Taking the train to Barcelona, Spain: are you crazy or something?

Monday morning. 6.30. No hey again so early. I thought I had had it with early rising for a while. Looking in the mirror, I also had a thick eye, something about not enough sleep and resistance. High time to go back to Barcelona, Spain and take it easy. Goodmorning!

After spending a month in the Netherlands for my clients: Het Groene Brein and SURF to organize the National Day for Sustainability in Higher Education (now called Groene Peper), it was time to return “home. Barcelona! This time I wanted to do it more sustainably and not go by plane, so I decided back in January that I wanted to return by train at the end of May.

The first thing most people said, “are you crazy or something?” That takes SUPER long! When I explained that it takes about 10.5 hours (Rotterdam – Paris 2.5 hours, 1.5 hours transfer and then 6.5 hours Paris – Barcelona Sants) and I mentioned that normally from Barcelona El Prat to Schiphol and then from door to door also takes about seven hours, it became more like: “Oooh that’s not so bad, I thought it would take 24 hours”.

But then it must be incredibly expensive? Was the next question. Not too bad either, in my opinion. Further on, I tell you how much I paid.

Buying train tickets

Buying train tickets to Barcelona is easy. Read how to buy train tickets to Barcelona in this blog, really, it’s a snap.

Rotterdam to Paris Gare du Nord

This ride was really over in no time. There was wifi, outlet just for you and good chairs. When you go to Paris, this is really the way to go. You can also get a falafel sandwich with humus, which the vendor said was vegan. The toilets were also relatively clean. I would always bring tissues and hand sanitizer myself, though, just to be on the safe side.

Transferring Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon

This is very easy. When you get off at the train, follow the signs for RER and M. I got off carriage number 16, so when I arrived at Paris Nord, I was able to walk directly down with a few steps. With a heavy suitcase, it was still a ‘fun’ job. It was just barely that my blue suitcase bumped down first. You guessed it, I couldn’t find elevators very quickly. Once downstairs (it’s really not a big staircase, no worries) I walked up to the gates and as nicely NS-conditioned as I am, I wanted to check out with my ticket. Eeehh so that didn’t go.

In my best Spanish/French, I asked if I had to check out with the ticket but soon found out that I just had to put the subway ticket in. Nothing to check out with your train ticket. With the metro ticket I had already bought on the train to Paris, I was able to check in just like that and in no time I had found Metro Line D. The green line and you have to go in the direction of Corbeil – Essonnes.

by train to Barcelona

Once at Gare de Lyon, it took some searching but just follow the signs towards the trains long distance. Again, you can check out with your metro ticket if you want, but I was able to go through the open gates for the disabled. With a suitcase like that, you kind of are 😉 . Take the escalator up and you’ll arrive – at least I did – in Hall 3. The signs told me where to go for my train to Barcelona Sants.

My train would leave in Hall 2 so hups, up again. Most people went by escalator but I felt like walking for a while so I did a mini work-out “push up the moleta azul. When I got to Hall 2, I had to wait a while and half an hour before departure the departure track came up on the signs. Track 19.

There was suddenly a swarm of people around track 19 but fortunately it went fairly smoothly and I was quickly through the line. By the way, when you have to wait in Hall 2 in winter, I would bring an extra warm coat. After all, it is covered here, but also open so can imagine it can be quite chilly.


Paris Gare de Lyon to Barcelona Sants

Well this is just sitting for 6.5 hours and getting lucky with your fellow trainmates. The train stops about 7 times along the way before arriving at Barcelona Sants. There was 1 outlet for 2 travelers ( unlike Thalys where you had 2 outlets for 2 travelers). There is wifi but I could not connect at first, then I asked the auto assist on the SNCF website and it gave me internet access after entering my booking code 3 times. Worked fine.

Getting to Barcelona by train

During my trip, I saw the landscape change from urban to green, water and hilly with the occasional highway traversing the landscape. Unfortunately, I suffer from fluid in my legs very quickly so I had to get up frequently to stretch. Which is easier than on the plane.

When it got to 5 p.m. and ran I was kind of done with it, but just watched a movie and hups, went well again. In the end, this journey everything was not too bad.

What does a train ticket to Barcelona cost?

Very nice and all, but what exactly does it cost? Knowing that the earlier you book, the cheaper it is, I had an alarm set up in my calendar that indicated three months in advance that I was to give my train ticket could buy. In total, I spent 110 euros for a one-way ticket. Given that I had 30 kg of luggage with me (sorry, I just MUST use my good professional blender to bring back peanut butter and vegetable spreads make) I thought it was an excellent price.

Conclusion train trip to Barcelona

So do you also want to travel more sustainably? Or do you have a fear of flying? Then taking the train to Barcelona is really a great option! Book early, bring an extra scarf or sweater (the train from Paris to Barcelona Sants is cold by the window because of air conditioning) and bring vegan sandwiches….download a movie in advance and you’re good to go!

Read how to book your train tickets to Barcelona >>