As France's fourth-largest metropolis, Toulouse is a popular stop for travelers heading north from Spain, particularly for those heading west towards Bordeaux. But this charming, historic city deserves much more than a quick stopover.
Known locally as "La Ville Rose" due to the iconic coral-toned bricks used in many of its structures, Toulouse is a dreamy, almost ethereal gem of a city that retains an intimate charm despite its size. Academics are big here—the city is home to one of France's largest and most prestigious universities—but that doesn't mean Toulouse is all work and no play. A lively music scene and plenty of gastronomic gems make it one of southern France's most happening destinations.
As a bonus, the city's location couldn't be better. Just about an hour away from both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean coasts, it also boasts easy access to the Pyrenees, making it a fabulous home base for any Southern France-based adventure.
Ready to go? Here's everything you need to know about how to get from Barcelona to Toulouse in order to guarantee a fabulous, stress-free trip between two of Europe's most picturesque destinations.
Suggested Itinerary from Barcelona to Toulouse
Life in this part of Europe is all about taking things easy and allowing for plenty of time to enjoy life. If you have time in your itinerary, consider applying this mindset to your trip and make some stops in northern Catalonia on your way to France.
Colorful Girona is one of Catalonia's most happening destinations, and "Game of Thrones" fans may recognize it as the filming location for Braavos and some of the streets of King's Landing. Another popular stop on the way up north is Figueres, where one of the region (and the world)'s most legendary artists is immortalized at the Salvador Dalí Museum.
Barcelona to Toulouse by Train and Bus
One of the best things about Europe is the efficient public transportation system that makes it easy to access some of the world's most breathtaking destinations. Bus and train travel in Spain and beyond is generally fast, cheap, and efficient.
When traveling from Barcelona to Toulouse directly, the train is your best bet. The high-speed AVE train connects both cities in one comfortable journey lasting just over three hours, with tickets costing around 60 euros. Trains depart from Barcelona's Sants station.
You can book train tickets online via Spain's national rail service, Renfe, but the website is notoriously finicky and often doesn't accept foreign bank cards. If that's the case, you can also get your tickets in person at the train station.
If you're on a budget or just prefer the scenic route, take the bus. There are a handful of direct buses running between Barcelona (Estació Nord) and Toulouse every day, operated by Eurolines and Ouibus. The journey takes six hours and costs 15 euros.
Barcelona to Toulouse by Car
If you have access to a car, driving from Barcelona to Toulouse is a great way to make the most of all that this beautiful region has to offer. You can stop along the way in any of the picturesque towns that catch your eye, or even take a full day to stop for a beach break along the coast.
The nearly 400-kilometer drive from Barcelona to Toulouse takes about four hours, traveling mainly on the AP-7, A9, A61 roads. Note that roads marked "AP" are toll roads. The toll-free route tacks on an extra hour and a half to your trip, but takes you right alongside Andorra in case you wanted to cross one of Europe's smallest countries off your bucket list.
While passport checks are rare in the Schengen zone, especially when traveling by land, they're not unheard of. Be sure to keep all your travel documents on you at all times.
Flights from Barcelona to Toulouse
While both Barcelona and Toulouse have airports, there are no direct flights between the two destinations. If getting from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible is your goal, the train is your best bet.