How to get around in Barcelona
Barcelona’s authorities have broadened the city’s transportation map to satisfy every single person's needs. As any other comsopolitan city that wants to live up to the title of “one of the best tourist city in the world”, Barcelona provides its visitors and residents with one of the most developed transportation areas in Europe.
We recommend you take the Barcelona Tourist Bus for a unique tour of the city, a bike for a fresh walk on a sunny day and the metro in the night to take you to the hottest clubs. Read further on if you are looking for detailed information and resources about transport in and around Barcelona.
Travelling in the City of Barcelona
The TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) is the company that provides people visiting or living in Barcelona with the means of transport they need in order to travel around the city.
The area of the metropolitan transport of Barcelona includes six zones and the price of a ticket depends on the zone you want to reach. If you want to circulate within the city you are going to need a ticket for the first zone only, but if you wish to visit Barcelona’s surrounding areas you should check for more information about tickets, pricing and timetables.
More information about timetables - timetables
Barcelona by Underground
The underground (metro) is one of Barcelona’s fastest ways of getting around the city. With a wide and strongly developed structure Barcelona has 6 metro lines (L1Fondo – Hospital de Bellvitge, L2Pep Ventura – Paral.lel, L3Trinitat Nova – Zona Universitaria, L4Trinitat Nova - La Pau, L5Horta – Cornelia Centre, L11Can Cuias – Trinitat Nova ) and part of the new L9 line has been available since the 13th of December 2009.
Each station offers information about the communication between the lines in three languages: Spanish, Catalan and English. Information about the estimated time between the stations or timetables is also available on the billboards of each metro station.
Regular tickets can be acquired from the automatic cashiers available in every station, but access is also allowed if you own one of the Barcelona Travel Cards.
The metro circulates from 5am to 12pm every day, on Fridays it is available until 2pm, and non-stop on Saturdays.
More information about the metro in Barcelona on the official website of TMB (Transport Metropolitan de Barcelona): www.tmb.net
Barcelona City Stations
Barcelona has a series of important stations that connect various ways of transport. We are going to present the most important ones:
The first is Barcelona Sants (Sants Estació) which is connected to the city centre by Bus, two Metro lines (L5 and L3) and Renfe suburban trains including the train that goes to the El Prat Airport - the main Barcelona airport.
Catalunya Station is located in the very centre of Barcelona and is connected to two Metro lines (L1 and L3), Renfe suburban trains, Bus lines including the Barcelona Tourist Bus and the Ferrocarril trains (other suburban trains).
The main bus station is called Barcelona Nord Station (Barcelona Estació del Norte), near the Arc de Triumf Metro station where you can also find the Arc de Triumf Renfe Station.
Other important and well communicated stations are located at Plaza Espanya, where you can find a Bus terminal, a Metro station that connects to two lines (L1 and L3), and a Ferrocarril station, and at Passeig de Gracia, which communicates with two Metro lines (L4 and L3) and a Renfe Station.
Barcelona by Bus
Barcelona has a widely developed bus map that will take you to any place in the city. The official website of the TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) has a very good route checker that gives you an exact idea about the fastest way to get anywhere you want.
The cost of a one-way ticket is 1,40 euros and it can be bought from the automatic cashiers or from the bus driver. Most busses are equipped for persons with disabilities. A night bus is also available at the same ticket price; also there are two aerobusses that provide access to the A1 and A2 terminal of Barcelona’s El Prat Airport. Read the Airports section further on for more information on airport connections.
More information about the busses in Barcelona on the official website of TMB: www.tmb.net
Barcelona by Taxi
You can easily move around Barcelona by taxi. The taxi stations are located in the main areas of the city, especially those with clubs and discos like Ciutadella de la Villa Olimpica. Taxis can be ordered online or booked by phone according to the policies of the company you choose. Be careful with the prices and the cost of a trip. Barcelona is known for its "cheating" taxi drivers. Travelling by taxi however is still very affordable compared to many cosmopolitan cities in Europe. It is definitely worth it at night or if there are four in your group as the price of a short drive of about 10 minutes should not exceed 6 euros. The tariff from the main Barcelona airport, El Prat, should not be more than 28 euros.
