Barcelona to Seville by train
Barcelona and Seville stand at opposite ends of Spain in terms of both geography and outlook. Traveling from Barcelona to Seville by train gives you the chance to explore the differences while also taking in Madrid, Spain’s capital.
It’s hard to say you know Spain without seeing both of these cities. While steamy Seville embraces flamenco, bullfighting, siestas and Semana Santa, Barcelona has a cooler, cosmopolitan vibe. It excels in eye-catching art, world-famous food, a language of its own and, of course, a spectacular sandy beach.
Seville claims Christendom’s biggest cathedral; Barcelona has Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Seville is awash with Moorish tiled fountains, Barcelona is the capital of Catalan culture.
How to get from Barcelona to Seville by train
It’s a journey of close to 1000 kilometres (620 miles), so you’ll need to take a fast train. Even as you zoom along, however, you’re above-ground most of the time and treated to a vista of olive groves and Spain’s central dry plains. It’s a sensational introduction to the country. As you pull into Seville, you may even glimpse some of that city’s fabled orange trees.
When planning your route, you can decide either to travel direct, or split the journey in two by hopping off at Madrid’s Puerta de Atocha station or even in the city of Cordoba, home of Spain’s legendary Mezquita.
By high-speed train directly
You can make this epic journey in a cool five hours if you travel on the superfast AVE service from Barcelona. Trains depart from Barcelona Sants and arrive in Seville’s Santa Justa with a few brief stops along the way.
AVE trains are sleek, clean, fast and popular. You’ll need to make a reservation in advance and pay a 10-Euro reservation fee. First-class travel also requires a reservation, which costs 23.50 Euros for a welcome drink and meal (Preferente) and 39 Euros for an a la carte meal (Club). Even if you have a second-class rail pass, you can upgrade to first by paying the difference between the fares.
Arrive well before your train departs as you’ll have to check in before you travel. After that, though, it’s a cool and luxurious way to go as the olive trees blaze past.
Splitting the journey
Fast AVE trains make the two and a half hour journey from Barcelona to Madrid almost every hour. Alternatively, you can take the slower night train from Barcelona Sants to arrive at Madrid-Chamartin ready for coffee and tostadas in the morning. Both services require reservations – and remember that trains for Seville leave from Puerta de Atocha, not Madrid-Chamartin.
From Madrid’s Puerta de Atocha, fast AVE trains leave almost every hour for Seville and stop at Cordoba en route. The last train leaves Madrid at 9:30 p.m.
Getting to Barcelona train station
There’s more than one station in Barcelona but it’s the hefty main one, Barcelona Sants, that you want. You can reach it by metro on either the blue or green lines, and it’s well served by local buses. It’s also only a short ride from the airport by train with your Eurail pass.
Arriving at Seville train station
Seville’s main station, Santa Justa, lies in a rather uninspiring part of town. The building itself is modern and clean, with a left luggage facility, tourist office, car rental offices and a plentiful supply of taxis.
The station is just a little too far to consider walking to Santa Cruz – the old Jewish Quarter and Seville’s touristic centre – especially if you’re carrying luggage. Be warned, though, the old streets are so narrow that most taxis can’t fit down them. A cab will get you close to where you’re staying, but more likely than not you’ll then have to walk part of the way.
Two Dazzling cities on the Barcelona to Seville route
Your Eurail pass allows you to explore two more gems in the Spanish crown: the regal capital of Madrid and the small but fascinating city of Cordoba.
You can’t see the whole city in a day, but you can certainly make a pretty good start. Head to the Mercado San Miguel for some fresh fruit, cheese and the national staple of ham, or jamon. Stroll down the Gran Via, a wide boulevard of cherished Art Deco buildings and uber-modern shopping malls.
Visit some of the heavyweights in the art world: the museums of the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen. Alternatively, take a break from the heat and relax in the shade of the leafy Buen Retiro Park or resplendent Plaza de España.
The undeniable highlight here is the Mezquita, a former mosque that the conquering Christians converted into a cathedral. No matter how many times I visit, my heart still quietens as I enter the series of repeating arches. Haunting. Beautiful. Without doubt, an absolute must see. You can reach it by taking bus 3 from the main station. After your visit, tuck into tapas and fino sherry at any one of the picturesque bodegas around it.