In Barcelona, the Metro stations are arranged, designed quite simply, there are even no ticket counters at some stations, the exit gate of the station is just a simple barrier. But looking at the map is like a real maze, partly because you will have to get used to the lengthy Spanish (of course, it is better than Greek because the Greek’s characters are not Alphabet), roads knit like inside an anthill. However, if you have researched and prepared, everything will become much easier. So, are you planning a trip to Barcelona and don’t know how to get around Barcelona (how to get around in Barcelona and how to travel around barcelona)? Let’s check out our Barcelona public transport guide with suggested 5 best way to get around Barcelona (best way to travel around Barcelona) and cheapest way to get around Barcelona by public transport and to find out the answer! Let us discover the best tips for an effortless Barcelona journey!
- What to buy in Barcelona? — 15+ must buy souvenirs, gifts & best things to buy in Barcelona
- Barcelona itinerary 1 day — How to spend 1 day in Barcelona & what to do in Barcelona in one day
- Park Guell guide — The fullest information on how to visit Park Guell
- Barcelona itinerary 3 days — How to spend 3 days in Barcelona & what to do in Barcelona in 3 days?
- Barcelona travel blog — The fullest Barcelona travel guide blog for a great budget trip for the first-timers
How to get to Barcelona?
Fly to Barcelona
Currently, if you getting to Barcelona from Hanoi by Vietnam Airlines, you still have to transit in Paris, or if you fly with foreign carriers like Qatar Airways or Emirates, you will transit in the Middle East. From European countries (Schengen Area) you will easily reach Barcelona by plane, train or bus.
Among airlines flying to and from Barcelona, you should pay attention to Vueling Airlines, this is the airline of Barcelona, so there are many flights during the day and the ticket price is also very good. If you’re flying from Paris, the airline has planes at both Orly and CDG airport. In addition, you can choose other carriers such as Transavia (Orly) or Ryan Air (unfortunately, this airline is only available at Beauvais airport, about 80km from Paris, quite far).
Barcelona has 2 airports but only Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is close to the city, the other airport is located very far (about 100km away) so there are usually not many airlines flying to this airport (except Ryan Air). But now Ryan Air has already flown to El Prat Airport.
How to get from Barcelona El Prat airport to the city center?
By shuttle bus
To getting from El Prat airport to the city, there are many vehicles for you to choose from such as Taxi, Shuttle bus or Metro, the most convenient way is you just get out of the arrival hall to catch the bus to the center, the bus runs every 5-10 minutes/trip and it takes 30 minutes to get to the city center. The bus runs to the center and passing through many big streets in the city, so it is also a good idea to seeing the city instead taking a “hop-on hop-off” bus which you have to buy ticket. If you take a taxi, the price is about € 30-40 and takes about 20 minutes.
From the airport, you follow the directions to the arrival hall (Barcelona airport is not very large) to catch the Aerobus. There are two types of Aerobus buses at the airport: A1 (parked at the arrival hall of Terminal 1) and A2 (parked at the arrival hall of Terminal 2), both of which have stop at last stop: Plaça Catalunya (City Center). From here you can walk or catch the train (Metro) to your hotel that you booked in advance (other stops are Plaça Espanya; Gran Via – Urgell; Plaça Universitat). One thing to keep in mind is that if you travel from the city to the airport, look carefully at which terminal you will depart (T1 or T2) to catch the right bus (A1 or A2), if you get on the wrong bus you may have to take about 30 minutes to find the right terminal. The ticket bus price of € 5.90 / way and € 10.20 / round-trip are valid for 15 days (consider if you take the roundtrip flights).
Both types of buses have 4 stops in the city center: Plaça Espanya, Gran Via / Urgell, Plaça Universitat and Plaça Catalunya, so you should pay attention which location near your hotel to get off. But when going back to the airport, the bus only picks up at 3 points: Plaça Catalunya, Sepúlveda-Urgell and Plaça Espanya. You can buy tickets in advance here.
