Barcelona Sants

 small bullet point Barcelona Sants station information

 small bullet point  1st class lounge at Barcelona Sants

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This page explains how to travel by train from Barcelona to other cities all over Europe, and how to buy tickets the cheapest way.  Information current for 2022.

bullet pointBefore you buy your tickets...

Take a moment to read these tips for buying European train tickets.  They answer the usual questions including "Do I need to book in advance or can I just buy at the station?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and the old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or buy a €35 point-to-point ticket online?".  Click here to understand how far ahead you can buy train tickets.

bullet pointEuropean train travel FAQ...

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...


Barcelona to other Spanish cities...
Barcelona to Madrid by AVE, Ouigo, Avlo or Iryo....
An AVE-S103 high-speed train at Madrid Atocha

An S103 AVE train as used between Barcelona & Madrid Atocha, seen at Madrid Atocha station..  Taking as little as 2h30, it's faster than flying.  See virtual tour

Turista class on a Spanish S103 AVE train   Preferente class on a Spanish S103 AVE train

Standard (2nd class) on an AVE S103.

 

Comfort (1st class)  seating.

Club class on a Spanish S103 AVE train   Madrid Atocha station - the tropical garden in the old trainshed

Comfort class (1st class) seating (formerly Club) on the AVE train.  A meal with wine is included on Mondays-Fridays.

 

Madrid Atocha station.  One of my favourite stations, the old trainshed has been preserved and turned into a tropical garden.  AVE trains arrive in the adjacent modern extension.  See the Madrid Atocha station guide.

Barcelona to Malaga, Cordoba & Seville by AVE...
Complimentary at-seat meal in Club class & Preferente Class   AVE Club class on an S102 AVE train from Madrid to Malaga

High-speed AVE trains link Barcelona with Seville, Cordoba & Malaga with no need to fly.  These excellent AVE-S112 high-speed trains are used on this route.  Known as a Pato (duck).  No prizes for guessing why...

AVE Tourist class seats on an S102 AVE train from Madrid to Malaga   AVE Preferente seating on an S102 AVE train from Madrid to Malaga

AVE Standard class...  Comfortable seats, 2 abreast each side of the aisle, mainly unidirectional but some bays of 4 around a table like this...

 

AVE Comfort class...  Reclining seats, power sockets for laptops & mobiles, mainly unidirectional but some tables for 2 and tables for 4...

Barcelona to Granada by AVE...
Barcelona to Valencia & Alicante...
Barcelona to San Sebastian & Bilbao...
San Sebastian to Barcelona train about to leave   Comfort (1st) class seats

The Alvia to Barcelona at San Sebastian...

 

Comfort class (1st class).

Standard (2nd) class seats   The cafe bar

Standard class (2nd class).

 

The cafe-bar does an excellent cafe con leche...

Scenery between San Sebastian & Barcelona

The train descends from the foothills of the Pyrenees onto the plain below...

Barcelona to Santiago de Compostela, A Coruna & Vigo...

  Acciona Ferry 'Fortuny' sailing from Palma de Mallorca to Barcelona
 

Acciona Trasmediterranea ferry leaving Palma for Barcelona.  Similar ferries operate from Barcelona to Ibiza.

  Balearia fast ferry 'Jaume I' about to sail from Barcelona to Minorca & Alcudia on Mallorca
 

The Balearia fast ferry to Mallorca.  That's the Columbus Monument at the foot of La Rambla in the background!

Barcelona to Ibiza by ferry...

Barcelona to Mallorca by ferry...

Barcelona to Tenerife, Gran Canaria & the Canary islands...

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Barcelona to Gibraltar...
Madrid-Algeciras train at Madrid Atocha

An Intercity train (formerly branded Altaria), about to leave Madrid Atocha for Algeciras.

Cafe-bar on Madrid-Algeciras train   Turista Plus seats on Madrid-Algeciras train

Cafe-bar, with bar stools...

 

Comfort class seats...

Turista seats on Madrid-Algeciras train   Algeciras station

Standard class seats...

 

Algeciras station, across the road from the bus station.

Bus M-120 for La Linea (Gibraltar's frontier) boarding at Algeciras bus station.   The Rock of Gribraltar, viewed from a taxi approaching La Linea

Bus M-120 boarding at Algeciras bus station

 

Rock of Gibraltar, seen from a taxi near La Linea.

