Coming from the big city of Barcelona—with its skyscrapers, expansive metro system, and millions of residents—Granada feels like a small and magical town tucked away in the mountains. They can sometimes feel like they're a million miles apart, but really it's just 535 miles from one city to the other by car, traversing nearly the entire length of Spain from north to south.
Flying is the cheapest and fastest way to get to Granada from Barcelona, although if you look into tickets early enough, then the train is usually about the same price. A bus is available, but it's a long journey and also much more expensive than flying. Going directly from Barcelona to Granada means missing out on all of Spain between the two cities, and driving yourself offers the freedom to explore and make pitstops along the way.
|Train||6 hours, 20 minutes||from $38||Comfortable traveling|
|Bus||13 hours||from $88||Those up for an adventure|
|Flight||1 hour, 30 minutes||from $32||Arriving quickly and cheaply|
|Car||8 hours||535 miles (837 kilometers)||Exploring Spain|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Barcelona to Granada?
Low-cost Spanish airline Vueling flies a few times a day from Barcelona to Granada, and with tickets starting at roughly $32, it's the most affordable way to get there (even cheaper than the bus or train). Last-minute flights do get more expensive, but normally don't rise as quickly—or drastically—as train tickets.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Barcelona to Granada?
Even once you factor in all of the time it takes to get to and from the airport, check in for your flight, pass through security, and wait at your gate, flying is still the fastest way to get from Barcelona to Granada. The time in the air is only one hour and 30 minutes, but you should plan for about four hours of total travel time once you include all of the other components of air travel—still significantly shorter than the six hours you'd spend on the train.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
Driving isn't the cheapest, fastest, or easiest method for getting from Barcelona to Granada, but it's the best way for those who want the journey to be a part of their trip. The drive takes about eight to nine hours if you drive straight through and is over 530 miles—much of which is along the Mediterranean coastline. If you have the time, make pitstops in major cities along the route, such as Valencia or Murcia. You'll also pass through smaller cities that pack just as much charm, such as Alicante on the coast or Jaén in Andalusia.
Parking in the city center of Granada is complicated, especially if your accommodations are located in the tiny and winding streets of the Albaicín district. You won't need a vehicle to get around once you're in Granada, so you'll be better off finding free street parking or a garage outside of the city center and leaving your car there.
Another option for taking a car to Granada without driving yourself is to reserve a seat in a BlaBlaCar. This popular travel site connects drivers with potential passengers, and you can pay for a seat in someone's car who's already driving to Granada. The cost is usually very affordable and it's also a great way to get to know a local while visiting Spain.
How Long Is the Train Ride?
There is one daily train from Barcelona Sants station that goes to Granada, leaving early in the morning and arriving just in time for Spanish lunch at 2 p.m. The journey takes just under six and a half hours on the high-speed AVE train, and tickets start at about $38 if you're able to purchase them right after they are released. Tickets go on sale about 90 days before the travel date and this is the best time to make reservations if you have your itinerary already set. The longer you wait, the more expensive tickets get, rising up to $150 or more for a one-way ticket. Check out the schedule and buy tickets directly through Renfe, Spain's national railway service.
The train stations are centrally located in their respective cities, so getting to and from each station is a cinch. The train is arguably the most comfortable method of transport, but the route goes through Spain's interior and isn't nearly as scenic as driving along the coast.
Tip: Traveling by train offers the option to make a stop in Madrid via the low-cost, high-speed Avlo train, before continuing on to Granada. Not only are you able to visit another city, but it might actually be cheaper than buying one AVE ticket from Barcelona to Granada.
Is There a Bus That Goes From Barcelona to Granada?
Buses from Barcelona to Granada are slow and expensive, with the 13-hour journey costing about $90 through the bus company ALSA. Last-minute train purchases may be more expensive, but you can almost always find a flight that costs less than the bus—and takes a fraction of the time. If you need to take a bus, try splitting up the trip into two legs and spending some time in Madrid to break up the journey.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Granada?
There's no time like spring to be in Granada. The bright flowers in bloom against the white-washed walls of the Albaicín neighborhood and the verdant landscape of the surrounding mountains are remarkable, and the average high temperature hovers around a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius). Summer in the south of Spain can be unbearably hot, although Granada's elevation keeps it relatively cool compared to other cities in the region, such as Seville and Cordoba. For travelers who enjoy winter sports, Granada is a perfect base point for exploring the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains, one of the best places for skiing and snowboarding in all of Spain.
What's the Most Scenic Route to Granada?
Because trains and buses cut through the country's monotonous interior, you'll get the best views and pass through some of Spain's best beach towns by driving yourself. Renting a vehicle gives you the freedom to make pitstops and detours wherever you see fit, but even the most direct route to Granada is a breathtaking drive. The entire first half hugs the coastline and you'll have the Mediterranean Sea glistening right out the driver's side window. After passing through Valencia, you can continue down the coast through Murcia or cut over and drive through Jaén, a region famous for its endless orchards of olive trees.
Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?
Granada's airport is small and located about 10 miles outside of the city center, but an airport bus shuttles passengers directly from the terminal into the city. The bus only costs 3 euros—just over $3—payable in cash to the driver, and the journey takes up to 45 minutes depending on which stop you get off at. Buses leave seven days a week and depart about once an hour from 5:20 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you arrive outside of that time or prefer to take a cab, taxis into the city are metered and start at $25.
What Is There to Do in Granada?
Granada may be one of Spain's most entrancing cities, with its colorful streets, historical landmarks, gorgeous scenery, and neverending tapas. The main attraction and must-see landmark is the Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was built in the 13th century as a Moorish palace and today remains one of the best-preserved examples of Islamic art and architecture in Europe. The Albaicín and Sacromonte neighborhoods are made up of a labyrinth of streets, appealing to both the eyes and ears as you can normally hear locals strumming flamenco tunes on their guitars. Granada is known throughout Spain as one of the best places to enjoy tapas, and you can easily fill up just by ordering drinks and enjoying the delicious snacks that accompany them.