How to move around Barcelona? Find out here what are the means of transportation you are likely to use during your days in Barcelona.
Let’s begin this section by sharing the good news: Barcelona has a great public transport system and it also offers other alternatives to move around the city.
If you are going to spend a few days in Barcelona, and depending on the location of your hotel, you might need to resort to other means of transportation to join the starting point of the itineraries and get back to your hotel after you complete them. We advise you to book a hotel in the center of the Barcelona. See our advice on the section Where to stay in Barcelona.
How to move around Barcelona: Metro
The subway in Barcelona is called Metro and it’s probably the best means of transportation to travel around the city. With a few exceptions, Barcelona’s Metro network reaches all the highlights you may be interested in visiting. Despite the large number of interconnected lines, it’s an easy-to-understand subway.
The most important lines of the Metro de Barcelona are operated by the public company Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). The Metro has 11 lines. Each one is identified by the letter L, the line number, and a color.
From Monday to Thursday and during Sundays and holidays, the subway runs from 5:00 to midnight. On Fridays and holidays, the subway runs from 5:00 to 2:00 the following morning. On Saturdays, the subway starts operating at 5:00 non-stop, that is running all night between Saturday and Sunday.
How to move around Barcelona: Tram
Barcelona has six tram lines operated by the local transport company TBM. Have a look at a map with the Tram lines.
The Tram is integrated with the Barcelona municipal transport system. So you can use the same Metro (subway) or bus ticket on the Tram.
How to move around Barcelona: bus
The Barcelona bus is operated by TMB, the city’s transport consortium, and is undergoing a profound transformation with lines being changed, created or abandoned. These changes will be implemented during a few years no one knows when they will be completed. So make sure you always have an updated map of the lines that are working.
You can check the lines timetable and itinerary at the TMB website or at the stops.
In Barcelona you can purchase your fare from the driver. Be aware that bus drivers will only give change for small bank note denominations, don’t try to pay with bank notes higher than 5€ – unless you are purchasing 4 tickets or more.
When you are at the stop, wave or raise your hand as soon as you see your bus coming. This applies especially on a bus stop for multiple lines. In Spain bus passengers form a line to enter the vehicle one by one. Please respect it.
How to move around Barcelona: tourist bus
Buying a ticket of a city sightseeing bus can be an excellent option if you don’t have a lot of time to explore the attractions on your own. Barcelona has two companies offering this service.
If you are already familiar with open top bus tours, also known as hop on-hop off, the available services in Barcelona are pretty much identical as to what you could find in other cities across the world.
Nevertheless, if you haven’t heard of these buses or have never taken one of them, here is how the tourist bus works:
- The company operates several routes that include the city’s most important highlights.
- Each route has a certain number of stops where you can hop on and off the bus. These stops are not always located in the same spot as public transport buses are.
- You will board a small tourist bus. These buses offer an audio guide service as well, available in several languages, providing comprehensive comments on the highlight you are visiting.
- You get a ticket and pay a fixed price.
- The ticket entitles you to unlimited trips in every route of the company’s train for a limited period of time.
- You can hop on and off the busn as many times as you’d like provided that your ticket is still valid.
- The tourist buses have a limited frequency and chances are you may have to wait between 30 minutes and one hour before the next bus stops where you are.
Barcelona Bus Turístic operates 3 routes: Ruta Azul (blue), Ruta Roja (red) and Ruta Verde (green). For more information visit the Barcelona Bus Turístic website.
What’s great is that you can buy your Barcelona Bus Turístic tickets online.
City Tour Barcelona operates 2 routes: Ruta Oeste (orange) and Ruta Este (green). For more information visit the City Tour Barcelona website.
And the best thing is that you can buy your City Tour Barcelona tickets online.
How to move around Barcelona: cable car
There are five cable car options, all for tourists but interesting nevertheless:
- The Aeri del Port is the cable car that crosses the port of Barcelona and reaches the Montjuïc mountain.
- The Telefèric de Montjuïc is a cable car connects the upper station of the Funicular de Montjuïc with the Castell de Montjuïc, in the highest part of the mountain.
- The Funicular de Montjuïc is a little train that connects the Paral·lel with the Montjuïc mountain.
- The Funicular de Tibidabo is a little train that climbs to the top of the Tibidabo mountain.
- The Funicular of Vallvidrera is a little train that goes up to the neighborhood of Vallvidrera, near Collserola Park, a cheap alternative to climb Tibidabo.
How to move around Barcelona: taxi
Using taxi in Barcelona is a comfortable and fast option. However, it will always depending on the traffic, so try to avoid them during rush hour.
It’s also the most expensive option, so it’s always interesting if you are a group of 3-4 people.
How to move around Barcelona: car
We believe that using the car to get around Barcelona is not a good idea for several reasons:
- The traffic is usually very heavy during rush hours.
- It’s extremely hard (or impossible depending on the neighborhood) to park.
- The cost.
In any case, we suggest you to take a taxi. It will come out cheaper and with much less stress.
If you are getting to Barcelona by car:
- If Barcelona is the start or end point of your itinerary, rent your car on the day you plan to leave or as soon as you arrive in Barcelona, depending on your destination.
- If Barcelona is halfway through its route, look for a place to park your car during your stay in the city. Don’t leave personal objects in the car, especially in visible places, to prevent being robbed.
How to move around Barcelona: bike
In recent years, the city of Barcelona has made a great effort to promote cycling as a means of transportation. Barcelona residents use the bike not only for sports or leisure activities, but also to get to work.
Thanks to a network of 200 km of cycle paths and favorable geographical conditions (no major slopes except for the surroundings of Park Güell) riding a bike is incredibly easy in Barcelona.
The City Council is responsible for Bicing, a bicycle rental system similar to those of many other cities in Spain. Unfortunately, it’s a system that, in practice, is only available to residents.
That being said, you can always rent a “tourist bike”. There are many companies offering this service, and some of them also organize group tours around the city.
How to move around Barcelona: train
Despite having a good amount of lines and several stations spread around Barcelona, the metropolitan trains are not a very interesting means of transport compared to the Metro (subway).
However, the train can be a good option if you are a considering going on a day trip from Barcelona.
The official website of the FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya), the public company responsible for operating the train service provides all the information you need, including a map of the network.
Do you need more information on Barcelona?
This article is part of a complete guide about Barcelona where you can read all the information you need to plan your trip to this popular destination in Spain.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. When to visit Barcelona
2. How many days to spend in Barcelona
3. How to get to Barcelona
4. How to move around Barcelona
5. Barcelona hotels: where to stay in Barcelona
6. What to eat in Barcelona
7. What to do in Barcelona
8. Tips to visit the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
9. How to buy tickets to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
10. Tips to attend a FC Barcelona match
11. How to buy FC Barcelona tickets
12. Day trips from Barcelona
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