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vsd Aug 12th, 2022 02:05 PM

Nice to Barcelona Travel Recommendations
We will be going to Nice on a post river cruise in June 2023 and would like to also go to Barcelona for a few days after Nice. Any recommendations for travel to get there - high speed train or other travel. Have considered flying but will have multiple pieces of luggage so could be very expensive. Thank you.

StuDudley Aug 12th, 2022 04:19 PM

Best train option is 8 1/2 hrs & 2 train changes. It will consume an entire day. You can either depart at 8:30 AM or arrive at 10 PM.

What's wrong with staying in France??

Stu Dudley

mjs Aug 12th, 2022 05:10 PM

Agree with Stu

kerouac Aug 13th, 2022 01:10 AM

How about stopping in Marseille for a day? Then you can get a direct train to Barcelona.

VANAARLE Aug 13th, 2022 01:23 AM

Originally Posted by vsd (Post 17390465)
We will be going to Nice on a post river cruise in June 2023 and would like to also go to Barcelona for a few days after Nice. Any recommendations for travel to get there - high speed train or other travel. Have considered flying but will have multiple pieces of luggage so could be very expensive. Thank you.

Have you costed out the price of a flight?

Sassafrass Aug 13th, 2022 02:22 AM

A river cruise in France sounds wonderful!
There is likely more to consider than just the logistics of getting to Barcelona, and probably many more interesting or viable options if you provide more information.
Have you visited Provence before?
Have you done a river cruise before? Maybe you can cut the amount of luggage. We have not cruised since Covid, but before that we cruised often and were finding that with each cruise, we took less stuff.
Where does your cruise actually begin and end? How are you traveling to the beginning of the cruise?
What is your departure country and airport?

Are you limited to a specifically scheduled cruise?
You might be able to take the cruise in reverse. Fly into Nice (or Marseilles), end the cruise in Paris, and take the fast train from Paris to Barcelona.

Also, no idea what they are doing now, but there was one cruise company that used to do loops from Italy to Spain, with stops in France, and you did not have to do the entire loop, so it could be used almost like a ferry. Might check that out. It would not be as nice as your river cruise, but might be nicer and easier than a flight or train because you would have a nice cabin with private bath and restful bed and better food than train or plane.

TDudette Aug 13th, 2022 06:50 AM

Before I started posting on Fodors, hub and I went from a base in Barcelona to one in Nice by train. We did, however, base in Montpellier for a few days in the middle. We stayed about 4 days in each place. Sounds like flying is your best bet to make the most of your time. Are you flying out of Barcelona? If not, I'd stay in Nice and give that area a good Barcelona for a trip to Spain! Please report back.

Christina Aug 13th, 2022 10:07 AM

I don't understand why you have so much luggage just because you did a cruise. How is that any different from if you were just traveling normally. You have to have an awful lot of luggage to have high luggage fees on an airline. I'm not a cruise fan but especially just a river cruise.

How are you going to get home with so much luggage, won't that be a flight? If you live in Europe, that's a different story but would help if people understood your travel plans to comment.

I would never do that just for a few days in Barcelona unless you can fly home from there. Then I could see it and you could just take the train. It also depends where you live and how you are getting home, if not a flight.

vsd Aug 13th, 2022 02:40 PM

Thank you everyone for your replies. Our river cruise will be from Chalon-Sur-Saone to Arles (Essence of Burgundy & Provence) and the land post cruise is three nights in Nice. We have an interest in going to Barcelona for a few days and if we do not do the post cruise in Nice we could take the train from Nimes to Barcelona. For luggage, my husband and I will have one 25 inch suitcase each and one hand baggage each (backpack or similar). I was under the impression that the weight limit for airlines flying from Nice to Barcelona had a low weight allowance, but I looked at Vueling Airline which has a nonstop flight from Nice to Barcelona and they allow one checked baggage free of charge with 25 kg weight allowance (55 lbs) so we will be fine. Flying makes more sense rather than a 9-11 hr train ride. Also, we will be flying back to Arizona from Barcelona since there are more flights available.

Sassafrass Aug 13th, 2022 04:46 PM

You may have some great reasons for focusing on Nice. If so, the other options are irrelevant.

However. . . You also did not say if you have visited Provence before and did not ask for options, but I enjoy looking at possibilities, so here are some. If it seems too much to consider, or is of no interest, ignore them.

First, there are actually some fast trains from Arles to Barcelona that take about 4 hours. The train station in Arles is very, very small (tiny really) and right at the edge of the city center, about 10 minutes walk. We walked there every day to take day trips. We even pulled luggage to the station on day of departure, not worth bothering with a taxi, but you could. Big advantage is not going through security and not having to get from airport into city center in Barcelona. You could even stay a night or two in Arles first, visit Les Baux, etc.

Rather than going to Nice, you could take the train from Arles to Aix, stay a couple of days and catch a flight from MRS (Marseilles International Airport) to Barcelona. Flight is cheap and takes about an hour. Aix is right out of an impressionist painting with great food, wonderful market and fun shopping. This is not much of a time saver over Nice though as some of the trains from Arles to Aix take two hours. It is just a different place. Too bad it is not a good day trip from Arles.

It would be hard for me to ever pass up an opportunity to stay in Aix, but know I would deal with more travel and flying, so would do it only to stay a couple of days in Aix.

OTOH, if going to Barcelona was part of my plan, knowing how easy it is to take a fast train directly from Arles, that would be hard to resist, so much less travel and probably the way I would go. I would spend an extra day then in Arles and at least four/five nights in Barcelona.

If you stayed extra time in Arles, besides Les Baux, you might also take a tour to the Camargue and Aigues Mortes, if it is of interest.

StuDudley Aug 13th, 2022 05:51 PM

I am a major Francophile. Since 1999, we have normally spent 2 months in France - 23 weeks in Provence & 21 weeks on the Cote d'Azur.

However, of the southern French cities mentioned here (Nimes, Arles, Aix, & Nice) as soon as my cruise ended, I would ASAP hop on a train in Nimes and head to Barcelona. Especially if you are a Gaudi lover (we are).

Stu Dudley

vsd Aug 14th, 2022 07:24 AM

thank you StuDudley and Sassafrass. We will be with another couple so lots to talk about and decide. Thanks again.

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