Getting to Barcelona by bus
I’m not sure anyone relishes sitting in what amounts to a motorised tin can for hours on end in order to reach Barcelona, and with the cost of flying so absurdly cheap when booked far enough in advance that it must have stolen a good chunk of the bus market to Barcelona, but it is still possible to travel to Barcelona by bus from as far a field as London.
In fact the buses to Barcelona from London are extremely limited, with one National Express bus leaving Victoria Coach Station every Friday, with a transfer in Lyon; the entire journey is a bone crunching 29+ hours!
As an example I ran a search for one adult travelling from London Victoria to Barcelona leaving three weeks from today – 29 January 2009 – booking through the National Express website. The price – a whopping £85 for a single or £126 for an open dated return compares against £58 single on EasyJet or £159 returning on Sunday afternoon, the most expensive time to return after the weekend.
The Madrid to Barcelona bus
If you’re looking to travel from Madrid to Barcelona then a quick look at the ALSA website reveals that it is still worthwhile doing, although takes much longer than the high speed train. A single fare varies between €28 and €47 depending on the time of travel and return is from €51 to €90 at the time of writing.
Buses to Barcelona depart frequently and so if you’ve flown into Spain’s capital before visiting Barcelona and don’t mind a journey time of at least 8 hours then this may be a cost effective option, but check against internal flights to Barcelona to gauge what the true saving – or not – really is before travel.
Other routes to Barcelona
In addition to the London-Barcelona and Madrid-Barcelona routes, you should check Eurolines for information on other routes. For instance, Paris to Barcelona costs €31 single, although once again it is an 18 hour journey.
All in all taking the bus to Barcelona is uncomfortable, isn’t much cheaper than flying with a budget airline and requires a huge amount of time to travel any distance. Unless you really don’t like flying the best advice is to steer clear of the bus and travel by air or rail.