Written by Ash

Plan and Dominate Ironman Barcelona with One Guide


So, your idea of a holiday is slugging through a 226.27 km race?

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t heard better excuses for coming to one of the world’s greatest cities.

But that’s of little importance.

Whatever your motives are I’m interested in helping you have the best Barcelona holiday possible, so let’s talk a bit about the race, how to get there, and how to maximize your time and money in the Spanish sun.

Before You Arrive

With Ironman Barcelona running on October 1st 2023 know that you’re coming at the end of high season.

This typically means two things: city congestion and hour long lines.

If you’re (rightfully) turning your race into a well-deserved holiday there are a few things to do to make your Barcelona itinerary go a little more smoothly like:

At the end of September you’ll still be able to get some time in at the city’s beaches but you should also be packing for any downturns in weather – bring a light jacket/raincoat just in case.

Ironman Barcelona runs out of a town called Calella which is nearly equidistant to Barcelona Airport and Girona Airport – I would only advise the latter if you find a great flight deal due to weak connections.

Any further questions make sure you ask me in the comments section below!

Ironman Barcelona General Info

We’re talking about one of the world’s biggest triathlons with more than 2,500 participants.

This ‘destination’ Ironman event leaves athletes at the foot of so many amazing attractions. Whether you’re looking for culture, food, nightlife, or any combination of the three you’ll get it in Barcelona.

Ironman Barcelona runs out of the picturesque seaside village of Calella – about 50 km from the city centre.

In 2023 Ironman Barcelona will award 40 entries to the 2024 Ironman World Championship.


The water portion of Ironman Barcelona is what gets people talking – so much so that it was the run away winner of the 2016 Athlete’s Choice Award for Best Swim.

First of all it’s a non-wetsuit swim for pros with temperatures hovering around 22.5 degrees. It allows even amateurs the possibility to opt for more comfortable swim skin instead of more restrictive wetsuits.

You’ll also get a great view of some of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful coastline.

Length: 3800 m.

Type: Rolling start/single lap loop.

Cut off time: 2 hours 20 minutes.

To download the Ironman Barcelona swim course in pdf form click here.


This flat and fast course traces 39 km of scenic coastline from Calella to Montgat.

In all you’ll make 2.5 loops on the 180 km journey. There are very few hills on the Ironman Barcelona bike course with a few slight inclines reaching no more than 75 m above sea level.

Being one of the biggest Ironman competitions in the world the path naturally gets congested and there have been complaints of drafting and judges not enforcing the 12 meter distance rule – try and focus on yourself!

You’ll find three aid/feed stations (approximately every 12 km) along the way.

Cut off time: 9 hours 10 minutes (swim + bike)

To download the Ironman Barcelona bike course in pdf form click here.


The run circuit is new for 2023 and runs from Calella to the town of Santa Susanna.

This rather tame course is mostly hard-packed dirt with a few boardwalk portions in between. Large stretches of of the run are tree-covered which spells relief from any balmy September weather.

You’ll find 6 aid/feed stations along the way.

Cut off time: 15 hours 40 minutes (swim + bike + run)

How to Get to Ironman Barcelona

The village of Calella is about 60 kilometers to the northeast of Barcelona. This place is well known as being the gateway to the pristine beaches of the Costa Brava.

Plan carefully! You should expect to travel at least 1 hour and 30 minutes under optimal conditions.

From Barcelona Airport to Calella

The one direct transfer option from Barcelona airport to Calella is by bus.

If you’re going straight to Ironman 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: 80 minutes.

Price: €9.50 one way (€19.00 return).

Tickets can be bought in advance using the Sagales website.

For bus schedules between Barcelona airport and Calella click here.

From Barcelona to Calella

If you’re visiting the city first you have multiple transfer options from Barcelona airport – and I recommend getting one of the city’s discount transport passes to save money.

From the city the quickest option is taking the R1 train (destination Blanes) to Callela. There are about four departures an hour from Barcelona Sants, Plaça Catalunya, Arc de Triomf, and El Clot-Arago.

Journey time: 65-80 minutes depending on departure station.

Price: €4.90 (€9.80 return).

For train schedules between Barcelona and Callela click here.

Barcelona to Callela by Taxi

Big groups may want to opt for a taxi to save time changing trains.

From the center of the city expect to pay about €80.00 for the 55 km trip.

Tip: you’ll qualify for a €5.00 taxi discount on your first ride if you sign up for Barcelona’s taxi app program called Free Now. Simply follow my instructions here to get the discount.

Journey time: one hour.

For more information on Barcelona taxis click here.

a tourist holds 3 barcelona discount passes in front of the arc de triomf in barcelona spain a tourist holds 3 barcelona discount passes in front of the arc de triomf in barcelona spain
Get a Barcelona tourist discount pass and save money + time.

Sporting Goods Stores

If you need any last minute clothing or equipment for Ironman Barcelona then head to Spain’s largest sporting goods retailer: Decathlon.

Not only will you find reasonable prices but the sheer selection of products is second to none.

The most central Barcelona location is right off the famous La Rambla at Carrer de la Canuda, 20. You can also find outlets at various Barcelona shopping centres like L’illa and Gran Via 2.

Ironman Barcelona Accommodation

In general if you’re staying in Barcelona you’re better off finding accommodation near the four major train stations which are connected to the Calella R1 train.

These main Barcelona stations are: Barcelona Sants, Plaça Catalunya, Arc de Triomf, and El Clot-Arago.

If you’re having troubles deciding I’ll direct you to my articles about the best area to stay in Barcelona as well as Barcelona’s best hostels.

If you’re staying in Calella you can check out over 120 places by clicking the button below:


Planning on Doing the Barcelona Ironman?

Still didn’t find everything you need about Ironman Barcelona?

Any questions you have will be answered in a triathlon’s time in the section below! Also, if you’ve got any comments please fire away because I’m always looking to improve things around here.

Happy travels 🙂

Photo credit: Phil Roeder via / CC BY

  • April 8, 2023 at 4:02 pm
    Ravi Arora
    Hi Ash, Ravi from India. I am planning for IM Barcelona 2023. Thanks a lot for the informative article. I have few questions regarding the information. As you mentioned in your article, 1. Swimming is non-wetsuit for pros, is it optional for newbies or complete non- wetsuit for everyone? Since, in YT I saw that participants were swimming in wet-suit. 2. The cut-off time mentioned for Swim+Bike is 9 hrs 10 min, however in general it should be 10 hrs 30 min. Total time given is 15 Hrs 40 Min. Is there any change in overall time, since it should be 17 Hrs? 3. I want to attend the event with my family of 2 Adults n 2 Kids ( 12 yrs n 8 Yrs). Plz suggest how should I plan for the same. Regards Ravi Arora
    • October 1, 2023 at 10:07 pm
      Hi can you tell me about the swim I have been told it can be very rough some times
    • September 13, 2023 at 1:10 pm
      Hi Ravi, I shall also be there at this event, I was thinking the same with reference to times etc, I thought total time was 17 hours, then looking in to it saw a total time of 16 hours, for me at least it doesn't appear that clear. All the best, Mikey
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