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 TALGOAutomatic 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).