The new link-up will reduce the Barcelona-Paris journey time by an hour and a quarter, to seven hours and 25 minutes, and place various European cities within four hours by train (see image above – click to enlarge). This is good news for the property market in Barcelona and the Costa Brava.
The Spanish rail company Renfe has announced that from January next year it will start running nine daily AVE fast-trains (Spain’s answer to the French TGV) from Barcelona to Girona and Figueres, two of which will connect with french TGV fast-trains to Paris, where the Eurostar links to London. Eight of the trains will also go on south to Madrid.
AVE fast-trains to Girona and Figueres – the two biggest Spanish cities north of Barcelona – will have journey times of 39 minutes and 55 minutes respectively, making it now much easer to commute to Barcelona from those areas (and even from France).
Yesterday Renfe started testing the underground tunnel beneath Barcelona that is the last link in the chain between the Spanish and French high-speed rail networks. The tunnel goes from Barcelona’s Sants Station – where fast-trains to Madrid arrive and depart – to La Sagrera, the new terminal being built in the north of Barcelona, where all northbound fast trains will stop when the terminal is finished in 2016. Until then, passengers will continue using Sants.
Fast trains already run from Figueres – capital of the Alt Empordà region of the North Costa Brava – to Paris. British tour operators have already started selling Costa Brava holidays by fast-train from the UK.
Thanks to the new connection, journey times from Barcelona to European cities like Lyon and Geneva will less than 4 hours, according to Renfe.
Good news for property sales in Barcelona and the Costa Brava
The increasing speed and access by fast-train to Barcelona and the Costa Brava from cities like Paris, London, and Geneva, can only be good news for local property markets. Ease of access is always a key factor driving demand for holiday-homes: When attractive destinations get easier, quicker, and cheaper to reach, demand for second homes always goes up.
And thanks to a loopy new Socialist president in France, French business people are increasingly looking to relocate across the border in Spain, primarily in Barcelona, where there is already a large French community. So it’s not just the second-home market that will benefit.
I would argue that the Costa Brava is now the most sought-after Southern Mediterranean holiday-destination that can be reached in a reasonable time-frame by train from Northern Europe cities in France, Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.
Timetable for new trains: