Written by Ash

How to Get from Barcelona Airport to City Centre Fast & Cheap


The Barcelona airport to city centre trip doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as you’re landing with the knowledge I’m about to share here.

With five ways of getting from Barcelona airport to the city you’re going to have a lot of choice.

Let’s find out the best way to get to the city centre for you and your budget.

Also: make sure you’re in the know about 2024’s new unlimited transport (airport included) card that comes with Barcelona’s top two attractions included:

Barcelona Essentials Pass
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This is one of the best ways to avoid sellouts, especially in high season!

How to Get From Barcelona Airport to City Centre

First off let’s get oriented.

There are three Barcelona airports but today we’re talking about the biggest (44 million passengers) and closest (12 km from the city centre): El Prat (BCN).

For the other two options please check out my pages on Girona Airport or Reus Airport.

⚠️  Warning ⚠️: Barcelona’s top two attractions must now be booked in advance.

You can book fast track tickets to both individually or get them as part of a discount pass:

You will not be able to book these tickets on site – lock in your tickets ASAP or you could miss out.

Barcelona Airport Terminals

It’s very important to know that Barcelona airport is made up of two terminals.

Terminal 1 handles the majority of traffic including overseas fights.

Terminal 2 handles mostly low-cost carriers from Europe.

Before choosing the best Barcelona airport transport make sure you’ve double checked the terminal – if you arrive at the wrong one you’re looking at a 20 minute airport shuttle (minimum) to get to the other.

Barcelona Airport to City Centre Options

barcelona airport bus outside of el corte ingles in placa catalunya

The Aerobus

I call this the fast airport bus because it takes only 35 minutes (the city bus on the other hand takes about an hour)

In my opinion, the Aerobus the best way to get from Barcelona airport to the city because it runs:

  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Every seven minutes between 5:07 am and 12:34 am
  • Every 20 minutes between 12:54 am and 4.54 am
  • From both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2

It’s impossible to miss – just walk outside either terminal and see the classic blue Aerobus logo.

Aerobus tickets are €11.75 one way and kids under four go free – return tickets offer great value at €16.75.

Many tourists have spoken to me about the advantages of Aerobus like:

Tickets are bought directly online – just make your purchase then show a printed or mobile copy aboard the bus.

You can buy your advance Aerobus tickets online and support us and our work using the button below.

New for 2024: In buying your Aerobus tickets with the link below, you’ll also receive a free Barcelona city audio-guide covering more than 100 hotspots in the city!

Book Online Now

Aerobus stops:

  • El Prat Airport
  • Plaça Espanya
  • Gran Via (at Calle Urgell, inbound)
  • Carrer Sepulveda (at Calle Urgell, outbound)
  • Plaça Universitat (only inbound)
  • Plaça Catalunya (the most central point in Barcelona)

Add an Unlimited Transport Pass on Top

Looking to combine the Aerobus with a discount all-in-one Barcelona transport pass?

Thanks to Tiqets you now have the option to package a one way or return ticket on the Aerobus with the unlimited transport Hola Barcelona Card – you can book the Barcelona Transport Pass clicking the button below:

Grab your pass today!
travellers use the metro in barcelona spain

Metro to Barcelona Airport

Is there a metro from Barcelona airport to the city? From February 2016 onward, yes.

The Barcelona metro connects Barcelona with El Prat via line L9S.

Careful though: it doesn’t stop anywhere in the city centre – for this reason it’s probably better for residents than for tourists. It also makes quite a few stops and as a result isn’t the swiftest of options.

⚠️  Warning ⚠️: Taking a taxi at any point? It’s very hard to flag down a cab in Barcelona city centre.

It is highly recommended to download the FreeNow app which can call you a taxi to anywhere in the city – just sign up using the link below!

If you use the Barcelona Hacks referral code eut2mba12 you’ll even get 25% off your first ride.

Another downside: unlike regular metro fares a single ticket costs €5.50 and is pretty expensive – you’re better off ponying up a few extra euro for the Aerobus.

