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This summer I was so excited to visit Barcelona and here is a complete guide about Public Transport in Barcelona which would help you to be prepared for your trip. I will make sure to answer questions like whether you save money with a single ticket or not. Which means of Transport is the best? 

Welcome to the ultimate guide to navigating Barcelona’s public transport system like a local! Get to know more about the public transportation system. From the iconic metro to the extensive bus service and even the charming trams, this guide will unlock the secrets of Barcelona’s public transit, giving you the confidence to explore every corner of the city with ease. 

Discover the must-know tips and tricks for getting around efficiently, avoiding tourist traps, and experiencing the true essence of Barcelona. We’ll delve into the most convenient ticket options, highlight the top routes for popular attractions, and provide insider insights on hidden gems that can only be reached by public transport. So, get ready to dive into the vibrant streets of Barcelona and embark on an unforgettable adventure, guided by the city’s efficient and accessible public transport system.

Types of public transport in Barcelona for getting around the city

Barcelona’s public transportation system caters to the needs of both locals and tourists. Understanding the different modes of transport will help you make informed decisions when planning your journeys throughout the city.

1. Barcelona Metro

The Barcelona Metro is the backbone of the city’s public transport system. With its extensive network of lines, it provides a fast and efficient way to navigate Barcelona. From the bustling city centre to the vibrant suburbs, the metro connects you to almost every corner of the city. Each line is colour-coded and numbered, making it easy to identify your route. The metro operates from 5:00 am to midnight on weekdays, with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays. Stations are equipped with clear signage and maps, ensuring a hassle-free journey for both locals and tourists.

2. Buses

Barcelona’s bus network is another convenient way to get around the city. With over 100 bus lines, it offers great coverage, especially in areas not served by the metro. Buses operate from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, with some night buses running until 2:00 am. The buses are equipped with air conditioning, making them a comfortable option even during the hot summer months. To ensure a smooth journey, it’s advisable to check the timetable and plan your route in advance.

3. Trams

If you’re looking for a more scenic way to explore Barcelona, the tram system is a perfect choice. The city has six tram lines that traverse different neighbourhoods, providing picturesque views along the way. Trams operate from 5:00 am to midnight, with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays. While not as extensive as the metro or bus network, the trams offer a unique and charming way to navigate the city.

4. FGC Trains

The FGC trains are operated by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya and serve as an extension of the metro network. These trains connect Barcelona with the surrounding regions, including popular destinations like Montserrat and Sitges. With frequent departures and comfortable seating, FGC trains are an excellent choice for day trips or exploring beyond the city limits.

5. Barcelona Public Bike System

For those who prefer a more active and eco-friendly way of getting around, Barcelona’s public bike system, known as Bicing, is worth considering. With over 6,000 bikes available at various stations throughout the city, it offers a convenient and affordable option for short trips. To use the system, you’ll need to sign up for a membership and obtain a Bicing card. Once you have your card, you can unlock bikes from any station and enjoy the freedom of cycling through Barcelona’s bike-friendly streets.

6. Taxi in Barcelona

So this, of course, is not a part of the Public transport network but I thought of giving you information about this because if you are going to reach Barcelona airport at night then you might want to take the Taxi compared to public transport so to reach Hotel quiet first. Bus and Metro service are still available at night but just the frequency gets decreases so the transport options are kind of limited at night.

Barcelona transportation tickets and passes

Navigating Barcelona’s public transport system is made easy with a range of ticket options and passes to suit different travel needs. Understanding the available options will help you choose the most cost-effective solution for your stay in the city.

1. Single Journey Ticket

A Barcelona train ticket on a yellow background.
A Barcelona train ticket on a yellow background.

If you’re planning to use public transport sporadically during your stay in Barcelona, a single-journey ticket may be the best choice for you. These tickets allow you to travel on any mode of transport within the city limits for a single journey. Simply purchase a ticket from the ticket machines at metro stations or on board buses and trams. Remember to validate your ticket before boarding and keep it handy for inspection during your journey.

The validation at Metro and Train network is fairly easy as you need to get it into the machine to check in and you will have to do the same when you have reached the destination. 

2. T-10 Card

Barcelona public transport.
Barcelona public transport.

The T-10 card is a popular choice for both locals and tourists. It offers ten journeys on any mode of public transport within the city, including transfers within a 75-minute timeframe. This card can be shared among multiple people, making it a cost-effective option for families or groups. The T-10 card can be purchased at metro stations and is valid for up to one year from the date of purchase.

