How to Get Around Barcelona: Local’s Guide 2024

Whether New York City, San Francisco, or anywhere in between, navigating public transportation in a new city can be challenging. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be! 

Barcelona is a breeze to navigate and the public transport system is excellent. I’m here to help you learn how to get around Barcelona like a local. 

Why should you listen to me? I’ve been living in Barcelona the last few years and I’ve never had a car! Since living here, I’ve learned to use the public transportation in Barcelona like a pro and you can too! 

This complete guide will help you understand how to travel around Barcelona – the metro, busses, taxis, and even the high speed train that can get you in and out of Barcelona in just a few hours. 

Let’s dive in!  

How to Get Around Barcelona

Walking – the best way to get around Barcelona! 

couple walking in front of sagrada familia learning how to get around barcelona

That’s right! Without a doubt, this is the easiest way to get around Barcelona. It’s safe, easy, and best of all – no traffic! Okay, so maybe there’s a little foot traffic. But, walking in Barcelona is one of the most popular ways to get around. 

You can get to all major attractions, different neighborhoods, and endless shops and tapas bars within 30 minutes of just about everywhere in Barcelona. 

A day of sightseeing on your feet will have you navigating the streets of Barcelona with ease. 

Pro tip: Bring comfy tennis shoes. You won’t look like a tourist, that’s what we locals wear too! I pair almost every outfit with a comfy white sneaker. 

Barcelona Metro

Barcelona Metro in the station - learning how to get around Barcelona
The Barcelona metro is clean, safe, and efficient. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!

The Barcelona metro system consists of multiple color coded lines that criss-cross through the city, connecting all major neighborhoods and points of interest. The metro is the cheapest way to travel in Barcelona. 

Metro lines 1-5 are primary lines serving the center of the city. L9,10,11 are recent additions connecting to suburbs and the airport. Metro stations are well dispersed through the city and often no more than a 10 minute walk from any point in the city. 

The metro operation times are as follows:

Monday-Thursday: 5am to midnight

Fridays: 5am – 2:00am 

Saturdays and Sundays: continual service from 5am Saturday morning to 24:00 Sunday 

If you’re planning a late Saturday night out, the metro is a great option as it does not stop from 2-5am like other days. 

Unlike the week nights, the metro doesn’t stop between 2am and 5am on Saturday nights. This means you can plan a late night out and hop on the metro to get home! 

Schedules can vary on public holidays. Be sure to check TMD website on public holidays before relying on the regular train schedule. 

T Casual Card Travel Card

The T-Casual is a great option for travelers looking to see as much of the city as possible. The card is valid for 10 journeys from zones 1-6, that will include all major points of interest and the most visited attractions in the Barcelona region. Think – Sagrada Familia, Gothic Quarter, Gaudi Houses, Barceloneta, and more. 

T Casual Card Cost: Each card costs €11.35 (this may vary, check TMD website for accurate pricing). As the Barcelona transit is an integrated fare system, your T-casual card will also be valid on buses and trams. 

Where to purchase: Cards can be purchased online or directly at any of the ticket machines in the metro station. 

If you’re wondering how to get around Barcelona without a car and on a budget, the T-casual card is definitely the best option. 

Buses

man with a backpack at a bus stop bench in barcelona
Take advantage of the busses and metros to get around Barcelona fast

The local bus system has an extensive bus fleet that is among the cleanest and efficient in Europe

The network consists of urban buses – labeled with numbers and night buses – labeled with N. 

Most urban buses begin services between 5 am and 8 am, while night buses begin around 10:40pm and 11:40pm and end between 5am and 6am. 

Buses are single-deckers and are accessible for folks with limited mobility. 

The TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) app provides real time updates on routes, schedules and disruptions. 

P.S. There is a bus that goes to the airport. 

Free Guide: 8 Tips for Staying Safe in Barcelona

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    Taxis

    Line of taxis at a red light on the street in Barcelona
    Getting around in Barcelona is easy with taxis lined up on most streets

    Taxis are a convenient and safe option for travelers in a hurry. Taxis are usually readily available near major destinations and can be easily flagged down on busy streets. 

