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Title: Portbou  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Peralada, Llançà, Walter Benjamin, Dani Karavan, Alt Empordà
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Flag of Portbou
Coat of arms of Portbou
Coat of arms
Portbou is located in Catalonia
Location in Catalonia
State  Catalonia
Country  Spain
Province Girona
Comarca Alt Empordà
 • Mayor Josep Lluís Salas Mallol
 • Total 9.21 km2 (3.56 sq mi)
Elevation 28 m (92 ft)
Population (2007)
 • Total 1,307
 • Density 140/km2 (370/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Portbouenc, portbouenca
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Portbou (Catalan pronunciation: ) is a town in the Alt Empordà county, in the Province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. It has a population of 1,307 people.


  • Overview 1
  • Transport 2
  • Demography 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


It is located near the French France–Spain border in the Costa Brava region, and frequently serves as a dropping off point for SNCF trains coming from Cerbère in France.

Portbou was a small but important point for the republicans during the Spanish Civil War, as it was one of the few places from where they could get supplies from abroad.

Portbou is also where German philosopher Walter Benjamin committed suicide and was buried in 1940. There is a monument in his honor, by Dani Karavan.


The Portbou railway station is a break-of-gauge station. It contains a major rail freight transfer facility, and a large passenger station built to support customs and immigration. The customs and immigration facilities are no longer required as both France and Spain are Schengen Area members.

A pair of railway tunnels connect Portbou with Cerbère in France. One tunnel contains a standard gauge track, and one an Iberian gauge track. Local Spanish trains either terminate at Portbou or run through to Cerbère, where the Iberian gauge tracks ends, and French trains either terminate at Cerbère or continue to Portbou. Portbou has a TALGO Automatic Track Gauge Changeover System facility, for use by through trains between France and Spain.

The road connection to Cerbère in France is via the Coll dels Balitres (163 m). This route is longer (7 km) than the rail route (1.8 km).


See also


  • Panareda Clopés, Josep Maria; Rios Calvet, Jaume; Rabella Vives, Josep Maria (1989). Guia de Catalunya, Barcelona:Caixa de Catalunya. ISBN 84-87135-01-3 (Spanish). ISBN 84-87135-02-1 (Catalan).

External links

  • Official website (Catalan)
  • Information - Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan)
  • Statistical information - Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya (Catalan)
  • Information on the dual gauge rail link with France
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