I was not aware of this card at starting and on the first day in Barcelona I chose to just take the single tickets which cost around 2.4 € ( Price as per August 2023). The T10 card is for 10 €.

3. Barcelona Card

For those looking for unlimited travel and additional benefits, the Barcelona Card is an excellent option. This card provides unlimited journeys on all public transport modes within the city, including the airport metro line. In addition to unlimited travel, the Barcelona Card offers free admission to many museums and attractions, as well as discounts at selected restaurants and shops. The card is available for different durations, ranging from 2 to 6 days, making it suitable for various lengths of stay in Barcelona.

4. Hola Barcelona Travel Card

If you plan to use public transport frequently and explore beyond the city center, the Hola Barcelona Travel Card is the best choice. This card provides unlimited travel on all modes of public transport within Barcelona and its surrounding areas, including the airport metro line and FGC trains. The Hola Barcelona Travel Card is available for different durations, ranging from 2 to 5 days, allowing you to choose the option that best suits your travel plans.

At present, the Hola Barcelona Travel Card cost you around 16.40 and I will try to break it down and see if this is actually going to save any money or not with the sample cost or whether the T10 card would be more than sufficient for you.

5. Integrated Transport Card

For those who prefer a contactless payment option, the Integrated Transport Card, known as T-Mobilitat, is the way to go. This card allows you to load funds and pay for your journeys by simply tapping the card on the validators. The Integrated Transport Card can be used on all modes of public transport within Barcelona and the surrounding regions, providing a seamless and convenient travel experience.

Note: Make sure that you are not using your personal Credit Card/ Travel Card here on this machine because you will be charged for 2,40 € that is the cost of single trip and there would not be any way to show whether you got the ticket or not. It is kind of funny but I did this mistake once when I was finding my way to get around Barcelona.

Navigating the Barcelona Metro

The Barcelona Metro is not only a crucial part of the city’s public transport system but also a cultural icon. With its iconic architecture and efficient service, the metro is a popular choice for locals and tourists alike. Understanding how to navigate the metro will help you make the most of your time in Barcelona.

The operating hours of the Barcelona metro are as follows: From Sunday to Thursday, it runs from 5 AM until midnight (except on Fridays when it runs until 2:00 AM). On Saturdays and holidays, the metro operates continuously throughout the day and night, starting from 5 AM. Passengers typically experience a wait time of no more than five minutes for the next metro train. 

1. Understanding the Metro Lines

The Barcelona Metro consists of 12 lines, each identified by a color and number. Familiarize yourself with the different lines and their destinations to plan your journeys effectively. The metro network is well-connected, making transfers between lines relatively easy. Be sure to consult the metro map or use a navigation app to determine the best route for your destination.

2. Finding Your Way in the Stations

Barcelona Metro stations are well-equipped with signage and maps to help you find your way. Look for the signs indicating the direction of the trains and follow them to the correct platform. Stations are also equipped with ticket machines, where you can purchase or top up your travel card. If you have any questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to approach the staff at the information desk.

3. Traveling During Peak Hours

Like any major city, Barcelona experiences peak hours when the metro can get crowded. If possible, try to avoid travelling during these times to ensure a more comfortable journey. Peak hours in Barcelona are typically from 7:30 am to 9:30 am and 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm on weekdays. If you do find yourself travelling during these times, be prepared for crowded trains and consider travelling in less busy areas of the city if possible.

Tip: Get the “Barcelona Metro TMB Map & Route” application on your smartphone. This mobile app enables you to effortlessly plot your itineraries and refer to the metro maps without an internet connection. 

Using buses in Barcelona

Barcelona’s bus network is an excellent alternative to the metro, offering extensive coverage and the flexibility to reach destinations not served by the underground system. Understanding how to use the buses will open up even more possibilities for exploring the city.

1. Identifying Bus Stops

Bus stops in Barcelona are easy to spot, thanks to their distinctive red and white signs. Look for the signs with the bus numbers and routes displayed. At some bus stops, you’ll also find a digital display showing the arrival times of the next buses. This information can be helpful in planning your journey and minimizing waiting time.

2. Paying for Your Journey

Unlike the metro, buses in Barcelona do not have ticket machines onboard. To pay for your journey, you’ll need to have a valid ticket or card before boarding. Make sure you have your ticket ready as you board the bus and validate it using the machines located near the entrance. If you’re using a T-10 card or other travel cards, simply tap the card on the validator when boarding the bus.