If you arrival at Terminal 2, you just need to walk through from the 1st floor according to the directions to the Metro station, take the Line R2 Nord by Renfe. If arrival at Terminal 1, you will have to take a free shuttle bus between 2 terminals to T2 to which takes about 10 minutes. Train ticket to get to the city is € 4.10 or free if use T-10 ticket (T-casual Barcelona Metro Bus Tickets) at €11.35.
The train arrivals at Sants Railway Station in the city, it takes about 19 minutes, but if you want to getting to the city center you should get off at Passeig de Gràcia station and from there you can take the Metro to the hotel by Line L3 or Line L2, L4 a few minutes away.
If traveling by Metro to the airport you can depart from Clot station, Passeig de Gràcia or Barcelona Sants Railway, the airport station is called Aeropuerto. Metro runs every 30 minute / trip with the fare of € 4.50 / way.
The Metro line to the airport has only been opened since February 2016 with the orange Line L9 Sud (L9S) and has stations at both T1 and T2. The operating hours is similar to Metro from Monday to Thursday from 5AM to 12PM, Friday runs to 2AM next morning, weekends run continuously from Saturday to Sunday night.
Cheaper, you can catch normal bus running in the city, bus 46 (parked at T2) or catch NitBus N17 (parked T1 – running at midnight), all can use T10 card or if traveling separately, the price is still € 2.15 / way.
In addition, you also can book hop-on hop-off buses as below.
Take other means to Barcelona
If traveling by train, usually trains in the Schengen Area will arrival at Barcelona Sants station, this is the central station and can travel from here to other cities in Spain and Europe. Take the train from Paris you can go from Gare de Lyon station, there are 2 trains every day running at 7:15AM and 2:07PM and takes about 6h20m to reach Barcelona.
If traveling by bus to Barcelona, it will usually stop at Estació del Nord near the Metro Arc de Triomf station.
How to get around Barcelona and how to travel around Barcelona?
To getting around in the city, the most convenient way is to walk, and with places are far apart you should take Metro to moving faster. Metro stations are usually underground and are available everywhere. The ticket price for a single trip is € 2.15 but you should buy the T-10 ticket (also called the T-10 card or T-casual Barcelona Metro Bus Tickets) for € 9.95 if you plan to stay in Barcelona for 2-3 days or more, thus you will saving more than € 10 already. Metro operating hours from 5AM to 12PM, Friday to 2AM next morning and Saturday is 24 hours.
Buying T-10 card is easy, and you can buy it at ticket vending machines at any Metro station, just put your money into machine and get it. Each time you want to go, just insert T-10 card into the reader, it scans the bar code and calculates the number of times you have traveled. T-10 card can be used for both Metro and public buses in the city. Only one thing to note when going by Metro, bus or when standing in public places is always very vigilant because of theft here. I was lucky in 3 days in Barcelona extremely safe when have never seen such a burglary!
Public transport system (Integrated tariff system)
Public transport in Barcelona includes many types of vehicles such as bus, metro, tram, local train (commuter train) and is operated by many different companies. For example, the bus, metro system are operated by TMB, the train system is operated by Renfe and FGC operates the train and three lines of metro. But fortunately that complicated system is run by a unified system of Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (ATM).
This system divides Barcelona into 6 zones and ATM’s multi-trip tickets are designed depending on which zones you plan to go. In fact, these 6 zones are a very large region, Barcelona is only the central point in it. Zone 1 is the largest and includes downtown Barcelona. If you only travel in the city or back and forth to the airport, you only need to buy a travel card to travel in Zone 1, only interested in other Zones if you intend to go to the surrounding areas, making day-trips.
Types of Tariff cards (can be used for all types of vehicles)
- T-10: 10 trip ticket that can be used for many people, the price depends on different zones, for example Zone 1, the ticket price is € 9.95. T-10 ticket cannot be used for Metro stations at the airport including Line 9 Sud.
- T-50/30, T-70/30: 50 or 70 trip ticket that valid within 30 days, respectively price of € 42.5 and € 59.5 for Zone 1 and only for 1 person (type T50) and many people (type T70).
- T-Dia: The unlimited travel ticket type in a day and number of zones combined, the price for one zone is € 8.40, with one round trip for the trip from the airport to the city.
