Ash
Written by Ash

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

| 889 comments

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
  • May 19, 2019 at 3:58 pm
    Katy Smith
    Hi, great website! We're coming to Barcelona at the end of May. We're staying on Casp Street in the city centre. Would you recommend the Aerobus to get us from the airport? If we get the city pass would this be included in it? Many thanks for your help, Katy
    • May 20, 2019 at 9:51 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Katy, Yes indeed, you can take the Aerobus to Plaça Catalunya and from here it'll be about a 10-12 minute walk :) It will be included in the City Pass, for sure! Ash
  • May 15, 2019 at 11:00 am
    Russ Shimmin
    Hi - great website! we are a party of 3 couples and we arrive on Friday lunchtime. W e are staying at the Barcelo Sants hotel above the station. Should we transfer by Renfe or Metro?
    • May 15, 2019 at 1:02 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Russ, Stay away from the metro as it won't get you anywhere near! Just grab the Renfe airport train and get off at Sants Estacio and you'll be a very short walk :) Cheers, Ash
  • May 14, 2019 at 9:50 am
    Luke
    For Aerobus you are saying "Aerobus tickets are only €5.90 one way (€10.20 return)." and for Metro you are saying "a single ticket costs €4.60 and is pretty expensive" . Looks to me like Metro is cheaper. But you mentioned Aerobus price as only and metro price as expensive. Am I missing something?
    • May 14, 2019 at 11:51 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Luke, I guess I should clarify... it's expensive relative to the service provided. The metro will stop every 2 minutes and takes quite a bit of time to get to the city... and when it does it's actually very from far the centre and you'll need to change for another metro line. You'd be taking 60-75 minutes if you're staying in the central areas. The Aerobus is a private company that provides a service catered to travellers that goes right into the heart of the city... it also has luggage racks, USB charging ports, and WiFi. Add this to the fact it's about 30-45 minutes faster (assuming you're staying where most tourists stay) and this easily makes up for the extra €1.30. Ash
  • May 13, 2019 at 3:07 am
    Russell
    Hi. Thank you so much for your helpful website. We will be staying at Regencia Colon. Is Aerobus the best option for transport from airport? To the Placa Catalunya stop? Thank you very much. Russell
    • May 13, 2019 at 12:14 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola Russell! Thanks for writing in and the kind words :) Indeed, you can take the Aerobus from either airport terminal to the terminus stop (Plaça Catalunya) and then from here it will be a short 10 minute walk to Hotel Regencia Colon. From there, there will also be the option of taking a quick taxi for about €5-6 if you're packing heavy bags or super tired after traveling. Cheers, Ash
      • May 14, 2019 at 12:26 am
        Russell
        Thank you, Ash!
        • May 14, 2019 at 11:51 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Any time! :)
  • May 12, 2019 at 12:11 am
    Kit
    Hi, we will be staying at AC Marriot Hotel Diagonal L'llla (Avinguda Diagonal,555, 08029) in a month and really need help in getting to hotel from airport. I realize the location is far from the aerobes pick up point, Thanks!
    • May 12, 2019 at 3:55 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Kit, Honestly the Aerobus isn't going to do you much good as it's miles away. What I would do is take the L9 metro line from the airport to Zona Universitaria, change for the green line to Maria Cristina... and then get off there where it's just a 6-7 minute walk :) Ash
      • May 12, 2019 at 7:54 pm
        Kit
        Thanks a lot! very helpful info.
  • May 11, 2019 at 6:50 pm
    Sheri
    Love your site! It has so much great information. We are a group of six and will be staying at an apartment near Sagrada Familia (Carrer de València, 482). We don't need transportation to the apartment because we are renting a car at the airport and going on a road trip for a few days, but since we are dropping the car off when we get back to Barcelona, we will need transportation from the apartment to the airport. What do you suggest from that location? Thanks!
    • May 12, 2019 at 3:49 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Sheri, Thanks for the kind words :) From Sagrada Familia station I would grab the blue line of the metro to Sants and then from here change to take the airport train R2... it'll be the cheapest not to mention the least amount of changes/run around. Ash
  • May 9, 2019 at 3:36 am
    Stephanie Marchant
    Hello, Is Uber currently running in Barcelona? I read they suspended service in January 2019. But can’t find any other/recent information.
    • May 9, 2019 at 12:46 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Stephanie... yes, unfortunately Uber is no longer in service in Barcelona :(
      • May 9, 2019 at 5:00 pm
        Sue
        I was told that they have my taxi there, which is basically the same thing? You can download a free app for that before traveling.
        • May 10, 2019 at 8:18 pm
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Yes! MyTaxi is an app that utilizes the yellow and black city taxis... if you sign up following my instructions here you'll even get a free €5.00 credit on your first ride.
  • May 9, 2019 at 1:17 am
    Sue
    I just purchased two tickets on the aerobus. I got an email confirmation, but not really something that looks like a ticket or has a code or anything on it. Is that all that I show?
    • May 9, 2019 at 12:49 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Sue, This usually depends on who you booked with so I'll ask who did you purchase with? Are there any attachments? Without knowing this I am afraid I can't comment... though rest assured you should be able to use what you received to get on. Please let me know, Ash
      • May 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm
        Sue
        Hi Ash, thank you. A few hours later I received a second email that has the vouchers to print. I guess I need to practice patience. A good thing to practice before my trip.
        • May 10, 2019 at 8:17 pm
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          No problem Sue! I understand the agony of not receiving things immediately but rest assured they do arrive :)
  • May 8, 2019 at 2:02 pm
    Lisette
    Hello! Your site is super helpful! We are staying at the Melia Barcelona Sky, Pere IV, 272 - 286, Barcelona. We will be traveling there in one week. What is the best way to reach the hotel from the airport, and vice-versa? I looked at the Aerobus, but Pl. Catalunya is pretty far from the hotel. Thanks for your help! Lisette
    • May 9, 2019 at 12:59 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Lisette, In this case you'll want to end up at Poble Nou metro station (from here it's just a short walk) so I would advise simply taking the airport train to Passeig de Gracia and then from here grabbing the yellow line of the metro here... it will be about 5-6 stops to Poble Nou. Easy does it. For the return trip simply do it in reverse. Cheers, Ash
      • May 12, 2019 at 2:57 am
        Lisette
        That’s awesome! Thank you,Ash. Can you tell me if the Hola BCN card covers that trip?
        • May 12, 2019 at 3:57 pm
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          No problem! And yes, the Hola BCN gets you there no problem :)
  • May 8, 2019 at 5:30 am
    Roland
    Hello! Thank you for this informative article. But I have a question about the opposite: "How do you get from the city to the airport?" I'm staying beside Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia. The nearest station is either Gràcia (FGC) or Diagonal (Metro). Common sense tells me that I just need to do the reverse of what's written here. But I don't want to assume then realize my mistake to miss my flight. All of the articles I saw are always about "from the airport" but there's none about "going to the airport". The Aerobus sounds nice, but Plaça de Catalunya is far away from Gràcia. Besides, does it go to the airport from Plaça de Catalunya? What is your advice? Thank you!
    • May 8, 2019 at 12:00 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Roland, You're indeed right that doing the same in reverse is probably the best option... I would also say that Plaça Catalunya isn't all that far from where you are. It would just be a matter of having a bit of extra time. But yes, that's the closest place for you to grab the Aerobus to get to the airport. You could also simply take the metro down from Diagonal to Passeig de Gracia and from here grab the airport train. Either way, no stress! It's actually quite simple and both are great options :) Ash
Load more comments
Leave a comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *