Getting Around in Barcelona, Spain: Buses, Taxis, and the Metro

Maybe you’re a first time traveler to Spain and you’re thinking, “How am I going to get around Barcelona?” Don’t worry too much about it as there are so many ways to travel around this city. You can walk, which is not only easy, but cost-effective. A big plus for tourists when they arrive to a new city are the hop on/hop off buses. You can see the bus stop below in Plaça de Catalunya and there were actually two bus companies competing for business. That’s always a good sign because you know the prices will be better. You can even buy your tickets at home before ever arriving in Barcelona for about $28 per person for a one-day ticket or $36 for a two-day ticket. This is a great way to experience the city over a greater distance, but at your leisure.

Another option is by Metro, which is the Barcelona subway system. You can buy a ticket for a one stop trip for 1,45€ or you can purchase a T10 ticket good for 10 trips on zone 1 for 8,25€. If you are an iPhone user, there is a 99 cent app called “Barcelona Subway” or even better, the “MetrOfree app, which also has subway maps for New York, London, Paris, and more than 400 cities worldwide. Load your map on your phone before you leave to help you navigate the city by subway.

If tour buses and the Metro aren’t your style, taxis can be found just about everywhere. You’ll recognize the yellow and black cabs driving everywhere and they price out to about 10€ for about a 15 minute trip. If there is a line of cabs waiting, go to the first cab in the line and don’t cut the line if people are waiting.

My best transportation find in Barcelona is the Aerobus, Barcelona’s Airport Express Bus. The Aerobus is a light blue bus with the word “Aerobus” on its side. We walked to the stop in Plaça Catalunya, which was only a few short blocks from our hotel. Before you board the bus you should know which terminal you are leaving out of, be it A1 or A2. The price to ride the bus is only 5,05€ per person, which was significantly less than a cab to the airport would have been. The rate for the taxi for us would have been about $40 plus $3 for each bag. Payment is by cash only so have that ready when you get to the bus, but be aware that the drivers will not accept notes over 20€, presumably because they can’t change larger bills. When you arrive at the bus stop in Plaça Catalunya, there are usually a couple of buses waiting, but also an employee who will ask which terminal you are going to and they will tell you which bus to board. The buses run about every 5-10 minutes for the A1 terminal and about every 10-20 minutes for the A2 terminal.

What I liked about these buses is that they don’t require you to go up any stairs as the entrance is level with the sidewalk. This is especially helpful if you are lugging a suitcase with you or if you have children, are disabled, or are with anyone needing additional assistance. The bus has a few stops before arriving at the airport, but the ride in total was about 30 minutes. These super clean buses have luggage racks and even a TV monitor with travel information playing throughout the trip. If you are flying in and out of Barcelona, there are automatic vending machines outside the airport at the bus stop that will allow you to purchase your round-trip ticket so consider that while you wait for the bus. I wish we had this system in the US as it was so easy to use!

Don’t be afraid to try out the various modes of transportation in a new city. Do your research beforehand and get ready to explore your new surroundings.

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