You can get to Salamanca only with Avanzabus from Madrid by bus directly from the Madrid-Barajas airport leaving aprox. every hour.
They offer an expres bus with a lot of extras including wifi to access internet from inside the bus (you can check them all at www.salamancabarajas.com).
Also you can buy your tickets online at www.avanzabus.com so you can be ready when you arrive at the airport.
Although I am a railfan, I gave up the idea of travelling from Madrid to Salamanca by train, since in 2003 there were only five couples of trains a day and the journey was longer and more expensive than by bus.
So, I took a bus of AUTO RES. Buses leave every hour from the station located in Plaza del Conde de Casal (Conde de Casal stop on metro line 6) and there are two kinds of services:
1) standard buses stop at any village where a passanger needs to get off. Happily, when I travelled from Madrid to Salamanca, no one needed to get off at a village. These buses are not very comfortable but they are cheap. I paid around 9.70 euro.
2) express buses connect Madrid to the destination without any intermediate stop. They are faster and more comfortable than standard buses (you can even watch a film during the journey!) but they are also more expensive: over 13 euro, which is similar to the price of the train.
NB: All this information refers to 2003. Prices may have changed, so check the websites of AUTO RES and RENFE (the Spanish train operator) before deciding.
According to the lastest route maps, bus service could be rather direct. Take Line 1 (Cipreses) and it goes right past the plaza. Here is the route http://www.gruporuiz.com/plantillas/salamanca/verlinea.php?id=1
Salamanca in Castilla y León some 217 kms. northwest of Madrid. From this city, take road A6 that becomes AP6, then, follow the signs.
Some road distances to Salamanca from:
- Madrid: 217 kms.
- Lisbon (Portugal): 472 kms.
- Amsterdam (Holland): 1.762 kms.
- Budapest (Hungary): 2.599 kms.
- Athens (Greece): 3.782 kms.
Checking the website, you can find some more road distances together with the driving times and the best routes.
There are several trains per day from the Charmartin station. They take about 2.5 hours and cost under E20 return. On the way you will be passing through some very beautiful scenery with ravines and meadows covered with glacial boulders. Trains used on this route are not terribly comfortable and rather slow in comparison to Talgo and AVE, but they don't cost much. Timetables can be viewed on www.renfe.es. Bus 1 departs train station to the center, or you can walk, it will take you less than 30 min to reach Plaza Mayor: take Paseo de la Estacion, past Plaza de Alamedilla, then Calle Toro.
If you arrive to Madrid Barajas by plane, the easiest way to get to the bus station is by metro. You should take the pink line (8) to "Nuevos Ministerios", and here change train to the grey (circle) line (6) to "Conde de Casal" where the bus station is situated. A oneway ticket for the metro is 1€ (April 2007). Otherwise you can catch a cab in the airport, but this might be more expensive of course!
The two most used ways to getting to or from Salamanca is either by bus or by train. I've only tried the bus and it's easy and not that expensive. The bus leaves from the bus station in Madrid close the metro station "Conde de Casal" (Estacion de autobusses, Auto Res) - in the same building as the hotel "Hotel Claridge" which is very easy to spot! There exists two kinds of tickets - normal or express - (prices April 2007: Normal oneway; 11,25€ Express oneway; 17€) The express lasts around 2½ hour and the normal around 3- 3½. It's absolutely worth spending the extra money - the seats are much more comfortable, there is more space for your legs and the trip is shorter! The normal bus stops in every small village which might be charming but not at 1am. after a long flight to Madrid...
I took the slow, public bus from Madrid, which took two and a half hours and cost me 5 Euros. There are some private companies, such as Auto Res that might get you there a tad faster, but at a higher cost. You can catch a private bus in Madrid at the Auto Res station at Fernandez Shaw 1 which will drop off in Salamanca at Calle La Salud 19.
The roundtrip is 26 Euros (as of Fall of 2004).
If you are getting the train from Madrid get your tickets in advance if you can. The queue to get them prior to departure can be long and can lead to missing your train. Trains from Madrid to Salamanca depart from Madrid Chamartin which you can get to using the Metro. The journey takes a very pleasant 2 1/4 hrs
The train is more comfortable than the bus in my opinion, because there's more leg room and the seats are more comfy. Just buy the ticket in the train station. There is a schedule there, so you can check the times and tell them what you want. I recommend buying your ticket at least a few days in advance, especially if it's likely to be busy during that time. Both times that I took the train out of Salamanca to Madrid, it was full with no empty seats that I could see.
A one-way ticket from Salamanca to Madrid is around 14 Euros, and the ride is about 3 hours. A return ticket for Salamanca-Avila is around 11-12 Euros and the ride is about an hour.
Like with the bus, look out the windows. You'll see gorgeous landscapes, towns, and maybe even some old castle towers, pieces of old walls, and fields with bullfight bulls in them.
The train station is on Paseo de la Estacion. It's in a building with shops, cafes, and a movie theatre. But if you're telling a taxi to take you to the station, just say "Estacion de tren".
Walking is the best way. Everything in Salamanca is within walking distance. It usually took me 10-15 minutes to walk from Paseo de Canalejas to the Plaza Mayor. There are many old cobblestone streets in the downtown area, so I would suggest wearing comfortable walking shoes (although I had no trouble walking in heels).
Taxis are also available, and there are a few taxi stops scattered around the city. Taxis aren't usually very expensive. Just a small warning though - if you're phoning for a taxi, apparently the girl who answers the phone is extremely rude and cranky. A girl in my group told me, and so did someone else...
To get to places outside Salamanca (such as across the river), there are busses available. But I'm not sure at what parts of the city they stop to let people on.
To get to or away from Salamanca, you can take the bus. We took a bus from Madrid, and the ride was a few hours. I personally prefer the train, since it's more comfortable, but the bus is fine too. A bus ride between Salamanca and Barcelona is about 10 hours. On the way to Lisbon, Portugal, we took a tour bus (it was a tour organized by the university). We left Salamanca early in the morning, and arrived in Lisbon in the afternoon.
A one-way ticket from Madrid to Salamanca is around 14 Euros, and a return ticket for Salamanca-Barcelona is around 30 Euros. For long bus rides (like to Barcelona or Lisbon), the bus makes pit stops so you can walk around for a bit (to loosen up cramped legs) and get something to eat.
On the way to or from Salamanca, look out the bus windows. You'll see all sorts of fields and landscapes. Once, I saw a field with bullfight bulls in it, and I've also seen a few hills covered in houses. You might pass through a few small towns too.
The bus station address is:
Avenida De Filiberto Villalobos, 71-85
When asking a taxi to take you to the bus station, it's "Estacion de autobus".
Salamanca is best reached by train from madrid if not driving. Regional trains leave Madrids Charmatin Station several times a day for the 2 1/2 half trip. Enroute, you may see some pretty parts of the Spanish countryside too.
I travelled by bus from Coimbra in Portugal, arriving at Salamanca's main bus station on Avenida Filiberto Villalobos.
From here you will find buses to all parts of Spain - I went to Madrid from here, 3 hours.
There is a regular bus service from Madrid; Auto Res is the company, and the buses are really comfortable. From Madrid to Salamanca is a 2:30 hours trip.
Hay un servicio regular de buses desde Madrid, que brinda la Compañía Auto Res; los buses son realmente cómodos.El viaje lleva 2:30 horas.