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Getting to León - from MAD or OVD airport?

BobY333

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino San Salvador/Primitivo May 2023 (planning!)
I have my flights booked BOS>MAD>OVD since I planned to walk the Primitivo. I was able to rearrange my schedule, and now I plan to walk the San Salvador from León before the Primitivo, but my flights are unchanged.

I've checked with Iberia, and because my return flight is booked separately (I did award tickets), I have the option to skip the OVD flight (without affecting my return) and get to León from Madrid.

This is where it gets as complicated and I would like your thoughts...

I land in Madrid around 6:15am at Terminal T4S. There's no way I would get the 7am fast train to León from Madrid (unfortunately). But, there are buses from Madrid/Moncloa at 8:30-12:15 and 10:15-2pm. So, getting off in Madrid could work and could get me into León at 12:15 (not bad). Is it reasonable to think that I could get the 8:30 bus (even if it meant taking a cab to Moncloa)?

If I fly to OVD I land at 8:40am (yes, it's a tight connection in Madrid). I doubt I would get the 9am bus into Oviedo that would allow me to get on the 10:30-12:15 bus to León, though maybe I could take a cab. The next bus is 12:30-2pm.

So, my mind is telling me to get off in Madrid and remove the connecting flight and troubles that may bring, and have a good shot at getting to León at 12:15. On the other hand, OVD is closer to my start point in León, so maybe it's best to get as close as possible.

I also plan to keep an eye on BlaBlaCar from both MAD and OVD.

So, any thoughts? Did I miss an option? I know I'm thinking too much...I'm an analyst by trade, so analysis paralysis is a tough trait to rein in sometimes!

Thanks!
Bob
 
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I have my flights booked BOS>MAD>OVD since I planned to walk the Primitivo. I was able to rearrange my schedule, and now I plan to walk the San Salvador from León before the Primitivo, but my flights are unchanged.

I've checked with Iberia, and because my return flight is booked separately (I did award tickets), I have the option to skip the OVD flight (without affecting my return) and get to León from Madrid.

This is where it gets as complicated and I would like your thoughts...

I land in Madrid around 6:15am at Terminal T4S. There's no way I would get the 7am fast train to León from Madrid (unfortunately). But, there are buses from Madrid/Moncloa at 8:30-12:15 and 10:15-2pm. So, getting off in Madrid could work and could get me into León at 12:15 (not bad). Is it reasonable to think that I could get the 8:30 bus (even if it meant taking a cab to Moncloa)?

If I fly to OVD I land at 8:40am (yes, it's a tight connection in Madrid). I doubt I would get the 9am bus into Oviedo that would allow me to get on the 10:30-12:15 bus to León, though maybe I could take a cab. The next bus is 12:30-2pm.

So, my mind is telling me to get off in Madrid and remove the connecting flight and troubles that may bring, and have a good shot at getting to León at 12:15. On the other hand, OVD is closer to my start point in León, so maybe it's best to get as close as possible.

I also plan to keep an eye on BlaBlaCar from both MAD and OVD.

So, any thoughts? Did I miss an option? I know I'm thinking too much...I'm an analyst by trade, so analysis paralysis is a tough trait to rein in sometimes!

Thanks!
Bob
from terminal T4 serveral Alsa busses (0915, 1115, 1330, 1445 and 1615h) going easy, quick (4.5 -5h) and cheap (14-21€) to Leon
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Are you checking luggage? If so, would it go to OVD? If you don’t have luggage and arrive in Madrid on time, hustle, grab a cab, to Moncloa, and you could make the 8:30…if not too much traffic? A lot would depends if your flight arrives on time or maybe is even a little early. You also need time to puchase a bus ticket….unless you buy a refundable ticket online in advance.
 

BobY333

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino San Salvador/Primitivo May 2023 (planning!)
Thanks for the thoughts!

No checked bags - I’ll keep my pack with me. Getting off in Madrid would have the added benefit of allowing me to bring my hiking sticks with me on the plane and not have them taken during the transfer to the OVD flight (I’m not trying to re-open this debate!). :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
But, there are buses from Madrid/Moncloa at 8:30-12:15 and 10:15-2pm. So, getting off in Madrid could work and could get me into León at 12:15 (not bad). Is it reasonable to think that I could get the 8:30 bus (even if it meant taking a cab to Moncloa)?
Your gut is right, it will be easier to get from Madrid to León than from the Asturias airport to León.

The Alsa website isn’t working for me right now, but I know there are buses that leave from the airport. They will stop at the Moncloa station before leaving town but you definitely want to get on the bus at the airport.

@Hans-Georg Goebel gives the times in his earlier post, and it looks like you would easily catch the 9:15 am.
 
