Getting Around Barcelona
Getting To and From The Airport + Public Transportation
- Our top choice for affordable and easy transport into the city from Barcelona’s El Prat airport is Aerobus. Buses leave every 5 minutes from El Prat, and has stops in key areas in the city center. From the terminal, follow the signs to ground transportation. You’ll find self-serve kiosks to buy tickets with a credit card, or, if you have Euros in your pocket, you can buy the tickets with cash from the bus driver on board. Current pricing is €5.90 per person, each way. The ride time is about 35 minutes.
- Note: Aerobus only drops off at a few places in the city, though centrally located, expect to walk for several minutes to get to your place.
- Taxis are the easiest way to get into town, but it’s not uncommon to pay about €30-40 for a ride into the city.
- Barcelona’s metro is good, and can get you near most of the places you’d likely go in the city center. We purchase the T-10 at the ticket vending machines, which gives you 10 rides on the metro or bus system for around €1 per ride.
- Note: T-10 can’t get you to or from the airport. There’s a separate ticket for that, which costs around €5 each way, but we don’t recommend taking the metro as a way to get into the city.
- Barcelona’s bus accepts the same T-10 card – just dip your card in the validation boxes on board any of the buses. Like the metro, you can use the T-10 for multiple people at one stop, as it debits the card each time it passes through the turnstile.
Taxis, Cabify and Uber
- If you’re not a public transportation fan, Cabify (iOS or Android) works very much like Uber in Barcelona.
- MyTaxi is an app that calls on the extensive cab network in the city. The price listed on your app will be an estimate, but not exact.
- If you have a PayPal account, you can link it to both of these apps, making for streamlined payments, so you don’t have to reach for your wallet at the end of the ride. We got our credit cards rejected because we don’t have Spanish credit cards, so PayPal is a good way to go here.
- Uber is back in business in Barcelona as of March 2018.
Hop On, Hop Off Busses
- Run by private tour companies, these double-decker buses are aimed for those who wish to see as many places as possible and are short on time in the city. It’s also a viable way to get around if there’s anyone in your party with mobility issues. Depending on the company, there are guides provided and the content of the tours can be translated into multiple languages to accommodate tourists from around the world. Companies like Barcelona Bus Turístic, and City Sightseeing Barcelona offer hop-0n, hop-off passes for one day or two consecutive days to give you an overview of the city.
- Note: we haven’t tried this style of traveling around the city, so we can’t vouch for it – we just wanted to share that it was an option for those who enjoy this style of sightseeing.
- Between the beach and notable amount of bike lanes, Barcelona is a very bike-friendly town. There are plenty of places around the city to rent bikes if you’d like to meander on your own, or you could consider signing up for a guided tour, which will help you make the most of the bike routes that have been thoughtfully installed from the outskirts of the city all the way to the Mediterranean.
- Note: if you’ll be in the area for several days, consider one of the many day trips out of Barcelona for a different view. There are plenty of companies that can outfit you with everything you’ll need for a good day out.
- For us, it’s the absolute best way to get around! We’re lucky to live in Ciutat Vella – the center city – where there’s plenty of history, shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants to beguile the senses :) Barcelona is remarkably compact for a city of its population, and you’ll find there’s plenty to see while you’re making your way from one thing to the next. Another advantage: you burn a few extra calories on your way to the next tapas tasting!
- It’s important to note that while Barcelona does an excellent job making the streets accessible, it still deals with similar struggles as many great European cities, namely wheelchair access and other related accessibility challenges.
Also, If You’re Going To Be Visiting Lots Of Tourist Attractions…
…consider purchasing a Barcelona Card. For three, four or five days straight (calculated by the hour), it gives you unlimited access to the entire Metro system (including the trip into the city from the airport), and free entrance to a notable amount of the city’s great museums for €40.50. The sense of history here is massive, and taking a few moments to see some of the city’s cultural and historical jewels will make your time here that much richer.
A few tips:
- You can book this card online – you’ll be able to use it as soon as you get there, and save a few dollars if you buy it in advance.
- Book your Picasso Museum entry in advance – it’s always busy. It’ll save you time waiting in line.
- The Barcelona Card also offers discounts on walking tours and other places of interest. Spend a few minutes looking through what it can do for you. It’s a lot.
A few numbers:
- €4.60 – one-way ticket from the airport to the city center on the Metro
- €25-35 – taxi from the airport to the city
- €11 – one day adult ticket to Picasso Museum
- €12 – one day ticket to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
For More Barcelona Travel Recommendations…
Check out our Gimme Some Barcelona Travel Guide, which includes a constantly-updated list of our best recommendations on where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in Barcelona. Plus, we’ve also shared a bunch of our best Barcelona-specific travel tips, so that you can navigate the city like a local.
Also, feel free to download our Gimme Some Barcelona Google Map, which includes all of the recommendations listed in our travel guide.