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 🤝

  • October 4, 2021 at 6:11 pm
    Hi Ash, Firstly thank you for superb information about traveling from the airport El Prat to city center. We are a couple and we are landing to BCN on saturday 9.10. at 13:30. What is the cheapest way to get to the hotel Sant Antoni near Sagrada Familia? T-10 Casual is applicable also for Train? Thank you very much. Lucy
    • October 5, 2021 at 6:15 am
      Team Member
      Hi Lucy, Thanks for writing :) The T-10 Casual is indeed usable for the train... I would take the train from T2 and get off at Passeig de Gracia. From here you can switch to the metro... walk underground to the purple line and grab it to Monumental. From Monumental station your hotel is just a short walk of 2-3 minutes. Cheers,
  • August 10, 2021 at 6:57 pm
    Hi I checked and read everything on the topic, so if I am right I can take the T-casual for the train, right? In this case my trip to the hotel costs EUR 1,135. AT least if I manage to reach it in 75 minutes. :D
    • August 13, 2021 at 7:09 am
      Team Member
      Hi Edit, I'm not sure what you mean by €1135 euro and what train you're referring to... if you could let me know that would be a great help ;) Cheers,
  • August 8, 2021 at 11:58 am
    Linda Palmer
    I'm so pleased I have found your site. Fantastic current news that I've used to update my plans for visiting Barcelona. Thank you. I would like your advice on getting from the airport to my hotel in Plaza Palacio/Pla de Palau. I had emailed the hotel for information on the easiest way, but they only replied with get a taxi!! I'm an 'older lady' travelling solo. Your thoughts please Ash
    • August 8, 2021 at 8:43 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Linda, Indeed, a taxi will run you around €30.00 and will be the quickest way with the least amount of hassle - the square you're referring to is in a slight dead spot as far as direct airport transport goes. Meaning, to get here you'll need to take more than one mode of transportation. I would take the Aerobus to the terminal stop at Plaça Catalunya and then from there walk across 200 meters to Urquinaona metro station. From here you can grab the yellow line of the metro to Barceloneta, which is just a short walk from the plaza. If you're traveling light it's certainly a fine option... and will only about 30% of the taxi price! Cheers,
      • August 9, 2021 at 1:35 pm
        Thanks Ash, I'm very grateful. You have confirmed what I thought would be the easiest (and cheapest) way.
        • August 10, 2021 at 5:26 am
          Team Member
          You're very welcome Linda :) If you've got any more questions feel free! Cheers,
  • July 27, 2021 at 5:30 pm
    Hello, I'm supposed to land on El Prat on August the 4th at 11:35 p.m. My hotel is located in Avinguda de la Granvia de l’Hospitalet, so the N17 nitbus suits me best. Considering that the curfew is in force, do the night lines work regularly and where is it possible to buy a ticket? Is it possible to buy a ticket on the bus and is it obligatory to pay with payment cards?
    • July 28, 2021 at 10:27 am
      Team Member
      Hi Jelena, As far as I know the Nitbus will still work regularly at this hour. All transport is supposed to be running at 100% according to the Generalitat of Catalunya and you can get more info on the curfew here. As for the payment - I have usually paid with coins when taking this bus but don't expect them to have change if you're trying to pay with a 20 euro note. Bringing the €2.40 in exact change would be suggested if possible :) Cheers,
  • June 30, 2021 at 12:43 pm
    Hi Ash! We are going to Barca on saturday, 3rd of July. Landing at 21:00. There are 3 of us (2 adults and baby of 2). What is your suggestion of transport to our app at address: De Ramon Turro 89, San Marti,Barcelona? We're staying until next sutarday so will pick some card too, but I can see it will be too late for them when we land. Which tourist card do you recomend for us? Thanks!
    • July 2, 2021 at 10:49 am
      Team Member
      Hi Dražen, Thanks for writing :) Unfortunately you're in a bit of a 'dead spot' as far as direct transport goes so you're going to have to take two methods. I would grab the Aerobus and get off at the terminus station (Plaça Catalunya) and then walk from there (5 min) to the Urquinaona metro station and grab the yellow line of the metro to Bogatell. From Bogatell it's just a short walk to the address. About the card... what are you planning on seeing? Send me a quick list and I'll let you know which is best :) Cheers,
      • July 2, 2021 at 11:13 pm
        Dead spot, yeah :( Well, we don't like it much 'cause even our girl is almost 3 she could be too tired for it. And is offering me a taxi to apartment for 26€. Probably we'll take that offer. And about a list - we were few years ago in Barca before our daughter so now we'll stick to leisure and fun: beach, Zoo, Aquarium, Tibidabo and so on. We'll take a card for 5 days, either Barcelona card or Barcelona card family. Suggestion?
  • June 28, 2021 at 8:58 pm
    Hi Ash, We have planned our vacation in the middle of September and are starting in Girona, touring the Costa Brava, and then finishing in Barcelona. What is the best way to get from the Barcelona Airport (Lufthansa) to Girona?
    • June 29, 2021 at 9:12 am
      Team Member
      Hi Susan, Normally there would be a bus service from T1 to central Girona but at the moment it is not running due to COVID and the future is very much up in the air. I would check back closer to the date to see if they've relaunched the service - the website is the bus company Sagales. Your second option (provided you don't just straight up rent a car) will unfortunately have to be taking a train into central Barcelona (to Sants Estacio) and grabbing a second train to Girona. Trains can be booked using the Renfe website. Cheers,
  • May 30, 2021 at 4:23 am
    We are staying at the Ohla Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter in October. What would be the best way to get from the airport to the hotel.
    • May 30, 2021 at 10:52 am
      Team Member
      Hi Karen, That's an easy one :) Just grab the Aerobus and take it to the terminus stop at Plaça Catalunya and from here it's about a 7 minute walk. Cheers,
  • May 24, 2021 at 9:24 pm
    Going to Carrer del Vallespir, 90, 1º 1ª, Barcelona. How would you get there?
    • May 26, 2021 at 9:57 am
      Team Member
      Hi Melissa, Normally I would recommend grabbing the airport train from T2 but since this terminal is closed your only/best option will be to grab the Aerobus to Plaça Espanya (the first stop) and from here it'll be a 10-12 minute walk or a quick taxi. If you've booked for later on in the year though it's very possible that T2 will be re-open so please do check back before you go. Cheers,
      • May 26, 2021 at 9:58 am
        Team Member
        Oh! And in the event you take the T2 airport train (once COVID closures are in the past) you'd get off at Sants Estacio - from here it's a short walk.
  • March 10, 2020 at 12:03 am
    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
      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
    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
      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.
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