When Should you take the Metro from Barcelona airport?

  • If you’re staying near a metro stop on the green line between Zona Universitaria and Parallel.
  • If you’re staying near the red line between Torrassa and Glories.
  • If you’re staying anywhere along the orange line.

Where do I get the Metro from Barcelona airport?

From Terminal 1 it’s basically right outside the arrivals.

At Terminal 2 you’ll need to walk about ten minutes outside the arrivals and you’ll find it near the overland train service. In both cases just follow the red M sign.

Important: if you buy a transport discount card directly at the airport it’ll cost you more than doing it online.

Related: Barcelona metro map

Related: How Many Days Should I Stay in Barcelona?

Airport Bus to City Centre (Bus 46)

When thinking of how to get from the airport to the city this is the cheapest way – but the benefits basically stop there.

Bus number 46 during the day and N16,  N17, and N18 at night will get you there, but all run less frequently than Aerobus at every 20 minutes and take longer to get to the city – a 60 minute trip.

You’ll find the Barcelona airport bus right outside the terminals. Just follow the signs.

The price is just €2.55 one way (€5.10 return).

Careful: You may end up having to take additional transport to get to your destination as the bus only arrives to Plaça Espanya (from here you can take the metro on to more central areas).

I only recommend taking the bus to the city centre under the following circumstances:

  • You don’t feel like spending the extra €5.00 on the Aerobus.
  • You don’t mind taking 30-60 more minutes for the trip.
  • You have no problem standing in a crowded bus.
  • Your hotel, Airbnb, or holiday apartments are in the city’s southwest (there are many stops).

This bus runs from 4:50 am to 11:50 pm to the airport and from 5:30 am to 11:50 pm to the city centre.

Remember: if you’re staying in classic city centre neighbourhoods like El Born, El Gotico, or Gracia you’ll certainly need another form of transport.

CAREFUL: if you’re taking the airport bus using the discount cards mentioned you’ll need to buy them in advance online as they aren’t sold on board.

tourists lining up outside casa batllo in barcelona spain tourists lining up outside casa batllo in barcelona spain
Buy your tickets in advance from home or risk long lines + bigger prices.

Trains from Barcelona Airport

This option takes the same time as the Aerobus but departs every 30 minutes.

It also has a more limited running time with the first train leaving for the city centre at 5:42 and the last at 23:38.

Trains run every half hour and the journey takes 30-40 minutes.

A single ticket costs €4.50.

I’d recommend taking the Barcelona airport train under the following circumstances:

  • Your flight arrives in Terminal 2 before 10:30 pm.
  • You’ve got accommodation near Sants Estacio, Passeig de Gracia, or El Clot-Arago.
  • You’re in no rush and can afford waiting 30 minutes after getting bags etc.
  • You don’t mind massive crowds.

Careful: If you arrive in Terminal 1 you’ll have to wait for a free shuttle to Terminal 2 before taking the train. They run every 5 minutes but this will easily add another 20 minutes to your trip.

The first return train leaves the city centre at Passeig de Gracia at 5:42 and the last at 23:07. For either direction please check the train times on the official Spanish railways website.

Advice: walk about 20 metres up the platform to the part that’s not covered to have a better chance at getting a seat.

Another tip: if you’re equidistant to both Sants Estació and Passeig de Gracia make sure you grab the Barcelona airport train at Passeig de Gracia.

Not only can you do some last minute photography at Casa Batllo and La Pedrera, but since it’s one stop ahead on the line your chances of getting a seat at peak times increase dramatically.

a taxi in placa catalunya barcelona

Barcelona Airport to City Centre by Taxi

The fastest way from Barcelona airport to downtown is Barcelona’s yellow and black taxis.

Like most airports you’ll need to grab your airport taxi after waiting in a designated line, but for added convenience you can also reserve them in advance:

I recommend getting a free quote and booking your taxi using Taxileader with the button below:

Book my ride now

In both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 you’ll find taxi stands right outside after following the signs. There should be a designated worker wearing a fluorescent vest to show you to your car.