    You’ll also find a line of taxis and travelers waiting just outside the airport. This is a great way to get into the city if you don’t want to take a bus. 

    From the Barcelona airport to city center, you can expect to pay about $30-$40. Most drivers will automatically use the meter. I also recommend avoiding a pre-negotiated rate and opt for a metered ride. 

    Keep in mind there will also be a set starting rate when going to or from the airport- this is normal!

    Cabify 

    Cabify operates exactly like Uber and is a great option for those who don’t want to hail a cab outside. 

    PRO TIP: I recommend downloading the app ahead of your visit as a text message is required for setup. If you do plan on using a ride share app, Cabify is your best bet

    Free Now is also popular, however, you will need a Spanish number to complete setup. 

    Vespa Scooters

    If you're looking to explore the city like a local, hopping on a Vespa might just be your best bet. Scooters are a popular local's choice for zipping around the city - you'll see lines of scooters on the street all day.

    Not only is it a fun and speedy mode of transportation, but it also allows you to take in all the sights and sounds of the city in a fun, adventurous way.

    And who knows, you may even discover hidden gems along the way that you might have missed if you were traveling in a car. So, why not channel your inner Italian and cruise through the city on a stylish Vespa?

    Try out a Vespa rental to scoot your way around Barcelona

    Bikes/E-Bikes

    two people riding bikes in the bike lane down Barcelona
    You'll find bike lanes all over Barcelona, making it an easy and safe way to travel throughout the city

    While the local red bikes are only available for residents, there are plenty of e-bike tours to see the highlights of the city. There are tons of bike lanes throughout the city, and it’s actually a realy cool way to sightsee! 

    If you’re not comfortable on a bike, however, I’d steer clear. Car and foot traffic can get crowded and overwhelming if you’re not a confident biker. 

    Hop on an e-bike tour and cruise through the city's sights

    Hop on Hop Off Tours

    The Hop on Hop Off bus is a great way to see several highlights of Barcelona. With a duration of 2 hours and destinations to Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, and Port Olimpic, you’ll quickly check off several must see destinations. 

    Learning how to get around Barcelona as a tourist can be a little bit easier if you take a few hours to learn your way around the city on this bus. 

    Even as an avid traveler, I still opt for a city bus tour when I visit a new city. I find it to be a quick and easy guide to learn my way around any city.

    Buy your hop-on-hop-off bus tickets

    Tours

    Barcelona is a city rich in culture, history, and breathtaking sights. With so much to see, it can be overwhelming to try to navigate the city and its surrounding areas on your own

    Luckily, there are plenty of tours available that cater to every interest and time frame. From full sightseeing tours to e-bike tours (my personal favorite way to get around Barcelona), and even tours of nearby wineries, there's something for everyone. 

    If you're looking for a local guide to give you a new perspective on this city, you won't have any trouble finding a tour that fits the bill. 

    And if you're looking to venture outside of Barcelona, there are plenty of options as well - from a day trips to Monseratt to tapas tours full of Gothic Quarter’s history, the possibilities are endless. 

    With so many great tours to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect way to see everything you're hoping to see in Barcelona.

    Check out the top sightseeing tours in Barcelona

    Private Tour Guides

    close view of sagrada familia from a rooftop terrace

    Not sure what you want to see? Looking for something a bit more intimate? Enter: your own personal private tour guide! Choose from comfortable transportation, private bike tours, or even private photography tours.

    Travel through the city with the help of a local who has all of your attention. Your guide will take you to all of the top attractions, or veer off to accommodate your interests. There’s nothing better! 

    Book a private tour guide to see Barcelona’s highlights

    Rental Cars

    Wondering whether renting a car is a good idea? Here's the scoop: driving in Barcelona can be a bit of a headache. The narrow streets, limited parking, and abundance of pedestrians can make it a real challenge. 

    However, if you're planning a weekend trip to Cadaques or a day trip to any of the nearby cities, renting a car is actually a great option. 

    Sure, navigating public transportation in Barcelona is doable, but it can be a hassle and you might not want to rely on their schedules. Plus, some towns like Figueres require transfers from trains to busses, and that might be a bit much for some travelers! 

