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Travel from Barcelona, Spain to Bayonne, France

I'm doing my first Rick Steves tour of the Basque Country of Spain and France starting July 10th. Before I join the group I'd like to go to Barcelona for a few days on my own. I'm wondering if anyone else has done this and has suggestions for me. I've looked at the possibility of taking a train from Barcelona in the morning to Zaragoza and staying 1 night and then taking a train to Biarritz the following day and then a bus ride into Bayonne. The train ride from Zaragoza to Biarritz involves two transfers. Is this difficult to do or are there well marked signs so I don't miss my connections? Also do the buses from Biarritz to Bayonne run on a regular basis? Since I'm traveling in peak tourist season would it be ok to buy train tickets a day in advance or should I plan it out sooner?

My other option is to fly from Barcelona to Biarritz and take the bus to Bayonne. Is Zaragoza worth a one night stay? I love the history of places and architecture but would I just be better off taking my time in Barcelona? I will be arriving in Barcelona on July 4th and the tour starts on July 10th. Any other suggestions/ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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I think you do have time for a day in Zaragoza. There's really only one morning departure from Zaragoza to the border that works for you, so I would book it ahead. Tickets are cheaper if you book them in advance for the longer rides within Spain or France, typically starting about 3 months before your travel date.

FYI, trains from Barcelona to Bayonne also require 2 connections and some departures travel mostly via France, not Spain, which changes the selection of web sites that sell the tickets.

When the conductor checks your train ticket departing Zaragoza, you can ask him or her about which platform to go to at your connection point. But do also keep your eyes open for a schedule information board to confirm your next track number. The train stations at the border towns of Irun and Hendaye are not really large. You have plenty of time for the transfers listed on DB train schedules.