We were a bit daunted at first, but once you get the hang of it, the Metro is a really cheap and extremely easy way to get around Barcelona, we used it nearly every day, ad it made the trip much more pleasant.
Forget the french TGV´s, if you are going to or leaving Barcelona a good option is to do so by train.
The Talgo trains are modern, clean, comfortable and very reliable. I liked it so much that I even took a picture from inside the train!
Talgo trains offer high speed service between major cities in Spain. You can find info about them at central train stations or at the Renfe (Spanish rail company) website.
This was one of the best ideas for arriving in Barcelona. We arrived in Ryanair's destination airport in Girona. There is a bus (Barcelona Bus) which will take you either directly into the city and main bus station of Barcelona, or to the bus/train station of Girona. You can inquire and purchase tickets inside the arrivals terminal at Girona Airport. The train is a very clean and pleasant ride between any of the outlying cities from Barcelona and it is a great way to see more if you want to take day trips. Tickets are bought separately than the metro tickets and are fairly inexpensive. Barcelona to Girona is only about 5Euro one way in 2nd class (there aparently is no first class).
The Estaci de França is located on the south-eastern part of Barcelona and serves as first stop from trains coming from the east and north of Barcelona. At the time of its opening in September 1929, it was the largest station in Europe. It was closed for several years while the tracks were buried underground in preperation for the Olympic Village. The station has now been restored to its formidable splendor, and looks more like a fancy hotel (on the inside).
The station, Estació de Sants is the first major stop from the airport into Barcelona. Here, the traveler can get off, switch trains, or hop on a subway. It is a great place to get a hotel near to as you can avoid renting a car and have connections to the Metro.
"When going to the city centre from the airport, you have a choice of different utilities: shuttle, taxi, bus, train + metro.
We had chosen for the last one, starting to take the train to Barcelona main trainstation.
Marie (Marikitt) had warned us not to take the bus that drops you at Plaça Catalunya. A lot of tourists take that bus and at the square they will be "welcomed" by pickpockets who know all tourists will be dropped here.
Not that you will not have to be careful taking the train or the metro. Always keep your eyes open.
The trainstation in Barcelona gives connection to different metro lines. To go to Gracia, where we rented an appartment, we had a choice of both.
Picture is taken at the automatic stairs/bridge going from the airport to the trainstation at the opposite side of the street
Grandes lineas renfe, offers the possibility to travel from 3 european cities staright to Barcelona, these cities are Paris, Orleans and Limoges in France, Milano and Torino in Italy and Zürich, Bern, Fribourg, Lausanne and Geneve in Switzerland.
Trains from France are daily, the other 2 leaves Barcelona with direction to Milano and Zürich on sundays, tuesdays and thursdays, and return on mondays, wedesdays and fridays.
From in Madrid to Barcelona you can take the TALGO: it is a comfortable and fast train, and it allows you to enjoy an awesome landscape all the trip long. It takes 7 hours, and the touristic class costs 44 €.
Desde Madrid a Barcelona puedes ir en el TALGO: es un confortable tren rápido, que te permite disfrutar de un paisaje espectacular a lo largo de todo el recorrido. Lleva 7 horas, y el boleto en clase turista cuesta 44 €.
We went to Barcelona by train. Locals told us, it would be better, because it's not that easy to find a free parking in Barcelona. Thanks a lot for that info! We took the train from Blanes, on the Costa Brava, about 90 km in the North of Barcelona. It was very cheap (about 7 Euro) and we arrived at Plaza Catalunya.
Barcelona has two main train stations . Estacio Franca is located northeast of the city centre. It is for trains to the south of France. Estacio Sants at the Placa dels Paisos Catalans is for the spanish long distance trains (e.g. Madrid, Valencia, Andalucia) and international trains to France.
Train are good if you want to meet local and foreign people. Also if you want to watch landscapes and have plenty of time.
Prices are very moderated compared with the rest of Europe.
In summer some have air conditioned and other not. It is different categories and prices.
ADVICE: always check by telephone the website timetable. It is not so easy to find the info there.
TAKE TIME. Often it is lots of people at the big stations like Sants.
BARCELONA MORE CENTRAL STATION: Passeig de Gràcia.
INTERNATIONAL TRAINS: BCN SANTS
My memory is not serving me now but i want to tell you there's a castle on a hill :) can't remember the name sorry but it's a war museum now .. use this little train to get there ..it's so fun .. slow in a way that it will let you enjoy the scenary ..and trust me .. its a great scene not to be missed
We got a night train to and from Barcelona-Paris. Our only problem was that we booked too late and couldn't get a direct train either down or back. We had to stop at the border both times (and wait a few hours in tiny towns!). The night train was fine otherwise though...
The trip from Paris to Barcelona took around 14 hours.
We were again with our group from the University Leiden in The Netherlands, but a quite small group, which was great.
It's easier to listen to our professor and eventual guides.
We had spent our days in MADRID and went to BARCELONA by NIGHT-TRAIN.
This is a view of the small corridor and on the left are the "COUCHETTES" the places to sleep!!
We had the cheaper ones and had to sleep 6 per COUCHETTE, 2 x 3, one above the other.
It is very comfy once you are in the bed.....but before that......we had to laugh a lot and then concluded that it was best to change into pyjamas and arrange our sheets and blankets one by one......
Unfortunately there is no room for 6 suitcases which made things so difficult.
We were obliged to lock the door on the inside because there seem to happen some strange things on these trains during the night.
For quite some time I was in the corridor, watching MADRID disappear in the darkness.
Then I went to sleep for 700 km. to wake up in BARCELONA.
The main train station in Barcelona is Sants.
It's very busy and the wait for tickets can be long, make sure you wait in the correct queue, there is one for internal tickets and one for international tickets.
However the station is very clean and there are many facilities, if you are not alone, you can waste time in the arcade in a bookshop or the restaurant.