Six tourist trains to discover Catalonia

Exploring a landscape looking out the window of a train awakens a very particular world of sensations. We suggest you take a route sitting on some of the most unique trains in the country.

5 min
The Montserrat rack railway with the mountain in the background

BarcelonaDiscovering the surroundings of a train can be a great experience. Seeing the landscape pass through a window gives another perspective, there is a reason why the great travelers of the 19th century found the railway one of their main means of transportation and turned it into the scene of great adventures. Some of the travelers who created the legend of Romantic Spain in Europe traveled around the State by train, such as the cartoonist Gustav Doré or the traveler and writer Charles Davillier, who left magnificent writings about their train trips. The great Victorian adventurers, like Agatha Christie herself, mythical travelers like Livingstone or Burton, or vagabonds like Blasco Ibáñez, traveled around the world by rail. And as those from El Consorcio said (the boomers You will know who we are talking about), what a pleasure it is to travel to the rhythm of the shock-chucho, the chupo-chuco of the train!

There is probably a train for every trip and for every traveler, and there is also one for those who want to go sightseeing and discover their nearest landscape. In Catalonia we have several tourist railways, some of them historic, that travel without rushing, so you can enjoy exceptional landscapes while reliving distant times. The main ones are currently managed by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya. As Toni Sanmartí, director of FGC Turisme, explains, "we manage seven tourist trains throughout the Catalan territory, from the Cremallera and the Montserrat Funiculars to the Cement Train, passing through the Lakes Train. All of this under the generic brand of Turistren , where we offer a tourist proposal to rediscover places in Catalonia aboard unique and historical trains." The greatest value of this tourist offer is the knowledge of the territory. "The trip with tourist trains offers the possibility of knowing the areas of influence through which these trains pass - says Toni Sanmartí -. They are travel proposals focused on the territory and whose objective is to put users in contact with nature. ", culture, heritage and gastronomy typical of the territory where they are located." evolution of rail transport in Catalonia with material from the 19th century to the 21st century. very important in its cultural and recreational offer," reflects Sanmartí. All this with the challenge of creating an offer that is attractive and that To discover the territory, but in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Lake Train

It circulates between mountains, passing through bridges and tunnels and through spectacular gorges on a historical and panoramic route from La Plana to the Pre-Pyrenees of Lleida. The Lakes Train offers two options to take this magical tour: with the Historical Train or with the Panoramic Train, which stands out for its large windows. Once it leaves the Segre River behind, it becomes part of the Noguera Pallaresa River basin that allows travelers to observe the majestic reservoirs and the Montsec, ending the tour in La Pobla de Segur. It passes through a total of 40 tunnels and 75 bridges along 89 kilometers of route.

The lake train

Cement Train

The Ciment Train is located in a natural environment in the Berguedà region. With more than 100 years of history, this railway formerly linked the Asland cement factory, in Castellar de n'Hug, with Guardiola de Berguedà. Today, it is a historic railway jewel in Catalonia. Under the nickname “carrilet”, this emblematic transport currently makes a journey of 3.5 kilometers in 20 minutes, passing through forests and landscapes of great value that allows the visitor to observe the majesty of the natural environment at the gates of the Cadí Natural Park -Moixeró. Along the route, the train stops at 4 stations: La Pobla de Lillet, La Pobla Centre, the Artigas Gardens and the Cement Museum in Castellar de n'Hug.

