Overnight Train from Paris to Barcelona – Sleeper Train to Spain

After a couple of years, I decided I wanted to visit Barcelona again. And I wanted a new railway adventure. So I looked into the options to travel by train to Barcelona! I found a great overnight train from Paris to Barcelona and decided to book it. Who doesn’t want to catch the Paris to Barcelona sleeper train to Spain?!

In this post, I’ll share my experience with the Paris to Barcelona night train and I’ll give you some practical tips for your own adventure on the night train to Barcelona. Hop aboard, we’re on our way to Barcelona!

I paid for everything in full myself. I was not paid or sponsored. All my opinions and experiences are my own.

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Waking up to snow in the Pyrenees Mountains as we travel to Spain
Waking up to snow in the Pyrenees Mountains as we travel to Spain

How to get to Barcelona by train?

Traveling from Paris to Barcelona by train is an excellent option if you enjoy scenic routes, comfortable travel, and can appreciate the romance of a train journey. There are various ways to make this journey, both during the day and the night:

  • Paris Gare du Lyon to Barcelona Sants, direct day train with TGV inOui in 6h 50m (2 trains a day, 3 in summer)
  • Paris Gare du Lyon via Lyon (or Montpellier) to Barcelona Sants, one-stop with regional trains and Renfe AVE
  • (Night) train from Paris Gare d’Austerlitz via Latour de Carol to Barcelona Sants

As most railway planners don’t offer this last option, I’d like to share my own experiences as a guide for your train trip.

map of west Europe with a blue route connecting the Netherlands, via Belgium to Paris and towards Andorra and terminating in Barcelona
My train journey from the Netherlands, via Paris and the Pyrenees mountains to Barcelona

Benefits of the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona

Besides the romance of traveling by overnight sleeper train to Barcelona, there are a few other options in favor of taking the night train to Barcelona.

Choosing the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona comes with several benefits:

  1. Time Efficiency: Overnight trains allow you to save precious travel time during the day.
  2. Cost-Effective: Overnight trains save you the cost of one night’s accommodation.
  3. Scenic Views: Experience breathtaking landscapes as the train traverses through France and into Spain.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: Trains are a more sustainable mode of travel than flying, reducing your carbon footprint.
  5. Adventure: The night train is a real adventure, something to share stories about once you return and not something you do every day (or night).
I'm always happiest when I can travel by train
I’m always happiest when I can travel by train

Step-by-step guide for the sleeper train from Paris to Barcelona

As mentioned before, this Paris to Barcelona sleeper train route via Latour de Carol is not mentioned in any rail planner or route options planner. That is why I’ll walk you through the different steps of taking this train journey across France and Spain.

Get to Paris by train on the Eurostar

If you’re coming from the UK or other parts of Europe, the Eurostar is an excellent way to reach Paris. The Eurostar connects London to Paris in just over two hours, arriving at Paris Gare du Nord. Or Amsterdam to Paris in just over 3 hours. Ensure you book your tickets in advance, as prices can vary.

I took a train in the afternoon, after work, to Paris and arrived in Paris well on time for dinner and the night train to Barcelona. Of course, you can add extra days in Paris to explore the city of lights!

Can you travel by train to San Sebastian from London or NL? I help you with my step by step guide for the train to Basque country from France
Gare du Nord in Paris

Take the metro to Gare Austerlitz in Paris

If you do arrive by Eurostar train at Gare du Nord, you’ll need to make your way to Gare Austerlitz, where the night train to Barcelona departs. On the Eurostar trains, you can buy single metro tickets at the restaurant carriage. This saves you a lot of time standing in line at the Paris metro ticket machines.

The Paris Metro is efficient and easy to navigate. Take Line 5 from Gare du Nord to Gare d’Austerlitz, a journey that takes about 20 minutes.

When I traveled to Barcelona by train, the metro line was under construction. I got off the metro at Gare du Lyon and walked across the bridge to Garde d’Austerlitz. A 5-minute stroll.

The famous Le Train Blue restaurant at Gare du Lyon was already fully booked but would make for an excellent dinner before your night train to Barcelona.

