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Booking train from Barcelona to Nice

Does anyone know if the TGV from Barcelona to Marseilles is usually sold out and do prices increase significantly within days-several weeks before departure? I've read Rick's advice on booking train tickets online ahead of time versus at the station and have explored the RailEurope site; unfortunately the site proved very clumsy to use and had much higher prices when I actually got the process to work than were shown on the basic itinerary. So, how 'safe' is it to bypass RailEurope and get my tickets at the station several days in advance?

Thanks!

Posted by
388 posts

Well, unless you plan on making stops along the way, it will be cheaper and faster to do a budget flight instead of a train. www.skyscanner.com will show you the cheaper airlines that run that route. With that said, if you wanted to do trains, It will take about 8-9 hours total travel time. You can buy the tickets from either Rail Europe or from SNCF but for the later you must have a PayPal account.

I would first suggest looking at the train schedules on www.bahn.com to see where the change will occur (either Valence or Marseille), then break up those tickets on either of those sites (i.e. Barcelona - Valence and Valence - Nice).

I hope this helps some.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the flight suggestion. I have all the train details ready to book on Rail Europe but wonder if I can simply get the tickets at the station in Barcelona several days in advance and save $ over the Rail Europe charge. However because there's really only 1 train sequence that's convenient for my schedule, To wait to get the tickets at the station and have it sold out would be a bother.

Posted by
16866 posts

The train could sell out, since there aren't many choices, and it's a reserved type of train. The other reason to book train tickets in advance (available starting about three months ahead) usually is to save a lot of money. See tips at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/france-rail-passes#ticket-tips for buying Prems tickets through SNCF with PayPal. If you're traveling soon, then the lower rates could be sold out, and I'd go back to checking airfares.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks all. I went ahead and booked an Easy Jet flight. Great schedule, about half the time door-to-door than the train, including ground transportation to/from airport and check-in, and about 1/3 the price. Won't see the gorgeous landscape from the train window but the saved time in arriving so much earlier in Nice gives an extra half day to enjoy the city.