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BobY333

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino San Salvador/Primitivo May 2023 (planning!)
Oddly, the 8:30 from Moncloa gets in at 12:15, but the 9:15 from Barajas T4 doesn’t get in until 2:00 (the ride is an hour longer). I’ll do my best to get to Moncloa for the 8:30. It looks like this flight pretty consistently arrives 6-6:30. I’ll dash through passport control and customs ASAP and then see about getting to Moncloa quickly. It looks like I can buy a ticket pretty easily using my phone while on my way!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oddly, the 8:30 from Moncloa gets in at 12:15, but the 9:15 from Barajas T4 doesn’t get in until 2:00
That’s probably explained by the fact that the bus from the airport will go to Moncloa to pick up passengers. And it may also stop at Estación Sur on the way from the airport to Moncloa. Moncloa is the last stop in Madrid for buses headed to León. And not all buses start at the airport, as you’ve seen.

Unfortunately the Cercanías doesn’t go to Moncloa. You would have to transfer to a metro or bus from the Príncipe Pío Cercanías stop. Which would be kind of a hassle. A taxi to Moncloa will be a flat 30€. And in the worst case of missing the 8:30 bus from Moncloa, the area is in a very nice area, kind of the transition from a residential area to the University of Madrid. You would be able to find a nice café to while away the time till the next bus.
 

BobY333

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino San Salvador/Primitivo May 2023 (planning!)
That’s probably explained by the fact that the bus from the airport will go to Moncloa to pick up passengers. And it may also stop at Estación Sur on the way from the airport to Moncloa. Moncloa is the last stop in Madrid for buses headed to León. And not all buses start at the airport, as you’ve seen.

Unfortunately the Cercanías doesn’t go to Moncloa. You would have to transfer to a metro or bus from the Príncipe Pío Cercanías stop. Which would be kind of a hassle. A taxi to Moncloa will be a flat 30€. And in the worst case of missing the 8:30 bus from Moncloa, the area is in a very nice area, kind of the transition from a residential area to the University of Madrid. You would be able to find a nice café to while away the time till the next bus.
All great info, as usual. Thank you!
 
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Texas Walker

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
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Frances (2014)
Last October, we arrived in Madrid (MAD) and took the bus from there...I had purchased the tickets online before we left. This worked out really well, and we arrived in Leon around (IIRC) 4:30 ish pm...this was last October, I may be a little fuzzy on this...we had a place to stay in Leon reserved and we did a bunch of fast errands there (Go to the sports store and pick up the poles, go to the turismo and get the local map, go to the Benedictine albergue and get the Salvador credencial, after all of these we had a little free time and we walked over to the museo of the Roman walls, where I got to actually *touch* the roman walls fragments, and then we went along and stopped at a restaurant and had a plate of charcutierie and called it dinner, then went to our pension and collapsed.) Oh, we did remember to walk to where the path left the city before we ate dinner. (Highly recommended to figure this out before you go to bed!) Next morning we headed out and walked to Robla.

In early October, you start the morning with most of your layers and then remove as you go, and it was like that a lot on that walk. Unlike walking in the spring, we were walking into shortening days.

The bus from the airport is nice, you will like it. And you can sleep in your seat while you go, much better than trying to stay awake and catch a later one at Moncloa IMHO.

Buen Camino
 

czelnick

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Kumano Kodo 2019
We just did this last Sunday / Monday from Boston, went to catch the Renfe train at 2:00 p.m. which was a long wait in the station but we really wanted to ride the train. If you are going to want to get there sooner I would recommend get the bus from the airport. Be aware we are walking the Salvador now and went through snow today so bring lots of flexible gear.
 

BobY333

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino San Salvador/Primitivo May 2023 (planning!)
We just did this last Sunday / Monday from Boston, went to catch the Renfe train at 2:00 p.m. which was a long wait in the station but we really wanted to ride the train. If you are going to want to get there sooner I would recommend get the bus from the airport. Be aware we are walking the Salvador now and went through snow today so bring lots of flexible gear.
I’m a Sunday night flight too (if you can call 5pm night!). Glad to hear it worked out for you.

My plan now is to clear customs in Madrid and see if I can make the 8:30 at Moncloa. If that’s tight, I’ll wait at the airport for the bus from there. Hopefully will get some more sleep either way!

Snow? Wow. I’ll have layers and a beanie for sure. Now I’ll throw some lightweight gloves in.

I’d love to hear about your experience so far. Maybe not on this thread (maybe the “Overdoing it on the Salvador” thread) that @peregrina2000 posted? There are a bunch of us talking about this the last few days.

Thanks!

Bob
 

BobY333

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino San Salvador/Primitivo May 2023 (planning!)
Thanks for remembering and asking :)

All good news so far. There was no issue getting the 8:30 train despite an hour wait at passport control. Our plane was 20 minutes early and I did take a taxi because lack of sleep meant navigating multiple metros was not going to happen!

I’d also note that they checked everyone’s Spanish Health QR code before letting us through customs.

I just picked up my San Salvador credencial and am having a bite to eat before going to the cathedral.

In 2018 we took our only rest day on the CF in León and I don’t recall it being this beautiful! It could be that the St. Froilan festivities at that time distracted us given the huge crowds.

Looking forward to starting the Camino tomorrow! I’ll try to provide “Live from the Camino” updates.
 
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