Travel by bus

Barcelona ’s main intra-Spain bus station is the Estació del Nord, a few blocks east of the Arc de Triomf. Busses also depart from the Estació de Sants for long-distance and international lines, as well as from the depots of various private bus companies in Barcelona. The largest national long-haul business in Spain is Alsa-Enatcar. Grup Sarbus serves Catalonia and the Costa Brava with its subsidiary Sarfa. Bus timetables are complicated and confusing; trying to get information by phone is likely to put you on an endless hold. It’s better to plan your bus trip online or through a local travel agent who can quickly book the best way to your destination.

In Spain, private companies provide comfortable and efficient bus services between major cities. Fares are lower than the corresponding train fares, and the service is more extensive: if you want to get somewhere that is not served by rail, you can be sure that the bus will be there.

Most of the larger bus companies have busses with comfortable seats and a suitable legroom; a film is shown on board for longer journeys (two to three hours or more) and earphones are provided. With the exception of smaller , regional busses traveling on short hops, busses have bathrooms on board. It is prohibited to smoke. Most long-distance busses stop for a snack and a bathroom break at least once every two to three hours. Although busses are subject to road and traffic conditions, the highways in Catalonia and the Basque Country, particularly along major routes, are well maintained. That might not be the case in more remote areas where you may be in for a bumpy trip.

You can travel to Spain by bus from London , Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, Prague and other major European cities. It’s a long journey, but the busses are modern and cheap. Eurolines, the main carrier, connects many European cities to Barcelona.

Alsa-Enatcar, the largest national bus company in Spain, has two luxury classes in addition to its regular coach services. The top of the line is the Supra Class, with spacious leather seats, free Wi-Fi Internet access and on-board meals; in this class you also have the option of individual asientos, single-file seats on one side of the bus. The next class is the Eurobus, with comfortable seats and plenty of legroom, but no individual asientos or onboard meals. The Supra Class and Eurobus cost up to 1/3 and 1/4 more than regular coaches, respectively.

Some smaller , regional bus lines (Sarfa, for example, linking Barcelona to the Costa Brava destinations) offer multi-trip bus passes that are worthwhile if you intend to make regular trips between two destinations. Generally, these tickets offer savings of 20% per journey; you can buy them only at the bus station (not on the bus).

The general rule for children is that if they have a seat, they pay.

You can pick up timetable and fare information at the tourist information offices in Plaça de Catalunya, Plaça Sant Jaume or at the Sants train station in Barcelona. A safer and faster alternative is to search online with Omio.

Major credit cards (except American Express) are widely approved at the ticket counters of the bus station. You have to pay in cash for tickets bought on the bus. Traveler checks are almost never accepted. During peak travel times (Easter, August and Christmas), it is always a good idea to make a reservation at least three to four days in advance.

City busses run daily from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Road maps are available at the bus stops. Notice that those with the red band often stop at the central square — Catalunya, Universitat, or Urquinaona — and the blue one, with the N prefix on the bus number, shows the night bus. Barcelona’s 17 night busses generally run until about 5 a.m.