½ hours, two to four daily) A high-speed service runs via Valence, Nîmes, Montpellier, Beziers, Narbonne, Perpignan, Figueres and Girona. Also high-speed services run from Lyon (from €39, five hours) and Toulouse (from €35, three to four hours).
Paris to Madrid (from €185 to €210, 9¾ to 12½ hours, eight daily) The slow route runs via Les Aubrais, Blois, Poitiers, Irún, Vitoria, Burgos and Valladolid. The quicker route uses high-speed French TGV trains between Paris and Barcelona, where you change to a high-speed Spanish AVE to reach Madrid.
Eurolines (www.eurolines.com) heads to Spain from Paris and more than 20 other French cities and towns. It connects with Madrid (from €84, 17¾ hours), Barcelona (from €72, 14¾ hours) and many other destinations. There’s at least one departure per day for main destinations.
The main road crossing into Spain from France is the highway that links up with Spain’s AP7 tollway, which runs down to Barcelona and follows the Spanish coast south (with a branch, the AP2, going to Madrid via Zaragoza). A series of links cuts across the Pyrenees from France and Andorra into Spain, and there's a coastal route that runs from Biarritz in France into the Spanish Basque Country.
Avanza runs daily buses between Lisbon and Madrid (€41 to €45, seven hours, two to three daily).
Other bus services run north via Porto to Tui, Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña in Galicia, while local buses cross the border from towns such as Huelva in Andalucía, Badajoz in Extremadura and Ourense in Galicia.
The A5 freeway linking Madrid with Badajoz crosses the Portuguese frontier and continues on to Lisbon. There are many other road connections up and down the length of the Spain–Portugal border.
From Portugal, the main line runs from Lisbon across Extremadura to Madrid.
Lisbon to Irún (chair/sleeper class €69/94, 13½ hours, one daily)
Lisbon to Madrid (chair/sleeper class from €61/84, 10½ hours, one daily)
Porto to Vigo (€15, 2½ hours, two daily)