Travel From the Spanish Capital to Galicia

Santiago de Compostella

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Santiago de Compostela is a long way from Madrid and it isn't easy to get there from Madrid. We'd suggest going via a different city, such as Leon, or taking a guided tour.

How to Include Santiago on Your Spain Itinerary

Santiago is 400 miles from Madrid. That's as far as Barcelona or the southern tip of Andalusia. And as the high-speed AVE train doesn't yet reach Santiago, journey times are longer than to pretty much anywhere else in Spain. If you have no interest in visiting anywhere else between Madrid and Santiago, your best option is to fly. 

But if you want to avoid planes, you're going to want to break up your journey. However, as the crow flies, there aren't really any major sights, with only Leon and its fantastic tapas scene really worth stopping for. And even then, you'll only want to make the trip if you're driving, as trains are painfully slow between Leon and Santiago and buses are not much better.

Instead, your best bet is to extend your itinerary somewhat and either head west into Portugal and then north, or north to the Basque Country and then west. However, this adds considerable travel time to your journey, so only do this if there are sights you are interested in along these routes.

Guided Tour

Getting around Galicia is difficult by public transport. So unless you're taking a car, we would suggest visiting Santiago and the surrounding region by guided tour.

Train and Bus

The train from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid takes about five hours, 30 minutes and costs under 50 euros, with beds from about 80 euros. There is also a night train.

There are regular buses throughout the day between Madrid and Santiago de Compostela. The journey takes eight hours and costs more than the train. There are cheaper buses, but these take even longer.

Trains from Madrid to Santiago de Compostela depart from Chamartin train station. Buses from Madrid to Santiago de Compostela depart from Mendez Alvaro bus station.


Driving this 400 miles journey takes about six hours, traveling mainly on the AP-6, A-6, AG-53, and AP-53 highways. Note that AP roads in Spain are toll roads.

Consider a stop in Salamanca or Leon to break up the long journey.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Where can I stop on a drive from Madrid to Santiago de Compostela?

    You can rest for a while and explore in Salamanca and Leon on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

  • How far is it from Madrid to Santiago de Compostela?

    Santiago de Compostela is 400 miles (643 kilometers) from Santiago de Compostela.

  • How can I get from Madrid to Santiago de Compostela?

    You can get there by driving, taking a train, or taking a bus.