Either prior to or during your trip to Estació França you are going to need to understand about ticketing at the station. There are a total of 12 ticket desks at Estació França station, selling short, medium and long distance journey tickets. This page will give you a guide to buying tickets at França station: what different types of trains and tickets there are, online purchases, telephone purchases and buying your tickets at the station.
|Inside Barcelona Estació França station|
Cercanias is the local branch of RENFE (Spain's rail company). Cercanias tickets are for Rodalies train journeys in Barcelona and in the areas surrounding Barcelona. They are the local trains. If you see a sign for Cercanias or Rodalies trains, that means the same thing.
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Media Distancia tickets:
Media Distancia tickets are those that cover trains travelling throughout the region of Catalunya.
Larga Distancia tickets:
Large Distancia tickets are those that cover the whole of Spain and Europe. These will include the 'tren hotel' - the 'tren hotel' is one of the most popular trains that leave França station, it is the overnight train that goes to France, Switzerland or Italy.
With the Larga Distancia (including 'tren hotel') trains, whether you are booking via telephone, internet or at the station, you should try to book as far in advance as possible. These trains have a limited number of seats and when they are all sold out you will no longer be able to buy a ticket for the train. This is especially important during the summer months, Easter and Christmas. See below for how to buy advanced tickets.
Tel (RENFE ticket line): +34 91 232 0320
You can only buy Media Distancia and Larga Distancia (including 'tren hotel') tickets on the telephone - do not try to buy Cercanias/Rodalies tickets over the phone. If you book your tickets over the telephone, you can print the tickets from one machine that is located at the far left of the station building (it is a grey and purple RENFE machine that looks like a ticket machine). Alternatively, you print them off at home once you receive an e-mail confirming your booking.
As with telephone ticket purchases, you can only buy tickets online for Media Distancia and Larga Distancia (including 'tren hotel') trains. You can use your debit or credit card to buy the tickets. Once you have bought the tickets you will need to print out your ticket and bring it with you when boarding the train.
Cercanias/Rodalies and Media Distancia Ticket Machines
It is only possible to buy tickets for the local Cercanias and Media Distancia trains from ticket machines. There are two Cercanias/Media Distancia ticket machines in the França train station building - one on the far left of the station building (to the right of the 'Sortida Ciutat' exit) and the other directly in front of you as you enter the station building. The machines are red and grey and accept cash, credit or debit cards.
On entering the França station building you will immediately see the ticket booths directly in front of you. You will need to choose the right booth for the journey that you will be taking. If you are not sure what booth to head to, it is best to ask at the customer information desk (for details see our Guide to the Facilities at França Station.
If you are purchasing your ticket at the station, you can get both Cercanias/Rodalies and Media Distancia from the same ticket booths: booths 7 and 8.
You cannot buy Cercanias or Media Distancia advance tickets at the station, you can only buy them on the day you are travelling. If there are long queues at the ticket booths you can use one of the ticket machines (see above).
Opening Times of Cercanias and Media Distancia booths:
Every day: 06:00 - 21:15
As long distance trains are the most popular ones leaving Estació França , there are more Larga Distancia ticket booths and you will normally find that these are busier. Tickets can be bought for long distance trains from booths 1 to 6 at the station.
On entering the station you will need to head to a small machine located to the right of booth 6. Here you will have to take a ticket depending on whether you want to buy an advance ticket or a ticket for travel on the same day. You will than need to wait on the seats that are opposite the ticket booths until your number appears on a screen above the booths.
Depending on the time of year that you are buying the tickets, the wait could be anything from 5 minutes to over an hour.
Opening Times of Larga Distancia booths:
Every day: 06:00 - 21:15
Buying tickets for Spanish trains can sometimes be a rather complicated affair. However, if you have a read through the details above before buying your ticket, you should be armed with enough knowledge to ensure that it is a smooth ride. If possible, try to buy your tickets online or via telephone and in advance for longer journeys, to avoid the disappointment of your train being fully booked.
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