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 air, train and bus…
1. 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 and easiest way to travel between the two cities.
As Spain and 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 7x 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 5x 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 up to 3x daily from Amsterdam to Barcelona with Boeing 737s – prices start from €100 return with checked luggage. Transavia also flies to Barcelona from Eindhoven (EIN) and Rotterdam-The Hague (RTM) airports.
Other airlines that serve Amsterdam and Barcelona indirectly are Air France (via Paris), British Airways (via London), Swiss (via Zurich) and Lufthansa (via Munich).
Barcelona is 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.
2. 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. The journey can be completed during the daytime and will take about 12 hours in total.
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. It runs up to 10x daily and stops at Schiphol, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels. For more info on this train see international trains from Amsterdam.
(2) Transferring across Paris between Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon. This can be 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 is a relatively new service as previously a second change was required at Figueres just across the Spanish border. It runs 2x daily (4x daily in July/August).
Amsterdam-Barcelona rail journey by day: Take either the 0817 or 0917 Thalys train departing Amsterdam which arrives at Paris Nord at 1135 or 1235, respectively and then transfer over to Gare de Lyon station.
The earlier train will give you some extra time in Paris to have a break for lunch. To find the TGV platforms follow the signs to “Accès aux trains Grandes Lignes“.
Take the 1407 TGV departure from Paris Lyon to Barcelona. The train makes stops at Valence, Nîmes, Montpellier, Narbonne, Perpignan, Figueres and Girona – before arriving in Barcelona Sants at 2034.
Some people may prefer to overnight in Paris rather than making the whole trip in a single day. There is a morning TGV departure from Paris at 1007, arriving in Barcelona at 1634. In July/August there is also a 0713 TGV departure which gets in to Barcelona at 1334.
Barcelona-Amsterdam rail journey by day: Starting from Barcelona, you would take the 0925 Paris-bound TGV train which gets you into Gare de Lyon at 1553. Cross over to Paris Nord for the 1725 Thalys to Amsterdam with arrival time 2042 – just under 11 1/2 hours in total.
Fares for the trip are made up of each component (Thalys + TGV). Thalys single fares between Amsterdam and Paris start at €35 (2nd class) or €79 (1st class) for the cheapest “Standard Mini” tariff.
TGV one-way fares for Paris-Barcelona are priced from €59 (2nd class) or €79 (1st class). To secure the lowest fares it is essential to book well in advance.
How to book online: Amsterdam-Paris Thalys tickets, Paris-Barcelona TGV tickets and Amsterdam-Barcelona through-tickets can be booked at the NS International site.
3. Amsterdam-Barcelona by Coach
Eurolines runs a 4-7x weekly overnight coach service from its Amsterdam Duivendrecht terminal to De Sants bus station in Barcelona. The bus leaves Amsterdam at 0900 and arrives at 1015 in Barcelona the following day.
Departing from Barcelona, the coach leaves at 1700 and arrives in Amsterdam at 1900 the next day. Total journey time either way is around 26 hours! Singles are priced from around €50 if you book well in advance.
Flixbus also offers an Amsterdam-Barcelona coach service via Paris with one-way fares from €54. Journey times are 23-26 hours and the Flixbus stops are at Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Amsterdam Bijlmer.
Also see: Amsterdam to Madrid travel options