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How to get around Barcelona

32 million tourists visited the city in 2016. So many people should be transported, so there are almost all means of public transport in Barcelona.



Public transport

Metro

The Barcelona Metro is maintained by two companies: TMB and FCG. That’s why a metro entrance may have two different signs or one combines sign.

Metro in Barcelona
Photo by barcelona-budget

There are 11 lines, each line has its own color.

Lines 6–8 belong to FGC. To change from FGC to TMB, you’ll have to pay again.

Most of the stations have both escalators and elevators.

Metro in Barcelona
Photo by disabledaccessibletravel

Stations are not announced. But every train is equipped with information boards.

Metro in Barcelona
Photo by trip-n-travel

Stations passed are highlighted in red.

!Doors of trains don’t open automatically. So follow the instruction:

Metro in Barcelona
Press the button or pull the handle. And the doors will open!

EnricM explains why it is designed this way:

The reason for this is that our underground is A/Cd and on hot summer days that’d be a total waste of energy.

All stations are air-conditioned. The Barcelona metro is also disability-friendly.

AshAsh Barcelona Hacks

gives the readers useful tips on how to use the Barcelona Metro:

  • Avoid taking it during rush hour (8:00-9:00 am and 6:00-7:00 pm).
  • Changing lines could leave you a long walk at Plaça Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia and Sants.
  • Always walk further up the platform for more carriage space.
  • Miss the last train? There’s probably a night bus to get you back.
  • A good rule of thumb is to calculate 2 minutes per metro stop to get your travel time.

The Barcelona metro is quite safe, and the only problem is pickpockets.

Kash, the author of the budgettraveller website, explains how not to lose your money and documents:

  1. Get some form of travel insurance.
  2. Keep your valuables separate.
  3. Spread your cash in two separate places.
  4. Store some of your cash in a prepaid cashcard.
  5. Be vigilant and don’t flash your gadgets around too much plus don’t leave them lying around.
  6. Plus try and keep the guidebook out of a sight- it’s a red rag to pickpockets for them picking their targets.

Use a map not to get lost in the Barcelona Metro:

Metro in Barcelona

You can get to all the important Barcelona sights by metro:

  1. Sagrada Familia Cathedral — the same name station
  2. The Gothic Quarter, The Picasso Museum — Jaume I station
  3. Montjuic, The Spanish Village — Espanya Station
  4. The Guell Park — Lesseps or Vallcara Station
  5. La Rambla — Catalunya Station

The metro is open from 05:00 till 00:00, on Fridays and on holiday eves till 02:00, on Saturdays — 24 hours a day. Trains run every 2–6 minutes.

Long distance trains

They are also maintained by two companies: FGC and Renfe. Trains are named with S or R letters.

Trains run underground in parallel with metro lines. Some metro and train stations are connected to each other by enclosed bridges.

People usually take long-distance trains to get to the suburbs but the trains can save your time in the city too. For example, it will take you less time to get to the airport or to the Sants station by long-distance trains.

You can find timetable and tickets prices of Renfe trains here and of FGC trains here.

Tram

Barcelona tram has 6 lines. They are called T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, and T6. Trams connect the city center with remote areas and are useless for tourists.

Trams in Barcelona
Photo by wikipedia

However, you can get to FC “Barcelona” home stadium Camp Nou by tram and enjoy views of non-touristy Barcelona. Take T1, T2 or T3 tram and get off at Maria Cristina or Palau Reial stop.

The blue retro tram that transported people to mount Tibidabo doesn’t run now. It’s going to be modernized and returned to the route.

Retro trams in Barcelona
Photo by edreams

Buses

City Buses

There are 109 bus routes in Barcelona. Each bus stop is equipped with a map. Electronic boards show a timetable.

You can study a map in advance but it’s enormous.

Buses stop only at request so wave to a driver. If you want to get off the bus, press a button on a handrail.

NitBuses run at night. You can see their routes and timetable here.

