Barcelona is one of the must-visit cities in the world. Those who have been there attested that the Catalan city will make you fall in love with what it offers. The numerous trips to Barcelona will make any stay in the city worthwhile. As in any holiday to any city, planning is key to a fun and memorable travel.
Knowing when to visit Barcelona and how to get around well ahead of time will definitely work to your advantage. Barcelona is more often than not agreeable all-year-round for all travelers. If you want to avoid the flocks of tourists or do not love the extreme heat and humidity, then going there during the summer season in the city may not be a very good idea. You may also want to avoid August as low-cost accommodations are almost impossible to find because it is the time when the city gets very busy.
It will also help if you familiarize yourself with transportation before you fly. It will save you the hassles that every visitor tries to avoid. For starters, there are five major ways to get around Barcelona: by bus, metro, FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya), taxi, and by renting a car.
This city has what it takes to be a great holiday destination: friendly and smiling people, rich history, interesting culture, magnificent architecture, good food, and many must-see attractions. But traveling to the city is not as easy as it seems. It takes careful planning before hitting the city. So before you fly to Barcelona, we strongly suggest you contact hotels in Barcelona and do your research. You also can research other sites on this Spain travel directory
Barcelona has an affordable and highly efficient urban transport system. You have 6 major ways to get around the city: by bus, metro, FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya), taxi, renting a car, and biking.
Buses: The city has more than 100 bus lines, which are numbered 6 to 192. They reach more points compared to the metro lines. For the transient Barcelona traveler, however, bus lines are not as easy to figure out.
Metro: The metro is clean, safe, cheap and easy to use. For most, it is the preferred method of traveling the city. The Barcelona metro system has 6 lines, plus the funicular railway to Parc Montjüic. They are marked by colors and numbers.
Taxis: Taxis are readily available and they are not too expensive. A taxi ride in the center of Barcelona usually costs no more than €7. If you do not mind spending cash, taxis can be the easiest form of city transport. This is especially if you are there for a very short period of time. Here are some numbers you can dial for Barcelona taxis: +34 93 322 2222, +34 93 307 0707and +34 93 420 8088.
FGC: The FGC trains take you to suburban areas. They leave from two important hubs: Plaça de Espanya and Plaça de Catalunya. But they may also be convenient for going around the Barcelona center as well. Prices vary depending on the zone. You may use integrated passes by zone valid for the FGC, metro, and bus.
Car rentals: Hiring a car can If you want a car rental, you will have many choices as car rental firms are all over in the city.be the best way to avoid tourist traps and explore some of Barcelona’s less-visited gems.
Bike: There are bicycle lanes provided for those who want to explore Barcelona on a bike. Many of these lanes are in some of the city’s main roads, including, Avinguda Diagonal, Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, Carrer d’Aragó, Carrer de la Marina and Avinguda de la Meridiana. Aside from being environmental-friendly, this mode of transportation allows you to enjoy the sceneries in Barcelona at a much slower pace – making you appreciate its grandeur more and more.
Barcelona, Spain is a very walkable city, though for those less able, or those who enjoy trying out transportation, then the metro is the way.
The network consists of 9 lines managed by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona(TMB) (Address: Carrer 60, núm. 21-23 Sector A, Pol. Ind. de la Zona Franca 08040 Phone: 902 07 50 27/ E-mail: email@example.com)and Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) (Address: Barcelona-Plaça Catalunya Station Main Lobby / Phone: +34 900 901 515 / Open: from 7 am to 9 pm (from Monday to Friday)). The former manages the underground lines and the latter manages 3 integrated commuter lines that run out into the extended metropolitan area.
TMB manages 6 lines – Line 1 (red), Line 2 (purple), Line 3 (green), Line 4 (yellow), Line 5 (blue), and Line 11 (light green). The Line 1 terminal is at Hospital de Bellvitge – Fondo, Line 2 at Paral·lel – Pep Ventura, Line 3 at Zona Universitària – Trinitat Nova, Line 4 at Trinitat Nova – La Pau, Line 5 at Cornellà Centre – Horta, and Line 11 at Trinitat Nova – Can Cuiàs.View Larger Map
The 3 metro-like commuter lines managed by the FGC are Line 6 (dark blue), Line 7 (brown), and Line 8 (pink). Line 6 runs the Pl. Catalunya – Reina Elisenda route, Line 7 the Pl. Catalunya – Av. Tibidabo route, and Line 8 the Pl. Espanya – Molí Nou-Ciutat Cooperativa route.View Larger Map
The fare-integrated Funicular de Montjuïc (dark green) is listed on maps as being part of the metro network. It directly connects to the metro at Paral·lel station. In addition, you can see the Renfe, Trambaix, and Trambesòs stations and routes on most recent maps.
