Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya and second largest city in Spain. It is a principal business and tourist hub in the Mediterranean and is located some 1,250km south-west of Amsterdam.
Let’s look at the options for travel between Amsterdam and Barcelona by train, air and bus.
1. Amsterdam-Barcelona by Train
Whilst there is no direct rail service between Amsterdam and Barcelona, it is possible to travel by train from Amsterdam to Barcelona with a connection in Paris, France. This may now require an overnight stop in Paris as the year-round frequency of the Paris-Barcelona TGV has been temporarily cut.
The Amsterdam-Barcelona rail journey comprises of 3 parts:
(1) A Thalys high speed train between Amsterdam Central and Paris Gare du Nord which takes 3 hours 17 minutes. Thalys normally runs up to 11x daily and stops at Schiphol, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels.
Thalys single fares between Amsterdam and Paris start at €35 (2nd class) or €79 (1st class) for the cheapest “Standard Mini” tariff. Thalys tickets can be easily booked at the NS International site.
(2) Overnight in Paris. By the way, the transfer across Paris between Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon is achieved in about 30 minutes using the RER D line – it is just 2 stops. Alternatively you can take a taxi.
(3) A direct TGV duplex train between Paris Gare de Lyon and Barcelona Sants which takes about 6 1/2 hours. This currently departs Paris at 1014 and arrives in Barcelona at 1653. The train makes stops at Valence, Nîmes, Montpellier, Narbonne, Perpignan, Figueres and Girona.
There is also an afternoon TGV service (in 2022 this is only running during the summer months) – it departs at 1514, arriving in Barcelona at 2154. So it is possible to do the entire Amsterdam-Barcelona train journey during the day.
TGV one-way fares for Paris-Barcelona are priced from €39 (2nd class) or €59 (1st class). To secure the lowest fares it is essential to book well in advance.
Paris-Barcelona or Amsterdam-Barcelona fares can be booked at the TheTrainline site (but note The Trainline sometimes mixes in coach fares so make sure you choose only train options).
NS International sometimes offers Amsterdam-Barcelona through-fares – although these are not always available.
There is an alternative Amsterdam-Barcelona route that is possible by day. Early in the morning you can travel to Brussels with the Thalys. Then take a TGV train from Brussels to Valence. From Valence there is a Barcelona-bound train jointly-operated by Spanish and French Railways.
Barcelona-Amsterdam rail journey by day: It is still possible to travel Barcelona-Amsterdam during the day. Starting from Barcelona, you would take the 0910 Paris-bound TGV train which gets you into Gare de Lyon at 1546. Cross over to Paris Nord via RER or taxi for the 1725 Thalys to Amsterdam with arrival time 2044 – just under 12 hours in total.
2. Flights Amsterdam-Barcelona
Amsterdam-Barcelona is a well served air route with flights between Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and Barcelona El Prat (BCN) taking around 2 hours 15 minutes. Flying is by far the quickest way to travel between the two cities.
As Spain and the Netherlands are members of the Schengen Zone agreement you do not need to go through a passport control check when travelling between Amsterdam and Barcelona.
It is possible to reach the city centre by rail from both Amsterdam and Barcelona airports.
Dutch airline KLM (Skyteam alliance) has up to 5x daily non-stop flights from Amsterdam to Barcelona using Boeing 737 aircraft. Base fares start from €110 return though note that KLM has charges for checked luggage.
No frills airline Vueling (an Iberia partner owned by parent IAG) flies between Amsterdam and Barcelona up to 6x daily using Airbus A320s. Return fares start from around €100 including luggage fee.
Avios points redemptions are also possible for Vueling flights via the Iberia Plus program but not with British Airways Executive Club.
Transavia (a KLM no-frills subsidiary) flies uo to 2x daily from Amsterdam to Barcelona with Boeing 737s – prices start from €100 return with checked luggage.
Barcelona is (normally) a very popular holiday destination for Dutch people, especially in the summer months – so if you plan to travel in July or August book your flights well in advance.
3. Amsterdam-Barcelona by Coach
Flixbus offers an Amsterdam-Barcelona coach service with a change in Paris with one-way fares from around €44. Journey times are 23-27 hours and the Flixbus stops are at Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Barcelona Nord bus & coach station (Carrer d’Alí Bei).
BlaBlaCar Bus (formerly Ouibus) normally operates an Amsterdam-Barcelona coach service with a change at Paris Bercy. Tickets start at €49 and the journey time is around 24 hours with a 2 hour stop in Paris. It uses the same stops as Flixbus – Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Barcelona Nord bus station.
Also see: Amsterdam to Madrid travel options
Looking for a convenient hotel near Amsterdam Central station? Check out the stylish Kimpton-De Witt which is a short walk from the station. For those on a budget the Ibis Amsterdam Centre is literally on top of the western edge of the station platforms.
The Iamsterdam City Card (1-5 days) offers free entry and discounts to numerous Amsterdam museums and attractions. It also includes a free public transport pass, a canal cruise and bike rental as well. You can order your Iamsterdam City Card online here
The Paris Pass gives free access to more than 80 top Paris attractions and tours including a Seine river cruise. The pass comes in the following validity options: 2/3/4/6 days.
In Barcelona you can book your hotel with Booking.com here.
The Barcelona Card (3-5 days) has free access to 25 Barcelona museums and attractions and includes free public transport.
This article was originally published in 2011 and has continuously been updated. Last update 24 May 2022.