There is a minimum charge of €20.00 but you’ll pay €30.00 – €35.00 to get central (T1-T2)

You may encounter extra fees for baggage, late night rides, and rides on holiday. It’s recommended to familiarize yourself with these fees by reading the brochure on the back of the seat.

You can pay by card but it’s recommended to tell the driver in advance.

The maximum amount of passengers is 4. If you need taxis for a larger group call in advance at +34 933033033 – you’ll be charged a €4.30 van supplement.

For complaints and lost items make sure you ask for a receipt (un recibo).

Barcelona Airport to City Centre Ridesharing

With the onset of Uber and others I couldn’t ignore Barcelona’s ride-share app Free Now (formerly MyTaxi) for getting from Barcelona airport to downtown.

If you’re looking to get to the city centre fast with no hidden fees and no run arounds this is a highly recommended option. A typical Free Now tariff should run you about €27.00-€35.00.

The best part? You’ll pay even less signing up through my Free Now portal.

For a €25% discount on your first trip with Free Now simply insert the promo code eut2mba12 once you’ve downloaded the app.

Download now
Download now

Barcelona Airport Private Transfer

If you’re travelling with a group of 12 or more people it’s a wise choice to book a private transfer service that will take you from the terminal to your accommodation.

I suggest grabbing a quote on the Suntransfer website for the best prices.

An example: if there are 8 adults, 3 children, and 1 infant the cost of a transfer from the airport to central Barcelona and vice versa costs around €120.00 euros (5 euros pp each way).

Suntransfer also has car seats for kids up to 4.

Get Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Batllo, and a 10% Discount Card!

Tourist Discount Passes for Airport Transport

To save money I recommend buying a tourist discount pass with airport transport included.

There are two tourist discount passes that include unlimited transport + your airport connection: the Hola Bcn and the Barcelona Card.

  • The Hola Barcelona Card gives you unlimited transport from €6.84 a day.
  • The Barcelona Card gives you unlimited transport + a ton of attractions from €9.00 a day.

Buying Tourist Discount Passes Online

It is strongly recommended to buy these passes from home to get a 10% online discount on both the Barcelona Card or a 5% savings on the Hola Barcelona Card.

For buying links and an in-depth explanation of the passes click the button below:

Which is right for you?

Barcelona Airport Left Luggage Storage

In both airport terminals (T1 and T2) you can take advantage of a left luggage storage service (consigna de equipajes in Spanish) to lighten the load.

In Terminal 1 luggage storage is in the hall on floor 0 (P0) known as La Plaza. It’s open 24-7, 365 days a year. Prices range from €6.00 for a 2 hour deposit up to €10.00 per 24 hours.

In Terminal 2 the luggage storage area is located right at check-in under the word Consigna.

Prices are the same as Terminal 1 but opening hours are from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Not keen on airport luggage storage?

It’s much cheaper to store your luggage in the city centre at Calle Estruc 36 – right off the city’s main square Plaça Catalunya.

Storage is available daily from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm with prices starting at €4.50 per day.

You can book this Barcelona luggage via the official Turisme Barcelona website clicking below:

From €4.50 a day

There’s also another interesting offer at Stasher – here you’ll select your date, hour, and deposit duration and be given a map of the city and all the potential licensed partners to ‘stash’ your bag.

The service costs €5.00 for 24 hours.

If you use the code BCNHACKS you’ll get a 10% discount and I’ll also get a small commission that helps me keep this blog up and running! Everybody wins 🙂

Find your luggage spot now

Barcelona Airport to City Center FAQ

How far is it from Barcelona Airport to the city centre?

Barcelona International Airport (aka Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat) is 14.8 kilometers (9.1 miles) from the airport.

Is there a train from Barcelona Airport to the city centre?

Yes, a national RENFE train service departs from Terminal 2 of Barcelona airport every 30 minutes. The train trip to the city centre takes approximately 25 minutes.

How long from Barcelona airport to the city centre?

