Ash
Written by Ash

Barcelona Public Transport Guide + Travel Card List

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A local like me is still learning the Barcelona public transport system.

I can only imagine what tourists feel like stepping into the city cold turkey. The variety of options for getting around Barcelona can get downright confusing.

Let us depart on a journey together then shall we?

Here’s your guide to mastering the city’s public transit, seeing what you need to see, and most of all saving money using discount transport cards.

Barcelona Public Transport

First off some advice: standard zone 1 single tickets go from €2.20 and up. It’s possible to cut this price in half by getting yourself an all-inclusive discount transport pass.

If you’ve got any questions about the passes write me in the comments below for custom advice.

The Metro

The metro is fast, efficient, and air-conditioned.

With 8 lines it’s almost impossible not to find a station near your apartment or hostel. You’ll always find access for people with disabilities. It’s intuitive and easy to navigate so basically… just take it!

Trains run every 2 to 3 minutes. On weekends you may wait 4 to 5 minutes for your train while nights after 10 o’clock it runs at 7-8 minute intervals.

Barcelona Metro Map:

Complimentary maps are found in the stations as well as being plastered pretty much everywhere else. If you’re prone to getting lost make sure you pick one up.

You can also grab your Barcelona metro map in advance online.

Barcelona Metro Hours:

  • Sunday to Thursday from 5 am to 12 am.
  • Friday from 5 am to 2 am.
  • Saturday from 5 am and open all night.

Barcelona City Bus and Night-Buses

In Barcelona buses and night buses cover the entire city grid. It’s a great mode of transport because it allows you to see some of the city’s top attractions up close.

Keep in mind though there are some downsides:

  • You need an advanced sense of direction!
  • It’s slower than the metro.
  • You may have to stand.
  • Without a Barcelona transport card each ride will cost you €2.20.

Barcelona’s red buses run every 8-15 minutes from 5 am to 10 pm depending on the line. At night you’ll find the yellow nit bus (night bus) which runs every 20-30 minutes.

This website will help you find your bus but be careful setting the filters before your search.

Starting from January 2017 all Barcelona buses should have free wifi – but don’t expect supersonic speeds.

Taxis

I’m happy to report that taking a taxi in Barcelona is remarkably simple.

On main streets I rarely wait more than a minute. Barcelona taxis are black and yellow and a green light indicates a cab is available while a yellow light indicates they’re taken.

Prices are affordable. Consider €8.00 to €15.00 as the average price for rides within the city.

From the airport to the city center you’ll be charged about €35.00 to €40.00. Every driver must use a meter but it’s possible that at the end of the ride you’ll be charged a slightly higher price.

There may be an extra charge applied for rides to the airport, large luggage, or night fares.

Free Now

Starting in 2017 another transport option is to use Barcelona’s taxi booking app Free Now.

Never before has booking one of the city’s regulated black and yellow taxis been so easy – it’ll save you time hailing cabs and the odds of being taken for a ride are zero since the route is preplanned, like Uber.

Downloading the app is also a great chance to take advantage of my €5.00 reader discount. Simply insert the code “ashley.pil” upon sign up and you’re set to go.

For more information see how to sign up with Free Now.

Hop on Hop Off Bus

The best transport to see Barcelona if you detest walks or are traveling with kids.

This hop on hop off bus counts three different lines and will take you to pretty much every main attraction in the city. The roofless upper deck is a great place to get some sun and soak up the 360 degree view.

The free audio guide and app will make you a Barcelona expert in no time. And there’s WiFi.

You’ll also get €200.00 of vouchers toward attractions, shopping, restaurants, and more.

Prices start at €27.00.

For more information read my article on Barcelona’s famous Bus Turístic.

BUS TURISTIC
Save 10% on my ticket
sagrada familia passion façade under construction sagrada familia passion façade under construction
Saving 20% on attractions is just the beginning!

Cable Cars and Funicular

Montjuïc Cable Car

With unspoiled views from 184 metres above the city, the open-air architecture museum Poble Espanyol, and its famous castle no trip would be complete without a trip up Montjuïc and this is a great way to do it in style!

