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How to get from Santiago Airport to Sarria

How to get from Santiago Airport to Sarria

If you are starting in Sarria to do the, probably most popular, last stretch of the Camino Francés, chances are you’ll arrive at Santiago Airport (Labacolla). If you’re from outside Europe you’ll probably have a connecting flight from Madrid. The next step in your planning is to figure out how to get to Sarria. Some people ask around in a forum or Facebook page (hello fellow Camigas, as promised!!!) how to get from Santiago Airport to Sarria.

The most popular answer that fellow pilgrims give is a reference to the website ‘Rome2Rio’ – which is a great site for high-level planning, no doubt – but in this case it will give you the wrong idea, not enough options and even incomplete information:

Option 1 in R2R guides you towards a bus + train combo that makes no sense at all. Look at the map below.

I  mean, sure, all roads lead to Rome (or Sarria in this case) but come on… this is way off.

First of all, the bus from the airport to Curtis just has twice daily a connection. Not really the wiggle room you want if you are searching for some decent connection options, right?

Secondly, the train from Curtis to Sarria is only 3 times a day and is way more expensive than going by bus. This is because two of them are long-distance trains which happen to stop in smaller locations like Curtis and Sarria. These ‘trenhotel’ are much more expensive. Looking for ‘Curtis to Sarria’ in the Spanish Train website (RENFE) shows you what I’m talking about:

The only real ‘normal’ connection is at 20.43 with a ‘MD’ train (medium distance) which will cost you a decent 9.25 Euro. However, 22.01 hours is not a nice time to arrive at your destination. So only for folks that do not want to travel by bus for some reason and who are willing to pay 20 Euros it might be an option to take the 18.34 train.

No, if you must go by train, there are other options, but that will be subject for another blog.

Assuming you want to have more and better options by bus, leaving directly from the airport, read on.

Option 2 in R2R is on the right track (2 buses, one to Lugo, then one on to Sarria).

However, the schedule given is not the right one.

First of all, for the first bus to Lugo, it gives you a link to a site that is not the right one from the bus company and is very user unfriendly for non-Spanish speaking folks. A site where you will get lost trying to find the options I’m about to present.
Secondly, for the bus to Sarria it states that the bus leaves 6 times a week with the company Monbus. The right company….wrong schedule. Not wrong – the connection exists, but there are more options, really…

For the sake of being complete…

Option 3 in R2R is not worth discussing. You have to leave the airport, search for some vague bus stop at a cross-roads to go first to Santiago city (bus station) and then take a direct bus to Sarria with the bus company Monbus…which is indeed a special connection that only is available 6 times a week…

Option 4 in R2R is to take a taxi. That’s really not necessary. Even if you find the maximum numbers of pilgrims to share the taxi with (4?) you’ll still be spending at least 30 or 35 Euro per person…that’s 3 nights worth of accommodation in a private albergue, 3 Pilgrim menu’s, or a lot of snacks. If you’re going ‘the-luxe’ and want to grab a taxi: it’s your Camino, by all means!

Now, if you have less money to spend, and you simply want to get asap to Sarria after arriving at Santiago Airport here’s what you  need to do, step by step:

Step 1

You arrive in Santiago Airport and pick up your luggage if applicable. Santiago Airport is small. Once you go through the doors and arrive in the main lobby, you’ll see a bar/café corner just in front of you. Proceed to the right to the main entrance/exit.

The bus to Lugo picks you up at the doorsteps, right in front of the entrance. The bus is sometimes a tiny bit later than the schedule indicates. If you get nervous: go inside to the information desk and ask for the bus to Lugo (they’ll point you to outside and will tell you when to expect it). You need to buy your ticket in the bus.

The bus is from the company FREIRE, and it will have their name on the bus, so that’s an easy one. Just ask the driver “bus to Lugo?” and you’ll get your needed confirmation that you’ll be hopping on the right bus.

This is their website: empresa freire

This is the search window where you’ll need to do a search for: ‘Labacolla Airport (SCQ)’ to ‘Lugo (Bus Station)’.

As you can see from the results (always check your own dates!) there are 7 connections a day (3 less on Sundays), all arriving at decent times in Lugo. It’s a less than 2 hour ride and it will cost you 9.45 Euro. This is by the way the reason R2R does not work in this case. It searches the web and will not find ‘Labacolla airport’- which is the name Freire uses in their online schedule. Details matter apparently ;-).

Luggage (your backpack) goes in the lower compartments, just remember to ask the driver in which side (left or ride) you have to put your luggage, and remember on which side you put it, so you can retrieve it easily once you arrive in Lugo.