3. Requesting Stops

When travelling by bus, it’s important to know how to request your stop. Unlike some cities where buses stop at every designated stop, Barcelona buses only stop when requested. As you approach your stop, press one of the buttons located near the windows to signal to the driver that you want to get off. The driver will then stop at the next available stop.

Taking the tram in Barcelona

The tram system in Barcelona offers a unique and scenic way to explore the city. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the coastal views or discover charming neighbourhoods, the trams provide a delightful experience.

1. Understanding Tram Lines

Barcelona has six tram lines that connect different parts of the city. Each line has its own unique characteristics and attractions. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the tram lines and their destinations to plan your journeys effectively. Trams operate at regular intervals, making it convenient to hop on and off as you explore the city.

2. Boarding and Paying for Your Journey

Boarding the tram is similar to boarding the bus. Make sure you have a valid ticket or card before boarding and validate it using the machines located near the entrance. If you’re using a travel card, simply tap the card on the validator when boarding the tram. Trams in Barcelona are equipped with air conditioning, making them a comfortable option even during the hot summer months.

3. Enjoying the Scenic Views

One of the highlights of taking the tram in Barcelona is the opportunity to enjoy the city’s scenic views. As you ride along the tracks, you’ll be treated to charming neighbourhoods, beautiful parks, and even coastal vistas. Keep your camera ready to capture picturesque moments and take in the beauty of Barcelona from a different perspective.

Getting around Barcelona with the FGC trains

The FGC trains offer an excellent way to explore beyond Barcelona’s city centre, allowing you to discover nearby attractions and charming towns. Whether you’re planning a day trip or simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the FGC trains are a convenient option.

1. Understanding the FGC Lines

The FGC trains operate on several lines that connect Barcelona with the surrounding regions. Each line has its own unique destinations and characteristics. Some popular FGC train routes include Montserrat, a stunning mountain monastery, and Sitges, a picturesque coastal town. Take some time to research the different FGC lines and their attractions to plan your day trips effectively.

2. Purchasing Tickets

To travel on the FGC trains, you’ll need a valid ticket or card. If you have a travel card that includes the FGC trains, simply tap the card on the validator when entering the FGC station. If you don’t have a travel card, you can purchase a ticket from the ticket machines at the FGC stations. Make sure to validate your ticket before boarding the train.

3. Enjoying the Journey

One of the advantages of travelling by FGC train is the opportunity to enjoy scenic views along the way. Whether you’re heading to the mountains or the coast, the train rides offer beautiful landscapes and a relaxing atmosphere. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey as you venture beyond the city limits of Barcelona.

Barcelona Card

Barcelona card providing access to public transport in Barcelona, displayed against a blue background.
Barcelona card providing access to public transport in Barcelona, displayed against a blue background.

As you embark on your journey through the captivating streets of Barcelona, the Barcelona Card emerges as a travel essential that enhances your experience in remarkable ways. This subsection sheds light on the features, benefits, and practical aspects of the Barcelona Card, allowing you to make the most of your exploration.

The Barcelona Card is a comprehensive pass designed to simplify your travel and sightseeing endeavours. It offers a seamless blend of convenience, access to attractions, and substantial savings, making it a valuable asset for both tourists and locals alike.

To make it concise here are all the things you should know about Barcelona Card

  • Gain free entry to over 25 of Barcelona’s top museums and attractions.
  • Enjoy unlimited and free access to public transportation, including trams, buses, and the metro.
  • Receive an exclusive guidebook available in 6 languages (Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, and Italian) and a complimentary map of Barcelona.
  • Indulge in discounts at museums, cultural venues, leisure facilities, and other points of interest.
  • Skip the lines at some of Barcelona’s most popular attractions, ensuring more time for exploration.
  • Choose between a 3, 4, or 5-day Barcelona Card, offering flexibility to match your travel plans.
  • Save up to 77% compared to regular admission prices when you opt for the Barcelona Card.
  • Explore art museums such as the Picasso Museum, National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), and Antoni Tàpies Foundation.
  • Immerse yourself in natural history and science at the CosmoCaixa Science Museum and Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona (Museu Blau).
  • Delve into contemporary art at the Design Museum of Barcelona and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA).
  • Discover history and archaeology at the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona, Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA), and more.
  • Visit cultural centres like the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), El Born Cultural and Memorial Center, and CaixaForum.
  • Explore attractions like the Joan Miró Foundation, Montjuïc Castle, and the Botanical Garden of Barcelona.
  • Indulge in culinary delights at the Chocolate Museum and enjoy discounts at restaurants and entertainment venues.
  • Opt for the Barcelona Card Plus for enhanced benefits, including guided walking tours and complimentary airport travel.
  • Obtain your Barcelona Card conveniently at major transportation hubs, visitor centers, or order it online in advance.

