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 + 10%

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 🙂

903 comments
  • June 11, 2019 at 5:51 pm
    Lauren
    Hi Ash! Your website has been so much help! We arrive at BCN around 10:30 am on Sunday. There are just two of us, and we are staying at Hotel Rec. What's the best transportation method to get there from the airport? We are considering the Aerobus but unsure if we should grab a taxi, take the metro, or walk from there. Thanks in advance!
  • June 10, 2019 at 6:25 am
    Karyn Berry-Wynne
    Hi there, you're site is awesome; it has so much great advice! We're staying at Hotel Ciutat de Barcelona; what transportation method would you recommend coming from the airport? Our flight gets in at 5:30pm. I also found this option listed on another site Thanks for your help!
    • June 10, 2019 at 11:13 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Karyn, Thanks so much for the kind words! Private transfers can get unnecessarily expensive unless you're in a group of four or more, are full of money, or really tired and not able to pack your luggage. For your situation the superior option should be to take Aerobus from either airport terminal to the terminus stop (Plaça Catalunya) and then from here walk it (maybe 15 minutes) to your hotel. From there, there will also be the option of taking a quick taxi for about €5-7 if you're packing heavy bags or super tired after traveling. This is how I'd do it! Ash
      • June 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm
        Karyn Berry-Wynne
        Great, thank you so much Ash!
  • June 6, 2019 at 11:19 pm
    Tara
    Hola! Your website has been so helpful! Gracias! We're flying in around 12:00pm in August to Barcelona T2 and need to get to Motel One. What's the least complicated way to do it? As in, walk out of the airport, get transportation and be deposited as close to or hotel as possible? I would always assume a taxi would be the best option, but we'd like to avoid big waits and it seems pre-booking means they want to charge you almost double. If you were just arriving in Barcelona for the first time after a 14 hour journey, what would be your first option? Muchas gracias, Tara
    • June 7, 2019 at 10:14 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Tara, Thanks so much for the kind words :) Where did you find that taxis were almost double? That's not good! Honestly there is a taxi stand outside where you won't wait very long.... using the MyTaxi app above also gives you a €5.00 discount. Since you're a bit far away from the terminus points of most airport transport (maybe 25 minutes walking) and you'll have suitcases etc after 14 hours... it'll be a bit annoying. I would prefer a taxi. My second option would be to grab the Aerobus to the first stop (Plaça Espanya) and then grab the red line of the metro to Arc de Troimf and from there it's a 8-10 minute walk. It would be cheaper, but if there are 3-4 of you or even more it won't be saving much. Ash
      • June 7, 2019 at 6:36 pm
        Tara
        Thanks a bunch! I think we'll just wait for a taxi. We'll only have backpacks and the two of us, but if it's not a crazy wait and it's simple enough, we'll just go with the easiest, quickest option. I've been to some airports where getting a taxi takes longer and is more stressful than walking the whole way! :D
        • June 8, 2019 at 8:24 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Hi Tara, There are so many taxis in Barcelona that even when flagging them down in the centre you'll hardly wait more than 2-3 minutes... you should be fine! :) Enjoy, and let me know if you have any more questions... Cheers, Ash
  • June 5, 2019 at 11:21 pm
    Cristine Radice
    Wonderful site with such detailed information! Thank you! We arrive in Barcelona El Prat airport on June 11 at 10:25pm. We will need to get through customs and then to our hotel - AC Hotel Sants. Not sure how long customs takes but whats the best way for us to get to the hotel at that hour? Thank you!
    • June 6, 2019 at 9:01 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Cristine, You can take the Aerobus from either airport terminal to the first stop (Plaça Espanya) and then from here it will be a short walk. From there, there will also be the option of taking a quick taxi for about €5-7 if you're packing heavy bags or super tired after traveling. I wouldn't worry about the timing since Aerobus runs well into the early hours... customs should only take 10-15 minutes. Cheers, Ash
  • June 5, 2019 at 7:42 pm
    Brad
    Thank you. Very helpful.
