If you happen to travel to the popular city of Barcelona by train, you will most likely arrive at Barcelona Sants Train Station. Trains from other parts of Spain arrive here, as well as services directly coming from France, thanks to the partnership in operation that involves the Spanish train operator Renfe and the French rail operator SNCF. Both companies operate high-speed trains that depart or arrive at Barcelona Sants station, so it is good for you to familiarise yourself with the station and the area where it is located.
Barcelona Sants station, a starting point
Barcelona Sants train station, in the south of the city, was initially planned in the 60s and eventually inaugurated in 1979, it became the main train station in the city. It consists of a ground floor, offering most of its services in terms of shops or bars, as well as an underground floor, where all platforms are located. It has 7 platforms, serving a total of 14 railways (one on each side of every platform). Works are now underway to build a tunnel that will join Sants station with La Sagrera station, in the northern part of the city, so that high-speed services can continue to La Sagrera station eventually.
Not only you get to take high-speed trains to Madrid from here, but also directly to the south, to cities such as Malaga or Seville. You could also take regional trains down south to Valencia or Alicante, or even trains to the north-west of the country. When it comes to international trains, this is where trains to France depart, so you could be travelling to Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon or Paris, especially thanks to the partnership that Renfe and SNCF agreed some years ago, as it is possible to book trains to Spain on the French operator website, as well as trains to France from the Spanish operator Renfe.
The train station has an average capacity of around 30 million passengers per year, which makes it the second-busiest train station in Spain after Madrid Atocha station, which currently holds 108 million passengers a year. Out of these 30 million in Barcelona Sants train station, 18 million are commuter train passengers, therefore around 12 million are either international service passengers, high speed train passengers or regional train ones.
Two underground lines serve Barcelona Sants station, L3 and L5, making it highly accessible from different parts of the city. Apart from that, the station is also served by urban buses operated by TMB and lines H10, V7, 27, 32, 78, 109, 115 and CJ will take you here. You could also take commuter trains to Barcelona El Prat airport from this station, so you are fully connected in case you need to continue your journey by plane.
Overall, the partnership between Renfe and SNCF has made travelling easier, quicker and more intuitive between France and Spain, being able to book train tickets from the same website and allowing trains to run directly from Paris to Barcelona, with stops in between. It may take a few more hours than flying, but the views of the different landscapes trains go through is definitely worth it.