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Barcelona to London from €96...

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Barcelona to Dublin & Ireland...
Irish Ferries' WB Yeats

Sail from Cherbourg to Dublin aboard Irish Ferries' WB YeatsWB Yeats photos courtesy of Irish Ferries.

Irish Ferries' WB Yeats club cabin   Irish Ferries' WB Yeats deluxe cabin

Club cabin on the WB Yeats with shower & toilet.

 

Deluxe cabin on the WB Yeats with shower & toilet...

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Barcelona to Paris from €39...

Option 1, Barcelona to Paris by high-speed train in 6h25 from €39...  Click for full details

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon. These 320 km/h double-deckers link Paris with Barcelona.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on upper deck in car 4 (or 14), serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes.

 

2nd class seats on upper deck.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class seats on upper deck, a club duo on the left, club quatre on the right.  360º photo.

 

A TGV Duplex at Barcelona Sants.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Girona to Perpignan, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CanigouMore photos of what to see on the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

Lunch from the cafe-bar on the train to Barcelona   The hilltop cathedral at Beziers

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Béziers...

Option 2, Barcelona to Paris by sleeper train via Latour de Carol...

Option 3, Barcelona to Paris by sleeper train via Cerbère/Perpignan

Intercite de nuit overnight train in Paris

An intercité de nuit sleeper train at Paris Gare d'Austerlitz.  Photo courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

InterCite de Nuit couchette   Refurbished French 2nd class 6-berth couchettes   Refurbished French 1st class 4-berth couchettes

Each couchette has a lightweight sleeping-bag, mineral water & pack with tissue, wipe, ear plugs...

 

2nd class 6-berth couchettes showing sleeping bags...

 

1st class 4-berth couchettes with sleeping bags provided...

Barcelona to Narbonne, Perpignan, Montpellier, Nîmes...

Option 1, Barcelona to southern France by high-speed train - the fast option, but currently very infrequent...

AVE S100 at Barcelona Sants

Barcelona to Avignon & Marseille by AVE or TGV Duplex.  This is an AVE-S100 ready to leave Barcelona Sants.

 

1st class seats on an AVE S100.  360º photo of 1st class.

Cafe-bar...

AVE train at Barcelona  

These S100 AVE trains operate the TGV/AVE services from Madrid to Marseille, Barcelona to Lyon, Toulouse.  This is an AVE-S100 at Barcelona Sants.

 

2nd class seats on the S100 AVE, all with power sockets.  Luggage goes on the racks at the car ends or above the seats.  360º photo of 2nd class More photos & info about AVE S100.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Girona to Perpignan, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canigou.

Option 2, Barcelona to southern France by classic train - slower, but cheaper, scenic and with a much wider range of departures!

Inside the local train between Portbou & Barcelona   Inside the local train between Portbou & Barcelona

A local train from Barcelona to Portbou, seen at Portbou.  Yes, these local trains do exist, and are very useful!  But you can only find timetables at rodalies.gencat.cat, not on the main booking sites.  You buy a ticket on the day at the station.  Courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Barcelona to Lyon...
Barcelona to Bordeaux...

Option 1, Barcelona to Bordeaux via Narbonne - this is the fastest & easiest way, although not necessarily the cheapest...

Option 2, Barcelona to Bordeaux via San Sebastian - how about lunch in San Sebastian?

Option 3, Barcelona to Bordeaux via Latour de Carol... 

Barcelona to Toulouse & Carcassone...

Option 1, Barcelona to Toulouse via Narbonne - the high-speed option, reservation required, dynamic pricing so book ahead.

Option 2, Barcelona to Toulouse via Latour de Carol - through the Pyrenees, slower, cheaper, always €12 + €28.10 any day, any date.

 

Step 1, take the air-conditioned R3 local train from Barcelona to Latour de Carol.  2nd class only.  Bring your own food & drink.  The 'R' stands for Rodalies, Catalan for suburban network.

Autumnal browns & golds will give way to snow as the train winds its way north...

The huge international station at Latour de Carol

Latour de Carol, where two nations, two trains and three track gauges meet.  This is the huge international station building.  The station bistro is on the forecourt, just out of shot to the left.