The average trip to the city centre with most modes of airport transport is about 40 minutes, while taking a taxi takes about 25 minutes depending on traffic.

How do you get from Barcelona airport to the city centre?

To get to the city centre from Barcelona airport you can take the city bus (46 or N17), the RENFE train from Terminal 2, the Aerobus rapid bus, or a taxi.

How much from Barcelona airport to the city centre?

The prices for Barcelona airport transport are as follows:

  • TMB Bus 46 (or N17 at night): €2.55
  • RENFE Train from Terminal 2: €4.60
  • Aerobus (25 minute Rapid Bus): €11.75
  • Taxi: €30.00 (T1) or €35.00 (T2)
a flamenco dancer takes a dance step in barcelona spain two flamenco dancers take a dance step in barcelona spain
See a tear-jerking Barcelona flamenco show from €16.00.

Still Looking for the Best Ways to Get to Barcelona from Barcelona Airport?

Getting from Barcelona Airport to the city center isn’t rocket science, but if you’re still stuck make sure you write me in the comments below.

Also, don’t be afraid to join the airport to Barcelona city centre discussion by joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.

Best of luck with your Barcelona airport transfer 🤝

  • April 15, 2024 at 3:45 pm
    Hi there. Thank you for all the info on your site. Question of how to get from hotels TO the airport when we leave. We are staying close to Placa de Catalunya. Also, do you give information on how to go from train station to this location as that is how we arrive in Barcelona.
    • April 17, 2024 at 3:41 am
      Team Member
      Hi Rebecca, You're very welcome and glad I can help :) From Placa Catalunya it's super simple to just grab the Aerobus... they depart every 10 minutes, have large luggage racks, are air conditioned, have USB chargers/WiFi etc. As for arriving... which train station do you arrive at? It'll be super simple to get to Placa Catalunya from almost anywhere, but let me know and maybe I can be more specific. Cheers,
  • December 10, 2022 at 10:47 am
    Vivian Henry
    Hi Ash, my family and I have a short stay planned shortly, what is the best way to get to the La Bodega Suites Carrer de Rafael Campalans 116 Hospitalet de Llobregat, from the airport, we would greatly appreciate your help Thanks in advance Vivian
    • December 11, 2022 at 8:26 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Vivian, Unfortunately you're a bit in between major transport areas so it'll take a bit of finessing. If there are 3 or 4 of you I would suggest splitting the bill for a cab as it'll probably be close in price and will eliminate the hassle. Otherwise, you'll need to take the airport metro to Collblanc... from here it'll be a 10 minute walk. Cheers,
  • October 16, 2022 at 6:13 pm
    Anne Lin
    We have a group of four people with four checked in luggage and one carry on. What size of car do you recommend us to book for airport transfer?
    • May 16, 2023 at 12:53 am
      How much a taxi charge for two people and 2 baggage from Airport to the Cruise Port.
      • May 17, 2023 at 10:16 pm
        Team Member
        Hello! It's a €39.00 fixed rate for this service.
    • October 18, 2022 at 12:36 am
      Team Member
      Hi Anne, For this scenario you'll undoubtedly need to order one of the 6 person vans as they'll actually have space to accommodate the luggage. The standard four person taxis usually only have space for two big suitcases in the trunk. Cheers,
  • September 18, 2022 at 10:58 pm
    We will be staying at Hotel Jazz in October. What is the best transportation from the airport? If it is bus or metro, can we bring luggage, perhaps a checked bag size and 1 carry-on each? Thank you for your help
    • September 19, 2022 at 8:32 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Kay, Hotel Jazz is super easy using the Aerobus. You can bring all your luggage aboard. You will need to get off at the penultimate stop, Universitat (watch the screens, it'll come up there), and from there it is just a 50 meter walk. Cheers,
  • September 9, 2022 at 2:13 am
    Hi Ash. What is your suggestion for getting from BCN to Pelai, 6, Ciutat Vella around 10 am on a weekday? Thanks in advance.
