Travel from Provence/Avignon area to Barcelona

Hi everyone! Okay, so this is turning out to be the most difficult leg of our trip to plan. We're staying near Avignon (L'Isle sur la Sorgue) until July 29th, 2011, and we're checking into our Barcelona hotel that same day. Turns out that travelling from southern France to Barcelona is not as easy as the other legs of our trip! We've found a few pointers and tips on the web, but not a whole lot, and not much posted within the last year-or-so. So, as we've done quite frequently in the last month, we're turning to you folks! In short: what is your preferred method for getting from Provence to Barcelona? One option appears to be the Spanish Talgo train from Montpellier, though it leaves Montpeller very early in the morning. Other train options seem to involve many transfers, and take quite a long time. (Having said that, I note that we're planning this almost six months in advance, and it seems that many train schedules that far ahead haven't been posted yet.) One option that seems promising is to drive to Marsailles (we'll have a rental car, and Google says it's only an hour's drive), then catch a flight to Barcelona (Spanair has a flight leaving Marsailles at 11am for 57 Euro per person). Any potential problems/concerns with this drive/flight option? Any other suggestions? Thanks! ~Geoff and Jennifer

Posted by Adam
2923 posts

The German rail site shows a 5-1/2 hour trip from Avignon to Barcelona leaving at 9:15 AM. Transfer in Nimes and Figuiras, which is really not bad. I'd be tempted by the flight, but in terms of time they are pretty close, train might even be a little faster.

Posted by Tom
2876 posts

Personally, I think your drive & fly plan is the best. L'Isle-Sur-La Sorgue to the Marseilles airport is an hour or less drive, and the flight is only an hour. How do you beat that?

Posted by Lee
1017 posts

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Perpignan is a 3 hour drive. You can catch a train there to Barcelona which is around 2.5-3 hours as I recall. Last summer we got a train leaving Perpignan around 12:30 pm and there were later options.

Posted by Geoff
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
26 posts

Thanks for the replies, everyone. So we did decide to go with the drive/fly option... driving from L'Isle Sur La Sorgue to Marsaille, then flying to Barcelona on Spanair. Ultimately, this seems the easiest and quickest route. The drive from L'Isle Sur La Sorge should be less than an hour, we'll give ourselves an hour at the airport before our flight time, the flight itself is an hour, and let's say it'll take an hour to disembark and collect our bags. Probably a maximum of four hours in total, which is significantly better than the train options (which seem like they'd take about six hours at a minimum). Admittedly the flight option is probably a bit more expensive... yes the ticket price is a very appealing 57 Euro, but additional taxes of 49 Euro mean each ticket cost 106 Euro. Not terrible, but not entirely cheap, either. Still, for an easy trip and a time savings of at least an hour or two, we thought it worthwhile. Anyway, thanks again for the comments! And hopefully our experience documented here might be of use to others with the same travel itinerary. Cheers! ~Geoff and Jennifer

Posted by melissa
826 posts

For my own knowledge,having not flown much within the EU & because I'm used to lines, is one hour long enough for checkin and security within the EU ?

Posted by natalie
farmingville, ny, usa
3 posts

After a family wedding in Provence several of us are vacationing in Barcelona in July. We also have experienced a difficult road to getting train/car rental/flights. I went to Spanair and thought that was a solution but they dont fly on weekends when we need to go. Any other suggestions ?? Any other low cost airlines?? Please help!!

Posted by Tom
2876 posts

Natalie - if I were you I'd alter my plans & fly out on the Friday or the Monday. The difference between the Spanair weekday flight and a weekend flight on Air France or Lufthansa is around $500 per ticket. Spanair is the only discount carrier flying Marseille > Barcelona. Another option would be to drive up to Lyon. Easyjet flies Lyon > Barcelona and they are a major discounter, and they fly that route on weekends. Lyon's airport is LYS. They have a flight on Saturday July 9 for only $73.19. Otherwise, it's train or drive. The drive is about 5 hours, depending on where you start in Provence.