Bistro at Latour de Carol   Bistro at Latour de Carol

The inexpensive Bistro de la Gare (above right) on the forecourt at Latour de Carol is ideal for breakfast or a coffee between trains, check opening hours at www.facebook.com/bistrotdutrainjauneCourtesy of Adrian Fuentes.

 

Step 2, Latour de Carol to Toulouse by modern air-conditioned Train Exprès Regional (TER)...

 

The smart interior of the regional train from Latour to Toulouse.

 

Mountain scenery in the Pyrenees...

Mountains in the Pyrenees

The train starts to descend from the Pyrenees onto the plain towards Toulouse...

Barcelona to Avignon, Marseille, Cannes & Nice...

Option 1, late afternoon departure by direct AVE train from Barcelona to Avignon & Marseille.  Stay overnight in Marseille, onwards to Cannes & Nice next day.  If you want to go from Barcelona to Cannes or Nice all in one day, see option 2 below - but I still reckon this option 1 is best, especially with a longer stopover in Marseille!

AVE S100 at Barcelona Sants

Barcelona to Avignon & Marseille by AVE...  An AVE-S100 ready to leave Barcelona Sants. 

 

1st class seats on an AVE S100.  360º photo of 1st class.

Cafe-bar...

AVE train at Barcelona  

These S100 AVE trains operate the TGV/AVE services from Madrid to Marseille, Barcelona to Lyon, Toulouse.  This is an AVE-S100 at Barcelona Sants.

 

2nd class seats on the S100 AVE, all with power sockets.  Luggage goes on the racks at the car ends or above the seats.  360º photo of 2nd class More photos & info about AVE S100.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Girona to Perpignan, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canigou.

Option 2, on a morning departure reaching Avignon & Marseille after lunch and reaching Cannes & Nice in the evening...

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Barcelona to Brussels & Bruges from €88...

Option 1, Barcelona to Brussels in a single day, via Lyon - no need to cross Paris, the easiest way!

Option 2, Barcelona to Brussels in a single day, via Paris - involves crossing Paris...

Option 3, Barcelona to Brussels with overnight stop in Paris - as option 2, but with an overnight stop...

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

Step 1, Barcelona to Paris by TGV Duplex, a 320 km/h (199 mph) double-deck train.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes....

 

2nd class seats on upper deck with a mix of tables for 4 & unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class seats on upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360º photo.

 

A TGV Duplex at Barcelona Sants.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Girona to Perpignan, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CanigouMore photos of what to see on the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

Lunch from the cafe-bar on the train to Barcelona   The hilltop cathedral at Beziers

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Béziers...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 2, Paris to Brussels by Thalys, seen here at Paris Nord.  See 360º photos inside a ThalysMore information about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across the car.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Option 4, Barcelona-Paris using a French overnight train, then high-speed train to Brussels.

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Barcelona to Amsterdam from €74...

Option 1, Barcelona to Amsterdam in a single day...

Option 2, Barcelona to Amsterdam with overnight stop in Paris - as option 1, but with an overnight stop...

Option 3, Barcelona-Paris using a French overnight train, then high-speed train onwards to Amsterdam.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

Step 1, Barcelona to Paris by TGV Duplex, a 320 km/h (199 mph) double-deck train.  Watch TGV Duplex video.

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

Cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwave-style hot dishes....

 

2nd class seats on upper deck with a mix of tables for 4 & unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class seats on upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360º photo.

 

A TGV Duplex at Barcelona Sants.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Girona to Perpignan, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CanigouMore photos of what to see on the Paris-Barcelona train journey.

Lunch from the cafe-bar on the train to Barcelona   The hilltop cathedral at Beziers

Dinner from the cafe-bar...

 

View from the train, passing Béziers...

A Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris

Step 2, Paris to Amsterdam by Thalys, seen here at Paris Nord.  See 360º photos inside a ThalysMore information about Thalys.

1st class (Comfort & Premium) seating on Thalys   2nd class seats on a Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam

Comfort & Premium seats, 2+1 across the car.  Larger photo.

 

Standard seats, 2+2 across.  Larger photo.

Crossing the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep

The Thalys sweeps across the Moerdijk Bridge over the Hollands Diep one lazy evening, between Rotterdam & Antwerp.

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Barcelona to Luxembourg...

Option 1, Barcelona to Luxembourg in a single day...

Option 2, Barcelona to Luxembourg with overnight stop in Paris...

