Ash
Written by Ash

Barcelona Airport to City Centre (7 Ways Fast + Cheap)

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There are six solid options from Barcelona airport to the city centre.

For this reason many tourists arrive in the city in complete confusion, so let’s clear things up a bit by breaking down the transfer choices and all their pros and cons.

Remember – if you can’t decide what to take then write me with your lodging information in the comments below and I’ll be quick with a suggestion!

Let’s leave the airport behind and start our holiday, shall we?

How to Get From Barcelona Airport to City Centre

First off let’s get oriented.

There are typically three airports reaching Barcelona 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.

You can expect to take about 30 minutes to one hour to get central from Barcelona Airport.

Prices range from €2.20 to €35.00.

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:

TRANSPORT PASSES
Which is right for you?

Pickup Points + Refunds

The pickup point for the Barcelona Card is at the Barcelona Turisme window right outside arrivals.

You’ll find these windows at either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. They’re open daily from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm and close only on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

If you can’t make it during these hours you’ll have to pick the tickets up at Plaça Catalunya.

If you change your mind just let the Tourism Office know in advance and they’ll refund your money. To do this simply mail reservas@barcelonaturisme.com.

For the Hola Barcelona Card it’s even simpler:

  • Open your email and the get the voucher number from the purchase receipt.
  • Take the voucher number to any city metro station (airport included).
  • Insert the voucher number at the red ticket machines.
  • Collect your Hola Barcelona Card.
  • Use it!

Barcelona Airport to City Centre Options

The Aerobus

I call this the fast bus because it takes only 35 minutes.

It’s super convenient because one leaves for the city centre every 5 minutes and its long operating hours cover every flight. The first bus leaves at 5:30 am and the last at 1:05 am from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 (including Terminal 2C with EasyJet).

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

Aerobus tickets are only €5.90 one way (€10.20 return).

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

  • High price-quality ratio.
  • Free WiFi aboard.
  • 6 USB plugins per bus for charging access.
  • CCTV for maximum luggage security.
  • Spaciousness due to frequency/passenger caps.
  • Wheelchair access + reserved disabled seating.
  • It terminates in Barcelona’s most central point: Plaça de Catalunya.
  • Children under 4 go free.

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

You can buy your advance tickets and support this blog by buying using the button below.

AEROBUS
Best price online

Be sure to check the Aerobus Facebook account for any news regarding strikes, road closures, event/marathon interruptions etc.

You can also get return Aerobus tickets buying the super-saving Barcelona City Pass.

With this pass you also get line-skipping entrance to Sagrada Familia and Park Guell plus a ride on the famous Bus Turistic. On top of this you get 20% discounts on virtually any of Barcelona’s attractions.

If you’ve got all of the above planned it makes no sense not to save the time and money.

For more info on the City Pass click the button below:

CITY PASS
Save time + 20%

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)

The driver normally shouts out the city centre stops above but it doesn’t hurt to ask them beforehand. You’re also free to press the buttons to select any stop.

Again the last stop is the unforgettable square Plaça de Catalunya, right near La Rambla.

Barcelona Airport to City Centre by Bus

I call this one the slow and cheap option.

If you’ve seen our list of city transport options you’ll know that the Barcelona airport bus is number 46 during the day and N16,  N17, and N18 at night. They run less frequently than Aerobus at every 20 minutes and take longer to get to the city – a 50 minute trip.

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

The price is just €2.40 one way (€4.80 return).

The bus is included in the Barcelona Card and Hola Bcn discount cards.

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 €3.00 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).

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.

Drivers also won’t have change for large bills so please have something small at the ready.

Barcelona Airport to City Centre by Metro

From February 2016 the metro connects Barcelona with El Prat (line L9S).

I’ve done a little test run and wasn’t particularly convinced of the effectiveness.

The number one reason would be that 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.

Another very important con: a single ticket costs €5.15 and is pretty expensive – it’s not even valid on the classic T-Casual discount card.

If you absolutely have to take it remember that it’s included in the Hola Bcn and Barcelona Card.

When Should I take the Metro?

  • 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 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.

tourists lining up outside casa batllo in barcelona spain tourists lining up outside casa batllo in barcelona spain
Skip lines and save money buying tickets online!

