Madrid, the capital of Spain, is one of the most visited cities by tourists in Europe. And thanks to its well preserved architecture and beautiful parks, it’s one of the prettiest capitals in the continent.
The same can be said for Barcelona, a popular city on northeastern Spain’s coast, which also happens to be the capital of Catalonia (worth noting that many Catalans think of themselves as a separate nation from the rest of Spain).
Because of their close proximity, it’s natural for many people to include both Madrid and Barcelona in the same trip, so at some point you’ll be planning your travel between them.
To that effect, here are 5 helpful tips!
Safety Tips for Traveling From Barcelona to Madrid
Decide Your Mode of Transport
There are many different ways to get to Madrid from Barcelona, and vice versa. You can take the bus, rent a car, fly, or catch one of many train options.
As far as safety is concerned, all options are equally as safe as each other, though there are definitely tougher security restrictions and passenger checks at airports, which could be an argument for flying over other options.
For road transport, trains and buses are safe, high tech, and highly efficient throughout Spain, though if you choose to drive yourself, you’ll need to weigh up any associated risks with whether or not you’re comfortable driving in a foreign country (and potentially the other side of the road).
Journey time, and time of day should also factor into your decision on safety, ie it’s much safer to catch a short hour and 30 minute flight vs a 6 hour bus ride which makes multiple stops.
When you take the train, traveling from Barcelona to Madrid will take 2.5 hours, and there are two types of high speed trains you can choose from; the standard AVE train and the low-cost Avlo, according to the guys from Travel Foot.
Only Carry What You Need
Your risk to safety increases when you’re traveling with more than you need – navigating public transport with a huge amount of luggage often paints you as a target, as well as distracting you from being aware of your surroundings, etc.
When you’re traveling from Barcelona to Madrid, or vice versa, consider what you actually need. If you’re traveling from one point to the other and then continuing on with your journey, it’s natural you’ll need to take everything with you.
However if you’re visiting for a day trip (absolutely possible with the short plane / train travel time), or even taking a 48 hour short break from one city before returning to the other, consider cutting down on luggage and only taking what you need.
In only carrying what you need, you should also keep your cash to a minimum. Book your transport in advance, and online, so that you don’t have to pull out your wallet at a public terminal.
Guard Your Bag
Because of the vast amount of tourists who descend upon Spain, especially in popular cities like Madrid and Barcelona, and the popular transit routes that connect the two, it’s important to guard your bad against crimes like petty theft.
Make sure you have a bag that is not easily vulnerable and has strong straps. If possible, carry a bag you can strap around your body. This will make it less attractive for anyone who has intentions of snatching.
Remember, even a minor obstacle or inconvenience can be an effective deterrent for thieves. It’s not necessarily about making your bag impenetrable, but just less appealing than the next guys!
If you’ve chosen to sleep while you travel, ie napping on buses, trains, or planes, be sure to loop an arm through one of your bag straps while you sleep. Fasten your bag to the seat, luggage rack, or yourself and always have at least one part of your body connected.
The main point here is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The most common technique for bag theft is distraction. A lot of the time criminals will work in groups, with one person causing a distraction while another takes the bag.
Learn a Few Spanish Words
Some Spaniards especially those living in major cities such as Madrid do speak English. However, most of the population can only communicate in Spanish.
Before you travel from Barcelona to Madrid, learning Spanish can make your travel a lot easier, even if it means mastering only few words. For instance, you can practice how to say hi, and how to ask for directions in Spanish.
It would be catastrophic to get stuck on a bus ride, not knowing which stop to get off at, and without being able to ask for directions or help! This can make you more vulnerable to scams and cons which take advantage of your language barrier.
To this point too, it’s worthwhile putting some effort into blending in like a local. You can research what they dress in Madrid etc so you don’t stand out as a stranger.
Have you traveled from Barcelona to Madrid, or vice versa? What are your tips?