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
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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 Tiqets 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 Tiqets 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 + 10%

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!

76 comments
  • September 29, 2018 at 10:49 pm
    Vishal
    Hello, I am visiting Barcelona on 2nd October & I am staying in Ibis Budget hotel in area Viladecans: Now when I search for connection from Airport to my hotel it shows sum L99 bus operated by BaxiBus, So now is there is other connection by which I can reach my hotel from Airport & use Hola BCN card or T-10 card is suitable for me as I am travelling with my wife. Please Advice.
    • September 30, 2018 at 4:21 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Vishal, Unfortunately this hotel isn't really well served by the major airport transport routes since it's not so central and is an airport hotel. The city bus will be your only reasonable option. You will be able to use your Hola BCN on the city buses like the L99 though so this is no problem. Since you're staying so far out you'll probably need a lot of transport so I'd probably go with the Hola BCN which you can pick up at the airport. Ash
  • September 29, 2018 at 7:59 pm
    Michelle
    We are leaving for Barcelona in a few days. We will arrive Thurs and depart Sunday. Our hotel is The Edition. We would like to see the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, but otherwise want to be on our own. I'm confused about the City Pass, does that give us direct transfers from the airport? Do we need to get another type of pass for the Hop On Hop Off buses? What is Bus Turistic?
    • September 30, 2018 at 4:09 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Michelle, The Aerobus is not a direct service, it is a bus that takes you from the airport and terminates at the most central part of the city Plaça Catalunya (as well as Plaça Espanya and Urgell). The Bus Turistic is the same thing: it's the hop on hop off bus and it is included in the City Pass. You won't need to get any other pass as all the things you've mentioned are included. Ash
  • September 27, 2018 at 5:44 am
    Keri
    Hi great advice thank you. I'm traveling, pre cruise for two nights in Barcelona with my Husband and two teenagers for our 3rd visit. We will be needing transport from airport to hotel and then 1 day hop on hop off bus. What would you suggest please ?
    • September 27, 2018 at 11:13 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Keri, If this is all you need I would have to ask where to hotel is? Only then could I recommend the best transport method to the airport. If the only attraction you're looking for is the Bus Turistic I would simply recommend buying these tickets individually and not going for any of the big discount cards... are you planning on seeing any of the sites from the inside? Please let me know and I'll let you know what I think. Ash
      • September 27, 2018 at 1:53 pm
        Keri
        Hi, thanks for your reply Ash. We won’t be seeing them from inside this time as already done most of them last visits when we stayed, the four of us will be going to Nou Camp, via open top bus, going on the cable car and hotel this time is Casa Maria gran via de les Corts Catalanes 429 cuarto primera Eixample.
        • September 27, 2018 at 6:17 pm
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          OK great, in this case just book the tickets individually and grab the Aerobus from airport to the first stop Plaça Espanya, from here it's just a short 5 minute walk to your hotel :)
  • August 8, 2018 at 10:09 pm
    Robin
    Hi, My husband and I will be travelling to Barcelona next May/June, we will be there for 12 days, want to see all the Gaudi sights, Camp Nou, like the hop on off bus tours and will probably go to Sitges and Girona for a day each, what would be the best card(s) for us to get?, it's a little confusing... thanks so much for your invaluable help!
    • August 9, 2018 at 7:57 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Robin, Wow, 12 days! Honestly I would grab the Barcelona City Pass since it includes all the things you mentioned and will give you 20% discounts off of pretty much anything. Plus it's all booked online so super convenient. Then what you could do is use this 20% discount for a 48 or 72 hour Hola BCN card for the transport... you could use this during the heavy sightseeing days and then figure out if you need another. If not you could just go with the T-10 transport card which gives 10 rides and is interpersonal. No need to go heavy on the days for the transport pass in my opinion as Barcelona is super walkable. Unfortunately they won't apply to Siges or Girona but thenn again no pass does as they're quite far out :( If you haven't already make sure you read my articles on how to visit Sitges or Girona. Ash
  • June 22, 2018 at 2:31 pm
    Bela
    Hi, we are travelling end of the month to Barcelona whit a 4 years old kid.Do we need to by ticket for him for bus metro ect.?