    My best advice would be to get a rental car for the days you'll need it and drop it off for the days you'll be exploring within the city. 

    Learning how to get around Barcelona with a car, for the most part, just isn’t worth it. I’ve lived here for years and I’ve never driven a car in the city. I don’t plan to either! 

    Search for the best rates on DiscoverCars

    High-Speed Train

    High-speed trains, otherwise referred to as “AVE” for Alta Velocidad Espanola, reach speeds up to 186 mph / 300 km/hour. You'll also see them referred to as "Renfe".

    An alternative to flying, these lines have opened efficient connections to cities like Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Malaga, Zaragoza, and Paris. 

    The trains are spacious, comfortable, and come well equipped with amenities like wifi and power outlets. 

    Ticket prices vary based on time of departure and how far in advance they’re booked. Overall, prices are reasonable. If you’re visiting Europe for the first time and itching to try out the famous high-speed travel life, now’s your chance! 

    Purchase your train tickets on Omio

    Is there Uber in Barcelona?

    After winning a local legal battle, Uber is now available in Barcelona, but is less prevalent than in US cities. 

    As a local, I really don't use Uber Barcelona app. More often than not, a standard cab will show up, even when ordering via the uber app.

    Since cabs are safe and often readily available, I recommend just ordering a standard taxi, as this will be quicker. 

    Getting to Barcelona from the Airport 

    corridor in the barcelona airport with people walking through
    The Barcelona airport is well marked. Don't worry about finding your way around!

    The first question most people research before making their way to the city - how to get around Barcelona from airport! Don’t worry, there are a few ways, and they’re all quite simple. Whether you're on a budget or want to ride in luxury, there’s an option for you. 

    By Public Transit - Aerobus

    The blue aerobus is a quick and cost effective option connecting the airport to the city center of Barcelona. Barcelona airport has Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, each with their own Aerobus

    Both Aerobus T1 and Aerobus T2 connect the same destinations, run on similar frequency, and are the same price. 

    From the airport to the city, aerobus stops at Plaza Espana, Gran Via - Urgell, Plaza Universitat, and Plaza Catalunya (City Center). 

    You can also take the areobus from the city to the airport. Going back to the airport, the aerobus offers pickups starting at Plaza Catalunya, Sepulveda-Urgell, and Plaza Espana. 

    Terminal 1 buses operate 24 hours a day with a frequency of 5-10 minutes. 

    Terminal 2 buses operate 24 hours a day with a frequency of every 10 minutes.  

    Single tickets cost about €10. At the time of writing this, tickets cost €6.75 and return tickets €11.65 when purchased onsite at the airport. There are local kiosks to make your purchase when you arrive.  

    Tickets can also be purchased ahead of time on Tiquets

    Book your bus tickets to or from the airport on Tiqets ► 

    Private Transfer

    couple with suitcases waiting for a ride at the airport

    If you're looking for a comfortable and hassle-free ride to or from Barcelona Airport, booking a private transfer is the way to go. 

    Not only will you avoid the crowds and chaos of public transportation, but you'll also be greeted by a professional driver who will be waiting for you upon your arrival. 

    Even better, if your flight gets delayed, your driver will wait for you until you arrive. The price is actually incredibly reasonable for a private transfer. 

    With a private transfer, you'll have the luxury of traveling in a comfortable vehicle that has enough space for all your luggage. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride knowing that you're in good hands.

    Book your private transfer ► 

    Best Things to Do in Barcelona Spain

    • Complete Gaudi tour! Visit Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, and key Guadi masterpieces.
    • Taste your way through the city with a tapas and wine tour (with a local, of course)
    • Spend a day lounging on the beach.
    • See the skyline from another perspective on a sunset sail 
    • Check out a sunset at Bunkers overlook. 

    Barcelona Packing List

    Here are my favorite things to pack when it comes to traveling around Barcelona (or anywhere, really!) I travel a ton, so I've got this down to a science now!

    BEST BELT BAG FOR BARCELONA

    I'm all about style, practicality, and affordability. Pickpockets can be a real problem in Barcelona, so keeping your belongings secured in front of you is super important.

    Don't just take it from me - this belt back has high ratings and comes in EVERY color. Grab a few to match every outfit, if you want!