    • September 9, 2022 at 7:24 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Tom, You couldn't get any closer with the Aerobus unless they drove you right through the window! Just make sure you get off at the Placa Universitat stop (the penultimate one). It's about a 50 meter walk from stop. Don't mess around with cabs... they'll be 30 euros more expensive to save you 10/15 minutes. Cheers,
  • June 21, 2022 at 9:06 pm
    Hi Ash we arrive Saturday 2nd at 2:30am super crappy hour. Is there no transport other than taxis during that time? Haven't booked hotel yet as don't know what to do, any suggestions? Thinking maybe to book something for Saturday close to hotel or probably from Friday as not sure i can find anything to allow us to stay Saturday at 3am. Any suggestions? Thanks! Awesome page BTW! Great job!
    • June 23, 2022 at 11:17 am
      Team Member
      Hi Katerina, The Aerobus runs 24-7 and there are 4 major stops - Placa Espanya, Ugrell, Universitat, and Placa Catalunya. These are all fairly common tourist areas with long lists of hotels. I would simply book the Friday night at a hotel close to one of these stops... let them know in advance you'll be there around 3:30 am. Unless you're willing to hang around until check in time on the Saturday (likely around 2 pm) it's a bullet you're going to have to bite. At the end of the day you're still going to get 6 or 7 hours of sleep so you're basically getting your money's worth :)
  • May 24, 2022 at 6:56 am
    Hi very good article, what would be best option from airport to melia sarria please
    • May 24, 2022 at 9:42 am
      Team Member
      Hi Fatima, Unfortunately this area is a bit in an airport transport dead spot, so you'll need to take two different methods. I would grab the Aerobus to Placa Espanya (it's the first stop they call) then grab the D40 bus (from the backside of Las Arenas shopping mall, where the park is) - get off the bus 10 minutes later at Josep Tarradellas - Av de Sarrià. From here it's just a 3 minute walk. Cheers,
  • April 20, 2022 at 8:42 pm
    My husband and I are taking a cruise out of Barcelona on May 8th. What would be the best option from El Prat to Grand Hotel Central located on Via Laietana, 30 Ciutat Vella? It looks like there might be a train station nearby but the map is somewhat confusing?
    • April 22, 2022 at 11:02 am
      Team Member
      Hi Shelley, Unfortunately there will be no direct options as the train station near the hotel doesn't connect directly to the airport. If I were you I'd grab the Aerobus to the terminus stop (Plaça de Catalunya) and then from there walk the 10-12 minutes. If you've got a lot of luggage you could also get an 6-7 euro taxi from there. In all, this would run you about 20 euro as opposed to the 30-35 euro taxi fare and won't even take that much longer. Cheers,
      • April 22, 2022 at 10:18 pm
        Ash, I forgot to ask about the return trip to the airport. Our flight is late morning after the cruise ship docks so would it be best to just try to get a taxi or is there other options from the Port of Barcelona D'Adossat Terminal Moll Adossat?
        • April 25, 2022 at 5:17 pm
          Team Member
          Hi again Shelley, Unfortunately if you wanted to get transport, or even get back up to Plaça de Catalunya for the Aerobus it's going to be a bit of a hassle involving the metro, some uphill walking etc. I would just get a taxi. Maybe you can even find somebody to split the ride with you, as there are a lot of folks heading that way upon arrival. Cheers,
      • April 22, 2022 at 10:08 pm
        Thanks so much!
  • March 25, 2022 at 7:02 am
    Hi Ash, amazing article, good job. Can you pls advise me what is the best way to get from Airport Prat to Sicilia, 166-170, Eixample? (Arriving Saturday 27th around 2pm). Thank you.
    • March 25, 2022 at 3:46 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Pavol, Thanks :) This is always a tough one, being in this area. It's so close to transport, but can feel miles away with heavy suitcases! Honestly, there are no direct trains or buses to this specific spot from the airport. What you're going to have to do is take the Aerobus to Plaça Catalunya and then from here you have three options. - Walk the 18 minutes (you basically get off the bus, take a right in front of the Corte Ingles, and follow the same street almost the whole way) directly to the hotel. - Take a quick taxi (it'll probably cost €8), - Walk to Urquinaona metro stop from Plaça Catalunya and grab the red line one stop closer to Arc de Triomf - that said, by the time you get into the metro, buy tickets (just to go one stop!), board, and get out... it's almost just as quick to walk, not to mention cheaper. I wish there were better options but unfortunately this is a rare 'dead spot' in the city transport map. That said, it's quite central and a nice area! Cheers,