Special buses

These are Comtal shuttles:

  • TibiBus. It will take you to mount Tibidabo and the Tibidabo amusement park. The stop in Barcelona is located at Placa de Catalunya, 9. TibiBus works during the amusement park working hours. A ticket costs 2,95 EUR.
Bus to Tibidabo in Barcelona
Photo by flickr

Bombomcitto, a tripadvisor user, tell about TibiBus intervals:

From my experience I could say that there is a bus available every 30 minutes.

  • AeroBus. These are shuttles to the airport. They run from Catalunya Plaza and stop at both terminals: A1 at T1 and A2 at T2. Shuttles run from 05:00 till 00:30. A ticket costs 5,90 EUR.
shuttles to the airport in Barcelona
Photo by barcelona-tourist-guide
  • PortBus. The bus stop is located near the Columbus Monument. A ticket costs 3 EUR. You can get to all terminals in the Cruise Port by PortBus. It leaves every 30 minutes.
PortBus in Barcelona
Photo by barcelona-tourist-guide

Tourist bus

Two companies offer this service: Barcelona City Tour (private) and Bus Turistic (state). They have the same routes and prices. So choose any company you want.

Buses work on a hop-on-hop-off basis. You buy a ticket for the whole day or even two days. And you can get off at any stop and then take a bus again.

Buses run every day except for Christmas and New Year.

The tourist bus has three routes:

  1. Red. It goes along the Catalunya Square, La Rambla street, Gaudi buildings, Avigunda Diagonal, the Spanish Village, the funicular station at Montjuic and other sights.
  2. Blue. The Sagrada Familia Cathedral, the funicular station at Tibidabo, etc are included.
  3. Green. It goes along the Olympic port and the beach. It works from March to November.

Buy tickets on official website.

Transport fare

Pass system in Barcelona is difficult to comprehend. We will tell only about useful options for tourists:

  1. A ticket for one public transport trip costs 2,20 EUR.
  2. A card for 10 trips (T10) costs 10,20 EUR. One trip will cost you only half the price of a single ticket. T10 is the only pass that can be used by several people. You have 1 hour 15 minutes to change to the metro, a city bus, a tram, and a funicular.
  3. Unlimited transport cards Hola BCN! for 2, 3, 4, and 5 days. They cost 15, 22, 28,5, and 35 EUR respectively.

You can buy passes at ticket machines at metro stations, airport and train stations, tourists information points, cigar and newspaper stands. Drivers sell tickets on trams and buses.

All tickets should be validated before a trip.

If you are going to stay in Barcelona for more than a week, it’s better to buy the Barcelona Card. You can buy it at the airport and tourist information points. The card costs from 46 to 61 EUR. With this card, you can use public transport for free, buy tickets to museums with discounts, and many other things. More details — on the official website.

Individual transport

Taxi

The only big online app that works in Barcelona is MyTaxi. Uber and Cabify are banned.

Ash, the author of barcelonahacks website, tells about taxi fares in details:

There is a minimum charge of €2.20-€2.30 depending on the time of day.

A typical taxi trip in the city costs €6.00 to €15.00.

Tariff T1. Weekdays 8 am to 8 pm: €2.15 + €1.13 per km.

Tariff T2. Weekdays 8 pm to 8 am + Sat and Holidays 8 am to 8 pm: €2.15 + €1.34 per km.
Tariff T3. Sat and holidays 8 pm to 8 am: €2.30€ + €1.40 per km.

Tariff T4. This is the flat rate of €39.00 between the cruise port and the airport.

It’s better to take a taxi in parking lots than calling it via phone because in the latter case, you’ll have to pay for the distance that a driver covers to pick you up .

A car is free if a green light on the car roof is on.

Car rental

Car rental is not cheap in Barcelona. You’ll pay about 200–500 EUR for two weeks of using a car.

Naomi, the author of the probearoundtheglobe website, tells how to save money on rental:

Less is more. The smaller the car the better. Looks don’t matter when you’re on a budget and want to rent a car in Spain. That small dinky toy of a car is cheaper and easier to operate than that big boat of a car that looks swanky.

I rented several different types of cars in Spain. From Opel Corsa to Renault Captur, but I was the happiest in my tiny Fiat 500.

The parking system is confusing in Barcelona. You will pay from 100 EUR for parking violation.