    • June 23, 2018 at 12:31 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Bela, Kids under 4 ride free on the entire Barcelona transport network. There's more info in my article about seeing Barcelona with kids: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/barcelona-with-kids/#transport Ash
  • June 11, 2018 at 12:02 am
    Maggie
    Hi! We’ll be travelling mid july to Barcelona for 3 nights for the 1st time (family of 3 adults). Which area/zone would you recommend us to stay? We like quiet nights, near a hop off hop on bus stop, not to far from centre...
    • June 11, 2018 at 12:32 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Maggie, Off the top of my head I would say Gracia or El Born... but if you haven't already I advise you to take a look at my post on the best areas to stay in Barcelona because it breaks it down a little more in depth. If you have any specific questions about this after please let me know :) Ash
  • May 10, 2018 at 2:39 pm
    Martin Bull
    Hi, I am travelling to Barcelona in Sept this year, the scheduled arrival is a Sunday at 21:30. Could you suggest the best transport to get to my booked hotel in Clot Santa Mari district. I was hoping to take advantage of a discount card, and use the train direct to my hotel but the tourist office at the airport would be closed on arrival. TIA
    • May 10, 2018 at 5:55 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Martin, To get to El Clot you'll simply need to take the airport train from Terminal 2 all the way to El Clot-Arago station. You'll be able to use the T-10 transport card for this (bought at the machines), which will include 10 trips on any of the transport in the city. So the airport transport will only cost you about 1 euro. This should keep you afloat for a day or two and then if you're staying longer you could get an Hola Bcn for the rest of your stay. Again, up to you! :) Ash
  • March 29, 2018 at 3:39 pm
    Sathya
    Hi Ash, We are coming tomorrow and staying at Castelldefell with two children for 8 nights! From your blog I understand it would be best to get the Hola BCN and the city pass to get the discounts on attractions. Have I got this right? You have definitely hacked a number of Barcelona loving hearts:) Fantastic resource!! Many Thanks Sathya
    • March 29, 2018 at 3:54 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Sathya, Thank you so much for the very kind words, that's amazing! I am glad I can help :) You're certainly right about the City Pass + Hola BCN (which will have a 20% discount) for the visit. Especially over long visits like 8 days you can really rack up the savings. You'll be doing a lot of traveling back and forth to Castelldefels and luckily it's still in Zone 1 so the Hola BCN works. Any more questions I am here! Ash
  • March 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm
    Allison
    I have just found your website and it has been invaluable in planning my short 2 day stay in Barcelona. One question I have that I can not seem to find the answer to that I was hoping you could help me with. We will be staying at the Hilton Diagonal Mar (Passeig del Taulat, 262-264, 08019) and I can not seem to determine if this falls in Zone 1 for the metro. I am trying to determine if buying a T-10 card or Barcelona Transport Card would be beneficial as we plan to spend most of our days near the main attractions in City Center, however, if our hotel is outsize of Zone 1, I don't know that there is much of a point. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!
    • March 20, 2018 at 5:34 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Allison, Your hotel is most definitely in Zone 1 as it extends way out beyond the Parc del Forum area and essentially starts up the coast in a small town! No worries at all :) Ash
  • March 17, 2018 at 3:56 am
    chrissy
    I don't understand. For the T-10 ticket, what does it mean when it says "10 public transport rides with a 1 hour and 15 minute validity."
    • March 17, 2018 at 11:14 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Chrissy, It simply means you can use it 10 times on either bus, metro, or tram and that you'll only use up one ride every 75 minutes. For example, if you take the metro then get off and present the ticket to board the tram within the time frame, it'll be counted as one ride and not two. Ash
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