Getting Around Barcelona

by : Gaizka Pujana

The airport is 13 km southwest of central Barcelona; to get into town visitors can take a taxi or ride either the train or bus. Taxis are readily available outside any of the airport's three terminals. The ride into Barcelona is about 20-30 minute and will cost at least 15 euro (by law, the fare must be displayed on the cab's meter).

Trains are a less expensive option and also easy to come by, since the airport is connected to a train station. The airport station connects to four Barcelona stations Barcelona Sants, Placa Catalunya, Arc de Triomf and Clot-Arago, with trains running every thirty minutes from 6 a.m. to midnight.

Less expensive still are buses. A bus servicing central Barcelona leaves the airport every fifteen minutes and deposits riders at the Plaza Cataluna. The service, which runs from each of the airport's three main terminals, is available daily from 6 am to midnight and takes approximately 30 minutes. The bus costs 3.30 euro.

Getting Around Town

Once you have arrived at your guest accommodations in Barcelona, you will find that the fastest and most affordable way of getting around town is via public transportation.

Barcelona's metro runs daily from 5 am to midnight, and until 2 am on weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) and holidays. A network of five different color-coded lines covers nearly ever neighborhood within the city of Barcelona. A one-way fare costs 1 euro, and discounts are available for multiple-trip tickets. Tickets are checked before boarding.

For those traveling a bit farther out, consider Barcelona's suburban train service, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya or FGC. The FGC offers two lines within Barcelona and four additional lines traveling to nearby towns. Trains run daily from 5:45 am until midnight, and until 2:15 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Like the subway, the fare on the suburban train service is (approximately) 1 euro and tickets are checked with each ride.

Another option is the city bus. Barcelona has an extensive bus network with over seventy lines. While slightly slower at rush hour, the bus in Barcelona is a great way to see the city and get to your destination. The fare is only 1 euro per one-way trip.

Black and yellow taxis are ubiquitous in Barcelona. While they are the most comfortable way to get around, they are also the most expensive. Fares depend on distance and time of day (higher rates are charged during rush hour). By law, the cab drive must display the fare on a meter inside the cab. A more environmentally friendly and fun mode of transportation is bike riding. There a number of rental spots throughout the city.

Finally, visitors can rent a car while in Barcelona. If you are flying into the city, your best bet is to pick up your car at the El Prat de Llobregat Airport, which has a host of international rental companies. Hiring fees vary depending on the type of car, time of year (summer is high season in Barcelona) and the length of rental period.