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These New Train Routes Will Make European Travel Easier Than Ever  

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If you want to travel across Europe, then there’s never been a better time to travel by train.  

Many European countries are shifting their focus to promoting rail travel, and France has even banned certain short-haul flights that could easily be replaced by train journeys instead.  

Woman waiting for train

Train travel is easy, quick, and affordable. Not to mention better for the environment.  

And now European train travel is set to become easier than ever. Here’s how:  

Travel From Barcelona To Lyon

Spanish travel company Renfe will start to operate train services outside of the country for the first time. You can now hop on a Renfe train in Spain and get off in France, and vice versa.  

The first new route will launch on July 13 and see trains travel from Barcelona to Lyon. This high-speed journey will take just 5 hours, meaning it's possible to fly into one country and then spend a night or two in another with ease.  

Renfe train in Barcelona station

The train will leave Barcelona Sants train station and stop at Girona, Figueres, Vilafant, Perpignan, Narbonne, Beziers, Montpellier-St-Roch, Nimes, Valance TGV and Lyon Part Dieu.  

This means you’ll have plenty of different options for places in both France and Spain to explore.  

Travel From Madrid To Marseilles

The second new international route offered by Renfe will travel from Madrid to Marseilles and will launch on July 28.  

This is a longer journey, taking just over 7.5 hours in total. But the high-speed route has a lot more stops in high-profile destinations.  

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train station

The train will depart from Madrid and stop in Zaragoza, Tarragona, Barcelona, Girona, Figueres, Perpignan, Narbonne, Beziers, Montpellier, Nimes, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence before finally arriving in Marseilles.  

The great news is that these services are not expensive.  

A one-way journey from Madrid to Marseilles or from Barcelona to Lyon will cost as little as 29 euros ($32). For shorter journeys to the other international stations on the route the ticket prices will start from 19 euros ($21). And for the shortest journey in France tickets will cost as little as 9 euros each: that’s about the same as the price of a fancy coffee.  

train station in europe

The earlier you book your ticket the cheaper the prices will be, so it pays to plan your journey in advance.  Tickets for both routes are already available to buy on the Renfe website.  

Why Travel By Train?

Some people think European train travel is harder or more inconvenient than just hopping on a plane. But in reality the opposite is true.  

There are no lengthy check-in procedures or security screening for most train travel in Europe. Unlike at the airport you don’t have to arrive at a train station two hours in advance and empty out half your suitcase.  

view of a high-speed train crossing a viaduct in Roden, Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain

Most train stations are also located in the middle of the city center, unlike airports which tend to be on the outskirts of the city. This means you would have the hassle or the expense of getting from the airport to the city center when you travel by train.  

This means that traveling across Europe by train can often be quicker than flying. Especially if you’re traveling on a high-speed network. If you need to take a slower regional train, then obviously your journey is likely to take a little longer.  

Another added bonus is that train seats tend to be larger and more comfortable than plane seats. You can also move about the train and stretch your legs whenever you want to, and the views from the windows can be exceptional as you whizz by.  

Central Train Station In Seville, Andalusia, Southern Spain

There’s never been a better time to travel across Europe by train. And these new routes from Renfe mean that using the train to travel from Spain to France is now cheaper and easier than it has ever been before.  

Renfe plan to introduce additional routes between the two countries over the next 12 months. They aim to reach Paris by the time the 2024 Olympics begin.  

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Francis Williams

Thursday 13th of July 2023

Why is it that you don't show maps of these routes you are talking about/ It would be useful for would-be travelers!

Michael Z (Midtown NYC)

Thursday 13th of July 2023

Thanks for the info, Tor. When, I read the headline: "These New Train Routes Will Make European Travel Easier Than Ever", I was hoping Italy was included but no such luck. Anyway, my wife and I do a lot of traveling in Europe from NYC and we agree with you concerning traveling by train. Last August we stayed in the Swiss Alps for 1 month. Trains were on time, super clean and many arrived at our station where a transfer for a bus was waiting at the train station like in Lukerbad.

Shifting to Asia = it was was very same when we hiked the Kumano Kodo Trail in Japan leaving from Tokyo by train to smail towns and villages to pick up the trail - super clean bullet trains, on time and every Conductor bowed entering and leaving our car dressed neatly with white gloves. We felt like being in first class.