Float 84.5 metres above the city and take in the incredible city views as you ride the Montjuïc cable car. The 750 metre run leaves from Avenida Miramar and stops at Montjuïc park and Montjuïc Castle.

A return ticket costs €12.15 per for adults (€8.40 one way) and €6.60 children between 4 and 12 (€8.73 one way).

If you buy tickets online Ticketbar will give you a 10% discount.

MONTJUIC CABLE CAR
Book my tickets now!

Just print out the vouchers that they email you and head straight for the cable car. To get there you’ll need to take other transport options like the funicular, the Bus Turistic, or bus #150.

Montjuic Cable Car Hours 2020

  • Mar to May + Oct: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
  • Jun to Sept: daily from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
  • Nov to Mar: daily from 10:00 to 6:00 pm

Port Vell Cable Car

Not to be mistaken with the Montjuïc cable car, even if this one takes you on a magical ride high above Barcelona as well. This one was built in 1926 and its distinctly ‘antique’ cars are a dead giveaway of this.

It isn’t included in any of the travel cards either and has the disadvantage of being sold solely in person – you’ll have to line up at ticket counters to go. Tickets cost €11.00 one way and €16.50 return.

Consult their departure schedules online.

The Port Vell Cable Car leaves from the Torre de San Sebastién, a few steps away from the beaches of Barceloneta and stops halfway at Torre di Jaime I (the port) and continues to Avenida Miramar at the foot of Montjuïc.

Port Cable Car Hours 2020

  • Oct 28th to Feb 28th: 11:00 am to 5:30 pm (closed Dec 25th).
  • Mar 1st to May 31st, Sept 12th to Oct 27th: 10:30 am to 7:00 pm
  • Jun 1st to Sept 11th: 10:30 am to 8:00 pm

The Montjuïc Funicular

This is the cheapest way to get up Montjuic. We’re talking about a train that goes up the side of the mountain and is not suspended in the air.

It’s also valid with any Barcelona travel card. You won’t get a view since it’s more like a type of covered metro that slowly moves uphill, but we’re taking this for value anyway.

The funicular is caught at Parallel (green line L3) metro station and leaves you at Avenida Miramar where the Montjuïc cable car leaves.

Single tickets for the funicular cost €2.40.

Barcelona Scooter Rental

Can’t you just imagine yourself cruising around all Mediterranean-like by renting a scooter?

Cooltra is the highest ranking scooter rental agency on Tripadvisor and is known for its reliable service and rigorous safety and inspection standards. And you can get one for as little as €25.00.

Booking your scooter using my discount code ‘BARCELONAHACKS’ gets you a €10.00 discount.

COOLTRA
Book my scooter now and save €10.00

Bicycle

With a climate so mild getting around by bike is not only possible but suggested. The benefits of renting a bike in Barcelona are as follows:

  • It’s good exercise.
  • Better for the environment.
  • There are more than 200 km of bike lanes to take advantage of.
  • It gives you access to streets unreachable by public transport.
  • Prices start at just €5.00.

For the cheapest and most reliable service with flexible rental windows check out my article on Barcelona bike rentals.

Careful: the red and white bikes you’ll spot around the city (Bicing) are only for residents.

a pan of seafood paella at bodega joan restaurant in barcelona spain a pan of seafood paella at bodega joan restaurant in barcelona spain
Get a paella tasting menu at the legendary Bodega Joan!

Barcelona Transport Tickets

To figure out which Barcelona travel card is right for you I’ve made a list below – so you can spend more time planning a real Barcelona itinerary than worrying how you’re gonna pay for the bus.

These all-inclusive Barcelona public transport tickets include access to the following:

  • Metro.
  • City buses.
  • Ferrocarril (overground rail services).
  • Transport from the airport to the city center.
  • The Montjuïc funicular (not to be confused with the Montjuïc Cable Car).

Keep in mind if you’re traveling outside zone one (rare since zone one is massive) you’ll need to pay extra. Those of you with kids? You’ll be happy to know kids under four travel free.