Time of operation
The Barcelona metro runs from 5 in the morning until midnight from Sunday to Thursday. It runs from 5 in the morning to 2 in the morning every Friday and Saturday. Some of the lines criss-cross in the center of the city.
You can buy tickets from the ticket office found at each station. You can also get them from ticket machines that operate in several different languages. If you plan a few trips within one day, it is suggested that you get a 1-day pass (T-Dia). A single ticket costs 2€ for 1 trip. T10 card costs 9.80€ allowing you for 10 trips; this is multi-personal and is used by about 70% of the people in the city. There is also the T50/30 card, which allows 50 trips for 30 days. It is sold for 39.20€ and is valid for one person only. For families and groups, the T70/30 card would be most appropriate. It costs 54.90€ for 70 trips for 30 days.
You can travel to Barcelona by taxi. They are readily available and travel in the bus lanes. Taxis are a great transportation choice because they will not cost you much. A trip within the center of Barcelona usually costs no more than €7. If you do not mind shelling out some money, taxis are the most convenient and easiest form of transport in Barcelona, especially for people in the rush.
You can effortlessly identify Barcelona taxi cabs as they come in black or yellow. And here’s what is great about Barcelona: A green light on top of the cab means that you can ride for free. The cab is also free when the sign LIBRE is on.
All cabs in the city are metered with some additional charges if you are coming from the airport. Extra charges also apply for baggage. These additional fees are detailed on the taxi’s right rear passenger window.
You can hail taxis in Barcelona on the street. Another option is booking in advance with Servitaxi or Radio Taxi. Cabs in Barcelona are plentiful. There are more than 11,000 taxis all over the city. The only problem is that you can have difficulty finding them after the metro closes at night.
At the start of your journey, make sure that the driver has turned the meter on. You only have to pay the amount displayed on the meter at the end of your ride. If you are feeling generous, you can tip your driver 5% to 10% of the meter fare.
Taxis in Barcelona has a flag fall rate of €1.75; from 9 pm to 7 am on weekdays, all day on weekends and holidays, the flag fall rate starts at €1.85. From then, meter charges €0.78 per kilometer, at night and on weekends; it goes €1 per kilometer. Trips coming to and from the airport have an additional charge of €3, plus €0.90 for big luggage (bigger than 55cm x 35cm x 35cm).
Call these numbers if you are having trouble finding a taxi:
- Servitaxi – Phone: +34 93 330 0300
- Radio Taxi – Phone: +34 93 303 3033
There are also taxis that specialize in the itinerary to Barcelona airport, Reus, and Girona. But they can also go to other routes on your request. Call these numbers:
- Taxi Barcelona – Phone: +34 617 732 324
- Aerotaxi Barcelona – Phone: +34 695 175 009
If you are looking for special taxis for those who have reduced mobility, call: +34 93 420 80 88
Buses are another option to get around Barcelona. They are cheap, convenient and easy to access. There are over 1000 buses operating in the city; these buses go around over 80 routes, including all its districts and metropolitan area.
The buses in Barcelona feature low floors that cater especially to those with limited mobility.
Because Barcelona adapts the integrated fare system, travel cards can be used to pay on trams, FGC, metro and of course, the buses. These travel cards come at varied types and prices to suit your transportation needs.
Travel time via bus depends on the route and destination. Most bus services commence at 4:25 am and end at 11 pm. The normal interval of buses is about 20-30 minutes during weekends.
For more information about the day buses in Barcelona, visit TMB’s official website or call +34 933 187 174.
The night bus service in Barcelona is known as Nit Bus. It serves most of the main districts in the city, including some of its suburban areas. Tickets and prices vary from those that run around the city on day time; logically, it is a bit pricier. Information on schedule and tickets is detailed here.
Buses in Barcelona are another proof of the city’s accessibility and convenience. It is not only easy to reach, but it is also easy to explore – thanks to its many transportation options!
SimplyBarcelona.org partnered with Taxileader.net to offer you airport taxi transfers in Barcelona. They provide private transfers from El Prat Barcelona and Girona airports to any address in Barcelona and surrounding cities like Lloret de Mar.
There are many car rental services in Barcelona. Renting a car in the city can be a great way to avoid the tourists trap and explore the less-visited jewels the city has to offer. With this service, you can come and go as you like rather than waste your time in train stations and bus terminals. It is better to pre-book in renting a car online since this is the most economic and less hassle option.
All these car rental companies have drop-off and pick-up points that are conveniently located all over Barcelona and at the city’s airports. So once you decide where to stay, you can accordingly plan your car hire.
