How to Get There
By plane – Barcelona International Airport is a major transport hub and fields flights from all over Europe and beyond.
Transfer to/from the airport: The airport is only about 12-14 km away from the city centre. Airport transfers can be arranged for groups, taxis are available. Taxis and Minibuses can be pre-booked online Luxury car can book online on EuropeShuttle. A cheaper and often faster option is the half-hourly RENFE R2 Nord suburban train line calling at Sants (travel time is 18 minutes), Passeig de Gràcia (24 minutes), El Clot-Aragó (30 min.) and more stations beyond Barcelona city limits. The train terminates next to T2 by section B, with a connecting green colored bus service to T1 (plan for an extra 15 minutes of travel). A single ticket for the train is about €3.15€, but you can also buy a T10 travelcard (€8.25 for ten trips, including 3 bus, metro, train or tramway transfers made within 75 minutes) instead. You can buy a T10 from the ticket vending machine at the airport station and at the tobacco shop in front of Terminal 2B.
Also bus 46 runs every 20 minutes from both terminals (downstairs at T1) to Plaça Espanya (35-45 minutes).
Alternatively, the Aerobús A1 line takes you to Terminal 1 or the A2 line takes you to Terminal 2. It travels all along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes to Plaça Catalunya (beside El Corte Inglés). Buses depart every 6-12 minutes, the published journey time is 35 minutes (although can take considerably longer during rush hour) and costs €5.30 one-way or €9.15 for return ticket, you can pay buy credit card or cash. Buses are heavily air-conditioned in Summer: have something extra to wear during the journey. Aerobuses stop running at midnight, but you can catch a Nitbús night bus service instead (line N17, between 22.00 and 05.00 every 20 minutes. The ride from Plaça Catalunya to Airport El Prat takes about 40-50 minutes).
WiFi: Available throughout the airport, operated by KubiWireless : 15 minutes for free if you click in the blue option. Or €7.5 for 45min, €9 for 1 hour, €15 for 24 hours.
High-Speed Rail – The high-speed line to Figueres from Perpignan is running and brand-new, with two TGV trains per day from Paris to Figueres-Vilafant. While the last 140km from Figueres to Barcelona are being built, Renfe is running two super-express “Enlace Internacional” (International Link) trains to Figueres-Vilafant per day, which link up to TGVs running to Paris via Perpignan, Montpellier, and Nimes. The trains to Figueres take 1h40m and arrive 20 minutes before the TGV departs. The total trip to Paris takes a bit less than 8 hours from Barcelona-Sants to Paris.
The AVE high-speed train line to Madrid is 3 hours with intermediate stops (11 trains a day) or 2 hours 30 minutes non-stop (6 trains a day during morning and evening peak hours).
The department store El Corte Ingles publishes a helpful (and free) street map for tourists. You can pick a copy at the store, or from most hotel front desks. They’re also available at the tourism information offices (including one at each terminal at Barcelona El Prat Airport).
By public transport
- The Barcelona Bus Turístic links all of the Barcelona tourist sites you could possibly want to visit. It has three routes (map provided as you board), including a northbound and a southbound line that leave from opposite sides of the Plaça de Catalunya. Each takes 1-2 hours. The hop-on/hop-off format lets you get-off risk-free at any interesting stop, see what interests you, then get back on any later bus at that or any other stop. One approach is stay on for an entire route, then continue while getting off at locations that interested you earlier. Buses are double-decked, with the open-air upper deck offering much better views…sunscreen essential in summer months, jackets in winter/early spring/late fall. As you first get on, you are offered earphones. Outlets near every seat let you choose among many languages and playback volumes. As you approach each significant location, you receive audio describing it. You can buy tickets at the bus stops and elsewhere (e.g., better hotels) valid for one day (€23) or two consecutive days (€30). Barcelona City Tour offers the same services.
