Hello - I am traveling with 5 people and we are starting off in Barcelona. Our first stop will be to Marseille. Can anyone suggest train options Barcelona - Marseille? The Rail Europe site only has one option leaving at 445 and arriving in Marseille at midnight (which isn't the best option for us) Looking for any possible alternative! Thanks!
Step one is to forget the words "Rail Europe" and avoid using it. They are a ticket reseller, do not operate any trains, do not show all trains on their site, and mark up the prices of the tickets they do sell. For schedules, use the German rail (Bahn) website, following the directions in Rick's tutorial: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/db_tips.htm. This will not have prices on your route, since it is not in Germany To buy tickets, you use RENFE. Here's a TripAdvisor tutorial on how to do it: http://tinyurl.com/cu48wk5 Near the bottom of that TripAdvisor page, they explain that if you can't get RENFE's site to work for you, you can use http://petrabax.com/renfe/, http://www.palacetours.com/renfe, or http://www.rumbo.es (the last won't hotlink for some reason). Others here have had mixed results with RENFE, and report success with these other sites in those cases. They are not quite as cheap as RENFE (they're resellers), but still cheaper than Rail Europe.
When I was in Barcelona I bought train tickets from there to Perpignan, France. The train from Barcelona went to a town near the border, where we then had to get off and board a French train. I was able to pay for the Spanish train with a credit card, but I had to pay for the French train with cash. I'm not sure how that would work if you can do it online. I agree you should look into flying that distance.
Thanks everyone! This will be my first trip to Europe, so all of your posts are extremely helpful. Appreciate it!