If it is your first time to explore Barcelona and drive in the city, you should have knowledge of the driving laws in the country. Australian and British drivers must get on the right side of the road. Also, you should take special care during national holidays. These are the times when most road accidents happen in the city since many more people hit the roads.
Drunk driving and speeding
Of course, drunk driving is illegal in Barcelona and the country is very strict with the limit, which is set at 0.5mg of alcohol for every milliliter of blood. So watch your speed as over speeding can result in immediately payable fines. Here are the speed limits in Spain: 90-100 km/hour for open roads, 120 km/hour for motorways, and 50 km/hour for town roads.
Below are some of the highly esteemed Barcelona car rental firms with their most central offices, telephone numbers, and websites:
Sants Railway Station, Plaza de Los Paises Catalans, Barcelona 08014
Sants Railway Station, Placa Paisos Catalans, Barcelona 08014
Gran Vía, Cortes Catalanes 680, Barcelona 08010
C/ Tuset 10, Barcelona 08006
C/ Muntaner 45, Barcelona 08011
C/ Rivadeneyra, Underground car park Saba (off Placa Catalunya) Barcelona 08002
Travel to Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the more accessible cities in Spain and certainly the country’s closest major tourist hub to the rest of Europe. Getting to Barcelona is a breeze because of its strategic location and great transportation system. Depending on your location and preference, you can reach the city by bus and car, by air, or by rail.
Getting to the city by bus or car is without much hassle because of the major highways linking Barcelona with the French border to the north, Zaragoza, and Madrid to the west, and Valencia and Tarragona to the south.
Trains in Barcelona are also an option to reach Barcelona since the city also benefits from the country’s busy rail network. But there are no direct train rides beyond the border because of the rail gauge difference with neighboring France.
Barcelona international airport is a busy regional hub with a generous number of flights to the city and to other major ones around the world. Located in the southwest of the city center, Barcelona Airport receives a number of flights from many cities in Europe and trans-Atlantic routes.
Trains are definitely the economical and least stressful mode of travel in and out of Barcelona. It is also the transportation choice to and from the Barcelona International airport where the trains run in every 20-30 minutes. RENFE (Phone: +34 902 240 202), Spain’s main rail train system, connects the major cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Bilbao.
Train fares are reasonably priced and train trips are more than frequent. Another train system – the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) (Phone: +34 932 051 515) – takes care of a local train service operating mainly to the satellite towns of Barcelona including Sabadell and Terrassa. The two main train stations in Barcelona are Estacio Barcelona-Sants and Estacio FranCa, the former being the main terminal for domestic and international travel. Train schedules are posted at the Plaça de Catalunya and França stations.
For those coming from the UK, Rail Europe Travel Centre (Address: 1 Regent St, London SW1 / Phone: 0844 848 4064) will be a good service provider to take you to Barcelona. Visit their website or drop them a call for information on the train schedule and other details.
France to Barcelona route
Barcelona-bound Parisians can take the Elipsos Trenhotel, a 12-hour overnight train run by RENFE and France’s SCNF. The train arrives at around 08:30 every morning at Barcelona-França station. There are also stops in Orleans, Limoge, and Perpignan, in France and Figueres and Girona. Train tickets can be bought through Rail Europe or the RENFE website. View Larger Map
For people coming from the southern part of France, the best option to take is the Talgo train that leaves Montpellier, Perpignan, and Narbonne. The Talgo runs through Valencia, Alicante, and Cartagena. Travel time to Barcelona is 3 hours from Perpignan and 4 or 5 hours from Montpellier. Pets are allowed to be traveled as long as they are caged, weigh less than 6 kg and do not disturb other passengers.
Train service from Portugal, Italy or Switzerland to Barcelona
Elipsos also runs thrice a week from Milan to Barcelona on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through the Paris-Barcelona and the Zurich-Barcelona services. Portugal has a rail system called CP Passageiros that transports travelers to Barcelona coming from the neighboring Iberian country.
A faster way to travel to Barcelona
The Alta Velocidad Española (Spanish High Speed) or the AVE runs up to 185mph/300km/h on a dedicated standard gauge track. The train service connects Barcelona and Madrid through Guadalajara, Calatayud, Zaragoza, Lleida, and Tarragona.
Expected arrival is within 15 minutes, otherwise, passengers can demand a full refund if the train exceeds the scheduled time. The AVE makes traveling convenient by connecting city centers, disregarding the need to travel to and from an out of town airport, and arriving at the main station with easy metro connections.