Option 3, Barcelona-Paris using a French overnight train, then high-speed TGV onwards to Luxembourg.

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Barcelona to Geneva, Zurich & Switzerland from €69...

Option 1, Barcelona to Switzerland in a single day, leaving 08:15...

Option 2, Barcelona to Switzerland in a single day, leaving at 09:10...

Option 3, Barcelona to Avignon or Marseille in the evening, overnight stop & morning free, then afternoon TGV to Geneva...

AVE S100 at Barcelona Sants

Barcelona to Lyon by AVE...  This is the morning AVE to Lyon ready to leave Barcelona Sants. 

 

1st class seats on an AVE S100.  360º photo of 1st class.

Cafe-bar...

AVE train at Barcelona  

These S100 AVE trains operate the TGV/AVE services from Madrid to Marseille, Barcelona to Lyon, Toulouse.  This is an AVE-S100 at Barcelona Sants.

 

2nd class seats on the S100 AVE, all with power sockets.  Luggage goes on the racks at the car ends or above the seats.  360º photo of 2nd class More photos & info about AVE S100.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Girona to Perpignan, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canigou.

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Barcelona to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome & Italy...

So many people want to travel this route, and many of them mistakenly think you have to fly.  You don't.  You can travel cheaply and time-effectively by comfortable and civilised train with an overnight stop at wonderful Marseille into the bargain and perhaps some time in Nice.  The scenic train ride along the Côte d'Azur and Italian Riviera can be a highlight of your trip...

Option 1, Barcelona to Milan in a single day, via Lyon - from the Pyrenees to the Alps with lunch in Lyon...

Option 2, Barcelona to Italy with overnight stop in Marseille...

AVE S100 at Barcelona Sants

Step 1, Barcelona to Marseille by AVE.  An AVE-S100 ready to leave Barcelona Sants for France... 

 

1st class seats on an AVE S100.  360º photo of 1st class.

Cafe-bar...

AVE train at Barcelona  

These S100 AVE trains operate the TGV/AVE services from Madrid to Marseille, Barcelona to Lyon, Toulouse.  This is an AVE-S100 at Barcelona Sants.

 

2nd class seats on the S100 AVE, all with power sockets.  Luggage goes on the racks at the car ends or above the seats.  360º photo of 2nd class More photos & info about AVE S100.

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) high Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right all the way from Girona to Perpignan, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canigou.

The Vieux Port at Marseille

Bonjour Marseille!  The Eglise Notre Dame de la Garde, overlooking the Vieux Port.

TER train at Juans-les-Pins station

Steps 2 & 3, Marseille to the Italian border by TER local train with great scenery along the coast.  Here, a TER rolls into Juan les Pins station between Nice & Cannes.

Coastal scenery between Nice & Ventimiglia

The view from the train between Nice & Ventimiglia...

Italian InterCity train

Step 4, Ventimiglia to Milan by Intercity train, seen at the magnificent Milan Centrale...

2nd class   1st class

2nd class.  Larger photo.

 

1st class.  Larger photo.

Option 3, Barcelona to Milan in a single day, via Geneva - via the Alps!

Option 4, Barcelona to Rome by cruise ferry...

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Barcelona to Lisbon from €78...

Option 1, Barcelona to Lisbon with overnight stop in Madrid...

Option 2, Barcelona to Lisbon via Seville & Faro...

Note that the Madrid-Lisbon sleeper train was suspended due to Covid-19 in March 2020, then permanently discontinued.

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Barcelona to Porto...

Barcelona to Vigo, overnight stop, then regional train to Porto...

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Barcelona to Faro & the Algarve...

Option 1, Barcelona to Seville by high-speed train, Seville to Faro by bus

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Barcelona to Andorra...

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Barcelona to Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin & Germany from €75...

Option 1, Barcelona to Cologne or Frankfurt in a day.  On to Hamburg or Berlin next day.

Option 2, Barcelona to Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin & Germany with overnight stop in Paris...

Option 3, Barcelona to Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin & Germany, with overnight stop in Marseille...

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

Option 5, Barcelona-Paris using a French overnight train, then high-speed train onwards to Germany.

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Barcelona to Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck & Austria from €89...

Option 1, Barcelona to Paris by TGV then Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper - the simplest, most comfortable & time-effective option, 3 times per week...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Amsterdam

Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car...

