What's the best way to get from Barcelona to Perpignan? Since the high-speed train connection began between Paris and Barcelona, the train has been the best way to get from north-east Spain to much of France.
Spain and France are both in the Schengen Area, the 26 borderless countries in the EU. Crossing the border should quick and easy: it's unlikely your train will even stop.
However, random checks are possible, and freedom of travel between the Schengen countries can be temporarily suspended in an emergency, which has happened in the past between some EU states. Always carry your valid passport when crossing borders in the EU.
Barcelona to Perpignan by Train and Bus
The high-speed AVE train from Perpignan to Barcelona takes about 90 minutes. Trains usually depart four times a day: in the morning, in the afternoon and a couple early evening.
Trains from Barcelona to Perpignan depart from Barcelona Sants station.
This Barcelona-Paris train route has stops in both Girona and Figueres, making both convenient days trips from Perpignan or easy places to visit en route to Barcelona.
Itineraries From Perpignan to Catalonia by Train
Here are a couple of options for traveling from France to Spain via rail:
Day trip to Barcelona: Take the first train of the day from Perpignan to Barcelona - it usually departs at around 10 a.m., arriving in Spain's second city at around 11:30 a.m. The last train of the day returning to Perpignan is usually around 6:30 p.m. This only allows for a short trip to Barcelona. Trains going the other direction, for a day trip to Perpignan from Barcelona, leave earlier and later, meaning you could have a fuller day, but Perpignan isn't such a popular day trip.
Visiting Girona and/or Figueres en route to Barcelona: Figueres is 23 minutes, and Girona is 40 minutes from Perpignan by train. Within an hour of leaving France, you can be at the Dali Museum (assuming it's not peak season when the lines to get in are crazy). There are then hourly trains from Figueres to Girona. For an afternoon in Girona, you might want to consider a guided tour.
There are trains every hour until around 10 p.m. from Girona to Barcelona.
Buses Between Perpignan and Barcelona, Girona, and Figueres
There are infrequent buses throughout the day between Barcelona and Perpignan. The journey takes three hours each way.
Linebus and ALSA both have buses from Perpignan to Girona (though the ALSA buses tend to be quite late at night). This journey takes about 90 minutes and costs about 20 euros.
If you're looking to get from Girona to Perpignan, Shuttle Direct runs a service direct from the Girona airport to Perpignan city center.
Buses from Barcelona to Perpignan depart from both Sants and Nord bus stations.
How to Get From Perpignan to Girona by Car
The 95km journey from Perpignan to Girona takes a little over an hour. Take the A9 and the AP-7. AP roads are in Spain are all toll roads, so be prepared to pay.
Barcelona to Perpignan by Car
The 200km drive from Barcelona to Perpignan takes about two hours, traveling mainly on the AP-7 and A9 roads. Note that AP roads are toll roads, which can raise the cost considerably. Driving in Spain is most cost-effective when you can fill up a car with several people.