- The metro can take you to many places. Stations are marked <M> on most maps; every station has a detailed map of exits to the city. A one-journey ticket cost €2, so it’s best to buy a multi-person 10-ride ticket for €9.25 for Zone 1which includes most tourist areas (called a T-10) or a personal 50-ride monthly ticket for €37. These tickets are also valid on the buses, trams, FGC (Catalan Railway Network) and on the main Spanish Trains (RENFE). 1- to 5-day public transport tickets are available that allow unlimited travel on the metro and bus networks (€5.90 for one day, €11.20 for two days, €23.10 for five days). These are an excellent value. Be sure to look after them well as bent or damaged cards will not be read by the ticket machines (such cards can be replaced at one of TMB’s customer service centers). Metro operating hours are: Sunday and M-Th 5:00 to 24:00, Fri 5:00 to 2:00, Saturday 24 hr (continuous service from Saturday at 5:00 until Sunday at 24:00). Trains are fast, often coming in two minute intervals. Announcements are made only in Catalan, though signs and ticketing machines are generally trilingual in Catalan, Spanish and English.
- The Barcelona Card features unlimited free travel on public transport and free admission and discounts at around 100 visitor attractions. The card is available for purchase for periods of between 2 and 5 days, costing €27,50 for a 2-day card and €45 for a 5-day card. But you will get an online discount of 10% if you are booking in advance. If you don’t plan to see lots of museums every day, then it is cheaper to buy transport-only tickets (see above).
Vespa & Scooters – Vesping, Carrer de Lepant, 277.
Explore the city on a GPS guided Vespa. Choose from the tours or go explore on your own.
- Mattia46. 50cc 125cc 150cc 200cc scooters for rent for a cheap price to enjoy Barcelona.
- GoCar is a two-seater, 3 wheeled vehicle that runs with a 49cc size scooter engine. It is legally classified as a scooter to drive on the roads. The GoCars were created with the purpose of being rented to tourists as a different way to see a city.
- Scooters for singles or couples are a great way to explore Barcelona at their own speed. If you are coming as a group you can get a personal tour of all the places you like to see.
- Terra Diversions. Bicycle hire in Barcelona city center: You can rent a bike or do a tour. Big selection of city bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, road bikes and children bikes in different sizes.
- Mattia46 bikes & motos hire. Bikes and motos, 1day(24h) on bike for less than 6 euro.
- Barceloneta Bikes. One of the cheapest places to rent a bike in the city. Very close to the harbor and the beaches, this company has different kinds of bikes you can choose to rent, but it doesn’t organize tours.
- Bicing. (Barcelona’s bike-sharing program, started in March 2007) is another option for an environment-friendly in-city transport. Unfortunately, it is just for residents.
- Biking in Barcelona. Backed by Biciclot, a cooperative that promotes the use of bicycles in Barcelona. They offer high-quality tours for groups (from 12 to more than 100 people), private groups or individuals, as well as bike rentals.
- Budget Bikes. With top quality Dutch bicycles on hire, Budget Bikes offers good group reductions as well.
- Fat Tire Bike Tours. You can either rent a bike from them or take one of their tours. The tour charge is around €22.
- Bornbike Rental & Tours. Bikes for 6euro. They offer guided city tours such as the Gothic to Modernism Tour, Beach Tour, Montjuïc Tour, and the Tapas Tour.
- BCN.travel Bicycle Rental & Tours Bicycle rental for only 10 Euros per day. Variety of guided day and night tours from around 20 Euros.
- e-bikerent. Electric Bike rental from 7 to 20 euros per day. Tours to highest points of Barcelona from 30 euros about 4 hours.
By car – Parking around all major tourist destinations is expensive (€3/hour, €20-36/day) and the spaces are difficult to navigate, as there are several classes of public parking spaces, with complicated rules for each class. Barcelona is plagued with the same problems that plague other major European cities; massive traffic jams and extremely narrow streets in some areas, coupled with a very complicated road system. As such, driving yourself around is not recommended for tourists, especially those with no driving experience in large cities. Public transport will get you to all the major areas, and you should use that as your main mode of transport.
Having a driving map is essential – plan your route before you set off. Navigating with an average tourist map is frequently misleading: many streets are one-way; left turns are more rare than rights (and are unpredictable). As an example, Gran via de Les Corts Catalanes is technically two-way, but in one direction supports only minor traffic: after every crossroad you’ll find the traffic light on the next crossroad turns red by the time you reach it.
Getting around by car makes sense if you plan to spend much more time driving outside the city borders than inside it – and ideally if you don’t plan to park overnight at all. Otherwise, for purely in-city transportation, consider renting a scooter, or using public transportation instead.
The Studios of Pablo Picasso • Locations & Activities