So you’re headed to Barcelona, perhaps to check out some of the stunning Game of Thrones filming locations? But once you get there, how will you get around the city? That’s where we come in. We’ve put together this transportation guide for Barcelona. This is everything you need to know about how to get around Barcelona, from how to use public transportation to other options for traveling around the city- plus useful tips and tricks for your vacation.
Here’s your guide to getting around Barcelona:
How to get from Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN) to Downtown Barcelona
Your first option for making your way from the Barcelona airport to the city center is to travel by taxi. It’s one of the most comfortable options, however probably the most expensive one.
A trip by taxi downtown should run you about €30 (though it’s important to note that the taxis are metered) and take about 30 minutes.
If you haven’t booked a private car company prior to your trip, you can join the taxi ranks to wait for a car (no reservations are required). There are taxi ranks outside both Terminal 1 and 2. Upon leaving the baggage claim areas, you should see ‘TAXI’ signs directing you to the ranks. In Terminal 2, taxis wait outside section ‘B’.
The Aerobus express bus service brings you to downtown Barcelona from the airport and runs in 5 – 10-minute intervals, making it quite convenient and easy to use. There are other buses that run a similar service, so if you want to catch the Aerobus specifically, look out for the light blue buses with ‘Aerobus’ on the side.
You can grab the Aerobus from both Terminal 1 and 2. The Aerobus stops in Plaça Universitat, Plaça España, and Plaça de Catalunya. For full routes, you can head over to the official site here. The Aerobus offers service from about 5:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. or 1:00 a.m (depending on the terminal, for exact service hours, you can head over here).
Single ticket: €5.90
Return ticket: €10.20
You can purchase tickets online prior to your trip or in-person at the airport or stop, more info here.
By City Bus
As mentioned, there are two other buses that you can take from the airport to downtown Barcelona.
TMB Airport Bus To City Centre (Number 46)
If you’re arriving during the day, you can opt to grab the Number 46 bus from either Terminal 1 or 2. Unlike the Aerobus, this is not an express bus, so it will make more stops along the way. The bus operates from about 5:00 a.m. to 11:50 p.m. You can use the T10 transport ticket for this bus so if you’ll be using public transportation during your trip in Barcelona, this might be a good fit- don’t worry, we’ll cover the T10 transport ticket further down!
Single Fare: €2.20
More for details on the official site.
Airport Night Bus: N16 and N17
If you’ll be arriving late at night, you can choose to board the Airport Night Bus. The N16 bus travels from Terminal 1 and the N17 bus travels from Terminal 2. The bus runs every 20 mins and operates from about 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. While it is a great option for travelers on a budget arriving late at night, depending on where you are staying, your trip might end up being quite long, so you may want to look into traveling by taxi instead.
Single Fare: €2.20
For more details on the route for N17, head over to the official site here.
For more details on the route for N16, head over to the official site here.
The train to downtown Barcelona from the airport departs from Terminal 2 only. If you’re arriving at Terminal 1, you can take a free shuttle to Terminal 2, which takes about 10 minutes. The train runs every 30 minutes and your journey should take you about 25 – 30 minutes (depending on your stop). Service runs from about 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m but you can find a full schedule here.
You can find a downloadable map of the train route here but the train stops at the following spots:
El Prat de Llobregat
Passeig de Gracia
El Clot – Aragó
You can buy train tickets from a machine, in-person, at the station in cash or by credit card. However, you can also use the T10 multi-trip ticket for the train which also gets you a discount- (we’ll talk about this later on!).
Single Fare: €4.20
From the Barcelona airport, you can hop on the L9 sud metro and go towards the university in the south-west of the city. The stations on the L9 sud line include:
Stations on L9 Sud: Zona Universitària, Collblanc, Torrassa, Can Tries/Gornal, Europa/Fira, Fira, Parc Logístic, Mercabarna, Les Moreres, El Prat Estació, Cèntric, Parc Nou, Mas Blau, Aeroport T2, and Aeroport T1
The metro leaves every seven minutes and from 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. from Monday to Thursday. On Fridays, it runs from 5:00 a.m. to 2 a.m. and non-stop from 5:00 a.m Saturday to 12:00 a.m. on Sunday- which means it’s a pretty flexible option for later flights.