The landscape surrounding the cement train

Montserrat rack railway and funiculars

The Montserrat Rack Railway and the San Joan and Santa Cova Funiculars bring visitors closer to one of the most emblematic places in Catalonia, the Montserrat Mountain Natural Park. The Rack Train begins the journey at the Monistrol de Montserrat station to the Sanctuary grounds. With a route of 5 kilometers for 15 minutes, the rack railway overcomes a difference in altitude of 600 meters. Thanks to the panoramic glass of the Cremallera you can enjoy the unique shapes of the Montserrat mountains, which make the journey an experience. Once there, you will find the San Juan Funicular and the Santa Cova Funicular with which you can extend your visit to Montserrat. With the San Juan Funicular you can see the Monastery from a bird's eye view from 1,000 meters and enjoy a spectacular view of the Anoia from the Pla de les Taràntules and one of the best perspectives of the Sanctuary grounds from the viewpoint located at the upper station. The Santa Cova Funicular, which connects the sanctuary with the path to the cave where, according to legend, they found the image of the Virgin of Montserrat, covers a distance of 262 meters, overcoming a gradient of 118 meters.

Núria zipper

The Núria Rack Train is the valley's transportation par excellence and the only means to access the Ripollès mountain station. Within the municipality of Queralbs, during its journey it passes through 4 stations: two in Ribes de Freser, one in Queralbs and the last in Núria, at 1,964 meters of altitude, it represents the end of a spectacular route and the beginning of a great experience. The Cremallera makes a 12.5 km crossing, overcoming a difference in altitude of 1,000 meters in just 40 minutes and allows the Núria Valley to be a car-free space, which guarantees that the gateway to the Capçaleres del Ter Natural Park and Freser becomes a natural space without contamination where the fauna and flora of the valley are preserved.

Gelida Funicular

The Gelida Funicular has become one of the most endearing transportation in Catalonia. A tourist transport that, since 1924, allows connecting the urban center of the town and the industrial area with the train station, since it is located at a lower point than the municipality. Despite the different renovations to the facilities and carriages, it still retains characteristics very similar to the originals. In a journey of 6-8 minutes, the Funicular covers a distance of 884 meters.

The Gelida funicular

Yellow Train

In Northern Catalonia you can enjoy the Train Jaune (Yellow Train), also known as 'El Canari', a mountain train that offers privileged views. Although it was initially built to end the isolation of the Catalan plateaus, today it offers a unique experience to discover Conflent, Cerdanya and the territory of the Regional Natural Park of the Catalan Pyrenees. From station to station, you will discover the Tet valley, the mountainous landscapes and the Cerdanyan plateaus. It runs 63 km between Vilafranca de Conflent and the Tor de Querol.

Other proposals near Catalonia

Sóller Train

One of the tourist attractions of the island of Mallorca is this narrow-gauge railway from the beginning of the 20th century that uses period machines active since 1912 and that makes a beautiful route that crosses the Serra de Tramuntana. It covers a route of just over 27 km, linking Palma with Sóller, passing through up to 13 tunnels, the longest of which measures almost 3 km and crosses the Sierra de Alfàbia. The excursion can be completed with the electric tram that descends to Puerto de Sóller.

Artouste Train

It is the highest tourist train in Europe and offers the possibility of accessing the impressive high mountain landscape. A little train at 2000 m altitude that allows you to discover Lake Artouste and the Ossau Valley in a very comfortable way. Ten kilometers of journey to cover in one hour, in a slow trip that allows you to enjoy the silhouettes of the Pyrenean mountain range and its lakes. In order to take the train, you must first take a cable car that takes you to the departure station, at 1950 meters above sea level.

Cable cars, without fear of heights

Those who want to have a panoramic view of other places in the country and are not afraid of heights, can take advantage of sightseeing from a cable car. In Barcelona you have two options, the Montjuïc Cable Car, which takes you up the Montjuïc mountain and enjoy the panoramic views above Barcelona, or the Port of Barcelona, which from Miramar to Barceloneta, offers Magnificent views of the pier and the city. In summer, in Pallars Jussà you have the option of going up with the Vall Fosca cable car to Lake Gento (2200 meters), from where you can enjoy privileged views or make your way discovering more than twenty ponds under peaks of more than 2,500 m. In Montserrat there is the aerial route, which allows you to reach the Abbey in a few minutes, as it covers the 1,350 meter route at a speed of five meters per second.