Barcelona is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Take it from us locals. It is full of attractions, life, history, culture, and very nice people. If you’re coming to spend a season here, you’ll be needing to know how public transportation in Barcelona works. Yes, you can use your feet. But, keep in mind Barcelona is quite a large city. And, you may want to study or work here for a longer stay. So, the public transportation system will be your best friend.
Our team prepared this article for you to get to know every corner of this wonderful city, once your plane lands. Now, we know that moving around in a different city can be a bit overwhelming. But with this information and some practice, you will be able to move around without problems. All aboard!
Means of Public Transportation in Barcelona
Public transportation in Barcelona is very efficient and, moreover, very varied. So, this means that you have several options to get to your destination:
- Generalitat Railways
- Commuter train
- Cable cars and funiculars
- Trolley car
The metro is one of the most popular means of public transportation in Barcelona. And it is connected to the main areas of the center and its surroundings. It has 12 lines and 186 stations. Thus, it is the second more extensive in Spain.
Barcelona metro lines
- Line 1 (30 stations): connects the center with the municipalities of Hospitalet de Llobregat and Santa Coloma de Gramanet.
- Line 2 (18 stations): connects with San Adriá del Besós and Badalona.
- Line 3 (26 stations): connects with Ciutat Vella, les Corts, Eixample, Gràcia, Horta-Guinardó, Nou Barris and Sants-Montjuic.
- Line 4 (22 stations)
- Line 5 (26 stations): connects with Cornellà de Llobregat and Hospitalet de Llobregat.
- Line 6 (8 stations)
- Line 7 (7 stations)
- Line 8 (11 stations)
- Line 9 (24 active stations):together with line 10, it covers the municipalities of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Badalona, Hospitalet de Llobregat and El Prat de Llobregat.
- Line 10 (12 active stations): complements line 9
- Line 11 (5 stations): connects with Moncada and Reixach.
- Line 12 (2 stations)
Here you can see a detailed map and trace your route.
Buses are other means of public transportation in Barcelona. Although the metro is the most common means of transport, buses come in handy. Especially if the stations are a bit far from where you are going. Or if you want to travel by a very specific route. So, maybe they are not ideal for those in a hurry. But, they are still are great opportunity for cheap travel.
Currently, the bus network covers more than 100 routes. Those marked with the letter “D” make a diagonal run. Then there’s those marked with the letter “H” make a horizontal journey. And those marked with the letter “V” make a vertical journey. Therefore, plot your route ahead of time and you’ll do great.
Taxis | An unexpectedly inexpensive public transportation in Barcelona
Taxis are a fairly inexpensive means of public transportation in Barcelona, compared to other European cities. Therefore, although the fare is more expensive compared to the metro and buses, they are much faster and more comfortable.
The railways of the Generalitat are a means of public transportation in Barcelona that connect with several surrounding cities. In addition, they are one of the most efficient and highest quality vehicles.
The railways of the Generalitat cover lines S and R. Line S connects the city with Tarrassa, Sabadell, Martorell, and Can Ros. On the other hand, the R line connects the city with Manresa and the Monserrat Monastery.
The commuter train, known as Cercanías, is another public transportation in Barcelona that connects the city with the metropolitan area. And, with it you can reach Hospital de Llobregat, Badalona, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Cornellá de Llobregat, and many other. It covers routes that are not covered by the Generalitat railways.
Commuting trains in Barcelona
- Line R1 (31 stations): covers the cities of Bajo Llobregat, Barcelonés, El Maresme and Selva.
- Line R2 (34 stations): covers the cities of Bajo Penedés, Bajo Llobregat, Barcelonés, Garraf, Selva, Vallés Occidental and Vallés Oriental.
- Line R3 (35 stations): covers the cities of Alta Cerdaña, Baja Cerdaña, Barcelonés, Osona, Ripollés, Vallés Occidental and Vallés Oriental.
- Line R4 (40 stations): covers the cities of Alto Penedés, Bajo Penedés, Banges, Bajo Llobregat, Barcelonés, Vallés Occidental.
- Line R7 (7 stations): covers the cities of Barcelonés and Vallés Occidental.
- Line R8 (8 stations): covers the cities of Bajo Llobregat, Vallés Occidental and Vallés Oriental.
- The railways of the Generalitat cover the other lines.
Cable cars and funiculars
Cable cars and funiculars are the perfect means of public transportation in Barcelona for tourism. Why? They allow you to reach some of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Besides, the views are beautiful.
The Montjüic cable car travels 750 meters to the Montjüic Castle. On the other hand, the cable car from the port connects Barceloneta with San Sebastián beach. And it’s just a 10-minute ride!
This funicular connects the Para-lel metro station (connected with line 2 and line 3) with the Montjuic mountain. And, the Tibidabo funicular connects the center with the Tibidabo theme park.
The tram is one of THE means of public transportation in Barcelona for leisurely tours of the city. And although it does not cover the central areas, the ride is completely worth it.
This means of public transportation in Barcelona works every day of the week. From Sunday to Thursday, it works from 5:00 a.m. until 12:15 a.m. But on Fridays and Saturdays, the hours are extended until 2:30 a.m. or until 3:00 a.m.