Single Fare: €4.60
There’s a number of ticket options or passes that you can use for the metro. For a full list of the options, head over here to the official site. However, you cannot use the standard single trip metro tickets or the T10 transport travel card for the airport metro.
How to get around Barcelona
Option 1: Public transportation
The Barcelona public transportation system includes the metro, buses, tram and FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat).
Barcelona is split up into zones for the public transit system, so when traveling outside of the city center, you’ll need to know what zone you are traveling to and if your ticket allows for you to travel to that zone.
We’ll go through the basics of each of these methods to give you a good idea of how to use them.
Metro & FGC
The Barcelona metro system (TMB) is very handy and useful for getting around the city, it’s probably the most popular option for traveling across the city.
Barcelona has eight metro lines: L1 (red), L2 (lilac), L3 (green), L4 (yellow), L5 (blue), L9 (orange), L10 (light blue), L11 (light green). The FGC is run by the Catalan government and runs the L6, L7, and L8 lines.
From Monday to Thursday, Sundays and on public holidays, the metro runs from 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. On Fridays and the evening before public holidays, the metro runs from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. and on Saturdays and the evening before the following days: 1/1, 24/6, 15/8 and 24/9, service is 24-hours. On Christmas Eve, the metro runs until 11:00 p.m.
Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC):
From Monday to Thursday, Sundays and public holidays the FGC runs from 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. On Fridays, FGC runs from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. and on Saturdays and evenings before the following dates: 1/1, 24/6 and 24/9, the metro service is 24-hours.
The metro lets you transfer between lines for free for a period of one hour and 15 minutes. There are a number of ticket and pass options for access to the Barcelona public transit system.
If you’re just going to be using the metro once or twice, you can opt for a single ticket which is €2.20. However, if you’re going to be using the metro at least four times, you should think about one of the passes.
For more details on the line routes and for maps of the Barcelona metro system, head over to the official site.
Public transportation, as mentioned, also includes the tram. There are two tram lines in Barcelona: the Trambaix (T1, T2, T3) and the Trambesòs (T4, T5, T6). The Trambaix travels from Francesc Macià to Sant Just Desvern, Sant Joan Despí, Sant Feliu de Llobregat and Cornellà. The Trambesòs goes from the Olympic Village to Sant Adrià de Besòs via the Forum site and ends at Badalona.
A single fare is €2.20 and the tram 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Mondays to Thursdays, Sundays and public holidays. On Fridays, Saturdays and the evening before public holidays, the tram runs from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
There are a number of buses in Barcelona so you can easily adventure across the city. For a list of all bus lines and routes check the official site here. And for a map of the bus lines, head over here.
If you’re looking to visit Barcelona’s main top attractions, consider a hop-on, hop-off city bus tour, check it out here. The hop-on, hop-off bus lets you journey around the city, stopping at the city’s landmarks and sites of note to sightsee, then hop back on the bus to continue on your trip.
The bus system begins service at 5:00 a.m. From Monday to Thursday, it operates until 12:00 a.m. On Fridays and the evening before public holidays, it operates until 2:00 a.m. Saturdays, it offers 24-hours service and on Sundays and public holidays, it runs until 12:00 a.m. On Christmas Eve, the bus operates until 11:00 p.m.
To let the bus driver know that you would like to board, be sure to signal with your hand as the bus is driving towards you. Enter the bus at the front doors.
Barcelona Public Transportation Tickets & Passes
If you’re a little confused about the mentions of T10 Transit Cards, don’t worry- we’ve got you covered. As a traveler, you can take advantage of multiple card and pass options for the Barcelona public transit. Passes are more economical and allow you to easily make your journey across the city. Here, we’ll cover the basics of the most popular ticketing types, if you need more info or if you’re looking for a different type of ticket, head over to the official site.
If you’re going to be using the public transit system only occasionally, over the course of a week or two weeks, you’ll probably want to stick with single ticket fares. While you don’t get a price break for purchasing multiple tickets, you won’t be wasting any money. Remember that the single fare tickets do not allow you to ride to the airport.
