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
  • February 12, 2020 at 7:20 am
    Dean Burman
    Hey buddy, arriving on Feb16th 8pm (T2c)leaving 19th 5pm. Staying at Petit palace Boquería on carrer de la Boquería near las Ramblas. We have pre booked tickets for Camp Nou . We would also like to do a hop on hop off tour. Is there an “all in one” pass that covers public transport and tour buses? And also will the HBC or city pass get us to the camp Nou? Finally, your advice on getting to our hotel bearing in mind the time we arrive into BCN. Great site, simple and to the point.. appreciate your any advice Regards Dean
    • February 12, 2020 at 11:24 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola Dean, Thanks for the kind words on the blog, always happy to help a reader out :) As far as I know there isn't an unlimited transport pass that also includes the Bus Turistic. As far as Camp Nou... the Hola Barcelona Card will get you there as it covers all transport within Zone 1 of the TMB network. The City Pass however does not include any transport unless you use the included Bus Turistic (the hop on hop off bus) to get to Camp Nou - which is doable, but slower. If you were doing it as part of a greater tour of the city it'd be fine. But using the bus just for transport to a scheduled attraction visit isn't recommended. The hotel can be reached by taking the Aerobus to the Plaça Catalunya stop (the last one) and then walking the 10 minutes down La Rambla. Alternatively you could get a cheap taxi but it won't be necessary unless you have mobility issues or something similar. Cheers, Ash
      • February 12, 2020 at 1:26 pm
        Dean Burman
        Cheers buddy Just one more quicky. If we get a separate “ hop on hop off” ticket will one of the routes takes us past the camp nou? So In theory we could kill two birds? Sighting tour and stop off for our footy tour? Again thanks for your time Dean
        • February 13, 2020 at 10:39 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Hola Dean, No worries :) The Bus Turistic does indeed have a stop at Camp Nou so you can easily get 'two birds stoned at once' if needed ;) Just make sure you leave plenty of time to arrive as the bus tour times depend on traffic. Cheers, Ash
  • February 11, 2020 at 10:55 pm
    Sol
    We arrive two days before a Carnival cruise and are booked at Tryp Barcelona Apolo hotel and what's the best method of transport for first timers from airport to hotel and to the port. We are also looking at the Dequesa Suites Barcelona and any comments on transportation to and from or general information on each property would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    • February 12, 2020 at 11:01 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Apologies I'm a bit off in the calculations though... Tryp Apolo is much closer to the Port Bus stop. Duquesa Suites will be maybe a 20 minute walk. If it comes down to convenience for transport then Tryp would win!
    • February 12, 2020 at 10:59 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Sol, For starters let me say that both of these hotels are very convenient for getting to the cruise terminal. They'll both be about 5-6 minutes' walking from the Port Bus stop at the Columbus Statue. Easy peasy. As for the airport transport. For Tryp Barcelona Apolo I would take the Aerobus to Plaça Espanya and then walk the 15 minutes down Paral-lel (OR take the green line of the metro two stops down to Drassanes) to the hotel. For Duquesa Suites I'd take that same Aerobus to the last stop (Plaça Catalunya) and then walk over to Urquinaona metro and take the yellow line of the metro down two stops to Barceloneta. From here it's just a short walk. As for any other comments unfortunately not having stayed in either I can't say much from personal experience. I would say that the Duquesa Suites are in a nicer area, near the beach and arguably the best area of the old town: El Born. As for the quality of the hotels I would yield to the thousands of reviews found online :) I've heard good things about both. Cheers, Ash
  • February 11, 2020 at 12:36 am
    Jackie
    Hello, Thanks for all your help in assembling this website! We are staying at the Hotel Astoria (Hotel Astoria, Carrer de París, 203, 08036 Barcelona, Spain) and our flight arrives in the afternoon. We are a party of four with a mix of hand/checked luggage. What do you think is the best way to arrive to our hotel?
    • February 11, 2020 at 12:38 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Jackie, I'd normally recommend a combination of the Aerobus and metro but if you add it all up for 4 people it's going to cost around €30.00 so you might as well just grab a taxi from the airport. It'll be quicker and I'm sure you can all afford to pony up the extra €1.50 each :) Cheers, Ash
  • February 10, 2020 at 10:38 pm
    Sophie
    Hi! Thank you so much for this post! I’m wondering if I’m misunderstanding something. So the city pass is €80 and you get one day of bus transport, free park guell (usually only €7.50) and free sagrada familia (usually only €17)... or for €89 you get two days of bus transport? I don’t get how its a good deal, am I not understanding it? Also, I will be staying in Barcelona for 4 nights/5 days in March. I’ll be staying at Yeah Hostel a few blocks from Passeig de Gracia. If I get the city pass, the aerobus is included? And if I don’t get the city pass, it seems like getting one of the other two passes and using the metro is best option? Thank you!!