On the metro your validated single ticket/pass will be valid for 120 minutes.
 
When taking the bus your validation entitles you to travel to the end of the route – except on ‘Bus del Barri’ local buses and circular lines where the circuit technically never ends.
 
In the event you’re transferring from bus to metro or vice versa within the validation window you can put the ticket in the machine and it won’t charge you another ride: it’ll simply beep and spit it back out but let you in/on.

The Hola BCN Card

The Hola Barcelona Card is a discount tourist travel card with unlimited travel. You won’t have to worry about buying new tickets. It comes with a 48, 72, 96, or 120 hour validity and prices start at €13.62 (less than €7.00 a day).

You can buy your Hola BCN card online from Ticketbar and you can pick it up at any of the red metro ticket machines (airport included) – easy peasy!

HOLA BARCELONA CARD
Save 10% on my ticket

The Barcelona Card

This one is for more than just getting around and that’s why I’ve dedicated an entire article to this popular Barcelona travel card.

On top of unlimited travel it also includes free entry and discounts on attractions, museums and other activities. If you’re here for culture or shopping or both this one is highly recommended.

Like the Hola BCN this card comes with a 48, 72, 96, or 120 hour validity and prices range from €18.00 to €54.00.

If you buy in advance online you’ll save 10%.

BARCELONA CARD
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The Online City Pass

The new player in the Barcelona travel card game. It includes tickets to La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell – allowing you to skip hours of lines by having your entrance printed out in advance.

On top of this you’ll get return tickets on the best Barcelona airport transport with Aerobus, a one or two day pass on the Bus Turistic, and 20% discounts to virtually every main attraction in Barcelona including restaurants, museums, flamenco shows, and more.

It also gives you 20% off the Hola BCN public transport pass.

It’s the only ticket that allows you to have the whole holiday planned from the comfort of home – all the tickets including the 20% discounted ones can be bought online which means no lines.

CITY PASS
Save time + 20%

The T-10

FYI: The T-10 will no longer be available starting on January 1st, 2020. It will be replaced by a card called the T-Casual (explained below).

It’s common for locals but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for you. T-10 tickets cost €10.20 and include 10 public transport rides with a 1 hour and 15 minute validity.

This card is not valid for the metro from the airport.

The T-10 ticket doesn’t expire and is ‘interpersonal’ meaning a group of friends can share the same ticket by stamping it once for every person traveling. It can be bought at every metro or train station.

A comparison? The mathematics say if you’re going to travel more than six times a day (very probable) the Hola BCN is the transport card to get.

If you buy one in 2020 it’ll be valid until February 28th.

T-Casual and T-Usual (March 2020)

Starting on March 1st 2020 the game changes with new transport cards in the city.

We’re talking about the T-Casual (10 trips, €11.35), T-Familiar (8 trips, interpersonal, €10.00), and T-Usual (unlimited trips one month, €40.00) cards.

These are decent options for local commuters but not optimal for travellers: with a small group even the interpersonal T-Familiar can easily be used up in just one trip across the city. You’ll be spending lots of time buying more tickets.

Another issue is they are not valid for trips from the airport.

a spread of modern tapas at season restaurant in barcelona spain a spread of modern tapas at season restaurant in barcelona spain
Get a gourmet tapas tasting menu at Season!

Transportation From the Airport

One of the most common questions I get is how to get from the airport to the city centre.

The main options are the Aerobus, the metro, the bus, and the airport train from Terminal 2. The metro is more suited to residents on the outskirts and is not connected to the centre.

The other options run to Sants Estacio, Plaça de Espanya, Plaça d’Espanya, and Passeig de Gracia.

I suggest looking at my article on airport transport to find the right one suited to you.

Barcelona Public Transport Zones

With 6 zones covering nearly 300 different towns things are a bit confusing at first.

The good news? The odds of you going outside zone 1 are virtually zero unless you’re going to beach side towns like Sitges. None of Barcelona’s major attractions are found outside this area.

Check out this Barcelona public transportation zone map just to be sure.

