Barcelona to Marseille by train

How to take the rail journey from Barcelona to Marseille

The usual daily direct train from Barcelona to Marseille has been now resumed following a two year suspension.

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Routes

Option 1: the direct train

Travel Information

Final Destination: Marseille St.Charles

The train also calls at: Montpellier, Nimes, Avignon TGV, Aix-en-Provence TGV

Departing from Barcelona:

This train is usually scheduled to depart from Barcelona Sants station daily at 16:36

Aim to be at Barcelona Sants a minimum of 20 mins before departure, in order to allow time to pass through the security checks.

At Barcelona Sants station this train to France departs from the part of the station used by the Spanish high speed trains - vias (platforms/tracks) 1 - 6,
So when you're in the station follow the signs that are pointing the way to the ' Alta-Velocidad' trains.

How to arrive in Marseille sooner:

The daily direct train from Barcelona isn't scheduled to arrive in Marseille at 21:36 in the evening.
So if you would rather arrive in the city before 15:30 you'll need to take the alternative journey option.

1 x train per day

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date

The train is usually scheduled to depart daily from Barcelona Sants at 16:36, so target that departure time when looking up this journey.

When looking for tickets on Trainline tick the 'fastest journeys' box, on Oui.SNCF tick the 'direct trains' box,
Though it can be worth comparing the prices between booking agents for this journey.

Note that this direct train arrives in Marseille too late to make onward connections to any destination to the east beyond Toulon.

Seat Reservations:

Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for this journey.

Rail Pass Users:

Rail pass users will need to be pay a reservation fee prior to boarding, but these reservations cannot be booked on the ticket agent's websites.
If you want the peace of mind of reserving before arriving at a Spanish station, you will need to use the Eurail reservation service or the InterRail reservation service but you will be charged a €2 booking fee per reservation.
Though you can avoid a booking fee if you do reserve at a Spanish station.

Or of you will be making this journey on Monday to Friday, you can avoid paying the rail pass reservation fee, by taking this alternative journey option.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trainline from €37

Trainline Guide

SNCF Connect from €37

SNCF Connect Guide

SNCF is the national rail operator in France and not so long ago it recently simplified both the range of tickets and the term and conditions of using them.
Therefore the cheapest tickets also become more flexible too.

Other improvements included a simple integration of travelling with bicycles and rail pass users being able to book reservations for national journeys, without paying booking fees.

And it also recently launched SNCF Connect as replacement for its Oui.SNCF booking service.
You can set up a low price alert to let you know when the cheapest price is available for a future journey.

Something else to look out for is that simplest way of travelling with tickets is to use the SNCF Connect App, as booked tickets can therefore be stored on your mobile device, which can then be shown to the train conductors as proof of purchase.

SNCF Connect on Google Play

SNCF Connect in the App (Apple) store

SNCF also operates RailEurope, which is in effect a dedicated online booking service for making bookings from outside of Europe.
If you reside outside of Europe you may discover that SNCF Connect rejects phone numbers or card numbers, but RailEurope won't do so.
Though RailEurope will add booking fees when making a purchase

Happyrail from €37

Happyrail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

Renfe from €37

Renfe Guide

Renfe is the national rail operator in Spain and it has recently simplified the range of tickets it sells for express and regional train journeys in Spain.
Which is convenient as there are big savings to be made if you book ahead online.

On this journey

Journey Features

Coastal viewsHigh Speed (partial)

Good to Know

From the high speed line after Figueres From the high speed line after Figueres
Crossing the marshes between Perpignan and Narbonne Crossing the marshes between Perpignan and Narbonne
The view of Beziers from the left just before Beziers station The view of Beziers from the left just before Beziers station

If you will be making this journey between April and October, so will be travelling by daylight, this is a journey of three distinct parts:

1:Between Barcelona and Perpignan the train travels  on a high speed line.

2. Between Perpignan and Montpellier the train follows the coast, don't expect incredible seascapes, but there are some nice views as the train threads through the marshes - particularly north of Perpignan.

3. Between Nimes and Marseille  the train switches back to the high speed line.

Option 2: making a connection to arrive in Marseille sooner

Travel Information

The daily direct train from Barcelona is usually scheduled to arrive in Marseille at 21:36 in the evening, so if you want to arrive in the city by train sooner, you'll need to change trains (this is also the optimum routing available on the days when the direct AVE train isn't available).

This routing via Valence is available if you set off from Barcelona daily at 08:15, you'll then have around 30 mins to make the connection.

Though if you miss the connection in Valence due to a delayed train, tickets and reservations can transferred free of charge to subsequent trains on to Marseille.

Look at a map and it will seem as though travelling via Valence is a diversion off of the direct route, but none of the high speed trains from Barcelona have particularly good connections in Montpellier or Nimes with trains on to Marseille.

1 x connection per day

Changing trains at Valence TGV station.

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 3 months ahead of the travel date (usually)

Book a ticket and a complimentary seat reservation(s) for both trains will be included.

But if you will be travelliing with a rail pass you'll save if you take the direct train.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trainline *

Trainline Guide

Train 1

Journey Features

High Speed (partial)

Good to Know

Final Destination: Lyon

Aim to be at Barcelona Sants a minimum of 20 mins before departure, in order to allow time to pass through the security checks.

At Barcelona Sants station these trains to France depart from the part of the station used by the Spanish high speed trains - vias (platforms/tracks) 1 - 6.
So when you're in the station follow the signs that are pointing the way to the ' Alta-Velocidad' trains.

The view from the high speed line north of Figueres The view from the high speed line north of Figueres
Crossing the marshes between Perpignan and Narbonne Crossing the marshes between Perpignan and Narbonne
The view of Beziers from the left just before Beziers station The view of Beziers from the left just before Beziers station

This is a journey of three distinct phases:

1: Between Barcelona and Perpignan the train will travel at up to 280 km/h on high speed line.

2 Between Perpignan and Montpellier the train follows the coast, don't expect incredible seascapes, but there are some nice views as the train threads through the marshes - particularly north of Perpignan

3. Between Nimes and Valence  the train switches back to the high speed line for the final 15 mins of the journey.

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