Helpful tips and tools for your France trip
  • Learn a few French words with this easy French Phrase Book & Dictionary. Purchase your copy here.
  • Book your hotels in Paris and France via Booking.com or Hotels.com
  • Find your direct flights to Paris here
  • Book your tours and activities direct with GetYourGuide or Viator
  • Book your train tickets in and around France direct here or find the cheapest car rentals here
  • I love to design travel themed items and I made several vibrant France inspired travel themed patterns. Check my own designs here!
  • Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel in France. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Train is ready to leave from Paris Austerlitz station
Ready to leave from Paris Austerlitz station

Take the night train from Paris to Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg (France)

At Gare Austerlitz, board the Intercités de Nuit, the overnight train service bound for Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg.

This train departs around 9:40 PM (times vary during the year – so check) and offers a variety of accommodation options, from reclining seats to private sleepers.

I highly recommend booking a couchette or a private compartment to have a comfortable night’s sleep. I booked a 4-bed “first-class” women’s compartment which was fine comfort-wise, but unfortunately, all 3 of my fellow travelers were either snoring, couching all night, or tossing and turning.

The last stop of the train is around 11 pm, after this, it continues straight, without stopping until 7 or 8 am the next morning. Especially the part in the Pyrenees mountains, after Foix with the castle and into the mountains, up to 1,562m (5,125 feet) is spectacular.

Image from a train window of the town of Foix with the castle in the morning sunlight, train riding towards us.
Approaching Foix with the castle in the morning sunlight

Hop on the regional R3 train from Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg to Barcelona Sants (Spain)

You’ll arrive around 10 am in Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg, where you’ll find several train platforms. One you have just arrived at, the other serves other destinations in France. You’ll also find the platform for the narrow gauge tourist train Le Petit Train Jaune. And there is the platform which you’ll find if you follow the signs “to Spain”.

Here you’ll transfer to the regional R3 train operated by Rodalies de Catalunya. Trains depart at 10.30 am or 1.30 pm. The journey to Barcelona Sants takes approximately three hours and the first hour offers beautiful views of the Pyrenees mountains. After this, it is mostly suburban views of the greater Barcelona area.

You will not find this R3 train in any train journey planner. If you want to check for actual train times, check here or here. It is good to know the Spanish/Catalan name of the train station is La Tor de Querol-Enveig and you’ll be traveling to Barcelona-Sants.

2 trains at a mountainous train station
The train on the right is the train from Paris, the train on the left is a regional French train.

Arrive in Barcelona by train from Paris

The R3 train arrives at Barcelona Sants, the city’s main railway station.

From here, you can easily access public transportation to reach your final destination within Barcelona. The station is well-connected by metro, buses, and taxis.

Hopefully, you’re well-rested, saw amazing views, met interesting people on the way, and now can take on Barcelona!

Station Names: It can get confusing. Here is a recap of the different names of the stations.

  • Paris Gare du Nord: Arrival station for Eurostar trains for London or Amsterdam/Antwerp/Brussels
  • Paris Gare d’Austerlitz: Departure station for the night train to Barcelona.
  • Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg: Arrival station for the train from Paris. This station is still in France.
  • La Tor de Querol-Enveig: Same station, but the Spanish name. Here you’ll transfer to the regional R3 train.
  • Barcelona-Sants: Main railway station in Barcelona.
Image from the train with blue seats of an autumn landscape with green grass, brown forests and grey snowcapped mountains
The views are pretty spectacular

Practical tips to book the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona

As mentioned, this journey by night train from Paris to Barcelona doesn’t show up on any train planners or route planners apps. This is due to the fact the journey from the border to Barcelona is via regional trains.

