How to Travel From Madrid to Jaen by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

The dramatic mountain top village of Segura de la Sierra, Jaen Province, Andalusia, Spain
Douglas Pearson / Getty Images

Jaén is a city in the Andalusian region of south-central Spain that is best known as the World Capital of Olive Oil. Not only is it one of world's biggest olive oil producers, but it's also brimming with UNESCO-recognized historical sites, stunning mountains, national parks, and bars serving up free tapas with your beer. It's 206 miles (331 kilometers) from Spain's bustling capital, Madrid. To get there, you can fly to the nearest airport (in Granada) or travel by bus, car, or train.

  Time Cost Best For
Bus 4 hours from $17 Minding a budget
Train 4 hours from $27 Quick and comfortable public transportation
Plane 2 hours, 30 minutes from $40 Arriving on a time crunch
Car 3 hours, 30 minutes 206 miles (331 kilometers) Exploring the local area

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Madrid to Jaén? 

The bus ride from Madrid to Jaén takes as long as the train ride, but is slightly cheaper. Tickets start around $17 and the trip from Estacion Sur to the Estación de Autobuses de Jaén takes four hours (only slightly longer than it takes to drive it). Buses are operated by Samar and Eurolines and depart several times per day.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Madrid to Jaén? 

The fastest way to get between these two cities is to fly. Jaén is served by the Granada International Airport (i.e. Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport), which is about an hour's drive from Jaén. But according to Skyscanner, a direct flight from Madrid (and there are at least 30 a week) takes just over an hour, so it's still the fastest option. Most flights depart from Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport, a 15-minute train ride from the center. Altogether, flying would take about two and a half hours, not including wait times at the airport. Iberia, airBaltic, and American Airlines travel this route directly, with one-way tickets starting around $40.

How Long Does It Take to Drive? 

The 206-mile (331-kilometer) journey from Madrid to Jaén takes, on average, three and a half hours to drive. The most direct route follows the A-4 nearly the entire way, through the picturesque hills and farmland of Andalusia. According to ViaMichelin, there are no tolls on the A-4.

How Long Is the Train Ride? 

The train from Madrid to Jaén takes about four hours and costs a little bit more than the bus (around $27), but Renfe trains are generally more comfortable than buses. Most of them even offer free wifi. Trains depart from Madrid-Atocha Cercanias throughout the day and arrive at Jaén Railway Station, less than a mile north of the city center. Tickets can be purchased directly through Renfe or via Rail Europe.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Jaén? 

The Andalusian region gets hot during the summertime (and the crowds frequent this tourist-centric area, too), so try to plan your trip between March and June or September through November. When traveling out of the Madrid city center, it's best to avoid rush hour times. Traveling to the airport or out of the downtown area by car or train can be a nightmare when the locals are going to or coming from work.

What’s the Most Scenic Route to Jaén? 

If you want to make a road trip of it, then go by way of Toledo, an old ,UNESCO-recognized walled city set on a hill, and Ciudad Real, with its hilly landscape and Moorish church. These two stops add about an hour to the commute.

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport? 

There is no public transport that goes directly from the Granada Airport to Jaén, seeing as it's so far away, but you can take the 15-minute, $4 shuttle provided by Granada Transit to the bus station and catch a BlaBlaBus to Jaén from there. The bus ride costs about $10 and takes an hour and 15 minutes.

What Is There to Do in Jaén? 

Jaén is full of stunning historical sites such as Saint Catalina's Castle, the Assumption of the Virgin Cathedral, the Centro Cultural Baños Árabes, and Museo de Jaén, which houses all sorts of artifacts and treasures. Like in other parts of Spain, the tapas bars in Jaén serve complimentary snacks with the purchase of a drink (be it a beer, a cocktail, or a soda), but its main claim to fame is olive oil, of which Jaén is known as the world capital. You'll want to get out and explore other nearby Andalusian destinations, too, such as Úbeda, Córdoba, and Granada.

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