Hola Barcelona Transport Card

The Hola Barcelona Transport Card is an essential tool for navigating the bustling city of Barcelona. This card offers unlimited travel on the city’s public transport network, including buses, trams, metro, and even the airport train. Whether you’re a tourist looking to explore the city’s iconic landmarks or a local needing a convenient way to commute, the Hola Barcelona Transport Card has got you covered. With the option of purchasing a card for 2, 3, 4, or 5 consecutive days, it offers flexibility and affordability for travellers of all durations.

Not only does this card provide unlimited travel, but it also saves you time by avoiding the need to constantly purchase individual tickets. Simply tap your card on the validation machines at the beginning and end of your journey, and you’re good to go. Additionally, the Hola Barcelona Transport Card provides exclusive discounts on major attractions, making it an even more enticing option for travellers. With its convenience, cost-effectiveness, and perks, the Hola Barcelona Transport Card is a must-have for anyone visiting this vibrant city. 

Will Hola Barcelona Transport Card Save Money?

Below is the breakage of the Hola Barcelona Transport Card and Metra Tickets cost. All tourist attractions are located in Zone 1 of the Hola BCN Card. When you order the card in advance, you can pick it up when you arrive at the airport, so you can immediately use it to take metro line 9 to the city centre of Barcelona.

It is also possible to purchase individual tickets for public transportation and the metro. The price of a single metro ticket is relatively high. If your accommodation is in a central area of Barcelona and you do not frequently rely on the metro, purchasing a T-Casual (ten-trip) ticket may be a more cost-effective option compared to the Hola BCN Travel Card

For me, this was not the case as I was staying at Hotel Exe Campus which was around 38 minutes ride from Placa De Catalunya and it was in Zone 1 only.

Barcelona Transport Pass

A yellow book showcasing public transport in Barcelona with a picture of the city on its cover.
A yellow book showcasing public transport in Barcelona with a picture of the city on its cover.

This one is more like the combination of the Hola Barcelona Card + Aerobus Ticket along with the Barcelona City Audio Guide. If you are reaching Barcelona during the night and want to make use of public transport to reach to city centre then Hola Barcelona Card would not work because Metra and Train from El Prat Airport stops during the night. So you have to take the Aerobus Ticket.

So Barcelona Transport Pass is an excellent option because it combined Both Hola Barcelona Card and Aerobus Ticket along with Barcelona city audio guide for a phone which would come in handy.

What is includedStandalone PriceStandalone Link
Aerobus Ticket9,75Check Here
Hola Transport Card16,40Check Here
Barcelona Audio Guide9,50Check Here
Total35,65 

The standalone ticket costs 35.65 € and the Barcelona Transport Pass is 29€ so you save roughly around 5€ per person if you think about buying this pass. On top of it you also get a 10% discount here which you can use to Buy the Barcelona Pass which cost around 86,50 € so you can save around 8,65 € per person on that.

We already talked about Barcelona Pass in our separate post where we try to identify if it is worth your money or not.

Using the Barcelona public bike system

For those who enjoy cycling and want to explore Barcelona at their own pace, the city’s public bike system, known as Bicing, is an excellent option. With its extensive network of bike stations, it provides a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around.

1. Signing Up for Bicing

To use the Bicing public bike system, you’ll need to sign up for a membership. Visit the Bicing website or one of the Bicing offices to register and obtain your Bicing card. The card will allow you to unlock bikes from any Bicing station throughout the city.

2. Unlocking Bikes

Once you have your Bicing card, you can start using the bikes. Simply approach any Bicing station, insert your card into the slot, and the bike will be released for you to use. Each station has a display showing the number of available bikes and parking spaces. When you’re done with your ride, return the bike to any Bicing station and make sure it is securely parked.

