Q: I am travelling to Sants and then on to Barcelona Airport on Wednesday next week.
I am worried - when I get off the train in Sants Station, how do I find my way to the Barcelona Airport train? I hope you can give me directions. I know which train I need to get to Sants- it's just I'm a bit scared about what to do when I get to Sants station, as I have heard it is really busy and hectic and I am travelling alone!
A: The prospect of arriving at any big station can feel a little daunting for anyone. First of all know that millions of tourists are in the same position as yourself and they all make it to the airport (eventually). Although Barcelona Sants station is large it is well organized and designed to assist visitors to find the right platforms. There are also attendants throughout the station who's job it is to assist you if you need help.
The best way to avoid feeling anxious is to have a prepared plan of action in advance for your arrival. I will go through the steps you need to follow here.
First there are large displays showing the departures and arrival trains at Sants station. These are present throughout the station in multiple locations.
Once you arrive make your way to the main ticketing area. You will be able to easily find this by simply following the crowd when you get off the train. Everyone will be making their way to this area.
Once you arrive in the main ticketing area look for the large Departure notice board. These would be called "Salidas" in Spanish. The arrivals notice board will be called "Llegadas". Once you have found the "Salidas" notice board look for the train called Aeroport (Catalan for Airport). Next to each train destination on the notice boards there is a platform number. If there is no number it means that the train platform number is waiting to be assigned.
Once you have identified the platform and time the train will be leaving you need to purchase your ticket. There are 3 ticketing areas depending on which train you would be taking. You want to make your way to the Cercanias ticket booth. Follow this link to learn more about ticketing and purchasing tickets at Barcelona Sants (Estacio Sants).
You can also purchase tickets from the automated ticket machines which are available throughout the station or you can purchase them from an attendant at the ticket booths.
If you decide to purchase from the ticket machines you can select your preferred language making it easy to buy your ticket without the need to speak to anyone in Spanish. This may be good if you are a little nervous about not understanding the ticketing clerk.
If you wish to purchase your tickets from the ticketing office it is best to prepare a few sentences in Spanish to assist in communication.
I will give you the translations of some sentences below in order to ask the attendants if you should need to:
What platform is the train to Barcelona Airport?
¿Qué via es el tren al aeropuerto de Barcelona?
How much is a single ticket to Barcelona Airport?
¿Cuánto cuesta un billete de ida al aeropuerto de Barcelona?
What time does the next train to the airport leave?
¿A qué hora sale el próximo tren para el aeropuerto?
I am sorry I do not speak Spanish do you understand English?
Lo siento, no hablo español puedes entender Ingles?
Once you have purchased your ticket make your way to the designated platform for the airport train.
Each platform will have a departures notice board for that particular platform. In this way you can see precisely which train is arriving next. In addition to this when the train is arriving pay particular attention to the front of the train because it will display the name of its destination on the front. Therefore you will have 2 pieces of information to know it is the right train. The train itself and the platform notice board.
I also recommend that you read our pages on the Barcelona Airport train to learn more about it along with our guide to Barcelona Sants station. You can also refer to our map of Barcelona Sants station which can help find your way around the Estacio Sants rail station.
We recommend that you also leave plenty of time to arrive at the station. In this way you are not under a rush to find anything. There can also be long queues for ticket purchases so it is well worth arriving early - say 45 minutes before your train is schedule to leave. This will afford you plenty of time to find your way around and buy your tickets. If you find you have time on your hands then there are plenty of places to have a coffee at Sants station.
If you are prepared in advance then arriving at Barcelona Sants really need not be that stressful.