The distance between Madrid and Valencia is 222 miles (357 km). The quickest mode of transportation to get from one city to the other is by plane, a quick one-hour flight. You can also take a two-hour train ride or a leisurely 3.5-hour drive (with a rental car or private transfer), depending on your preference. The bus is the longest option available and offers a four-hour route.
While planning your itinerary, consider this 9-day family-friendly trip to Valencia and Madrid, as well as Barcelona.
Duration: 1 hour
A plane is the fastest way to get from Madrid to Valencia and is the most convenient way to go. The flight from Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport to Valencia Airport is approximately one hour. There are two airlines that offer this route and numerous flights each day—booking ahead is recommended.
Duration: 1 hour and 40 minutes
A Renfe train ride is another great option—it's quick and easy, and runs almost every hour. The high-speed trains are called “Ave,” and prices are reasonable. You can purchase tickets online (and print them out), via the Renfe app, or at the train station. You may have the option to select a "flexible" fare, which allows you to modify your trip if needed. Make sure to be seated on the train at least 5-10 minutes prior to departure.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 3.5 hours, more with stops
If you'd like to do some sightseeing on your own, driving will provide that freedom. There are many rental car services to reserve in Madrid. Small rental cars are popular choices, since streets are often very narrow, and parking can be hard to find when you plan to stop. Note that Google Maps is an efficient GPS to use in Spain.
First, take Calle de Alcalá and Calle de O'Donnell to M-23. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto A-40, heading to Cuenca, the perfect midway stop for a rest or a bite. It is a UNESCO World Heritage City, and it is well known—especially for its hanging houses and the 12th-14th-century Romanesque cathedral. Then, continue onto A-3 for 1 more hour, until you reach Valencia.
To avoid the chaotic driving conditions in Madrid and the stress of finding your way, consider a private transfer. Private transfers can be arranged for pickup at the airport of other convenient locations in Madrid, but additional costs (like tolls) should be taken into account prior to booking.
Duration: 4 hours
The bus runs frequently, but note that weekends and holidays offer less scheduling options. The company that runs the 4-hour route from Madrid to Valencia is called Avanza, and tickets can be purchased online or at the station.