If you are heading out on a European tour that includes stops in both Spain and France (and maybe more countries), you may be looking for a fast and convenient way to travel between major cities. Unfortunately for those traveling between Barcelona and Nice, there is just not a very easy way to get from one place to the other. However, with a few tips and knowing the options, you should be able to master this journey without too much trouble.
The train is usually the fastest and easiest way to travel between two European cities, though because there is no direct route from Barcelona to Nice, this may be an exception to this general rule. Also, while trains in Europe tend to be faster than cars, this route is also an exception to this rule. While the drive takes about 6-8 hours, the train journey will take you 10-11. That being said, if you are having no intention of renting a car in France (or Spain) and would prefer to stay on the ground, it is possible to travel from Barcelona to Nice via train.
The other downside to taking the train is that there your the only option is to take the night train, which means you’ll miss out on all of that gorgeous scenery along the Mediterranean as you travel. Of course, if you choose to fly, you’ll also miss out on this scenery, so this isn’t a huge downside.
An overnight train is your only option, and you’ll have to change trains once in Narbonne, just over the French border. Times for these trains change regularly, but most should leave Barcelona around 5-7 pm and have you in Nice by 7-8 in the morning. You might want to consider getting a couchette if you actually plan on being able to get a good night’s sleep during the ride.
If you are renting a car in France (or Spain) during your trip, you can do the entire drive in about 6-8hours. Basically, the car route follows the Mediterranean Sea (the scenery is quite spectacular). Do keep in mind, however, that rental car companies can charge you huge fees for renting a car in one location and dropping it off in another. Also, remember that many of the roads in Europe require tolls and that gas prices tend to be much higher than in the U.S.
Despite the possibility of higher costs for driving, the drive is relaxing and spectacular at the same time. The roads between these two cities consist of all well maintained and fast autoroutes that allow you to cruise at high speeds. The entire journey is approximately 670 km.
Here’s the route:
- Drive from Barcelona to Beziers
- Beziers to Montpellier
- Montpellier to Aix-en-Provence
- Take the A-8 from Aix-en-Provence straight into Nice.
>>If you want specific driving directions and maps, there is a great site that allows you to plot your journey across Europe by car at www.viamichelin.com
If you are looking for both a fast and inexpensive way to travel between these two cities, flying can be a great option. There are several airlines that fly between these two Mediterranean cities, though many flights will connect through Paris, so if you want a non-stop flight make sure you double-check you will not have to connect through Paris or Madrid.
Spanish Airlines offer a non-stop service between Barcelona and Nice (airport codes BCN and NCE) that only takes about 1.5 hours. Flight prices will vary depending on the time of year, with summer prices being much higher than winter ones.