Going from Madrid to Algeciras or Tarifa
Are you going from Madrid to Tarifa or Algeciras? Here’s what to expect and how to do it:
Looking out the window of a Renfe train to Algeciras, there are herds of sheep, some lambs in the group, romping through a pasture, running through the shade of some occasional trees. The train runs along a little stream, there’s a mossy green mountain some 80 meters away. In the beginning of the train ride, leaving from Puerta de Atocha in Madrid, everything was white, covered with snow. But now everything is green and reddish brown.
Approaching Algeciras, you start to see the Straight of Gibraltar through rolling green hills. Continuing down to the most Southern point of Spain, you will find a small village with people stopping to chat to each other as their paths cross on cobble stone walkways. People go horseback riding on the beach, they have drinks at cafes and go kite surfing until nightfall. Sitting on the beach, you can see Morocco across the water. When the sun sets behind Africa, the locals leave the cafes, tie up their catamarans, and hit the pubs and discos for the night.
For a piece of heaven, go to the bottom of Spain: Tarifa
To get to Tarifa from Madrid by train, you must first take the train from Puerta de Atocha train station in Madrid to Algeciras, and then take a 30-minute bus ride from Algeciras to Tarifa.
Step One: Madrid to Algeciras
There are two trains linking Madrid to Algeciras. Both depart from Atocha station and the journey takes about 5 h 30 min. The 8:40 a.m. train runs daily, but only between June 15 and July 26, while the 3:05 p.m. train runs daily, year round. A one way ticket costs €66.10 per person while the RT journey costs €105.
It’s best not to miss the train, unless you want to find accommodation in Algeciras, which, by the way, is not exactly the most charming city.
>>schedule and prices can be found here
Alsa runs the buses between Madrid and Algeciras. There are three buses per day (11 a.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.) and the journey takes 8 h 45 min. A one-way ticket costs €27.77 per person, while the RT costs €47.21 per person.
Renting a car is a good choice is you prefer to explore Spain at your own pace. There are two possible routes between Madrid and Algeciras. One is on A-4 (671 km) and takes little over 7 h and the other is on A-5 (716 km) and takes little over 7 h 30 min. Some of the roads are partial toll roads.
Here’s a map of the shortest route to help with directions:
View Larger Map
Step Two: Algeciras to Tarifa
There are 10 buses per day (on weekdays) departing from Algeciras and the journey takes anything between 45 min and 1 hour. On weekends and National holidays there are only 7-8 buses per day. A one way ticket costs €1.87 per person.
>>schedule available here (in Spanish only)
A taxi from Algeciras to Tarifa costs about €25.
The driving distance between Algeciras and Tarifa is 22 km and takes about 30 min. You’ll be driving on N-340 and there are no toll roads on this route.
Here’s a map to help with directions:
View Larger Map
By guest writer Babbie Dunnington
Babbie Dunnington was born in Nassawadox, a small town on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The daughter of a Venezuelan mother and a Virginian father, Babbie had a multicultural upbringing. Born into a ‘globetrotting’ family, she has travelled through Aruba, Austria, the Bahamas, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and, of course, Venezuela, to visit her relatives.
Majoring in Modern Foreign Languages (with a concentration in Spanish), and English (with a concentration in World Literature), she graduated from James Madison University in 2007, and has just returned from a year of teaching English in Sokcho, South Korea.
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