Exploring Barcelona by bus is inexpensive, fun, and sometimes uncomfortable. You would be charged less for a ticket that would probably cost more if you took a plane or train ride. You also get to appreciate those beautiful sights on the road while on your way to the city. Buses run by Alsa (Address: c/Miguel Fleta 4, 2 28037 Madrid / Phone: 902 422 242),Estació del Nord (Address: Carrer d’Ali Bei 80; Arc de Triomf / Phone: 902 303 222), Eurolines and Linebús can transport you to this scenic and historic city.
Bus from Madrid to Barcelona
Although travel by bus normally takes a longer time to reach your destination, it is still worthwhile to travel this way because of its cost-effectiveness. Fare ranges between €28 and €47 depending on the time of travel. As for the return trip, the fare price is from €51 to €90. It usually takes around 8 hours to reach Barcelona from Madrid by bus.
Bus from London to Barcelona
While many travelers enjoy taking the bus from London to Barcelona to marvel at the sceneries along the way, others do not relish sitting on a bus to reach Barcelona. In fact, London-Barcelona buses are very limited: one National Express bus leaves Victoria Coach Station every Friday, with a transfer in Lyon. And the entire journey is, well, 28 hours!
Bus from France to Barcelona
Considering the cost of flying so insanely cheap when booked at the earliest time in advance that it seems it steals a good lump of the bus market to the city. But you can still reach to travel to Barcelona by bus from France.
A bus ride from Paris costs €31 (1 departure per day), €28 from Marseille (round trip promo, 2 departures per week), €27 from Toulouse (round trip promo, 6 departures per week), €38 from Nice (3 departures per week), and €57 from Bordeaux (3 departures per week).
All in all a bus ride to Barcelona is certainly cheap and enjoyable. But It can get very uncomfortable considering the length of travel time.
Note: Do not worry if you do not see a bathroom on the bus. The Spanish law requires bus drivers to pull into a rest stop every few hours.
Want to spend your weekends in Barcelona? If you do, book a flight now and enjoy the attractions and sounds of this Catalonian city. Don’t let the budget get in the way as there are carriers that offer low-cost airfares that will surely get you packing your bags for a sweet vacation or a much-needed siesta in Barcelona. How is that possible? Well, here are a few picks you can choose from:
- EasyJet. If you are the type who prefers a wide selection of destination yet you feel you might keep changing your mind where to fly off to, EasyJet is for you. It allows the rescheduling of flights for a minimal charge which certainly makes booking your ticket flexible than usual. So if you decide to check out Barcelona, you might want to consider flying with EasyJet.
- Jet2. You might suddenly decide to cancel your trip elsewhere to go to Barcelona. Too bad though because Jet2, like any other airlines with cheap flights, doesn’t offer a refund. But who needs a money-back if Jet2 can just reschedule your other trip for another time through their rescheduling system. By the way, Jet2 flies from Leeds Bradford airport in West Yorkshire, England.
- RyanAir. Before going straight to Barcelona, there’s one pit stop that is absolutely worth visiting and that is Girona. Coincidentally, RyanAir has no direct flights to Barcelona International airport so tourists would instead expect to land in Girona Airport. This gives travelers a chance to enjoy the quiet city of Girona even for awhile.
- Vueling. This new Catalan carrier proves to be competitive in offering low-priced tickets. Aside from the warm and polite cabin crew, the airline gives you a chance to pick the seat of your choice when you book with them.
- FlyGlobeSpan and FlyMonarch. These two airlines also offer low-cost plane tickets. The former flies from Scotland, and the latter, from Manchester.
- Delta. Visitors coming all the way from America can now fly directly to Barcelona via a 7-hour long flight with Delta.
Travelling by air is really exciting especially when you have the choice where you can fly into. To date, Barcelona has three airports open to tourists. One is the Barcelona International Airport(BCN) (Address: Barcelona Airport, 08820 Prat de Llobregat. Barcelona / Phone: +34 91 321 10 00) which is considered the city’s main airport. Compared to the other two airports in the city, BCN has a wider flight selection from more countries. The airport is 14 km from the city center. From here, passengers can take a taxi, bus, or train services to get to the main Barcelona.
Another airport which is not exactly in Barcelona is the Girona airport (GRO) (Phone: +34 972 186 606 for flights; +34 97 218 6708 for info / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Budget airlines fly into GRO making flights less expensive. GRO also makes a good option since there are buses right outside the airport that transport passengers from Girona to central Barcelona in only about 55 minutes.
The Reus airport (Phone: +34 977 779 832 for flights; +34 977 772 204 for info) is Barcelona’s third airport which is 75 minutes away from central Barcelona. The airport also offers budget flights and it serves as a feeder for tourists going to and from Salou, Costa Dorada which is known for its booze and beach location.
Choosing is not too difficult if you know what you want. Once you already have an airline to ride on and an airport to fly into, you are all set for that interesting urban adventure in the city of Barcelona!