While all public transportation systems, the bus, metro, and tram have different single tickets, which might be invalid on other forms of transit. Get the T10 travel card or the Hola BCN if you will be using all forms of transit and don’t want to grab single tickets on each.
The T10 Transit Card allows for up to 10 journeys. You can purchase T10 cards for one zone or for up to all six zones.
1 Zone T10 Transit Card Fare: €10.20
2 Zones T10 Transit Card Fare: €20.10
3 Zones T10 Transit Card Fare: €27.40
4 Zones T10 Transit Card Fare: €35.25
5 Zones T10 Transit Card Fare: €40.50
6 Zones T10 Transit Card Fare: €43.05
If you’re only in Barcelona for one day and will be using the metro very often throughout the day, opt instead for the day pass. It’s a little less expensive than the 1 Zone T10 card.
Similar to the T10 Transit Card, the T50/30 allows for 50 journeys within 30 consecutive days (from the date of validation). If you’ll be visiting Barcelona for a month, this might be a good option. It is valid for only 1 zone and can be used to travel to the airport.
Hola Barcelona 2, 3, 4, 5-Day Card
For many tourists, the Hola Barcelona Card is the most popular choice for getting around Barcelona. The Hola Barcelona Card offers you unlimited journeys on the metro, bus, tram, railway (zone 1), FGC (zone 1) and funicular railway. The cards are available for 2, 3, 4 and 5 consecutive days.
2-Day Card Fare: €15.20
3-Day Card Fare: €22.20
4-Day Card Fare: €28.80
5-Day Card Fare: €35.40
Check out the Barcelona Card, exclusively for visitors to Barcelona. With the card, you can access unlimited travel on public transport and take advantage of discounts for attractions around the city. More info here.
Option 2: On foot or by bike
Walking around a city is one of the best ways to see the sights and absorb the culture and environment. Barcelona’s old city center is very pedestrian-friendly; you can wander along the cobblestone streets and check out the charming architecture.
We recommend investigating Barcelona walking tours like:
Barcelona Food Lovers Walking Tour & Dine in Michelin Star Restaurant: Head out on a unique gastronomic adventure and discover a wide variety of delicious foods. Hear about the history and culture of Barcelona as you walk through historic neighborhoods in the city center.
Barcelona Tapas Walking Tour with Flamenco Show: Get an overview of the city, learn how to order tapas (bar snacks) and visit some of the best bars and cafes Barcelona has to offer. Finish your tour by taking in an enthralling flamenco show.
Barcelona Wine and Tapas Walking Tour: Combine gourmet food and Catalan culture on a pre-dinner walking tour of Barcelona’s famous tapas bars.
And don’t forget about biking! You can easily rent bikes and explore the city at your own pace on Barcelona’s dedicated bike paths.
Option 3: Taxi
Taxis are plentiful in Barcelona, you can simply hail a cab on the street, or use an app like mytaxi– Barcelona does not have Uber or Lyft at this time. Taxis are metered, but not especially expensive compared to similar cities. Official taxis are black and yellow and are generally safe.
Most cab drivers will take credit, however, it is always a good idea to have small bills on hand to pay drivers with. Many taxi drivers will not be able to provide change for 50 euro bill.
Option 4: High-speed rail & Rodalies
For those traveling longer distances, for day trips or just outside of the city, the railway system will be your go-to.
AVE high-speed rail
The AVE high-speed rail reaches speeds of 310 km/h, which is excellent for those needing to faraway destinations- fast. Tourists can make their way from Madrid to Barcelona in just three hours! The train system connects many cities across Spain from Madrid and Barcelona to Córdoba, Seville, Málaga, and Valencia. For fare prices, route planning and more details, head over to the official site here.
If looking to trip outside of Barcelona, or to visit the neighboring cities, consider the Rodalies, or Cercanias in Spanish. The Rodalies is Spain’s inter-city train network. For fare prices, route planning and more details, visit the official site here.
It can be daunting to travel to a new city and figure out how to get around, but this helpful guide to Barcelona’s transportation systems will help you decipher their public transit and adventure with confidence!