Barcelona Airport to City Centre Train

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 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 5:08 and the last at 23:07. For either direction please check the train times on the official Spanish railways website – I don’t wanna be blamed for a missed flight 😉

Again, the Barcelona airport train is valid with the Hola Bcn and Barcelona Card.

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.

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.

Barcelona Airport to City Centre by Taxi

It’s no secret the quickest transport from Barcelona airport is Barcelona’s yellow and black taxis.

Like most airports you’ll need to grab your airport taxi after waiting in a designated line. You won’t be able to hail them like on a normal street, but for added convenience you can also reserve them in advance:

I recommend you get a free airport taxi quote using Taxileader using the button below:

TAXILEADER AIRPORT
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).

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 €5.00 discount on your first trip with Free Now simply insert the promo code ‘ashley.pil’ once you’ve downloaded the app.

FREE NOW ANDROID
Download now
FREE NOW IPHONE
Download now
tourists listening to tour guide alvaro garza in the gothic quarter barcelona spain tourists listening to tour guide alvaro garza in the gothic quarter barcelona spain
Discover the secrets of the old city with Alvaro!

Barcelona 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 €4.00 per day.

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

LUGGAGE STORAGE
From €4.00 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 🙂

STASHER
Find your luggage spot now

Really Get on Board in the Comments Below

If you’re still not sure how to get from Barcelona airport to the city centre make sure you write me in the comments below with your hotel/hostel address and I’ll let you know the best way in!

Also don’t be afraid to join the airport discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.

Anything goes!

And remember: for any other questions about your Barcelona vacation I am here so fire away.

