When in Spain, make the most of your visit and take a journey over the border to France by train. It’s easier than you may think. Wave adios to Barcelona, and say bonjour to Marseille, on a four and a half journey through breath-taking scenery and picturesque villages you never knew existed.
Taking just 20 minutes longer than flying, you make up time by not having lengthy airport check-ins. And if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, the train is certainly a more considerate way to travel.
Serviced by high-speed Renfe-SNCF trains, you can even upgrade your journey to First Class. In doing so, you benefit from leather reclining seats, extra legroom and power socket access. For further information on this route, read on!
Renfe is the national train operator in Spain. It operates trains on the longest high-speed railway network in Europe, and the second-longest in the world. The country's major cities are linked up by the high-speed AVE and Avlo trains, while other long-distance routes are served by Altaria, Talgo, Alvia and Euromed trains. Renfe also operates cross-border services into neighbouring Portugal and France. Depending on which service you are travelling on, you'll usually find two classes on Renfe trains - Estándard (Standard Class) and Confort (First Class). Fare types range from the cheapest (but least flexible) Básico fare, to the more flexible Elige fares, to the Premium fare for seats in Confort carriages.
AVE is Renfe's flagship high-speed service, with trains capable of reaching up to 193 mph (310 km/h). It’s one of the fastest trains in Europe and connects the main cities of Spain. Most AVE trains offer two comfort classes – Estándard (Standard Class) and Confort (First Class equivalent, with 1-1 configuration, ultra-wide seats, gourmet food and drink and lounge access). All AVE trains have air conditioning, power sockets, free WiFi and a buffet carriage serving a selection of food and drinks. There are three fares for AVE services: the cheapest but least flexible Básico fare, the Elige fare (slightly pricier but more flexible), and the Premium fare for seats in Confort Class.
Renfe-SNCF trains are the result of a collaboration between France and Spain to bring the two countries together via a network of high-speed trains. There are two comfort classes – Turista (or Second Class) and Preferente (or First Class). Both classes have power sockets and comfortable seating. Luggage security checks are in force at all Spanish stations before boarding. It's also advisable to travel with your identity card for border control.
Most of the train companies across Europe release their tickets around three to six months in advance, many of which can be cheaper the earlier you book. If you know the dates you want to travel, you may be able to find some cheaper train tickets from Barcelona to Marseille by booking early.§
Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.
On some of the busier routes, you might also have the option to take a slower or connecting train. It may take a little longer than some high-speed or direct services, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, you might find a cheaper fare. Plus, you'll have more time to enjoy the view of the countryside!
For specific information about how to get your hands on cheap tickets, check out our European train tickets hub.
The average journey time by train between Barcelona and Marseille is 5 hours and 54 minutes, with around 5 trains per day. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays, so use our Journey Planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
The fastest journey time by train from Barcelona to Marseille is 4 hours and 50 minutes.
Train ticket prices from Barcelona to Marseille can start from as little as €29 when you book in advance. The cost of tickets can vary depending on the time of day, route and class you book and are usually more expensive if you book on the day.
Yes, it is possible to travel from Barcelona to Marseille without having to change trains. There is 1 direct train from Barcelona to Marseille each day. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Barcelona to Marseille leaves at 08:15. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Barcelona to Marseille leaves at 16:36. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services, time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.
Trains travelling from Barcelona to Marseille cover a distance of around 210 miles (338 km) during the journey.