Such a big metropolitan city like Barcelona, requires a good public transportation network. Transport in Barcelona is easy to use and relatively cheap. There are many ways to move around the city but, if you’re still not convinced, the city center is easy to travel by foot.
Here’s an overview for both tourists and residents about public transport in Barcelona.
The Metro has 8 lines and they’re differentiated by colors. There are 156 stations plus the Funicular service that goes up to Montjuïc mountain. Closing hours vary depending on the day, but it will always open at the same time, which is 5AM. The Funicular has different operating times so, make sure you check it before you go.
Monday to Thursday, Metro closes at midnight. Fridays and nights before public holidays at 2AM. Sundays and midweek public holidays close at midnight and on the 24th of December the Metro closes at 11PM. The service operates during all night on Saturdays and on these dates: night of the 23rd of June, night of the 17th of August, the night of the 21st and 23rd of September and finally, on the night of the 31st December.
I really recommend the Metro as it’s an easy and quick way of getting to your destination. It also has air-conditioning so it’s great in summer. You’ll be able to get to places that are not centrally located such as Park Güell, Camp Nou or Barcelona-El Prat Airport, for instance.
The price for a single ticket in the city (Zone 1) is 2,20€ and the multi-trip ticket is 10,20 for 10 trips. A single airport ticket is 4,60€. There are different types of transport tickets available depending on your needs and interests so choose the best travel card that suits you.
NOTE: Be aware of pickpockets when entering the tube or when buying your tickets at the ticket machine. Your belongings can be stolen in a flash!
Bus and Night Bus
More than 1,000 buses run every day across Barcelona with more than 80 lines and many stops. Bus fares are the same as the Metro and you can use the same multi-ticket trip for both transports. Red buses in Barcelona run during the day and yellow ones run at night. Timetables can change.
I personally think the bus is an easy transport to use for locals. However, it’s a bit confusing if you’re not sure where you’re going. Although, you can always use Google Maps. The bus is very useful for residents to get to short distance locations or to get back home after midnight as the Metro will probably be closed.
As mentioned before, the Funicular railway reaches Montjuïc in just 2 minutes. At the mountain, you can find the Fundació Joan Miró, the Olympic Stadium, the Palau Sant Jordi concert venue and the National Museum of Art in Catalonia as well as the Montjuïc Botanical garden, among other attractions.
Another public transport, which has become one of tourist’s “to do’s” is the Cable Car. It offers panoramic views of Barcelona and reaches the Montjuïc Castle. You can experience the city from another perspective as well as capturing the moment with the best shot. I recommend buying your tickets online to save time and make the most of online discounts.
The official city tour Bus or Bus Turístic is what tourists usually use to discover Barcelona. It has 3 different routes that will take you to the main attractions in the city. Enjoy the views, the audio guide and free Wi-Fi.
The Tramvia Blau is a traditional and old mean of transport that connects the city to the Tibidabo Funicular. You’ll reach the amusement park and Temple del Sagrat Cor located in the Tibidabo mountain. Note that the service is temporarily closed due to restoration.
The TRAM is a modern, sustainable and comfortable transport that has two networks called Trambaix and Trambesòs. It operates within 6 lines and 56 stops. This transport goes to nearby locations next to Barcelona such as Sant Feliu de Llobregat or Badalona. You can recognize the Tram for its green and white “T” and the line number next to it. The service runs every day from 5AM to midnight on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays. However, the TRAM closes at 2AM on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. You can buy single and multiple tickets at the TRAM stations. The price is exactly the same as the Metro.
You can use the train for regional and national trips. It’s also an easy and useful way to get to nearby towns around Barcelona such as Sitges, Montserrat Mountain or even the airport.
On one hand, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) operate and serve the Barcelona metropolitan area and its suburbs with main departures and arrivals from Plaça Catalunya or Plaça Espanya, for instance.
On another hand the Renfe company, which includes the high-speed train called AVE, operates within the national area of Spain and even France. You can buy tickets at FGC and at the metro ticket machines. If you’re planning a trip, you are better off buying tickets online. The most important Renfe train station in Barcelona is Sants Estació where many trains departure everyday.
Taxis can become useful whenever the Metro is closed after midnight and when you only have to take it for a short distance. However, it’s generally more expensive than all other transportation in Barcelona so, if you are on a budget, avoid using it.
Barcelona taxis can be distinguished for its colors, which are black and yellow. Fares are fixed, although it can vary depending on the day, route or time of the day. Additional supplements might increase the price of the journey so, make sure you do some research on the conditions and specific fares available.
I wouldn’t recommend taxis to move around in the city unless you have no finance restrictions. There’s definitely better ways of getting to know the city as a proper local rather than spending most of your time sitting in traffic. Make sure to ask the taxi driver for a receipt and check you’ve been charged the right amount of money. I certainly don’t trust them.
Roads in the city are usually crowded with cars, motorbikes, buses and other means of transports. So, I don’t actually recommend you hiring a car. Unless you want to do an excursion in a nearby town or visit the Costa Brava. Congestion can get annoying and the amount of traffic lights that there are in the city don’t help at all.
Bicycles are very trendy, comfortable and useful due to the cycle paths that you can find around the city. To be honest, you will probably get to your destination quicker rather than travelling by car. Many residents use Bicing. It’s the city’s bike service that stands up for sustainability. You can rent bikes at Rent a Bike, Barceloneta Bikes or Donkey Republic.
Enjoy Barcelona to the fullest with different means of transport! And most importantly, try to use a sustainable transport and bet for a better environment while visiting the city!