Barcelona by Tourist Bus
If you want to see all the main attractions of the city in a comfortable and accessible way you could have a tour on the Barcelona Tourist Bus. Offering 3 routes with only 1 ticket, an audio guide in 10 languages and a daily service, the bus gives you a unique way of discovering Barcelona. The bus is available on a daily basis from 9am to 7pm in the winter and to 8pm in the summer. The price of a ticket varies from 22 to 29 euros for adults and from 14 to 18 euro for children between 4 and 12 years. Children under the age of 4 have free access. You can find more information about the bus on the information office located in Plaza Catalunya or from the official website of the bus.
Official website: http://www.barcelonabusturistic.cat/web/guest/home
Barcelona by Bike
Barcelona is one of the most biker-friendly cities. With special routes and customized streets for bikers, Barcelona invites you to explore her by bike. Bike rental services are available all across the centre of the city or any other popular areas. You will encounter many Bicing bikes (red and white) across Barcelona, but unfortunately they are not available for tourist use. If you want to experiment the life of a young Barcelona local person we recommend that you rent a bike and you will immediately fit into the crowd.
Barcelona by Tram
Barcelona has 6 Tram lines that complement all the other transportation means that the city offers. The price of a tram ticket is the one of an integrated TMB ticket and you can buy it from the automatic cashiers of the tram stations by credit card.
Official website: http://www.trambcn.com/
Barcelona by Suburban Train - FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat) and Cercanías
Cercanías along with the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat are the two suburban train networks that provide a way of travelling across all 6 zones of Barcelona as well as the surrounding areas. The Ferrocarrils are managed by the local City Council (the Generalitat) whereas Cercanías is managed by Renfe, the main Spanish railway company that assures transportation all over the country.
Barcelona and the surrounding regions by Train
Cercanías and Renfe trains are also the best option if you want to visit the coastal towns or the rural regions of Barcelona or nearby cities like Tarragona and Girona. The price of a ticket depends on the distance you need to cover to reach your final destination, but Renfe offers an online service that calculates the price of ticket.
Airports of Barcelona
Barcelona has two main airports: El Prat and Girona-Costa Brava. Both of them are located outside the city.
El Prat Airport
The El Prat Airport is located at 13 km of the highway C-246 by Castelldefels. In order to get in the city from the airport you could use various means of transport:
You could take one of the special train lines that connect with the airport, the aero buses A1 and A2. These buses depart from the first and second terminal of the airport and get to the centre of Barcelona, at Plaza Catalunya. If you are at the terminal between 6am and 12noon you can also take the 105 or the 106 bus line that will take you to Plaza Catalunya or Plaza Espanya.
You can also get into the city by using the Renfe train service (Airport line) that will take you to Barcelona Sants Station (Sants Estació). From there you can take the underground (metro), other suburban trains or the bus in order to get to other areas of the city.
If you arrive to Barcelona by night you can get to Plaza Catalunya taking the N17 bus line that circulates all night. You can also try the easier way of getting to the city, by taxi, but consult the price with the taxi driver before choosing one, because most of them don’t display their prices correctly.
Official website of the airport: http://www.barcelona-airport.com/
Girona-Costa Brava Airport
The Girona-Costa Brava Airport is located in the Girona region, near Barcelona. If your flight lands at this airport, you can take the special shuttle bus which will take to Barcelona directly. The trip lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and the price of a ticket is 12 euros. If your returning flight leaves from the same airport we recommend that you buy a return ticket for 21 euros. The tickets can be bought from the automatic cashiers installed in the airport or at the bus stop just outside the terminal. The bus will leave you at the Barcelona North Station (Estació del Norte), which communicates with the L1 line of the metro, bus lines and other suburban trains.
Another option is to take the suburban train provided by Renfe from Girona Station and which will take to the Barcelona Sants Station. If you are going to choose this option you have to take a 20 minutes walk outside the airport to get to the Renfe station or a Girona shuttle bus, or a taxi.
Official website of the airport: http://www.girona-airport.net/