There are also two more types: T-Mes and T-Trimestre but not very suitable for short-term travelers, you can see more on the ATM’s website. Among above travel cards, T-10 is the most popular and should be purchased, because actually in 3-4 days in Barcelona you do not take Metro much, mostly still on foot. If you plan an itinerary properly, you will walk most of the day, only the beginning or the end of the day when traveling a long distance you have to take Metro. If you buy T-10 for Zone 1, you need to remember that this ticket can only be used for airport route when you take Renfe’s train, or take the City bus 46 of TMB, NitBus N17 night bus but cannot use Metro. With the other types of Tariff Cards you can use to take Metro to getting to the airport normally.
This unified Tariff card system allows you change up to 3 different types of vehicles on one journey without counting as one time of another ticket purchasing, i.e. going from point A to point B you will allowed to change from Metro to Bus and Tram, but it is not allowed to change one type from one Metro station to another. If you had left the Metro station and re-enter after that you will must buy a new ticket. The time for change the means of transportation for free is within 2 hours.
Some Metro lines that you need to pay attention to your itinerary
- Line L9 (Orange) to go from the airport to the city center, the last stop is Zona Universitària, you change the train to continue to the hotel. This point is also quite close to the Camp Nou Stadium, or if you want to go to the Camp Nou from within the city you can go to Metro Palau Reial, Les Corts or Badal station.
- Important transportation hub: Placa Catalunya Square, the hub of many Metro lines such as L6, L7, L2, passing 1 station or just walk from the square to reach Passeig de Gràcia, where there are 2 buildings of Gaudi is Casa Batlló and Casa Mila.
- Barcelona Central Station is Barcelona Sants with many Metro lines going here, you take Metro to Sants Estacio Station to get to the central station.
Take a train from Barcelona to other cities
Traveling inland Spain is quite simple and fast because the country’s high-speed AVE train can run at speeds up to 300km/h. With such a speed, so getting from Barcelona to Madrid takes only 2.5 hours with the ticket price of about € 40 (faster and more convenient than by plane), going to Seville takes 5 hours and 25 minutes with the ticket price of about € 46, going to the coastal city of Malaga takes 5 hours 50 minutes with ticket price at € 46. Train to Madrid every 1 hour has a trip, while going to Seville or Malaga frequency of 1 trip/day.
To buy AVE train tickets, you can visit the website of Renfe, which manages Spain rail system, or buy through Loco’s website. In fact, when you buy tickets via Loco, they also will transfer to Renfe’s ticketing system but the Loco’s website was less prone to errors like Renfe, the clear interface and buying easier. Renfe usually does not accept credit cards with countries outside of Spain.
Because Barcelona is located quite far from the surrounding areas, cities and other neighbouring countries, so if you traveling by train from Barcelona to Paris or other Italian cities like Venice, Milan is quite inconvenient, have to spend a lot of time and fares also high. Train tickets from Barcelona to Paris depart from Barcelona Sants station from € 59 and up, and takes more than 6 hours to reach Paris, but go to the southern provinces of France such as Marseille, Cannes & Nice quite close. If you plan to go from Barcelona through Venice, you can go through Marseille first and then Venice later, or fly for fast. Many cheap airlines with good quality fly from Barcelona like Vueling, Transavia, ..
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Barcelona you can refer to
- Aerobus BCN – Shuttle Bus Transfers Between El Prat Airport (BCN) and Barcelona City Center
- Private Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN) Transfers for Barcelona
- Official Barcelona Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
- Barcelona Hop-On Hop-Off Bus City Tour
- Hola Barcelona Travel Card
- Montserrat Half or Full Day Tour from Barcelona
- Girona Half Day Guided Tour from Barcelona
- Park Güell Ticket in Barcelona
- Barça Football Club – Camp Nou Experience Tour Tickets in Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia Fast Track Ticket in Barcelona
- 4G SIM Card (Barcelona Pick Up) for Europe
- Barcelona City Card & Express Card
- iVenture Barcelona Flexi Attractions Pass
Are you looking for more top things to do in Barcelona: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here. And Barcelona travel guide here: Barcelona travel blog — The fullest Barcelona travel guide blog for a great budget trip for the first-timers.