To buy train tickets within Spain, use the official Spanish Railways website www.renfe.com (but see this advice first)  Or use www.raileurope-world.com or www.petrabax.com/renfe.

This page explains how to travel by train from Barcelona & Spain to other key European cities, and how to buy the cheapest tickets, usually online direct from the operators with print-at-home or collect-at-station tickets & few or no booking fees.  It doesn't matter where you live, in Europe, Asia, the USA or Australia, you can buy train tickets from Spain as shown below and save money over expensive railpasses or travel agent mark-ups.  On the other hand, if you'd rather someone sorted out your whole trip for you, see here.

I want to travel by train from Spain to...

          

       Click here to buy tickets starting in another city

Before you buy your tickets...

I recommend taking a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just turn up & buy at the station?", "How far ahead can I book?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a €35 point-to-point ticket?".

Answering your questions about European train travel...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to InterRail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...



Buying train tickets for journeys within SpainSee the train travel in Spain page...

Spain to London from €119...

Spain to Paris from €59 by high-speed train...

Barcelona to Paris by high-speed TGV:  Click here for details...

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An impressive TGV Duplex.

1st class seats on TGV Duplex upper deck.  That's a 'club duo' on the left & a 'club quatre' on the right.

 

The morning TGV Duplex to Paris, at Barcelona Sants.  Red near the door = 1st class, pale green = 2nd class.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  Seen from the train to Paris, and one of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline all the way from Girona to Perpignan

More photos about this journey...

Madrid, Seville, Malaga, Cordoba, Valencia, Alicante to Paris by high-speed AVE+TGV...

San Sebastian to Paris...

Barcelona to Perpignan, Montpelier, Toulouse, Lyon, Marseille, Cannes, Nice...

 

Turista (2nd class) seats on the S100 AVE.  These trains operate the TGV/AVE services from Madrid to Marseille, Barcelona to Lyon, Toulouse.  Panorama photo of turista (2nd) class Panorama photo of Preferente (1st) class.


Spain to Brussels from €94...

Option 1, by high-speed TGV in a single day...

Option 2, by high-speed TGV with overnight hotel in Paris...

Second class seats on board a 'Thalys' high-speed train to Cologne 1st class seats on Thalys A Thalys for Amsterdam about to leave Brussels Midi...

2nd class (Comfort 2) seats...

1st class (Comfort 1) seats...

A Thalys at Brussels...

Option 3:  Using the direct Spain to Luxembourg overnight train...


Spain to Amsterdam from €94...
Second class seats on board a 'Thalys' high-speed train to Cologne 1st class seats on Thalys A Thalys for Amsterdam about to leave Brussels Midi...

2nd class (Comfort 2) seats...

1st class (Comfort 1) seats...

A Thalys at Brussels...


Spain to Luxembourg...

Option 1:  Using the direct Spain to Luxembourg overnight train...

Option 2:  By daytime TGV trains...


Spain to Switzerland from €59...

Spain to Italy from €81...

Option 1, by TGV & scenic Alpine train with overnight stop in Geneva.  Will run daily from a date to be announced, maybe 6 July 2014, maybe not:

Option 2, by TGV & scenic Alpine train in one day.  Runs every day.

Option 3, by TGV to Geneva, overnight stop, through the Alps to Milan & Italy next morning.  Runs every day.

ETR610 EuroCity train seen at Milan   2nd class seats on a EuroCity train between Milan & Switzerland   A meal in the dining-car of a Milan-Switzerland EuroCity train.

ETR610 EuroCity train, used on the Geneva-Milan-Venice route.

 

2nd class seats on the stylish ETR610 EuroCity train...

 

Dinner in the diner...

Option 3, by high-speed trains with overnight stop in Paris.  This is further to go, but cheap fares and high-speed trains make it a perfectly feasible option...

Option 3, Barcelona to Rome by luxury cruise ferry...


Spain to Portugal:  Madrid-Lisbon from €33, Barcelona-Lisbon from €78...

Madrid to Lisbon...

Barcelona to Lisbon... 

Seville to Lisbon...

San Sebastian to Lisbon...

Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel:  The cafe-bar...  

The trainhotel's café-bar serves drinks & food.  Grab a barstool early, it gets crowded later on!

   

4-berth tourist class sleepers (Turista Cama) are cosy & inexpensive...  They convert from beds to seats as shown.

To Morocco by train...   En route to Morocco by train: gran classe 2-bed sleeper (day mode)   en route to Morocco by train: Gran Classes 2-bed sleeper (night mode)   Paris to Madrid & Barcelona by trainhotel: Gran Classe sleepers have a private shower and toilet

The Lusitania trainhotel from Madrid to Lisbon is an articulated Spanish Talgo train.

 

Gran Clase sleeper, in evening mode with the seats folded out...

 

...return from the bar to find the attendant has made up the beds...