You can find such signs:

The parking system in Barcelona

  1. Area residents. Only for Barcelona residents.
  2. Area preferent. Green parking is open for everyone from Monday till Saturday from 08:00 till 20:00. For tourists, time is limited to 1–2 hours.
  3. Area blava. Green parking is paid for everyone on weekdays from 09:00 till 14:00 and from 16:00 till 20:00. Maximum time of parking is 2 hours. At the rest of the time, there are neither any limitations nor free parking lots.

You can avoid looking for a parking lot if you book:

  • an individual transfer. Book a car and pay for it online. Our driver will meet you at an airport or at a railway station, help you will your luggage, and choose the shortest route.
  • car rental with a driver, if you want to visit several places in a row. A driver will wait for you as much as you want while you are doing your own thing.

Special transport

Funicular and cable cars

There are lots of funiculars and cable cars in Barcelona and it’s difficult to understand the system.

Montjuic

Two cable cars and one funicular can get you to Montjuic.

The funicular is included in the public transport system of TMB company so you can use any transport card to pay for it. The lowest funicular station, Paral-lel, is connected with the same name metro station by the passage. The highest station is Montjuic.

Marta Laurent warns that you won’t see Barcelona views from the funicular:

It has most of its line inside a tunnel, connecting the Barcelona Metro with the Montjuïc hill.

The first cable car Teleférico de Montjuic stop is located near the last station of the funicular. It is called Parc Montjuic. The second stop is Mirador. Here you can change to Teleférico del Puerto cable car. Here you can enjoy the beautiful scenery because the cableway goes above the sea. The last stop is Teleférico de Montjuic, the Montjuic fortress.

Tibidabo

Two funiculars will get you to Tibidabo.

Working hours of Funicular del Tibidabo are the same as of the amusement park. You can find working hours on the official website. A ticket costs 4,10 EUR. If you buy a ticket to the park, you can take the funicular for free. The lowest station of Funicular del Tibidabo is located at the Doctor Andreu Square. You can get here by bus.

Funicular de Vallvidrera is also included in the public transport system of FGC company. The funicular runs until late at night. Here you can find the timetable.

You can change to the funicular the Peu del Funicular metro station. When you get to the station, remember the advice from Joan G, a tripadvisor user:

Be careful to not to go on the front carriage of the train, because Peu del Funicular station is not enough long, and the front carriage does not open the doors, but the others they do.

The bus 111 will get you from the highest funicular station to the Tibidabo amusement park and the Sacred Heart Church.

Bicycles

Ben HolbrookBen Holbrook Driftwood Journals

recommends taking a bicycle in Barcelona:

With its thriving bike culture and almost 300 kilometres of dedicated bike lanes, Barcelona is a cyclist’s dream city.

Ben also gives simple rules of safe cycling:

1. Stay in the bike lanes – Remember that you shouldn’t be riding on the pavement/sidewalk – police will shout at you if you do and can fine you.
2. Ride on the right – Many of the roads in Barcelona are one way, which means the bike lanes are too.
3. Stay focussed and think like a local
4. Helmets are not necessary – but if you’re an inexperienced rider or riding with kids then it’s definitely worth wearing one.
5. Lock, lock and triple lock your bike
6. Avoid putting your bike on the metro.

 taking a bicycle in Barcelona
Photo by fattiretours

Scooters

This is the most popular means of transport among locals. That’s understandable: it’s easier to find a parking lot.

Scooters in Barcelona
Photo by shbarcelona

The biggest rental company is Cooltra. Their main service point is on Passeig de Joan de Borbo.

Barcelona transport hubs

  • The international El Prat Airport. Read here how to get to the airport from your hotel.
  • Barcelona railway stations:
  1. Sants. The main station in the city, you can get to any point of the country from here.
  2. France railway station. Trains go to Zurich, Paris, and Milano from here.
  3. Passeig de Gracia.
  4. Catalunya Square.
  • Nord Bus Station.

Choose public transport when you’re in Barcelona. The metro and funiculars will get you to almost all the important sights of the city. We don’t recommend renting a car — it’s difficult to find a parking lot in the city.

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