Bus connections between Madrid and Castile are excellent. There are several stations and stops in Madrid; buses to Toledo (1 hour) leave every half hour from the Estación del Sur, and buses to Segovia (1¼ hours) leave every hour from La Sepulvedana's headquarters, near Príncipe Pío. Larrea sends buses to Ávila (1¾ hours) from the Estación del Sur. ALSA and Movelia have service to León (4½ hours). Auto Res (Avanza) serves Cuenca (2¾ hours), Salamanca (3 hours) and Burgos (2½ hours).
From Burgos, buses head north to the Basque Country; from León, you can press on to Asturias. Service between towns is not as frequent as it is to and from Madrid, so you may find it quicker to return to Madrid and make your way from there. Reservations are rarely necessary.
Buses to Extremadura's main cities can be reached from Madrid and are reliable. The first bus of the day on lesser routes often sets off early in the morning, so plan carefully to avoid getting stranded. Some examples of destinations from Madrid are: Cáceres (7 daily), Guadalupe (2 daily), Trujillo (12 daily), and Mérida (8 daily). For schedules and prices, check the tourist offices or contact the Auto Res bus line. Note that it's best to avoid taking the bus at rush hour, as journeys can be delayed by more than an hour.
ALSA. 90/242--2242; www.alsa.es.
Avanza. 91/272--2832; www.avanzabus.com.
La Sepulvedana. 90/211--9699; www.lasepulvedana.es.
Larrea. 91/851--5592; www.autobuseslarrea.com.
Movelia. 90/264--6428; www.movelia.es.