Option 2, Barcelona to Geneva by TGV, Zurich to Vienna by sleeper train - another time-effective option, every day...

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

The safe & comfortable Nightjet from Zurich to Vienna.  This is a double-deck sleeping-car at Zurich HB. Courtesy of DiscoverbyRail.com.

   

2-berth sleeper on the lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 3, Barcelona to Geneva by TGV, overnight stop in Geneva, onwards to Austria next day by railjet - the scenic option...

A railjet train about to leave Zurich Hbf for Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna

A railjet to Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna about to leave Zurich HB...

  Premium class seats on the Munich-Vienna RailJet train   Railjet restaurant car

Railjet first class, with black leather seats...

 

Business class...

 

The restaurant...

Railjet train at Vienna Hbf   Railjet train standard class

Railjet is Austrian Railways premier train...  More photos & information about railjet trains

 

Economy class on railjet, in open saloons with large windows.  Some seats around tables, most unidirectional.

The mountains keep on coming, see the photos & video on the Arlberg Railway page...

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Barcelona to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo & Scandinavia...

Option 1, with overnight stop in Cologne...

Option 2, with overnight stops in Marseille & Hamburg - two overnight stops, but might suit you better...

  • For Malmö or Gothenburg, Öresund trains run hourly from Copenhagen to Gothenburg in 3h53 and every half hour or better from Copenhagen to Malmö in 39 minutes.

    Book from Hamburg to Malmö or Gothenburg (= Göteborg Central) as one transaction from €39.90 at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen station

Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train seen here at Copenhagen.  More about Hamburg to Copenhagen trains.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

2nd class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  Larger photo.

An X2000 train at Stockholm Central

Copenhagen to Stockholm by tilting 200km/h X2000, seen at Stockholm CentralMore about X2000 trains.

1st class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train 2nd class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

1st class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train   Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

Bistro seating on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

 

Bistro on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

Crossing the impressive Öresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden...

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Barcelona to Helsinki & Finland...

Option 1, using a Finnlines ferry from Germany to Helsinki - the easiest option...

Finnlines Star class ferry to Helsinki   Cabin on the Finnlines ferry to Helsinki

One of Finnlines 3 star class ferries to Helsinki.  Courtesy of Finnlines.

 

Cabin on the ferry...

Option 2, by train to Stockholm, then ferry to Helsinki...

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Barcelona to Prague & the Czech Republic...

Option 1, by day trains to Zurich then sleeper to Prague...

The sleeper train from Zurich to Prague

By sleeping-car from Zurich to Prague, seen here ready to leave Zurich HBMore photos, tips & information about the Zurich to Prague sleeper.

City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper   City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   Standard sleeper compartment, washstand   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.

 

The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.

 

Economy sleeper compartments have a washstand with hot water, fresh towels, drinking water & soap.

 

Just like a hotel corridor...  The corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car...

Option 2, by day trains with overnight stop in Paris...

Option 3, by day trains with overnight stop in Munich...

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Barcelona to Bratislava & Slovakia...

Option 1, Barcelona to Paris by TGV, Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper, local train to Bratislava - the most comfortable & time-effective option, 3 times per week...

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Amsterdam

Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car...

Option 2, by day trains to Switzerland then nightjet sleeper train - another time-effective option, every day...

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

The safe & comfortable Nightjet from Zurich to Vienna.  This is a double-deck sleeping-car at Zurich HB. Courtesy of DiscoverbyRail.com.

   

2-berth sleeper on the lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

    4-berth couchette on Nightjet train

Austrian couchette car or liegewagen...

 

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

Option 3, by day trains with overnight stop in Geneva - the most scenic option...

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Barcelona to Budapest & Hungary...

Option 1, Barcelona to Paris by TGV, Paris to Vienna by sleeper train, railjet to Budapest - the most comfortable & time-effective option, 3 times per week...

  • Step 3, travel from Vienna to Budapest by railjet train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 11:40 & arriving Budapest Keleti at 14:19.

    The swish modern railjet has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  An earlier connection is possible, but I'd allow at least an hour between trains when connecting with a sleeper train just in case of delay.

    Fares start at €19.90 in 2nd class or €29.90 in 1st class.

    Book this train at www.thetrainline.com (easiest to use, in €, £ or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee) or Austrian Railways' own site www.oebb.at (same prices, in €, a bit more fiddly).  You print your own ticket.

