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How Much Time to Allow from MAD/Barajas to Estacion Sur to Catch Bus to Leon?

Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019, Coastal Portuguese 2022, 1/2 CF Fall 2022
Hi all!

Thank you so much for all your wonderful information! We are almost on the way for our two week Camino from Leon to Santiago. Just one last question! : )

Our flight arrives 06:20 at MAD/Barajas on Friday October 14th (direct flight from US). We are checking our backpacks. The Alsa bus from MAD does not leave until 13:30, so we plan to catch a morning bus from Estacion Sur (also since Renfe from Charmatrin does not leave until 11:10).

There is a 09:15, 09:30, and 10:30 Alsa bus from Estacion Sur. There are two of us, so we will probably take a flat rate 30 euro taxi to Estacion Sur. Do you think we should book the 09:15 or 09:30, or go with the 10:30 Alsa bus from Estacion Sur? I am the sort of person who is early for trains and planes, and hate to stress about timing, so thinking about the 10:30---but hate to have too much extra time. : )

Thanks in advance, much appreciated!!
 
Last edited:
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Hi all!

Thank you so much for all your wonderful information! We are almost on the way for our two week Camino from Leon to Santiago. Just one last question! : )

Our flight arrives 06:20 at MAD/Barajas on Friday October 14th. We are checking our backpacks. The Alsa bus from MAD does not leave until 13:30, so we plan to catch a morning bus from Estacion Sur (also since Renfe from Charmatrin does not leave until 11:10).

There is a 09:15, 09:30, and 10:30 Alsa bus from Estacion Sur. There are two of us, so we will probably take a flat rate 30 euro taxi to Estacion Sur. Do you think we should book the 09:15 or 09:30, or go with the 10:30 Alsa bus from Estacion Sur? I am the sort of person who is early for trains and planes, and hate to stress about timing, so thinking about the 10:30---but hate to have too much extra time. : )

Thanks in advance, much appreciated!!
If it were me, I'd go for the 10.30. I'd rather have time on my hands than stress. Your plane may be delayed, it will take time to clear the formalities etc but if all goes smoothly you can enjoy a leisurely cafe con leche as you congratulate your self on your foresight. Or even the 11.10 train - it might arrive in Leon earlier than the bus anyway and railway stations are much nicer places to kill time. The train station and bus station in Leon are almost next door and walking distance from the centre.
 
Many thanks!! Yes, I agree on more time/less stress (as soon as I wrote this, I think I knew the answer!)

The train actually leaves from Chamatrin, not Atocha (latter is near Estacion Sur). Chamatrin is for the northern trains and on the northern side of Madrid.

Good point on arrival time! The train arrives at 13:30 and the 10:30 bus arrives 14:30. The 9ish buses are about the same arrival time as the train.
 
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The train, definitely. Take the metro train from Barajas to Chamartin… about a 15 minute ride.
If you take the train as Robert recommends, buy your ticket for the train from the farthest set of vending machines as you approach them.

There are two types of ticket machines. The first set you will come to is selling tickets for the metro (subway), which will take you to Chamartin but takes longer and may require a change of metro lines.

Buy a ticket from the second set of machines which are for the train (commuter rail) that runs direct to Chamartin from the airport. (The train turnstiles, which are 50 meters following a left turn after the ticket vending machines, won't accept a metro ticket.

I know this sounds confusing. My confusion cost me Eu 5+ last time I bought tickets there. 🙄
 
Hi all!

Thank you so much for all your wonderful information! We are almost on the way for our two week Camino from Leon to Santiago. Just one last question! : )

Our flight arrives 06:20 at MAD/Barajas on Friday October 14th (direct flight from US). We are checking our backpacks. The Alsa bus from MAD does not leave until 13:30, so we plan to catch a morning bus from Estacion Sur (also since Renfe from Charmatrin does not leave until 11:10).

There is a 09:15, 09:30, and 10:30 Alsa bus from Estacion Sur. There are two of us, so we will probably take a flat rate 30 euro taxi to Estacion Sur. Do you think we should book the 09:15 or 09:30, or go with the 10:30 Alsa bus from Estacion Sur? I am the sort of person who is early for trains and planes, and hate to stress about timing, so thinking about the 10:30---but hate to have too much extra time. : )

Thanks in advance, much appreciated!!
Hi. Recently took the Alsa bus from Terminal 4 and I would suggest booking. I was very lucky to get a seat. With relation to time I think the 9.15am is fine considering you are getting a taxi. If booking you may be able to get the Supra ticket which gives ye wonderful seats. Alsas version of 1st class. You don't get that option on the 9.30 0r 10.30am. P.s the San Salvador was beautiful so Buen Camino. Daniel
 
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If you take the train as Robert recommends, buy your ticket for the train from the farthest set of vending machines as you approach them.

There are two types of ticket machines. The first set you will come to is selling tickets for the metro (subway), which will take you to Chamartin but takes longer and may require a change of metro lines.

Buy a ticket from the second set of machines which are for the train (commuter rail) that runs direct to Chamartin from the airport. (The train turnstiles, which are 50 meters following a left turn after the ticket vending machines, won't accept a metro ticket.

I know this sounds confusing. My confusion cost me Eu 5+ last time I bought tickets there. 🙄
When you buy a Renfe ticket for the long distance train, you can choose an option which includes the commuter connecting trains, so no need to buy a separate ticket. The QR or barcode on the Renfe ticket will operate the turnstile to the commuter trains (called the Cercanías) at the airport.
 
If you take the train as Robert recommends, buy your ticket for the train from the farthest set of vending machines as you approach them.

There are two types of ticket machines. The first set you will come to is selling tickets for the metro (subway), which will take you to Chamartin but takes longer and may require a change of metro lines.

Buy a ticket from the second set of machines which are for the train (commuter rail) that runs direct to Chamartin from the airport. (The train turnstiles, which are 50 meters following a left turn after the ticket vending machines, won't accept a metro ticket.

I know this sounds confusing. My confusion cost me Eu 5+ last time I bought tickets there. 🙄
Many thanks, all! Apologies, I haven't logged in for awhile, after I decided to buy the train ticket. All super wonderful advice, much appreciated!!
 

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