Do I need a 3 country pass if I am going from Italy to Spain since I will travel through France (no stops in France)? I am trying to get from La Spezia to Barcelona overnight. Thanks!
Yes you will....but fly...it's a lot cheaper and much, much faster.
Or if this is your only trip, a discounted point-to-point ticket will probably be cheaper.
I only found one low fare airline, ClickAir, flying from Pisa to Barcelona for €50 (no one flys from La Spezia. Their website indicates they enforce the 21.65" max bag length, because longer won't fit in the overhead bin. They also limit carryon weight to 22#. Checked luggage is according to an undefined fee.
Understand that in addition to a 1½hr flight, you'll have time and cost to get to Pisa, preboard time, and time cost to get into Barcelona. I think the general rule of thumb is that a 1 hr flight ends up taking 6 hours, right out of prime sightseeing time. You'll probably have to head for Pisa first thing in the morning and you probably won't have much time after arriving in the afternoon. So, it basically takes one night, most of a day, and then another night, compared to one night on the train. To the fares, you have to add two nights and compare that cost to the night train accommodations.
I was going to go back to Rome from Cinque Terre (C.T.) and then fly from Rome to Barcelona, but I did not want to spend 4-5 more hours on a train to get back down to Rome. I will be taking the train in Italy and in Spain, so I was thinking I would probably buy a pass anyway (not for France if I flew, though). I was just thinking that having a few more hours in C.T. and then spending the night on the train would save me from backtracking and a night of lodging...Thanks!!
I'm not sure how Lee figures a flight during the day from Pisa to Barcelona takes "one night, most of a day, and then another night." The Clickair flight he mentions currently leaves at 4:30 and arrives in Barcelona at 6 pm. With the train ride taking an hour from La Spezia to Pisa, you could easily have the morning in La Spezia before leaving for Pisa, then be in Barcelona in time for dinner....seven hours or less from door to door. That compares to 18 hours on the overnight train....plus the cost of another country, plus the cost of the compulsory reservation, plus the cost of any sleeping accommodations. BTW, the baggage charge isn't unspecified...it's 10 Euro per checked bag.
For the date I checked, the flight to Barcelona left Pisa at 13:20. The latest train that you could take that would get you to the airport with at least 1 hr left La Spezia at 10:06. That hardly gives you any time in the morning. The flight arrives in BCN at 14:50. The first train to Barcelona Saints that you could reasonable expect to get arrives in Barcelona at 15:57 - almost 4 PM. That pretty much shoots your day. So, except for a little time in the evening, you have pretty much spent one night in La Spezia, almost the whole next day traveling, then another night before you have a complete day in Barcelona. That compares to one night on the train, for which your fare and reservation covers both the transportation and accommodation.
By the way, when I checked for flights, it only looked like there were flights 2 day a week, Wed. & Sun. Of course, I don't think the train runs everyda either, so in the end it might come down to what day you wanted to travel and what transportation was running that day.
The train to Pisa is €9,10 and the train into Barcelona is €2,20. As you say, check luggage is €10 (it wouldn't give me that information before I entered my name, which I didn't want to do, so I just knew there was a fee, but not how much. You have to add at least €20 to the cost of flying.
Flying is really the fastest and least expensive. However, if you want a crazy option, you can take the train north to Genoa and take the overnight ferry to Barcelona. It takes about the same amount of time as the overnight train but it doesn't stop through the night. About 76Euro.
Getting in to Barcelona at 4 pm means you've wasted the whole day? Wow....you must go to bed early! ;) Even by your calculations, you're still going door to door in less than six hours. That's as opposed to 17 or 18 on the train, far far more than just one night's accommodations...a lost late afternoon and evening, and much of the next morning. As for Barcelona, I'd want to get downtown from Sants railway station....too far away from all the good stuff! But I sorta like Larry's idea of the overnight ferry, too....as long as there's no storm brewing! ;)
As Lee says, Clickair only has flights a couple of days days a week from Pisa to Barcelona. You could take the train to Milan and fly from Milan Malpensa to Barcelona on either Clickair, easyJet, or Vueling.
Thanks to you all! Many options I had not considered!