It’s a pleasant ride and you’ll be stopping a couple of times in villages along the Camino. So you’ll see plenty of pilgrims walking (and taking the bus ;-))!

Step 2

In Lugo, you will arrive at the final destination of this bus: the bus station. Get off, get your backpack and walk to the entrance where you’ll see an info desk/window. Ask for the bus to Sarria. They’ll point you to the ticket sales window of the company ‘Monbus’. Depending on the time, you might get referred to the bus itself, in that case: you buy your ticket in the bus once again.

To make sure you get on the right bus, ask the driver again ‘bus to Sarria?’. You’ll be more relaxed if you do I bet! I’m Galician, do this every year and I even ask for confirmation. You never know if they changed anything right?

This is the website of the company Monbus

In the search window, search as follows:

As you’ll see, you have a lot of connections every day. The ticket will cost you 3.70 Euro and it’s a 35 minute ride.

Here’s an example for the date I searched for (always check your own date!):

As you can see, the connections between the bus arriving from Labacolla Airport and the bus leaving for Sarria, are plenty. You’ll be just fine!

You’re in Sarria now and it only cost you about 13 Euros

Welcome on the Camino!

You get off at the endpoint of this bus: the bus station.

Step 3

You’ll need to make your way to the accommodation now. Sarria is a small village. Check out in Google maps where you need to go, or ask around – anyone will help you.

Here’s a small map from Sarria, so you know where the bus station is where you’ll be arriving:

If you don’t know yet where your first stay will be, consider ‘Albergue Monasterio de la Magdalena’. Run by the monks, with a nice church as your neighbor. Private albergue, about 10 euros for a bunk bed in the old monastery – but very modern installations. It’s right on the Camino. It’s a nice stroll to downtown Sarria where you can have a nice dinner before turning in.

I hope this blog helps a lot of pilgrims to get to Sarria in a very easy and economic way.

Buen Camino!

This post is also available in: Dutch

44 thoughts on “How to get from Santiago Airport to Sarria

  1. Thank you so much for this valuable information. Your directions are so straight forward. You took so much guess workout of this situation for me.

    1. Thank you so much for this helpful and very clear info. I am 80 years old and hope to do this walk in October this year. I plan to walk alone in very short stages and any useful advice and help is very much appreciated. Thanks a million.

  2. Best post i’ve found for transport from the airport to Sarria! This is the first time I’m travelling abroad on my own and I feel a lot more confident now.. Thanks very much! :-)

  3. Thank you for this helpful information

  4. We are planning to do this trip on 19/3/18. Our plane arrives from milan via madrid approx 12.40 pm that day and I have been trying to work out a plan online for ages!
    Your information is very helpful indeed. We wre hoping to have time to drop off some extra luggage at our hotel prior to catching the bus?
    Freire site does say there is a santiago bus staion?
    Will keep researching

    1. If I understand correctly, you arrive at Santiago Airport 12.40pm? And you want to get to your hotel in Santiago prior to starting the trip to Sarria?
      Yes, from the Santiago Airport (Labacolla) you can take the bus to the center of the city (Plaza Galicia stop). That would be a perfect stop assuming your hotel is in the city center of Santiago. Then, from the same plaza stop, you can get a bus to the bus station in Santiago. From Santiago bus station you can get the same bus itinerary to Lugo and on to Sarria. (i.e.: the bus I describe that picks you up at the airport actually starts its drive in the bus station). Hope this helps. Buen Camino!

  5. Where can we buy the bus tickets? Is there a ticket booth at the bus stations, can we pay directly in the bus?

  6. Thank you for the very clear information, and for the links to the bus companies. Much appreciated!

  7. Thank you vary much. God bless you

  8. Hi thanks for this information. I am arriving this Sunday in Santiago and starting in sarria. I arrive at 10.35am and there is a bus at 11.10. If I don’t get that one if i read your clear instructions thank you there is not another bus until 4pm and the the bus from lugo to sarria is not till 8pm. Is there any other way to get to sarria earlier? Thanks

    1. Santiago Airport is a very small airport. Arriving at 10.35, even if the flight is slightly delayed will enable you to catch the bus at 11.10 right in front of the airport. It arrives at 1300 hrs in Lugo. In Lugo, you’ll be able to catch the bus at 13.45 without any problem and even with enough time to buy the ticket at the desk (or in the bus like mentioned). Now, if you really miss the 11.10 bus, indeed you’ll arrive at 18.05 in Lugo and will have to wait until the last bus departing at 20.45 hrs. The only other option would be a taxi (rather expensive), sharing one with folks that need to go to Sarria as well (ask around when you arrive), or something like the BlaBlacar services (google it if you’re not familiar with it). Having said that: don’t worry too much – you’ll catch the bus in time (it’s usually 5 to 10 minutes late). If you miss it, I bet the Camino has some special encounter that you wouldn’t want to have missed ligned up for you :-).