Tramlines in Barcelona
- Lines1, 2 y 3: Trambaix
T1: Francesc Macia – Bon Viatge
T2: Francesc Macia – Llevant – Les Planes
T3: Francesc Macia – Sant Feliu | Consell
- Lines 4, 5 y 6 (run through the city center): Trambesòs
T4: Ciutadella | Villa Olímpica – Sant Adriá Station
T5: Glòries – Gorg.
T6: Glóries – Sant Adrià Station
Costs of Public Transportation in Barcelona
The entire system of public transportation in Barcelona works with the same tickets. That is, you can use a ticket to travel by metro, bus, rail, and tram. Which comes in handy when you have to transfer.
Before talking about rates, you should bear in mind that Barcelona is divided into transport zones. Thus, when buying a ticket, make sure that it covers the trip to the area you are going to.
Tickets for the metro, buses, railroads, and trams
- Single ticket: costs 2.40 euros, works to make 1 trip, without transfer and lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- T-D: costs 10.50 euros. And offers unlimited trips for one day.
- T-Casual: costs 11.35 euros. Furthermore, it is valid for 10 trips, in different means of transport in Barcelona..
- T-Familiar: costs 10 euros. And is valid to make 8 trips for 30 consecutive days.
- T-Usual: costs 40 euros. And allows unlimited trips for a period of 30 consecutive days.
- T-Grup: costs 79.45 euros. And is valid to make 70 trips in 30 consecutive days. Although it is quite expensive, this ticket can be used by several people. Therefore, you can split the cost with a friend and share it.
Keep in mind that these tickets work only in zone 1, which is equivalent to the center of Barcelona. If you need to go further, you’ll need other tickets.
Taxi fees in Barcelona
The minimum fare or “banderazo” is 2.25 euros and 3.10 euros on holidays. However, if you will have to pay 1.18 euros for each kilometer you travel. You can call for one or wait at the more than 300 taxi stops distributed throughout Barcelona.
Tickets for commuter trains
If the tram is your preferred public transportation in Barcelona, you have a broad choice of tickets. All you have to do is choose the one that best suits your needs.
- Single ticket: valid for 2 hours
1 zone : 2,20 euros
2 zones: 2,55 euros
3 zones: 3,50 euros
4 zones: 4,20 euros
5 zones: 5,00 euros
6 zones: 6,30 euros
- Bonotren: valid for 10 trips
1 zone: 9,20 euros
2 zones: 14,70 euros
3 zones: 21,75 euros
4 zones: 28,25 euros
5 zones: 34,35 euros
6 zones: 42,90 euros
- Monthly ticket: valid for 30 days. And for 2 trips (round trip)
1 zone: 34,55 euros
2 zones: 41,25 euros
3 zones: 63,60 euros
4 zones: 78,25 euros
5 zones: 94,55 euros
6 zones: 113,30 euros
- Quarterly subscription: valid for unlimited travel for 30 consecutive days
1 zone: 124,50 euros
2 zones: 140,70 euros
3 zones: 200,20 euros
4 zones: 238,00 euros
5 zones: 281,30 euros
6 zones: 336,90 euros
Tickets for the cable cars and funiculars
If you’d like to see Barcelona from above, you can use the Montjüic cable car for 8.40 euros. And, if you want to buy a round-trip ticket, you must pay 11.43 euros. On the other hand, if you prefer to use the port’s cable car, you can buy a ticket for 11 euros or buy a round-trip ticket for 16.50 euros.
And how about the funiculars? If cable cars are not your thing, use the Montjüic funicular for 2.40 euros. Or you can ride it with a metro ticket. Also, you have at your disposal the Tibidabo funicular. Use it to visit the popular amusement park, for only 4 euros (entrance to the park included). Or pay 7.50 euros if you do not want to enter the park.
How to Reach Downtown from the Airport
This question is very common among foreigners who come to Barcelona. So, the simplest option, and the most common, is to take the Aerobús. And it makes an express journey from the two terminals of the Barcelona airport to strategic points downtown. In addition, Line A1 and A2 only stop at Plaza España, Gran Vía-Urgell, Plaza Universidad and Plaza Cataluña.
Single tickets, for a single trip, have a cost of 5.90 euros. The round trip ticket, which is valid for 15 days, has a cost of 10.20 euros. But there are other options.
If you decide to travel by metro, you can take it at the station on line 9 south. It has connections with lines 1, 3, and 5. The ticket costs 4.50 euros. And although it is a trip with many stops, it is usually pretty fast. But, if you’re the type of traveler to bring your entire house with you, this might not be the best option.
Another option is to travel by Cercanías train, which you can take at the Sants, Passeig de Gràcia and El Clot stations. And buying a ticket costs 2.50 euros. However, keep in mind that you can only disembark at terminal 2. So, map the distance between your hostel and the station beforehand. And, keep in mind that carrying too much luggage might not be comfortable.
Also, you can take a bus at Plaza España, which arrives at terminals 1 and 2 of the airport. And, this is the cheapest option of public transportation in Barcelona to travel from the airport to the center. But the journey can be quite long. So, take out those headphones and enjoy your first sights of the city!
The last option is to take a taxi, which is one of the fastest ways to get around. And, the cost of the trip is approximately 40 euros. But the minimum rate is 20 euros with a surcharge of 1 euro for each suitcase. So, balance the cost versus comfort before you make the call.