  • February 16, 2022 at 3:27 pm
    Hello, my wife and I are cruising from Barcelona, and are spending a day before and after in Barcelona. Once we return from the cruise we will have the day to sightsee and then we have booked a hotel near the airport since we have an early (6am) flight the next morning. What are your suggestions for baggage storage during the day while we explore. Also, suggestions for transport to the hotel, which is in the Sant Boi de Llobregat area. Thanks!
    • February 18, 2022 at 11:16 am
      Team Member
      Hi Jon, Normally I'd suggest heading up to Plaça Catalunya and utilizing the luggage storage near there. For a cheaper yet more labour intensive option this is just fine. That said, if you're looking for utmost convenience you can also try Bags and Go, which allows you to leave your bags near the cruise port and have them delivered to your hotel. I haven't used it myself but it's definitely worth checking out. As for the hotel in Sant Boi de Llobregat, it's a fairly large area so without knowing the exact location it's a bit hard to say. I know there's a train station there which has easy access but no idea whether the hotel is easy access to there. Feel free to drop me a line with the hotel address and I can advise further. Cheers,
      • February 18, 2022 at 5:47 pm
        Hi Ash, thanks for the reply. My initial thought was to utilize the luggage storage options near Placa Catalunya as we are staying nearby for the night before the cruise, and will be familiar with the area. I was looking at your Stasher link; does that seem to be the best option. For the hotel stay prior to our departing flight, the hotel is at Carrer de les Alberedes, 16, 08830 Sant Boi de Llobregat, which seems to be pretty close to the airport (and the hotel even advertises an airport shuttle). Our plan was to taxi to the hotel, but would be open to other transportation options if they made sense. Thanks again!
        • February 21, 2022 at 11:10 am
          Team Member
          Hi Jon, Indeed, I'd use the Stasher link so it's all booked... will be cheaper than Bags and Go. Also, when moving around with big bags knowing the area beforehand is a huge plus to say the least :) As for the hotel, you're in a great spot near the airport but it doesn't look to be near any transport routes so taxi is the best best for sure. It'll be about 20 minutes from Plaça Cataluna... the taxi stand is right in front of the Hard Rock Cafe so should be easy. Anyway, let me know if you've got any more questions. Hope you enjoy the holiday :) Cheers,
          • February 27, 2022 at 2:26 pm
            Thanks again for all your help. We are excited for our trip. Another question that doesn't really have a matching article, so I thought I would ask it here. We have CDC vaccination cards that we are bringing with us, but have heard that we could go to a clinic/pharmacy to have our CDC cards "converted" to an EU Digital Covid Certificate with a QR code. Is that something that you would recommend? We will be visiting several ports/countries during our trip, will having the EU version make things easier?
            • March 2, 2022 at 4:17 pm
              Team Member
              No problem Jon :) Sorry in the delay getting back but I'll try to explain as well as I can. Unfortunately we're still down about 90% traffic-wise since pre-pandemic and so I don't get to talk to a lot of tourists to get my hand on the pulse. I can tell you that I had two friends visiting, one with an American vaccination and one with a Brazilian one - and neither had any problems getting into restaurants or bars or anything of the like I would say it's not necessary. That said, if it's free and just takes a few minutes to do the conversion I'd probably do it since you're visiting multiple ports and you never know what might go down. I can only unfortunately speak for Barcelona and don't know how it may be in other areas. Cheers,
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