Metro, Trains, Trams, Buses and Airport Shuttle
The transport system throughout Spain is very good, and coming from England I find it cheaper and so much more efficient in comparison. Here’s a guide to getting around Barcelona on public transport.
The system allows you to buy a variety of tickets which cover all forms of transport in the city: Metro, Bus, Tram, and Train (Renfe Cercanías and Ferrocarrils). Renfe Cercanías are the local trains and the Ferrocarrils are the Catalan trains.
As well as purchasing tickets from the machines at any metro station, you can also buy tickets at lottery shops and newsagent kiosks.
Public Transport Tickets
There are six zones, but zone 1 covers pretty much all of the city and includes the airport. You can purchase all of the tickets below for all zones.
The tickets listed below are the most popular tickets, but there are more available.
The T10 is probably the most commonly used and allows you 10 journeys. The current price is €9.95 for zone 1.
If you use the ticket for a journey – say one stop on the metro – you have 75 minutes when you can use the ticket for another journey without being charged again. This time limit varies depending on the type of ticket you buy, but the more expensive the ticket the longer period of time you have.
The other tickets available are:
This ticket can be used for an unlimited number of journeys in one day.
Lasts for 30 days from the date of purchase and allows unlimited journeys during that period.
This ticket gives you 50 journeys over 30 consecutive days.
This ticket give you 70 journeys over 30 consecutive days.
This card is valid for 90 days for unlimited journeys. Unlike the other tickets above, this one can only be used by the purchaser.
For all these tickets you are allowed 15 minutes between changing metro lines or transport for the two trips to be counted as one journey.
The T-Jove is a ticket for young people aged under 25 years. It gives unlimited journeys for 90 days on all forms of transport. The 90 day period starts when you first use the ticket.
There are many more tickets available including very useful tickets if you are just visiting the city for 2, 3, 4, and 5 day travel cards.
Full information on all Barcelona transport tickets.
Barcelona Transport Maps
Other Transport Links
Local train times
Local trains passing through Barcelona and the surrounding area are called Rodalies. At this link you can check out local train times for Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia:
Ferrocarrils – Catalan railway (FGC).
Renfe – Spanish train network.
Night Bus – Night buses and map of routes.
Airport Bus – Timetable and route map of the Airport shuttle bus.
Tram – City tram website, with routes and timetables.
There is a comprehensive bus service in Barcelona that runs throughout the day, and a good night bus service. From the main bus stations you can pick up a map of the bus routes, but there is a bus map of all the city routes at every bus stop, including more detailed maps of the buses that stop at each particular bus stop.
You can find all the individual Barcelona bus routes and their individual maps at the TMB website.
Here you can download the complete bus map: a map of all bus routes in Barcelona city.
And, if you’re not sure which route you need there is also a route finder if you know the name of the street you need to get to: Bus Route Finder.
During the night there is also a bus service called Nitbus: www.emt-amb.com/Principales/BusquedaNitBus.aspx
There is a very useful bus service that runs to the Costa Brava (there are no trains to the Costa Brava) called Segalés. The website is in English, Catalan and Spanish: www.sagales.com
Cycle in Barcelona – use Bicing
Bicing is a public transport system on bicycles. Register first on their website, pay a small weekly or annual fee, receive your card in the post, then use their bikes from the many depots throughout the city. You need to have your NIE to register.
bicing.cat (website in Castellano or Catalan)
There is also car sharing in Barcelona, more about that on the Driving in Barcelona page.
Car Sharing from Avancar
A fantastic and cheap solution to not owning a car in Barcelona. Pay an annual subscription of €45, then an hourly rate whenever you hire a car. Rates start at €4 per hour, although most available cars start at €6 per hour. That includes petrol and insurance (not excess reduction insurance). As with most car hire companies, the cost to reduce the excess makes the hire more expensive. The solution to this is to take out an annual car hire excess reduction policy with insurance4carhire.com. With that in place you’re fully covered.
Register online, book your car, use your Avancar card to pick up and drop off your car from one of the many locations in and around Barcelona. You can hire cars of different sizes, electric cars and vans.
There is a smartphone app allowing you to extend your rental (subject to availability) or hand back early getting a partial refund. I’ve used Avancar for several years now and find it really useful. Avancar is owned by Avis.
Transport to Barcelona Airport
Barcelona Airport Bus
There are regular buses from Barcelona centre to Barcelona Airport (El Prat) and they run every 7 – 15 minutes depending on the time of day. The times vary slightly depending on which route you take, but roughly they run from 0605 – 0105 from Plaza Catalunya to the airport, and 0605 – 0105 on the return journey.
They leave from Plaza Catalunya and Plaza España and a few other places, including one which leaves from Castelldefels. It takes about 30 minutes from Plaza Catalunya to the airport.
Barcelona’s Airport Terminals
Barcelona’s airport has two terminal buildings, and if you’re travelling via Terminal 1 (the newer terminal) then the bus is a good option as it goes to both terminals. If you take the train to the airport it arrives at terminal 2, and you then have to take the shuttle bus to Terminal 1. For terminal 1 take the A1 airport bus and for terminal 2 take the A2 airport bus.
Aerobus: This website covers both routes to Terminal 1 and 2 in English:
This is the same information in Spanish:
Going by Train to Barcelona Airport
Trains run every 20 minutes from the main railway stations in Barcelona, including Sants and Passeig de Gracia and arrive in about 20 minutes at Barcelona Airport Terminal 2. There are regular free shuttle buses running between the railway station (beside Terminal 2) and Terminal 1.
General Airport Info
Barcelona El Prat airport website and information line: Tel: 902 101 564
Airport Taxi Service: www.aerotaxibcn.com
Transport to Other Airports
Girona Airport Bus
If you’re flying in or out of Girona-Costa Brava airport with Ryan Air, rather than Barcelona (BCN) then the best way of commuting to Barcelona is by bus. There is a train service, but it goes directly to Girona where you then have to take a bus back out to the airport in the direction of Barcelona.
Girona is roughly 64 miles from Barcelona (Girona airport is nearer, about 58 miles) and the bus ride takes just over an hour. Please note, Girona is also sometimes spelt Gerona (Catalan spelling).
The bus service is timed to coincide with the Ryan Air flights at the airport and leaves from Barcelona North Bus Station (Estació d’Autobusos Barcelona Nord). Make sure you get the airport bus not the Girona town bus. The nearest metro station to the bus station is Arc de Triomf on the red line (line 1).
Girona Airport Bus Timetable
The Girona airport bus is run by a company called Sagalés. Please use this link to go directly to their website where you can buy tickets and view the airport bus timetable.
Train from Barcelona to Girona
The trains run regularly from Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gracia and Clot-Arago stations. Once in Girona you need to catch the airport bus – visit this link for the timetable:
Reus Airport Bus
Ryan Air and other airlines also fly into Reus airport, which is south of Barcelona. You need to get the train from Barcelona to Reus town, then take the shuttle bus which runs between Reus and Reus airport (Linea 50). Reus Airport public transport.
There are various other tickets aimed at visitors to the city:
- Travel card 2-days
- Travel card 3-days
- Travel card 4-days
- Travel card 5-days
All offer unlimited travel on all forms of transport for the number of days stated.
Barcelona Tourist Bus
This ticket is only valid for the Tourist buses which continually circle Barcelona stopping at the many places of interest. You can get on and off wherever and when ever you like.
Available as 1- and 2-day tickets, with discounted prices for children.