How to Travel From Barcelona to Frankfurt

Category: Travel

Leaving Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona for the Städel Museum in Frankfurt? Consider first how you want to travel. Barcelona is 1,542 kilometers (953 miles) from Frankfurt. If coasting through small towns and landscapes excites you, a train or car might be the ideal travel option. But if you prefer sipping German beer on your way and are in a rush to reach your destination, board a plane. A direct flight will get you across Western Europe in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Map
  • Passport/travel document
  • EU driver's license (optional)

How to Travel from Barcelona to Frankfurt

  1. Fly. Low-budget airlines make traveling over Western Europe pleasurable and cost-friendly. If you decide to go by plane from Barcelona, consider flying with an economy airline from Barcelona International (BCN) to Frankfort-Hanh Airport (HHN). Sort through a selection of low-budget European airlines and choose the smartest price. Check layover times. If touching down in more European cities is your aim, consider flying with a major airline. With a layover in Brussels or Prague, flying becomes a little vacation in itself. An average price is about $200 round trip.

    Pluses: Inexpensive and time efficient.
    Minuses: Quick flights don't add much adventure or let you stop along the way.

  2. Catch a train. Because there are no direct trains from Barcelona to Frankfurt, plan a route through Zurich. From Barcelona, jump on a train to Zurich and connect on a night train to Frankfurt. Or spend a night amid the Swiss Alps. The whole trip will take about 15 hours, depending on the type of train you choose (express, overnight, etc).

    In Spanish, a long-distance ticket is called a “Larga Distancia.” Buy tickets in advance online, or up to the day-of in Barcelona’s Sants Station (Sants Estacio). An average train ticket to Zurich is about €150 or $220 USD. Add another €50-70 ($75-100) to link to Frankfurt. The train parks you in the modern city-center.

    Pluses: Allows you to meet fellow travelers, pass through France and Switzerland, and test your Swiss German before you get to Germany.
    Minuses: Not time or cost efficient. May be challenging to make a nighttime train connection.

  3. Rent a car. Grab the car keys in Barcelona and return them in Frankfurt. Although going by car is an investment (a two-day rental starts at €1,277.62 or $1,900), it has advantages. Split between 5 passengers, that’s $380 or $160/day for travel. Still expensive? It’s not budget-friendly, but this travel option lets you create your own European route. Stop and meet the locals when you drive through small towns; learn the highways and back roads of France and Belgium and Germany.

    Details: Pick up your car at Barcelona International Airport or Barcelona’s Sants Station, and you’re on your way to Frankfurt. Estimate your trip to take about 11 hours, 45 minutes, with the option of spending the night at an inn, hotel, or hostel on the way. Re-route your trip to see the sites and cities you crave.

    Note: At least one person in the group must have an EU driver’s license or equivalent permission to legally rent and drive the car.

    Pluses: Ability to create your own trip from scratch. A greener way to travel.*
    Minuses: Not light on your wallet. Also, navigating could be difficult if you’re brand new to Europe and its roads.

    *European car rental companies started green initiatives to cut carbon emissions. An average four-door sedan emits as little as 119g/km of CO2, which makes for greener traveling.

  4. Get into the city. If you fly into Frankfurt-Hahn airport, you are 53 miles NW from the city center. But don’t worry—a 1 hour, 45-minute bus ride connects you to the city center for just €12. When you get downtown, try your German, enjoy a beer or cider in a cozy pub, and scan the skyline for a mixture of modern skyscrapers and centuries-old Gothic towers.

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