The Nightjet sleeper from Munich to Amsterdam

Paris to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper trainMore information about Nightjets.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car...

Option 2, by day trains to Switzerland then EuroNight sleeper train - another time-effective option, every day...

Hungarian sleeper train

Boarding the sleeper to Budapest...  Above, the sleeper attendant waits to greet passengers at Zurich HB.  In the sleeping-car, some complimentary Hungarian sparkling wine awaits you in your compartment...

Sleeper compartment in the Hungarian sleeping-car from Budapest to Zurich   4-berth couchettes on train to Budapest   6-berth couchettes on train to Budapest

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a 2-bed.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

6-berth couchettes.

Option 2, by day trains with overnight stop in Geneva.  The most scenic option...

A railjet train about to leave Zurich Hbf for Innsbruck, Salzburg & Vienna

Zurich to Budapest by railjet.  A railjet about to leave Zurich HB...

Business class seats on a railjet train   Railjet restaurant car

Business class.  About.

 

Restaurant car.

Business class seats on a railjet train   Economy class seats on a railjet train

First class.

 

Economy class.

The lakes between Zurich and the Austrian border

Soon after leaving Zurich, the railjet runs alongside the Zürichsee, then along the Walensee...

Taking the train through the Arlberg pass...   Lunch is served at your seat in first & business classes

In the Arlberg pass itself, the railway hugs the valley side, past fir forests and meadows...

 

In railjet first & business class, a steward takes your order & serves lunch at your seat.

The mountains keep on coming...

A railjet train from Vienna to Budapest, arrived at Budapest Keleti

The railjet has landed!  Arrived on platform 9 at Budapest Keleti station.

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Barcelona to Bucharest & Romania...

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Barcelona to Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade & Sofia...

Option 1, using the Zurich-Zagreb sleeper...

The Zurich to Zagreb sleeper train boarding at Zurich HB

The Zurich-Zagreb sleeper train boarding at Zurich HB as the sun sets on a summer day.  That's the Croatian couchette car on the right, the Croatian sleeping-car on the left.  See the Croatian sleeper video.

Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb   Sleeper compartment in the Croatian sleeping-car from Munich to Zagreb   4 or 6-berth couchettes on train from Munich to Zagreb

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper.

 

Set up as a single-berth.

 

4 or 6-berth couchettes. 360º photo.

Scenery between Ljubljana & Zagreb

Wake up to scenery like this between Ljubljana & Zagreb, along the river Sava...

Scenery between Ljubljana, Zagreb & Belgrade

Option 2, via Marseille & Venice...

2nd class seats on the train from Venice to Ljubljana   The train from Trieste to Ljubljana

Inside the ETR563.  Larger photo.

 

The train to Ljubljana about to leave Trieste.  Courtesy of Marc Williams.

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Barcelona to Warsaw, Krakow & Poland...

Option 1, Barcelona to Warsaw with overnight stop in Paris - the fastest option, runs Sunday to Thursday only...

Option 2, Barcelona to Warsaw & Krakow using the Zurich-Vienna sleeper - the next fastest option, runs every day...

Option 3, Barcelona to Warsaw & Krakow with overnight stops in Paris & Berlin - runs daily...

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Barcelona to Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn...

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Barcelona to Kiev, Lviv & Ukraine...

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass

The Vienna-Kiev sleeping-car at Kiev Pass.  Photos courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

Sleeper to Kiev about to leave Vienna   Ukrainian sleeper corridor   1, 2 or 3 bed Ukrainian sleeper compartment

The Vienna-Kiev sleeper about to leave Vienna Hbf... Courtesy of Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

The sleeper corridor.  Courtesy Helmut Uttenthaler.

 

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment.

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Barcelona to Moscow, St Petersburg & Russia...

Option 1, Barcelona to Moscow using the Paris-Moscow Express, once a week all year.

One of Russian Railways new international sleeping-cars   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

Standard sleepers with washbasin on the Paris-Moscow Express:  1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 4-berth.  More photos & information.

  One of Russian Railways new international sleeping-cars

VIP sleeper with en suite toilet & shower on the Paris-Moscow Express...  More photos & information

Option 2, to Moscow via Paris & the Berlin-Moscow sleeper, twice a week.  The Berlin-Moscow train is suspended due to Covid-19...