    • February 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Sophie, I explain how it all works in the 'Is it worth it?' section of the City Pass page: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/barcelona-city-pass/ The value comes in getting tickets with the 20% discounts included with the pass. I do some calculations explaining it. Also keep in mind that some of the numbers you're listing are wrong. It now costs €23.00 to buy Sagrada Familia general admission tickets at ticket windows and €20.00 to buy them online. Park Guell is also more expensive. It also isn't 'bus transport' but rather the Hop on Hop Off tourist bus which has a €30.00 value. You get a return ticket on the Aerobus with the City Pass. If you don't get the City Pass it depends... which attractions are you thinking of getting? If you're not seeing any then a transport pass like the Hola Barcelona is just fine but if this is a sightseeing holiday it's often worth it for the City Pass. Let me know, Ash
  • February 10, 2020 at 12:42 pm
    Eloise Haworth
    Hi this is really useful blog - I love it! I am staying at Hotel Auto Hogar, Avinguda del Paral·lel, Barcelona, Spain. What would you suggest in terms of getting there from the airport? It is right outside a metro station but it looks like we would have to change 3/4 times so may cost quite a bit?
    • February 11, 2020 at 12:19 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Eloise, I wouldn't take the metro as it won't get you anywhere very fast. I would grab the Aerobus and get off at the first stop Plaça Espanya and then from here you can take the green line of the metro down to Paral-lel. It's just two stops. Or you could do a slightly downhill 20 minute walk. This will be at least 20 minutes faster than trying to do it all by metro. Cheers, Ash
  • February 9, 2020 at 8:51 am
    CJ
    Hi Ash, Great job for a very informative blog, thank you. We arrive El Prat on March 25, 2020 and will be staying at Sicilia 166 - 170 & Ausias March 113-115 Barcelona, what will be the best form of public transportation to get us to our destination and back to the airport when we leave ?. Thank you in advance for your advice and help.
    • February 10, 2020 at 10:28 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola CJ, I would grab the Aerobus to Plaça Catalunya and then from here take the red line of the metro two stops to Arc de Triomf. From here it'll be a short walk. Cheers, Ash
  • February 5, 2020 at 11:06 pm
    David
    Hi We are a couple arriving in Barcelona mid June. We are staying at 4* U232 and will be travelling from BCN airport. What do you suggest is the best way to get to the hotel.
    • February 6, 2020 at 10:38 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola David, I'd get the airport train to Sants Estacio and from here grab the blue line of the metro to Hospital Clinic. From here it's just a short walk. Cheers, Ash
  • February 5, 2020 at 8:57 pm
    Mona
    Based on your wonderful site we are booked to come to Barcelona September 28th through October 5th of this year. We are staying at the Hotel Fuster. Aside from a taxi what is the best way to get to the hotel from the airport? Also, is the city so busy at that time that we need to book all our sightseeing tickets prior to arrival in September?
    • February 6, 2020 at 10:36 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hola Mona, Other than taxi your best bet would be to grab the airport train to Passeig de Gracia. From here it's just a 10 minute walk. As for tickets... I always recommend booking attractions online. Look no further than the city's top three attractions for evidence of this: - Sagrada Familia only allows walk ups during a two hour period in the late afternoon, so you'll be forced to go during the worst time of the day. - Casa Batllo costs €4.00 per ticket if you buy at ticket windows - Park Guell has a very low hourly cap out rate which means if you show up without tickets you'll likely be asked to come back later, or maybe even the next day There is of course also the fact you'll have to line up (possibly for a long time, especially in high season) for many places instead of being let right in. Many other attractions also cost more at ticket windows. I would suggest getting as much as possible booked online. In my integrated webshop I offer the lowest prices and if you've found my site helpful I'd really appreciate the purchase there as it compensates me for the enormous amount of time I've put in plus server costs etc. Cheers, Ash
  • February 5, 2020 at 2:41 am
    Chris
    My family of 4 is arriving at BCN in a couple weeks and plan to stay at the W (Marriott) hotel. What is your recommendation for transportation from the airport to the hotel. THANK YOU.
    • February 5, 2020 at 10:24 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Chris, If there are four of you I wouldn't suggest taking Aerobus as the price for the group will be around €25.00. You might as well shell out the extra €10.00 and get a taxi as it'll save you time and hassle. The W is quite far of a walk from the nearest metro station (a rarity in the city, but owing to its position on a little peninsula) as well so that wouldn't make much sense either. Cheers, Ash
  • February 4, 2020 at 4:21 pm
    Paul McCaffrey
    Hey Ash, I have really enjoyed your blog. It is 6 years since I was last in Barcelona, your knowledge and style show a deep appreciation of your subject. Thank you. My wife & I will be staying at Catalonia Atenas, Avenida Meridiana, 151, Sant Martí. We have previously enjoyed some of the tours, I fear my wife will want to shop more than sight-see this trip. We fly into BCN @ 9.45 am on Feb 13th & depart @ 21.15 pm on Feb 17th. Both Clot Metro Station & El Clot-Aragó Railway Station are near to the hotel. Which travel card would you recommend? Hola Bcn looks good to me, possibly sharing a T10 for traipsing around. Regards, Paul.
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