Adios 🙂

889 comments
  • March 10, 2020 at 12:03 am
    Mona
    Just need confirmation as there has been some time between our planning stages. Please recommend one best pass for purchasing tickets prior to arrival to: Sagrada Familia with an English guide, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, Park Guell, Picasso Museum, and Monserrat. Also best recommendation for Public transportation to Casa Fuster. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful guidance.
    • March 10, 2020 at 10:31 am
      sara
      Team Member
      Sara
      Hi Mona, I highly recommend the Barcelona City Pass, it comes in different options, make sure you select the one with the audioguide for Sagrada Familia (it's the 98€ one). Casa Fuster is not opened to tourists as it is a private luxury hotel, I suggest that you visit Casa de les Punxes and the Hospital de Sant Pau instead.
  • March 8, 2020 at 2:18 pm
    Peter
    Hi, great site you have here :) I'm thinking of flying in with my bike. Am I able to take it on the bus or train from the airport to town, do you know? Either in its box or after I have unpacked it. Thanks Peter
    • March 8, 2020 at 8:47 pm
      sara
      Team Member
      Sara
      Hi Peter, you can bring your bike with you on the R2 train from T2 to city center and on the Aerobus. As far as the subway is concerned, bikes are only allowed from 5 AM to 7 AM, from 9 to 5 PM and from 8.30 PM until the end of service.
  • March 4, 2020 at 4:10 am
    Laura
    Hi Lucille, Thanks in advance for your help! Also, I’m part of the I’m Off to Barcelona Facebook page. There are four of us staying at Plaça de Tetuan, 25. What is the best way for us to get from/to the airport to/from our Airbnb? Also, we are arriving on a Sunday and leaving Saturday. Does it make sense to get the Hola BCN card?
    • March 4, 2020 at 10:55 am
      lucile
      Lucile
      Hi Laura, The Hola BCN card always make sense if you plan to move around Barcelona only by public transports ;) There are several ways to get to your Airbnb from the airport: - Train R2N to Passeig de Gracia and then metro L2 (Badalona Pompeu Fabra) to Tetuan. It takes around 45 minutes but trains from the airport run every half hour. (Included in Hola BCN or €4.50+ €2.40) - Aerobus (Not included in Hola BCN) to Plaça Universitat then metro L2 to Tetuan. It takes around 50 minutes. - Bus 46 to Gran Via - Mandoni, then bus H12 to Metro Tetuan. It takes around an hour. (Included in Hola BCN or 2 x €2.40) Let me know if you have any further questions ;) Cheers, Lucile
  • March 1, 2020 at 6:55 pm
    richard Adams
    hi staying in hotel example whats the best way to get there from the airport thanks
    • March 2, 2020 at 12:45 pm
      lucile
      Lucile
      Hi Richard, I can't find this hotel, are you sure the name is right? :)
      • March 2, 2020 at 2:03 pm
        Richard
        Sorry lucile it’s the ohla eixample wondering what’s the best way from the airport thanks
        • March 2, 2020 at 3:12 pm
          lucile
          Lucile
          Don't worry, thank you ;) The cheapest and fastest way to reach your hotel from the airport is by metro L9S to Collblanc and then the line L5 to Diagonal. If you plan to buy an unlimited travel card like the Hola BCN, this transfer is included! Otherwise, the metro from the airport costs €5.15. Let me know if you have any questions. Cheers, Lucile
  • February 28, 2020 at 3:23 pm
    Kelly
    Hi we're arriving on 10th April (Good Friday) and are staying at Castelao 206-208, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat - we are staying until Tuesday 14th April and will need to get about the City for those four days (2 adults and 2 Children) what would be the best travel card to buy for us? Thanks
    • March 2, 2020 at 12:26 pm
      lucile
      Lucile
      Hi Kelly, I recommend the Hola BCN, an unlimited travel card. This card also includes bus 46 or metro L9S from the airport to your accommodation ;) Let me know if you have any questions! Cheers, Lucile
  • February 28, 2020 at 1:42 pm
    Anuska
    Hi, I will be landing at the El Prat airport on Friday, around 1 pm. My Airbnb is located on Carrer de Corsega, 644. What is the best form of transportation for the same? Thanks!
    • March 2, 2020 at 12:20 pm
      lucile
      Lucile
      Hi Anushka, I recommend the metro L9S to Zona Universitària and then the line L5 to Sant Pau | Dos de Maig station :) It takes around 50 minutes and the metro from the airport costs €5.15. Cheers, Lucile
  • February 22, 2020 at 3:18 pm
    Steph
    Hi, We arrive late on Monday 24th Feb (around 11pm) staying on Carrer De Llull. What will be the best way to get from the airport to our hotel? Thank you.
    • February 23, 2020 at 9:24 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Steph, Carrer De Llull is extensive and covers multiple neighbourhoods in the city. Can you be more specific? It would really depend on where you're going. A cross street or even hotel name would help! Cheers, Ash
      • February 23, 2020 at 9:37 pm
        steph
        Hi Ash, we are staying at The Travel Lodge Poblenou. 170 Carrer Llull. Thank you
        • February 24, 2020 at 10:33 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Hola Steph, Ah ok, great :) In this case I'd grab the Aerobus to Plaça Catalunya and then from here I'd walk over to Urquinaona metro station (about 200 meters) and take the yellow line down to Llacuna. From here it's just a short walk. Cheers, Ash
          • February 24, 2020 at 10:38 am
            Steph
            Hola Ash, Thank you so much for your advice. Great site :)
  • February 16, 2020 at 4:56 pm
    Mandy Guthrie
    I'm staying Silken Diagonal, Avinguda Diagonal, 205 How do we get from BCN
    • February 17, 2020 at 12:55 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola Mandy, I'd take the airport train to El Clot Arago and from here it's just a short walk. Cheers, Ash
  • February 13, 2020 at 9:24 pm
    Kristy Keeler
    Thank you for this. Would you please let me know if train or aerobus would be best and the best stop for me? Thank you very much! Address: Carrer de Sepúlveda, 95, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