Get at Me in the Comments Below

You must be exhausted after all that reading, how did you find it?

Let me save you even more time – if you’ve got any questions about travel cards, Barcelona public transport, or anything else regarding your holiday in Spain get at me now in the comments below.

Also don’t be afraid to join the Barcelona transport 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!

74 comments
  • February 29, 2020 at 8:32 pm
    Steve
    Hi Ash Where/how can i buy the T-Familiar? Thanks
    • March 2, 2020 at 12:44 pm
      lucile
      Lucile
      Hi Steve, You can buy T-Familiar at the machines found at metro stations lobbies ;) Let me know if you have further questions. Cheers, Lucile
  • February 28, 2020 at 8:38 pm
    Raquel Roman
    Hi Ash, my family and I that include 2 adults and 2 children (14yrs & 3Yrs.) are flying into Barcelona for 2 days before boarding our cruise at the Barcelona Port. should we attempt public transportation with a 3year old? or just stick to Taxi? we are staying near Centre Comercial El Triangle and plan on going to Tibidabo amusement park, what cost saving mode of transportation would you suggest for us getting there?
    • March 2, 2020 at 12:33 pm
      lucile
      Lucile
      Hi Raquel, The public transports are good for a 3 years old ;) Most taxis don't have kid seat, so I don't think it's even the best solution... You're staying in a very central area, a lot of places/attractions are within walking distance. You can find all info about Tibidabo on this post. Let me know if you have any further questions! Cheers, Lucile
  • February 26, 2020 at 7:59 am
    Marie Sieberhagen
    We are travelling from South Africa and will be landing on Monday, 11 May 2020 at 22.55, will public transport from the airport still be available. We plan to buy the Hola BCN Card.
    • February 26, 2020 at 11:21 am
      lucile
      Lucile
      Hi Marie, With the Hola BCN card you'll be able to take metro, trains or buses from the airport. Bus 46 to Plaça Espanya runs until 23.50 on weekdays and metro L9S until midnight. I can help you find the best way to reach your accommodation from the airport if you want ;) Cheers, Lucile
  • January 18, 2020 at 1:16 am
    Luc
    Hi Ash, I was wondering if I buy a single use metro ticket can that same ticket be used to transfer to a bus, tram or Rodalies? If so, how much time would I have to use that ticket until I would need to re-purchase another one?
    • January 18, 2020 at 9:17 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Luc, Your ticket will be valid for 75 minutes once you've used it. If you leave the metro and board a bus simply put it in the machine again so the driver knows what you're doing. It'll let you on. Cheers, Ash
      • January 19, 2020 at 5:28 pm
        Luc
        Thank you so much for the reply Ash! I was also wondering, if I buy a round trip Aerobus ticket to be used on the 13th for my arrival, would I have until the 27th or the 28th to use the return ticket? It says it's good for 15 days, but I wasn't sure when they start counting the days. Thank you again for your time!
        • January 20, 2020 at 9:15 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Hi Luc, No problem at all! And yes, the Aerobus ticket will be good until the 27th... when are you leaving exactly? If it's late there's no shame spending a tiny bit more money and getting individual tickets. Ash
          • January 20, 2020 at 9:34 pm
            Luc
            Thanks again Ash! I will be arriving the 13th and leaving the 28th, so I was hoping the round trip Aerobus ticket would cover it, so close, hehe. Thank you again for your reply.
            • January 21, 2020 at 2:26 am
              ashley
              Team Member
              Ash
              Indeed, so close! I'm sure though that it won't spoil your time here... enjoy :)
  • October 10, 2019 at 8:07 pm
    Karen
    Hi Ash, Out of all the websites I have come across, yours is by far the MOST resourceful! Thank you for taking the time to put this information together! My bf and I will be visiting Barcelona from Dec. 16th – 26th and will be staying in Gracia. We plan to get to/from the airport by taxi (via Free Now app w/ your discount), but want to know what our best transportation options are for the duration of our stay. We were considering the T10 pass, but am wondering if we should instead get the HOLA BCN travel card. Here are some of the sights we plan to visit: -Passeig de Gracia, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Sagrada Familia -El Born, Parc de la Ciutadella, Picasso Museum -Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas St -Montjuic Castle -Parc del Laberint d’Horta, Parc Guell -Tibidabo Amusement Park I appreciate any tips you can give us! Many thanks, Karen