Here are some practical tips if you want to book the journey yourself:

Book in Advance: Secure your tickets as early as possible (3-4 months in advance) to get the best prices and ensure availability, especially during peak travel seasons. Book your train tickets online in advance:

  • Train journey to Paris, via regional trains or Eurostar here.
  • Night train from Paris Austerlitz to Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg here.
  • Regional train from La Tor de Querol-Enveig to Barcelona cannot be bought in advance. You can pay the train conductor by cash or card on the train. At the time of writing, this was €12 for a one-way ticket.
  • Or use an Interrail or Eurail Pass to travel

Choose Your Comfort Level: Decide whether you want a seat (from €22 onwards), a couchette (€77 to €120), or a private sleeper. While seats are cheaper, a couchette or sleeper offers a much more comfortable experience.

Check Schedules: Train schedules can vary, so make sure to check the latest timings on your booking and on the local websites.

Travel Light: Overnight trains have limited luggage space. Pack only what you need for the journey.

Image of a train's interior with blue seats
The R3 regional train was empty when I got aboard but slowly got packed as we approached Barcelona.

Practical tips for traveling by night train to Barcelona from Paris

Now that you have your tickets booked, it is time to get on board! Here are some tips for the actual train journey by night train to Barcelona:

Arrive Early: Get to the station at least 30 minutes before departure to avoid any last-minute rush. This gives you plenty of time to settle in, put your stuff away, and meet your fellow travelers.

Pack Essentials: Bring snacks, water, and any personal items you might need during the night. There is no bar or restaurant carriage on this train so you need to bring any food or drinks (a bottle of wine maybe) yourself. There is no breakfast either but they do provide coffee or tea in the morning. A water bottle is also provided.

Earplugs and Eye Mask: These can help you sleep better by blocking out noise and light. They come in a welcome kit and are packed individually. There is also a refreshing wipe.

Secure Your Belongings: Use a small lock for your luggage or keep valuables with you in the sleeper compartment.

Personal Hygiene: Bring a small toiletry kit to freshen up in the morning. There are toilets and separate washbins on board each carriage. They are kept fairly clean during the journey.

Solo female travelers: As I traveled by myself, I booked a female-only 4-berth carriage. As the train was fully booked, it was a bit cramped, but it felt better sharing the carriage with fellow female travelers. There are family carriages too.

Woman taking a picture from a train window
Ready and excited to go!

Interrail to Barcelona

If you’re planning a broader European adventure, consider using an Interrail pass. This flexible pass allows unlimited travel on most European trains within a given period. An Interrail pass can be a cost-effective way to travel if you plan to visit multiple destinations.

Interrail Tips for the night train to Barcelona from Paris:

  1. Plan Your Route: Use the Interrail planner app to map out your journey and check train schedules.
  2. Seat Reservations: The night train from Paris to Barcelona requires seat reservations. Book these in advance. The price is between €10 (for a seat) to up to €25 (for a 4-beth couchette).
  3. Not everything is included in the Interrail Pass: The regional R3 train to Barcelona is not part of the Interrail structure. You need to pay it out of pocket.
  4. One travel day only: Any trains arriving after midnight, only count as one travel day. As the onward journey to Barcelona is not part of the Interrail pass, it will not count as a travel day. Only if you continue by train from Barcelona, on the same day, do you need to count it as a travel day.
Panoramic image of an autumn mountainous landscape with fall colors
Enjoying the views from the train

Night train to Barcelona

Traveling from Amsterdam to Barcelona by overnight train was an adventure that combined the convenience of overnight travel with the excitement of another rail journey.

After some careful planning, I strapped on my backpack for another great night train in Europe!

Whether you’re looking for a new way to travel, a more environmentally friendly option, or just a unique experience, the Paris to Barcelona sleeper train is an excellent choice. Enjoy your journey and have a fantastic time in Barcelona!

Helpful tips and tools for Train Travel in Europe

  • Read all my content on Train travel here
  • Book your Train Tickets or Interrail/Eurail passes here
  • Book your hotels online in advance with Booking.com or Hotels.com
  • Book your tours and activities direct with GetYourGuide or Viator
  • Travel in style with these cool travel-themed designs (I made them myself!)
  • Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel by train in Europe. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.

Let me know if you have any specific questions or need help planning your own trip. If you thought this post was helpful or fun to read, let me know in the comment section below. Or share it with your friends or on social media! And make sure to come back for more travel stories next time.

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