train reservation’s

  • 10 May 2023
  • 1 reply

Hello. Is it possible to reserve seats online? We are told it is not and you have to present at a station. Furthermore, there seems to be limitations with forward booking, eg We cannot book Barcelona to Marseille until we arrive in Barcelona. Some of our stays are relatively short so this then creates a risk of not being able to get seats which then of course impacts our accommodation reservations. Are we missing something here?


Best answer by thibcabe 10 May 2023, 20:38

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Almost all reservations can be made online, don't worry. It's usually best to avoid because they add a 2€ booking fee per person per train (but sometimes it's unavoidable). General advice :

Regional trains do not require seat reservations (except in rare cases).

Trains within Spain are an exception : those can only be made at train stations in Spain, Switzerland or Germany (+ calling some companies and then they mail you paper ones). You do not need to wait for the day of travel, you can buy all of them in one go as soon as you visit a train station.

Now for Barcelona - Marseille you have multiple options :

- TGV (high-speed) Barcelona - Montpellier 27€ (expensive, very high demand, book ASAP on or call SNCF)

- Montpellier - Marseille : reservation-free TER regional trains or Intercités trains (limited 10€, then 20€)

As you can see it is pretty expensive... now here is the reservation-free route (longer but more scenic) :

- Barcelona - Portbou - Montpellier/Avignon - Marseille (for example 11:16 - 19:40 -> 3 trains with 30 min connection, ideal imho)