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REVEALED: The parts of Spain with the worst transport links

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
REVEALED: The parts of Spain with the worst transport links
Faster to get there walking? Some parts of Spain offer average if not poor transport links to the rest of the country and the continent.(Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

Some Spanish provinces offer pretty poor flight, rail and road connections that make travelling to other parts of the country or abroad painstaking at best, something worth considering when choosing where to move in Spain. 


It’s undeniable that Spain’s transport network is overall very impressive, with thousands of flights, trains, buses and trains operating on a daily basis.

There are 44 airports run by Spain’s national operator AENA, more than 200 train stations (30 of which have high-speed trains), 26 ferry ports, 36 major motorways, not to mention the efficient local transport networks working within the country’s main cities.


However, Spain is known for being a land of contrasts, and the same can be said for its transport network. 

In fact, the most famed divergence - that of empty inland Spain (La España Vaciada) compared to the busy and ‘overpopulated’ Spanish coast - largely influences these disparities in transport availability. 

Five of the country’s 50 provinces have neither an airport, nor high-speed rail, and - often for geographical reasons - no ports for ferries. 

The city and province of Soria in the vast Castilla y León region is among them, and it’s also waiting for the motorway Autovía del Duero to connect it to the nearby cities of Valladolid and León, meaning that even travel by car in the region takes longer than it should. 

Three other provinces in Castilla y León - Zamora, Segovia and Palencia - don’t have an airport either, which means that residents have to go to either Valladolid, Salamanca, León or Burgos to catch a domestic flight (these airports don’t offer many international flights).

READ ALSO: What's life like in Palencia (Spain's cheapest city)?

The northeastern underpopulated province of Teruel in Aragón, where there’s even a political party called Teruel Existe (Teruel Exists) is another part of the country which has a poor transport network. It has an airport, but its mainly used as an aircraft parking lot.

Then there’s the impressive walled city of Ávila, which despite only being 110 kilometres from Spain’s capital, doesn’t have high-speed rail links to Madrid, meaning it takes two hours to reach Barajas airport.

In northwestern Spain, Lugo is perhaps the Galician province with the worst transport links as it has neither a ferry port, nor an airport nor high-speed AVE rail links.

In southern Spain, Jaén stands out for having some of the worst transport links in the Andalusia region. It may technically share the Federico García Lorca airport with Granada, but this is far closer to the latter than to Jaén. 

And it may come as no surprise that Cáceres and Badajoz in Extremadura, nestled inland on the border with Portugal, don’t have particularly good transport links either. Badajoz does have an airport, through which only 65,000 passengers travel every year. 

Further south and also on the border with Portugal is Huelva, which may have a port but no high-speed rail network. 


Renfe’s high-speed network still has a long way to go; it’s recently reached parts of Galicia and the city of Burgos but regions such as the Basque Country, Navarre, La Rioja, Asturias and Cantabria are still not reachable by AVE. 

This is one of the reasons why it’s so arduous to reach Portugal by train from Spain, as the network in the west of the country hasn’t been modernised.

READ MORE: Why are there so few trains between Spain and Portugal?

New low-cost companies Ouigo and Iryo have also so far ignored northern, southern and western Spain. 

As for the Spanish airports with some of the fewest number of national and international destinations, these include Burgos, Córdoba, Logroño, Salamanca, León and Algeciras, all of which have fewer than 50,000 passengers a year. 

For people living in these provinces, there is often no choice but to travel several hours to the busier airports of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Málaga in order to catch their flight of choice. 

It may be a dream for many foreigners to find peace in one of Spain’s quieter corners, but the reality is that this comes with longer travelling times and fewer transport options, as the Spanish capital as well as Spain’s eastern and southern coast, as well as the Canary and Balearics Islands, offer far better transport connections due to high demand and popularity.


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Roger 2023/11/14 12:37
Algeciras has an airport??
KevinC 2023/10/16 20:28
Pretty sure we took AVE high-speed rail to Oviedo from Madrid back in 2014, so Asturias is (or was) reachable by AVE.

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