  9. Thanks so much for your quick response. Have tried the blabla car site but no luck there either, just trying to cover all eventualities. Fingers crossed I will catch that bus, but you are right tho, what will be….. Many thanks :)

  10. Hi,!
    Would you be able to tell me how to get from Madrid Barajas airport to Sarria! I love how detailed you are. My friend and I are going to arrive October 4th in the morning.

    1. Hello Debbe! Thank you :-).
      From Madrid airport you have several options. Check out Rome2Rio dot com. I guess it’s either a flight to Santiago (and then the option I talk about in the blog) or you can bus all the way or train all the way. It all depends on the time you arrive in Madrid I guess and the level of comfort you wish.
      By train, it takes 7 hours as you can see in Rome2Rio. It’s a short ride from the airport to Madrid train station Chamartín.
      There you can take a train directly to Sarria in 5 hours and 54 minutes. There are several trains, but the night train would be the most comfy ;-).
      Buen Camino!

  11. Hi, we finished the Camino as far as Triacastela this year and plan to start from there next year. We’ll be arriving into Santiago airport. If we follow your advice and travel by bus to Lugo and then to Sarria, can we then get a bus to Triacastela? Welcome your thoughts on best options. Many thanks, Brendan

    1. Hi Brendan,
      If I’m not mistaken, the only option is to take a taxi from Sarria to Triacastela (about 25 euros I believe).

    2. Hi Brendan,
      If I’m not mistaken, the only option is to take a taxi from Sarria to Triacastela (about 25 euros I believe).

  12. Hi,
    Thank you for your clear instructions.
    I am supposed to land in Santiago at 6pm on a Sunday (12th August).
    Correct me if I am wrong please – I think I should be able to get the bus from the airport to lugo at 6:30pm arriving at 8:30pm and then make the 8:45pm connection to sarria.
    It looks like (from my search) that this is the last bus from lugo to sarria on a Sunday.

    What can I do if I don’t make the connection? Be it due to flight delay or late bus. 15mins isn’t a lot a leeway.

    1. I hope you made it ;-). If not, I assume you had an overnight stay in the beautiful town of Lugo :-).

  13. Thanks a lot for this info. It’s invaluable. I will arrive Santiago Airport at 16:10. Will take 18:45 – 20:35 connection to Lugo. The last connection from Lugo to Sarria is 20:35 which I will miss for sure. So I think it’s better to spend the night at Lugo and start next morning. Any suggestions for a place to stay in Lugo? Thanks a lot.

    1. Dear Jiten, actually, if your flight arrives a bit early (it happens) you might catch an earlier bus. If not, chances are that you arrive 20.30 and will catch the connection at 20.35 to Sarria (they know folks need this connection). If it does not work out, Pension San Roque is close to the Bus Station without the need to go downtown (although if you are in Lugo it might be worth while to get a later bus in the day and at least walk on top of the Roman wall of Lugo around the old town. It’s the oldest Roman wall still in one piece :-). Also an option to sleep is the Municipal Albergue in Lugo. If you need to stay in Sarria and start with a good breakfast, I can fully recomment La Casona de Sarria! Buen Camino!

  14. Thank you so much, I am walking the last 100 kilometres in April with my 8 year old grandson, this information is invaluable.

  15. Another thank you – this has been very reassuring to find. I was hoping to get to Sarria early enough to do a half day’s distance, but going to settle for the first 4km or so rather than stepping to Morgade in the dark… Bery best wishes and thanks ?

  16. Excellent clear and concise info. Thank you. We arrive at airport SCQ from Dublin at 1620 hrs in early June and wish to get to Portomarin (last years finish point). The only realistic option I can find is to travel to Lugo and Change bus to Portomarin. Last bus leaves Lugo 1930 hrs. so must get there by then. The only bus from SCQ which MIGHT connect BUT only if we arrive early, departs airport at 1615. However a bus leaves Santiago Bus Station at 1700, but doesn’t seem to serve airport, and arrives Lugo 1835. COULD we get from airport to catch this bus and is there a better stop than bus Stn. Would stay night in Lugo,but no bus to Portmarin 1300 next day. Any suggestions? thanks Kevin

    1. I would say your best connection is to try to do Santiago – Lugo and then Lugo – Sarria (taking a taxi from Sarria to Portomarín would cost 30 euros but would simplify your schedule a lot). Another option is to investigate possibilites via blabla car!