3. Exploring Barcelona on Two Wheels

Cycling through Barcelona is a fantastic way to discover the city’s hidden gems and enjoy its vibrant atmosphere. Barcelona has designated bike lanes and bike-friendly infrastructure, making it safe and enjoyable for cyclists. Take advantage of the public bike system to explore popular attractions, visit local markets, or simply soak in the city’s unique charm.

Airport Transfer in Barcelona

A blue-labeled box of pills.
Airport Metro Ticket Barcelona

There are multiple ways to reach the city centre from Airport in Barcelona, you can book the premium Airport Transfer service beforehand to avoid the hassle of searching for a Cab during off hours. Or you can make use of Public transport. 

One of the best services would be taking the Aerobus Ticket which has just four stops and can take you to the city centre in just half an hour and works throughout the day and night.

Tips for navigating Barcelona’s public transport

Navigating Barcelona’s public transport system like a local requires a few insider tips and tricks. By following these suggestions, you’ll be able to maximize your time, save money, and experience the city like a true Barcelonian.

1. Use a Navigation App

To navigate Barcelona’s public transport system with ease, consider using a navigation app such as Google Maps or the official TMB app. These apps provide real-time information on routes, schedules, and even disruptions. Simply enter your destination, and the app will guide you to the nearest station, show you the best route, and estimate travel times. 

Google Maps also work just fine and the public transport options are displayed without any issues there and I was using that only.

2. Don’t keep Metro Card with a bank card.

Metro tickets are prone to damage. To prevent any inconvenience, avoid storing your metro ticket along with your bank card as it can cause the magnetic strip to become blocked, rendering the ticket unusable. 

3. Cable Car Tickets are not included in Passes

Well, one thing to note is that Cable Car Tickets are not included in Metro Tickets or Passes. Hoal Travel Card includes Montjuïc funicular but not the cable cards. So if you want to take the Cable Car trip then you have to take the Cable Car Round trip from Barcelona Trip.

Conclusion

This was detailed information about different public transport systems in Barcelona. Barcelona City is extremely beautiful and it is absolutely worth visiting the city during your Spain Excursion. 

I hope this post will help you make an informed decision about whether to purchase a travel card to travel in Barcelona or the Public transport is more than enough to travel around when you are living in Barcelona.

If you want more information then you can visit the Tourist Information Office during your trip you will find one at Placa de Catalunya and also at the airport.

FAQ: Public Transportation in Barcelona

What is Public Transport in Barcelona Spain?

Public transport in Barcelona Spain refers to the network of transportation options available to residents and visitors to travel around the city, including the metro, buses, trams, and taxis.

What is the metro system in Barcelona?

Barcelona’s metro system is an extensive network of underground trains that cover the entire city and its metropolitan area. It is the most popular mode of public transportation in Barcelona.

How do I use the metro in Barcelona?

To use the metro in Barcelona, you need to purchase a ticket or a travel card from the vending machines at the metro stations. You can then enter the metro station and follow the signs to the appropriate platform for your desired destination.

Can I use the same ticket for the metro and tram?

Yes, the tickets for the metro are also valid for the tram in Barcelona. You can use the same ticket to transfer between the two modes of transportation.

How many bus lines are there in Barcelona?

Barcelona has a wide network of buses, with over 230 bus lines serving the city and its outskirts. Buses are a convenient option for getting around Barcelona, especially in areas not covered by the metro.

What is the Barcelona Bus Turístic?

The Barcelona Bus Turístic is a hop-on hop-off tourist bus that takes you to the city’s major attractions and landmarks. It offers audio commentary in multiple languages and allows you to explore Barcelona at your own pace.

How long is a single metro ticket valid for?

A single metro ticket in Barcelona is valid for one journey on the metro system. It allows you to transfer within the metro network for up to 75 minutes from the time of validation.

How do I get from the airport to the city centre?

There are several options for getting from Barcelona’s airport to the city centre, including the Aerobus, public buses, taxis, and the metro. The Aerobus is the most convenient option, offering direct service to major city locations.

What is the cost of public transport in Barcelona?

The cost of public transport in Barcelona depends on the type of ticket or travel card you choose. Single metro tickets start at around €2.40, while a T-10 travel card, which allows for multiple trips, costs €10.00.

How do I find my way around the public transport network in Barcelona?

It is easy to find your way around the public transport network in Barcelona. There are maps available at metro stations and bus stops, and you can also use smartphone apps like the TMB app or Google Maps for navigation.

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