 

Gran Clase sleepers have a private toilet & shower...


Spain to Germany from €94...

Option 1:  Barcelona to Cologne or Frankfurt in one day by high-speed trains...

Option 2:  Barcelona to anywhere Germany by high-speed trains with overnight stop in Paris...

Option 3:  Barcelona to Paris by TGV, Paris to Berlin, Hamburg, Munich by time-effective sleeper train...

Option 4:  Barcelona to Geneva by TGV, overnight stop, Geneva to Munich next day...


Spain to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €88...

Option 1:  Barcelona to Geneva by TGV, overnight stop in Geneva, onwards to Austria next day by Railjet...

Option 2:  Barcelona to Paris by TGV, Paris to Munich by time-effective sleeper train, Railjet to Austria...

The morning RailJet train has arrived in Vienna.   Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Economy class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train

"The RailJet has landed..."  A Railjet has arrived at Vienna Westbahnhof spot on time.

 

Business class costs €15 more than normal 1st class...

 

Economy class on RailJet, comfortable open saloons with large picture windows.  Some seats are around tables, some unidirectional.


Spain to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo...

Option 1, using the Cologne-Copenhagen City Night Line sleeper...

A Thalys for Amsterdam about to leave Brussels Midi...   Second class seats on board a 'Thalys' high-speed train to Cologne 1st class seats on Thalys

Step 1, take a TGV to Paris & a Thalys train onwards to Cologne...

 

2nd class (Comfort 2) seats on Thalys...

1st class (Comfort 1) seats on Thalys...

Sleeping-car room - Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train   4-berth couchette compartment on Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train   6-berth couchette compartment on Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train  

A sleeping-car as used on the Cologne-Copenhagen overnight train

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper: The most civilised option, economy with washbasin or deluxe with shower & toilet.

 

4-berth couchettes:  Ideal for families, much more space per person than 6-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes:  The budget option, far more comfortable than a seat for just a few euros more...

 

Step 2, take City Night Line sleeper train Borealis from Cologne to Copenhagen.

More pictures & information about City Night Line

125 mph tilting 'X2000' from Copenhagen to Stockholm, at Copenhagen station 2nd class seats on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm The self-service buffet on the X2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm...

Step 3, take a 125 mph SJ2000 train from Copenhagen to Stockholm....

 

2nd class seating on the SJ 2000.  All seats have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

 

Self-service buffet car on the SJ 2000 to Stockholm.

More information about SJ 2000 trains

Option 2, by daytime trains with overnight stop...


Spain to Prague...
A Thalys for Amsterdam about to leave Brussels Midi...   Second class seats on board a 'Thalys' high-speed train to Cologne 1st class seats on Thalys

Step 1, take a TGV to Paris & a Thalys train onwards to Cologne...

 

2nd class (Comfort 2) seats on Thalys...

1st class (Comfort 1) seats on Thalys...

A 1 2 or 3 bed sleeper on the Cologne-Prague overnight train

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper: The most civilised option, economy with washbasin or deluxe with shower & toilet.

    4-berth couchettes on the sleeper train to Prague

4-berth couchettes:  Ideal for families, much more space per person than 6-berth couchettes.

    6-berth couchettes on the sleeper train to Prague

6-berth couchettes:  A very economical option, far better than a seat for just a few euros more...

  The Kopernikus sleeper train to Prague...

Step 2, take the City Night Line sleeper train Phoenix from Cologne to Prague...  Above, the sleeping-car of the Phoenix seen at Prague Hlavni.

More pictures & information about the Cologne to Prague sleeper train.


Spain to Warsaw & Moscow...

 


Railbookers tailor-made train travel & hotels

If you just want to buy train tickets at the cheapest price, book online as shown on this page.  However, if you want someone to sort out your whole trip for you, arranging all your trains, hotels and transfers, and to look after you if anything affects your arrangements, talk to Railbookers.  Railbookers can tailor-make a train trip around Europe to your own specification.  Just tell them what you want and they'll advise you on the best trains, routes & hotels.  They get good reports and a lot of repeat business!  They now have offices in the UK, North America and Australia.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.com.

Call toll-free 1-800-408-3280 or www.us.railbookers.com.

Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au.

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 002 034 or see website.


Find hotels in Barcelona & other cities

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least Ł1m or preferably Ł5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash (up to a limit) and belongings.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you're resident in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you're resident in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on calls & mobile data...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, so consider getting a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone which can cut call & data costs by up to 90%.  At the time of writing, www.roamsure.com claims a definite 25% saving within the EU and up to 90% saving in the rest of the world.  Incoming calls are free in 73 countries, including the USA, Australia, South Africa and EU.  There's no contract or commitment, and at time I write this Roamsure is offering a global SIM card for free when you buy Ł20 of call credit.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you buy airtime from Roamsure.

 


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