      1. Thanks for info. Will follow up as suggested.
        Kevin

  17. Hi
    Great detail in above, thank you. How long does the bus take from Lugo to Sarria- website doesn’t seem to give this info?
    Thank you in advance.
    Gemma

    1. Hi Gemma, I seem to recall it takes about 35 minutes.

  18. Hi,
    Just reading your website and the information contained therein has really got me excited. Thank you so much. We go in late August , not the best time i know , as people have said that it is really busy, but as my friend and I work in a school we have no option.
    We arrive into Santiago early morning ( 9am) and will follow your advice head towards Sarria by bus . We weren’t thinking of having an overnight stay in Sarria , but travelling on to Barbadelo. Whats you thoughts ?
    Thank you in advance

    Hazel

    1. Hi Hazel, good thinking! Nice short walk away from the crowds and even plenty of time to check-out Sarria a bit! Go for it! Buen Camino!

  19. Hi
    We have schedule to do the Cammino last week of August. Hope we can follow very well your precise instruction. Specially that we are arriving Sunday and I learn that there is lesser trip for Lugo.
    Thank you for this very useful instruction
    God bless you.

    MARYLIN MIlan

  20. In the midst of a mine field of information and options your post has been EXTREMELY detailed, clear & so so helpful
    I arrive in Santiago on 22nd July at 16:20 so will probably miss the 16:15 bus to Lugo. That’s ok I can get the 18:45 but that arrives in Lugo at 20:30 and the last bus from Lugo to Sarria is 20:35 so chances are I might miss that too
    I’m surprised there are no later departures from Lugo to Sarria
    Thanks again for your invaluable help

    Robbie

  21. very helpful information, thankyou. We arrive 3rd September about 8.45 am, is there any need to book the buses to Sarria or will it be okay to just pay and board at airport and Lugo? Appreciate your early reply, thanks. Jeannette

    1. Hi there! No, it’s not needed. You can buy both tickets at the station or in the bus (varies depending on time schedule, ask in the busstation).

  22. Thank you so much for the information on how to get from Santiago de Compostela to Sarria. I was planning to do this journey on a Sunday and was panicking when I could only see limited routes. This is such a relief to know and the only place I could find the information. Thank you

  23. Great information! Thank you so much. We are also traveling from S. de C. to Sarria and were dreading taking a taxi for over Euro 100. This does take a bit longer but it’s worth it.
    Thank you for all the time schedules – such helpful information.
    I hope you know that you bring many travelers ‘peace of mind’. And that’s a nice way to start the camino.

  24. Thanks for clear detailed information, travelling on my own in September and this information has eased my mind no end.. going the last 100 k from sarria to Santiago

  25. Thank you so much ?

  26. Thank you so much. Very clear instructions. I am going solo in a few days and was also panicking about the 20.35 connection in Lugo I did hope they would wait as you said! It makes my anxiety a little easier. Thank you for your time and knowledge. Regards

  27. This is brilliant – I’ve been scouring the internet for a way to make this work. I’m actually planning to continue on to Samos and start from there, and I’ve assumed I’d need to taxi from Sarria – is there any bus connection that you know between Sarria and Samos?

    1. Thank you! I don’t know of any bus connection from Sarria to Samos. If it exists, it would be probably a connection between Sarria and Pedrafita do Cebreiro. Unfortunately, I only found one reference in a forum which states the company Monbus has this itinerary: “The service functions from Monday to Saturday with departure from Pedrafita at 6.45 hours. It passes through Samos at around 7.55 and, finally, reaches Sarria at 8.15 hours”. One would assume it also goes back passing through Samos. However, I searched the site of Monbus for this service and it does not seem to exist nowadays. Anyways, a taxi is always a good alternative for that short stretch. As a plan A you could ask when you are there and have the taxi as plan b ;-). Buen Camino!!

  28. Hallo I will go next year September 2020 That will be my first time. What is the best to fly to Santiago and sleepover there and go the next day by bus to Sarria

    1. Hi Susan, The best way to fly to Santiago depends on where you fly from and the fees you’ll find at different carriers. In Galicia, you have 3 airports (Vigo, La Coruña and Santiago de Compostela). International flights often go via Barcelona and Madrid. When doing the Camino Portugues, a lot of folks choose to fly via O Porto (Portugal) since most start there or in Valenca/Tui at 100 km from Santiago. I hope this helps you in your next steps! Buen Camino!

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