    • February 14, 2020 at 10:22 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Kristy, No problem! I would grab the Aerobus and get off at Gran Via-Urgell (the second stop) and from here it'll be a short walk :) Cheers, Ash
  • February 12, 2020 at 9:17 pm
    Steve Tustin
    Hi Just purchased Aerobus tickets via your link and I have received a confirmation email, but no actual tickets. Bit concerned as the Aerobus website makes reference to the driver scanning a QR code, but there isn't one on the confirmation email Many thanks Steve
    • February 13, 2020 at 10:54 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Steve, Thanks for writing in and making the purchase to help out the blog :) Apologies you're having trouble here. I have never heard of this happening before. Was it via Ticketbar or Barcelona Turisme? I would get in touch with them immediately with the email address they've provided and they'll be quick with a response. As a last resort you'll likely be able to get on using the document they sent you. Please let me know how you get on, Ash
      • February 13, 2020 at 11:07 am
        Steve
        Good morning! Your reply arrived just as I was logging in to say that the tickets arrived this morning, so all good! May I respectfully suggest that you edit the page to make it clear that it is Placa de Catalunya to avoid others making the same mistake? Staying at the Claris on the first night (thank you Hyatt Reward Points!) and at Aparthotel Allada for the next three. Any comments on them would be appreciated! Been a few times to Barcelona. Have booked Segrada Familia this time and looking forward to seeing it again - last time must have been about 15 years ago when you had to walk around cement mixers and building materials!! Not even sure it charged then? Will also probably go to 7 Portes for the fourth time. As much for the service as the food - they made my wife feel so special :) Many thanks for your help - need any t-bags, cheddar etc. bringing over? LOL. Steve
        • February 14, 2020 at 10:18 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Hi Steve, Thanks for the suggestion... I didn't even know there were two. It's the Catalan equivalent of going to "Times Square" in NY and then seeing another one way outside of Manhattan in some unremarkable suburb. When I search for every combination of these words on Google it still comes up as the main one in the city centre. I don't know what you saw! So strange. For the hotels I can't comment from personal experience but can say I've heard good things about both. I prefer the area near the Aparthotel as it's near the park and beach, and the area just offers so much more as far as walks/cafes and that sort of thing. I saw Sagrada for the first time in 2006 myself so I know what you mean... the inside was completely in scaffolding and was hard to see. Now it's opened up and super bright, really nice! If only they'd hurry up on the main façade. 7 Portes is great as well. A touch of class never heard anybody eh? Picasso used to eat there. It's a great special occasion place. If you're looking for eats around Aparthotel I'd go for Fismuler, Elsa & Fred, or Spaccanapoli (if you want an authentic Naples experience, great pizza)... I just moved into the area myself and these are my go-tos. As for the tea bags and cheddar... thanks for the offer :) luckily we've got that covered in most of the shops in Barcelona... I spend 6 months in Russia last year and can't say the same for them lol. Cheers, Ash
          • February 14, 2020 at 6:53 pm
            Steve
            Hi Ash Thanks for the reply. I want onto Google Maps on my laptop and typed Placa Catalunya - auto-suggested a location in the neighbourhood called Sant Boi De Llobregat. Go figure! Thanks for the food places - TBH we like to eat where locals eat local food (especially after 7 Portes prices!!) Café type environment (as opposed to restaurant if that makes sense) is fine. I know of some great tapas places, but what about meals? I also like to cook, so will be hitting the markets! Cheers! Steve
            • February 15, 2020 at 8:47 pm
              ashley
              Team Member
              Ash
              Hi Steve, So strange... Sant Boi is miles away and on nobody's radar haha. Anyway, don't ever tell a Spanish person that tapas isn't a meal ;) In fact it's pretty much universally how Spaniards eat dinner when they go out. So much so that I can't think of any local type places without this type scene. What do you mean by meals? Cafes for me are just for sandwiches, muffins etc and can't really do dinner in a place like that. Not sure how to answer! I've got a post on the best cafes in the city if needed. Cheers, Ash
              • February 16, 2020 at 12:41 pm
                Steve
                Hi Ash! Not dissing Tapas at all - my wife in particular loves the "lots of tasty things" style of eating! What I meant is somewhere that is the type of place a local would go to eat - does not offer "reconstructed" dishes, "foamed" dressing or a sauce which consists of four dots on a plate! (and bear in mind I was a trained chef) I think a lot of places are in danger of losing local dishes in favour of something like pizza or KFC - and if I want a pizza I'll go to Italy [/rant off] For example, in the USA we love "mom & pop" style and Amish places. Good honest fresh food at a good price in unpretentious surroundings - I'm finding that these are dying out in major cities which is a great shame. Old Bloke signing off LOL
                • February 17, 2020 at 12:54 pm
                  ashley
                  Team Member
                  Ash
                  Hola Steve, I know exactly what you're saying... and though there's a time and place for that reconstructed stuff and random, coloured dots of flavor on plates with unsatisfying portions... I rarely feel the need to go to anything like that. Give me fresh, honest, and rustic any day of the week! When I think of Mom & Pop type places I think of Bodega Joan, El Celler del Vermut (near Sagrada), Can Paixano (be prepared to stand!), and Xiringuito Escriba. There are little blurbs about all of them in my restaurant article. Hope this gets you on the right, tasty track! Cheers, Ash
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