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As I understood, trains could be the best option to head to daytrips from Barcelona. They are convenient and quite cheap. The one, not so far from Catalonia Square, train station is in Gracia street. Here you could take trains (RENFE) to Girona, Tarragona and other destinations.
Train from Girona to Barcelona took about 1,5 hours and the sale of ticket was about 9 euros one way.
Train to Tarragona took a bit more than 1 hour; the ticket price was approximately 7 euros.
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).
Gothic Quarter Station
Convenietly located near the Gothic Quarter is the central train station that provides departures for the rest of Europe. Some local excursionary trains also depart from here, but most of those are easier to catch at one of the metro stations. Barcelona is well served by trains of all sorts.
Estaci de França
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).
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Estació de Sants
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.
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Trip from the airport to the city centre
"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
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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.
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To Barcelona by train
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.
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Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC)
to get to several towns or vilalges around Barcelona there is a system of trains of short distance traffic. From plaza Catalunya start two main lines, "Metro del Vall?s" and "Linia de Balmes" . Those trains are not part of the Metro, so you got to buy extra tickets, if you use e.g. the BCN-Card or some other kind of day or week ticket for busses and Metro. Am not sure about all prices, but to go to Terrassa, around 40 minutes away from plaza Catalunya, I paid 2,50 Euro. There are vending machines to buy your ticket, normally you get change as well.
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.
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Estació de França (The station for France)
The Estació de França is the more attractive of the city’s two main stations, built in the 19th century as the main terminus for trains arriving from France, the station was rebuilt and reopened in 1929 for the International Exhibition.
These days the station is used by express trains to Madrid, Valencia and various other Spanish cities and other parts of Catalonia.
Avinguda del Marquès de l'Argentera, 6
Barcelona is well-linked by train with many european cities - france and belgium in particular - but there are also direct night train from switzerland and italy (and i guess from many more countries).
The train is also a comfortable way to get out of the city for day trips: figueras, girona and sitges are particularly recommended
Plan Ahead and Save with Renfe Online
Here is a link which discusses ways to save on Renfe train travel by planning ahead and using their online booking:
Renfe may be hard to do a general search; sometimes you need to go to the "Cercanias/Rodalies" to see local, commuter lines. For more user friendly site see -
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Gerona, another catalunia gem
A half day or full day trip from Barcelona to Gerona and Figueras could be done by train. I took "Catalunia express" departing from station Passeo de Gracia to Gerona for apx 10 euros return ticket, and spent a nice journey trough catalonian countryside. Gerona itself is not so big, so a couple of hours for walking and sightseeing quite enough. Railway station is situated virtualy in the centre of town. Most attractive sites are The Call -jewish area, Sant Feliu church and especially nice view to houses built over river Onyar from one fo bridges.
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