  • Stay overnight in Paris - see suggested hotels near the station.

  • Day 2, travel from Paris to Berlin, there are various options with a change in either Mannheim, Frankfurt or Cologne.

    Fares start at €39.90 in 2nd class or €69.90 in 1st class.  Fares vary like air fares, book ahead for the cheapest prices.

    Check times & prices at www.raileurope.com (in €, £ or $, small booking fee) or www.bahn.de (in €, no booking fee).  Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

    Do not risk any tight connection in Berlin, allow hours not minutes - for example, you can leave Paris Gare de l'Est at 07:20, change at Mannheim and arrive Berlin Hbf around 15:28.

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Moscow by direct Russian sleeper train, leaving Berlin Hbf at 20:08 on Mondays & Saturdays, arriving at Moscow Belorussky station at 21:24 next day.

    This train was suspended due to covid-19 and remains suspended due to sanctions...

    This train is an articulated Spanish-built Talgo train branded Strizh (Russian for swift) which started running in 2016.  It has ordinary seats, 2nd class 4-berth sleepers, 1st class 1 or 2 berth sleepers with washbasin and deluxe 1 or 2 berth sleepers with en suite shower & toilet.  There's a restaurant & bistro car.  See photo of 2-berth sleeper on this train.

    Russian track gauge is 5', but most of Europe (including the UK) is 4' 8½", so at Brest on the Belarus frontier the Talgo train runs through a special gauge-changing shed and the axles automatically adjust to the new gauge.  Once in Russia, the scenery is rolling hills, birch tree forests, and villages of small wooden houses.  Approaching Moscow, you may glimpse the plaques on the station building marked '1812' and '1942' as the train passes through the small station of historic Borodino...

    You can book the Berlin-Moscow train at the Russian Railways website www.rzd.ru and print your own ticket, it's a little fiddly but usually works, or you can easily buy it online with English language after-sales service if you need it, using the Real Russia online system here.

    Don't forget to arrange both your Russian visa and Belarus transit visa as the train runs via Belarus.  See my important update about travel to Russia through Belarus.

    Change in Moscow for St Petersburg, see the train travel in Russia page.

Option 3, via Vienna & Kiev - avoiding Belarus...

  • Step 2, travel from Vienna to Lviv & Kiev by direct sleeping-car as shown on the Trains from Vienna page.

    You leave Vienna in the afternoon of day 2 and arrive Lviv & Kiev next day (day 3 from Barcelona).

  • Step 3, travel from Kiev to Moscow by sleeper train.  There are several sleeper trains to choose from, for example one leaves Kiev at 19:36 arriving Moscow Kievskaya station at 10:09 the next morning (day 5 from Spain).

    Kiev-Moscow trains were suspended due to Covid-19, and are now cancelled - and the lines blown up - due to the war in Ukraine...

    The fare is around €92 with a bed in 4-berth kupé or €180 with a bed in a 2-berth spalny vagon.

    You can ask www.polrail.com to book this for you too, or you can book tickets from Kiev to Moscow at the Ukrainian Railways site booking.uz.gov.ua/en/ booking from Kyiv to Moskva Kievskaya.  You collect tickets at the station in Kiev.  Feedback appreciated!

    Change in Moscow for St Petersburg, see the train travel in Russia page.

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Barcelona to Athens & Greece...
A 2 or 4 berth cabin on the Italy-Greece ferry  

2 or 4-berth cabin with private toilet & shower.

 

Relaxing on deck...

The ferry from Bari to Greece at sea

At sea, passing Cephalonia & Ithaca.  This is what travel to Greece should be like!

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Barcelona to Istanbul & Turkey...

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bullet pointRailbookers custom-made tours

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 custom-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 flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

Canadian flag  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

New Zealand flag  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

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bullet pointHotels in Barcelona

Suggested hotels near Barcelona Sants station...

If you're just staying overnight between trains, here are some hotels near Barcelona Sants with good or great reviews:

Suggested Barcelona hotels near the old quarter...

If you're staying longer, find a hotel in the old quarter where the sights are - perhaps on La Rambla itself.  Here are some hotels with good or great reviews:

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  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.

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

UK flagIf you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com.

UK flagYou can use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

  US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

A Curve card saves on foreign transaction fees...

 

Curve card

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of writing.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you £5 cashback through that link, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


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