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Genoa Italy to Barcelona Spain

Hoping that travel is back to normal by September 2021. My wife and I will be in Italy for 3 to 4 weeks and then moving bases to Spain for 4 to 4 weeks. We love train travel, and aren't bothered by long distances as we love to watch the scenery go by.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has made the trip from northern Italy to Barcelona by train. Tips, etc...

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
4445 posts

It would seem like a great train route, but bahn.com shows four changes between Genoa and Barcelona, i.e. five different trains to take over 14 hours. That's a lot of work, especially with bags. Rome2rio.com shows buses and trains from Genoa to Nice, Milan, Florence, or Turin, then flights to Barcelona, totaling about half that time. Or there's a direct ferry taking 21 hours, which would probably be my choice since I like boat travel, but not running every day and the scenery would be pretty much the same all the way.

Posted by
1565 posts

When did you search for connections at bahn.com? Due to the pandemic a lot of trains are cancelled, but in a normal year that trip should be doable with two changes (Nice and Marseille).

If you have the time, it is a nice trip along the Mediterranean, adding a stop along the way can also be a good idea.

Posted by
6098 posts

The highways have a lot of tunnels which wasn’t pleasant when driving. Do the trains go through many too?

Posted by
315 posts

Hi, I've done the rail trip — Barcelona —La Spezia (via Genova)— Barcelona. We, being myself and partner with daughter, son and nephew, all in their mid 20s. We broke the journey with an overnight in Niza (Nice) — my daughter flew in to Niza from London for the outward journey and flew back to London from Niza on the return journey.
All straightforward, apart from some, but soon resolved confusion at Genova when collecting tickets from a machine for the onward journey to La Spezia. I think we had an hour and a half or so to wander around Genoa before taking the train to La Spezia. All very pleasant, and no hassle at all, if not as scenic as you might imagine. The stretch from Niza to Genova was fairly scenic.
If I recall correctly we took to AVE/TGV from Barcelona to Montpellier where we changed to a regional service to Niza and then onward the next day to Genova and La Spezia. I would most certainly recommend breaking the journey with an overnight along the route.
Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
17868 posts

There are lots of interesting places along the way, but if you're just going to watch them through a train window, I'd suggest flying. I like trains and dislike dealing with airports mid-trip, but doing the whole thing by train would probably chew up about two full days (with an overnight spent somewhere along the way).

Posted by
1565 posts

There are tunnels along the route. The Genoa-Marseille part is not very flat so there are numerous tunnels, most of them rather short. More on the Italian side, fewer after you've crossed the border. But there are still a couple of them, including a tunnel under Monaco (the only country with the entire railway network underground?). But the views along the coast are not bad, make sure you sit on the left side of the train for the best views.

Marseille-Barcelona is mostly high speed line with some tunnels, including a long one under the Pyrenees.