    • June 6, 2019 at 8:57 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      No problem :)
  • June 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm
    Brad
    Hola. We arrive at 4:00 pm in a week. We are staying in the L'Eixample District on Carrer de Calàbria. Also, we have a 12, 8 and 3 yr old. We are not bringing a car seat for the 3 yr old. Can we take the Aerobus then walk? Thanks, Brad
    • June 4, 2019 at 10:35 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Brad, I don't see any issues taking the Aerobus as it will get you very close (depending of course what part of Calabria you're on)... if you could give me the exact address I could guide you better, though it seems like it'll be maybe a 10-15 minute walk from either the first or second stop of the Aerobus. Totally fine in my opinion... but just keep in mind if four of you are going on the Aerobus this will add up to about €25.00 so it's only maybe €5-7 more to get a taxi which could be worth it with kids and wanting convenience. There will be taxis with car seats no doubt and if not you can get one of the people at the stand to call you one. Cheers, Ash
  • June 3, 2019 at 3:50 pm
    Krista Smith
    Hi! First trip to Barcelona and would love advice on airport transfer to Carrer Gran de Gràcia, 12 2, Barcelona, Catalunya 08012, Spain. We arrive in Terminal 1 at 1:30 pm on a Tuesday. Thanks!
    • June 3, 2019 at 3:59 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola Krista! For lodging in Gracia I would prefer you take the Aerobus to Plaça Catalunya (the last stop - you can’t miss it as it's the city's biggest square) and then grab the green line of the metro from here. Take it up to Diagonal (just two stops) and from here you’ll have a short walk. You could also do a 20-25 walk up into the area of your hotel if you were packing light or not wanting to spend the extra €4.00 on the metro. Again, it's your choice :) Cheers, Ash
  • June 2, 2019 at 11:39 pm
    Darice
    Hi, I think I have information burnout. We arrive at BCN 745am on July 4. Our hotel is Hotel Gaudi, Carrer Nou de la Rambla. What is the best option?
    • June 3, 2019 at 10:16 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Darice, You can take the Aerobus from either airport terminal to the terminus stop (Plaça Catalunya) and then from here it will be a short walk. From there, there will also be the option of taking a quick taxi for about €5-7 if you're packing heavy bags or super tired after traveling. Easy peasy :) Ash
  • May 25, 2019 at 7:40 am
    Patti Christensen
    We will be arriving on a Sunday morning, about 11:00 at BCN and needing to get to Carrer de Maria, 14 entr. Barcelona - in the Gracia neighborhood. Would you recommend the Aerobus? will the stop be close enough for us to walk? Thank you. Patti
    • May 28, 2019 at 2:46 am
      Robert Nicholson
      Will be arriving at BCN Terminal 1 at 7PM and 4 persons need to get to Rambla de Catalunya 8 to check in by 9PM. Would Taxi be our best option with least hassle? What would the Taxi cost for 4 persons?
      • May 28, 2019 at 8:32 am
        ashley
        Team Member
        Ash
        Hi Robert, To Rambla Catalunya you're looking at €30.00-€35.00 depending on traffic, extras etc... at about 8 euro per person this is only about 2 euro more per person than my second best option (Aerobus) so I would opt for this for the convenience factor. Definitely less hassle doing it this way, though the Aerobus would be my second choice as it's almost as fast and will bring you within about a 10-15 minute walk from Rambla de Catalunya depending on how high up you are on the street. Ash
    • May 25, 2019 at 11:09 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Patti, Taking the Aerobus is always a good idea. If you get off at the terminus stop of Plaça Catalunya however though keep it mind it'll be about a 35-40 minute slightly uphill walk. You may want to take the metro from Catalunya up to Diagonal to cut down on this walk or simply get a cheap taxi from there (maybe €8.00). Cheers, Ash
    • May 25, 2019 at 8:35 am
      Patti Christensen
      Actually we just found out that we are by Casa Fuster Monument at the corner of calle Maria and Sant pere Martir), and can arrive on the Green Metro line 3 between Diagonal and Fontana. Would we do best to just then take the Metro from the airport? Or is the Aerobus still the best? Trying to make a plan that will be workable. Patti
      • May 25, 2019 at 11:10 am
        ashley
        Team Member
        Ash
        Unfortunately the airport metro won't get you anywhere close... it'll involve switching lines and take you about an hour to get central whereas the Aerobus (especially on a Sunday morning with no traffic) will have you in the area in about half the time. You can take the green line from the terminus stop of the Aerobus (Plaça Catalunya)... that would be my way :) Ash
  • May 24, 2019 at 6:44 am
    Mor
    Hi What's the best option of getting to Parc Del Forum (Primavera Sound) from the airport?
    • May 24, 2019 at 11:17 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hello Mor, It'll be quite far and unfortunately involve a few methods, but such is the route :( I'd grab the Aerobus to Plaça Espanya, change for the red line of the metro there and take it to Glories, and then from here grab the T4 tram which will take you right there. Cheers, Ash
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