    • October 11, 2019 at 12:50 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Karen, Thanks so much for the very kind words, I am happy to help :) Keep in mind that the Hola has nothing to do with attractions so there are no discounts for things like Sagrada erc. There is also a maximum of 120 hours per card. What I would do is get the 120 hour passes for the first travel heavy days and then simply switch to the T-10 for the remainder when you're more relaxed and familiar with the city. That way you get the best of both worlds :) Cheers, Ash
  • September 24, 2019 at 7:41 am
    Anusha
    Hi there I need to get from the airport to calella , can I use the Barcelona pass ? Or what is the cheapest option ?
    • September 24, 2019 at 11:12 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hello Anusha, You won't be able to use any of the passes promoted on this site, you'll have to make other arrangements. The one direct transfer option from Barcelona airport to Callela is by bus. If you’re going straight from the airport you can grab the Sagales bus from either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 departing about once an hour between 9:15 am and 10:45 pm. Journey time is 80 minutes. Tickets can be bought in advance using the Sagales website. Cheers, Ash
  • August 22, 2019 at 1:22 am
    Charline
    Hi Ash, Thanks so much for such a nice sharing. I can imagine you made a lot of effort on it. The information is very helpful. I booked a hotel in the region of Cornella de Llobregat, where bus L77 is available to reach the airport. As I know, bus L77 is operated by Baixbus, is T-10 a better choice for both airport and tourist spots in this case? Do you have any better suggestion? Thank you very much. Best regards, Charline
    • August 22, 2019 at 8:54 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Charline, Thanks for the kind words, I am always glad to help :) If you're planning on using the Baixbus a lot and it will make up a great deal of your transport I would use the T-10, that way you don't have to worry about making up value in the city. Cheers, Ash
  • August 6, 2019 at 11:01 am
    Sharon Green
    Hi we've arrived in Barcelona and it fab! Walked miles yest..we are staying in Gothic quarter but wanted to see musical fountain one night.. can we get the metro there and is it worth just buying ticket at station as not sure if we need 2 day tickets as can walk most places? Thanks!
    • August 7, 2019 at 9:25 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Sharon, It's about a 30-40 minute walk from the Gothic Quarter or you can grab the red line from Catalunya to Espanya station, get off there and it's just a short walk. Don't over think it ;) Tickets can be bought there, if you're not going to be using the metro much more you won't need a pass... just a single! Cheers, Ash
  • July 6, 2019 at 3:25 pm
    daphna
    hi! thank you so much for doing all this amazing work with your blog!!! amazing stuff!!! question, i will spend few days in barcelona with my 14 years old son. i was wondering if riding the bikes is safe enough and if it might be too difficult? and, if you know the app cabify, could you make a comment about that and using it in barcelona, in terms of prices compared to public transportation and security? cheers, daphna
    • July 7, 2019 at 11:10 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Daphna, Thanks so much for the kind words, glad to have you writing :) Barcelona is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world and there are plenty of bike lanes as well as pedestrian only streets. I wouldn't worry about the danger at all and it's a great and fun way to get around. About Cabify... it no longer operates in Barcelona, though when it did it was super convenient with modern and clean cars. I have no issue with them at all! Obviously though it's much more expensive than public transport... maybe 8-10x more for the average trip. Cheers, Ash
  • July 3, 2019 at 5:11 am
    Talia
    Hi, Thanks for all this awesome information. What is the best way to get from Barcelona airport to Barcelona Sants Railway station? Thanks!
    • July 3, 2019 at 9:13 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Talia, Thanks for the kind words :) I would take the airport train (R2) directly to Sants Estacio... it's only 27 minutes and is the only direct option. Cheers, Ash
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