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

View of Port-Bou from Col del Frare (SSE)
View of Port-Bou from Col del Frare (SSE)
Flag of Portbou
Coat of arms of Portbou
Coat of arms
Portbou is located in Province of Girona
Location in Catalonia
Portbou is located in Catalonia
Portbou (Catalonia)
Portbou is located in Spain
Portbou (Spain)
Coordinates: 42°25′37″N 3°09′40″E / 42.42694°N 3.16111°E / 42.42694; 3.16111Coordinates: 42°25′37″N 3°09′40″E / 42.42694°N 3.16111°E / 42.42694; 3.16111
State Catalonia
Country Spain
ComarcaAlt Empordà
 • MayorTrino Martínez (2019)[1]
 • Total9.2 km2 (3.6 sq mi)
28 m (92 ft)
 • Total1,077
 • Density120/km2 (300/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Portbouenc, portbouenca


It is located near the French 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).


1900 1930 1950 1970 1986 2007
2581 3976 2033 2360 2021 1307

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ajuntament de Portbou". Generalitat of Catalonia. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  2. ^ "El municipi en xifres: Portbou". Statistical Institute of Catalonia. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
  3. ^ Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  • 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 linksEdit