London To Majorca With Your Bike (Minus The Plane)
This journey begins with a train ride from London St Pancras to Paris Gare Du Nord on the Eurostar. The first thing you’ll notice when you get on the train is the space they have for your luggage – there’s plenty of room, but there are some restrictions around bikes.
Not surprisingly folding bikes under 85cm can be brought on as luggage as long as they are in a case that covers the whole bike. Any bikes that aren’t folding or that are over 85cm need to be booked on in advance with EuroDispatch – there’s a charge of £30 for this but the ‘bike travels on your train’. Slightly worryingly there is a caveat on the Eurostar webpage that says that there is limited availability for bikes – but that they guarantee to get it to your destination within 24 hours – not very useful if you’ve got an onward journey. So book early and get there early to avoid disappointment. http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/travel-planning/luggage/bikes
When you arrive at St Pancras you should leave at least 30-45 minutes to check-in before your departure and you must have checked in at least 10 minutes before your train is due to leave. This is important to bear in mind when planning your journey, because no one wants to start their adventure off by missing the train. It’s definitely quicker than going through an airport though. To make this process easier there is an app you can download which allows you to save on paper and keep up to date on your train times. There is airport level security at the station before you depart on your journey, so make sure you don’t forget your passport!
Eurostar offer their own Wi-Fi, but it relies on having a good signal which causes it to be unreliable, so take some other forms of entertainment as the journey does take about 2 hours 15 minutes. Eurostar also offers a selection of TV shows and movies that you can watch throughout the journey unaffected by the Wi-Fi signal, which definitely helps speed up the time.
The good news is once you’ve arrived in Paris you can walk straight off the platform through the station and carry on with your journey. You can either get a taxi to the next train station, the Gare De Lyon or you can use the Metro. If you choose a taxi then the best tip you can remember here is to make sure you get in a taxi that is an official vendor otherwise you can end up paying a lot more for your journey.
Once you’ve arrived at the second station in Paris, Gare De Lyon, the next stage of your journey takes you from Paris to Barcelona. This can take as little as 6 hours and 20 minutes. When you arrive at the station take a minute to go look at the departure board to find out which part of the station you are departing from because it’s a really large station – this’ll help you to avoid a last minute panic, but also a gives you good excuse to explore. There are plenty of shops and cafés around the station, and Wi-Fi is available in most places.
When booking your ticket, have a think about where you want to be sat on the train because numbers under 50 will allow you to be on the bottom level on the double decker train making it easier for any luggage and bikes you might have with you, however the upstairs does give you a better view for the journey.
The entire journey from London to Mallorca had very few stairs, the biggest struggle was the step on and off the train so no need too worry to much about the weight of your luggage – another perk of not flying. One last hint for your journey from Paris to Barcelona is that there are plugs available on the train, but remember your European adapter.
The Paris to Barcelona train is an SNCF train – their website states that a dismantled bike in a special cover can be taken on board with no booking and no supplement whilst a non-dismantled bike must be booked on, but only costs 10 euros. http://help.uk.voyages-sncf.com/en/taking-your-bike
The final stage of the journey begins when you arrive at Barcelona train station, you need to get a taxi from the station to the Port to catch the ferry, however again make sure you only get an official taxi to save you paying extra. Its recommended to book-in online as the train can run late and it also gives you some extra time to explore Barcelona. When exploring Barcelona keep in mind that the train station offers secure and spacious lockers for you to leave your luggage in, to make your exploring that much easier.
Once you’ve arrived at the Port and checked in, you can enjoy the Wi-Fi and the café whilst waiting. Once it’s time to board the ferry as a cyclist, you will board the ferry after the cars riding your bike onto the ferry, however if you’re a foot passenger then you walk straight on to the ferry or take a short trip on the arranged coach from the port to the ferry. There is a coach organised both when you depart and arrive for the foot passengers so you arrive in the right location for the taxi. The ferry departs at 11:45pm and arrives in Mallorca around 7am, which is perfect timing for you to admire both the sunset and sunrise. To make sure you’re not running late for the next stage of your adventure allow yourself 45 minutes from arriving at the port to reaching the taxi rank or the bus stops for destinations around the island.