    BEST LUGGAGE SET FOR BARCELONA

    Coolife not only has some of the best-rated luggage on Amazon, but also the most variety in colors, pieces, and sets.

    You'll likely want to check a bag going to Barcelona, but if you're traveling around Europe, you'll need small carry ons. Budget airlines like Ryan Air and Vuelling have smaller overhead space than you might be used to on airlines in America.

    BACKPACKING IN BARCELONA

    There's no question that Osprey has made a name for itself when it comes to backpacking - I recently got one myself! I had a hard time finding which one was right for me.

    Lucky for you, they have a nifty "Who is This Pack For" quiz on there Amazon Storefront to help you find the perfect pack. Osprey's are expensive, but they'll last you a lifetime!

    LIGHTWEIGHT SUNSCREEN

    Because just like the Caribbean, the sun hits different in Barcelona! Protect your skin. And if you're traveling carry-on only, remember that Europe (specifically London) has pesky liquid requirements to keep in mind.

    PACKING CUBES

    As an avid traveler, I need to squeeze A LOT into a little. Packing cubes are surprisingly space saving - and a great way to organize. I have these packing cubes - they've lasted a long time and are versatile enough to get me through every trip.

    WHITE SNEAKERS

    Do yourself a favor - don't show up to Barcelona without some cute white sneakers. Leave the heels at home. Walking around Barcelona isn't for the faint of heart. Keep your feet happy and go for stylish comfort.

    EUROPEAN PLUG ADAPTER

    These are lifesavers when traveling in Europe - 2 ports on each + 2 USB ports. They're hefty and they've lasted me a few years already, so I know they're good quality. Plus, they've got almost 10,000 great ratings on Amazon, so I'm not alone.

    PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY WITH THE BEST VPN

    A VPN (Virtual Private Network) protects your internet connection and privacy while hiding your online identity...and gives you access to your favorite streaming services on the road...

    Unsecured connections to public WiFi can result in loss of personal data and even credit card information.

    NordVPN is fast, secure, and affordable. Really, you should use it everywhere, not just when you're traveling!

    E-SIM CARD

    SIM cards can be a nightmare, I get it. Airalo makes it easy to add a SIM card right to your phone - one less thing you have to worry about when you get to Europe. You can purchase a card for Spain, Europe, or Global.

    Just make sure your phone is compatible before you buy! You can check in the settings of your phone.

    SAND PROOF/QUICK DRY TOWEL

    Going to the beach? Don't forget your towel! And definitely don't get stuck waiting for it to dry. These quick dry towels keep away the worst part of the beach (sand) and make it easy to store them when you're back in your hotel. Plus, they're super compact and light weight.

    FAQ: Getting Around Barcelona On Your Own

    What is the cheapest way to get around Barcelona? 

    The cheapest way to get around Barcelona is by utilizing public transportation. I recommend purchasing a T-casual ticket. This will give you access to the metro and buses. 

    Public transportation is reliable, efficient, and incredibly cost effective! Lucikly, the public transit system in Barcelona is also considered a safe option for solo travelers, families, and locals alike. 

    Is it easy to get around Barcelona? 

    Yes - it is incredibly easy to get around Barcelona. The city is well connected by public transport and is easily walkable. The metro system and bus system are affordable and easy to understand.
     
    After traveling all around the world, I still believe Barcelona is one of the easiest cities to navigate. 

    Is it better to Uber or taxi in Barcelona?

    It’s better to use taxis in Barcelona. You’ll find that there’s less wait time with taxis and they’re more readily available.

    While Uber is available throughout the city, it’s not as prevalent as taxis. In fact, on some occasions, even when you order an Uber, a taxi will show up. 

    Cabify and FreeNow are also two popular ride sharing apps that are a more popular choice than Uber.  

    Does Uber work in Barcelona?

    Uber does work in Barcelona, but it’s not as quick as in the United States. Taking regular city taxis or using ride-share apps like Cabify and FreeNow are much more popular than Uber.

    Is Cabify cheaper than taxi in Barcelona?

    In my experience, Cabify tends to be more expensive than taxis. Oftentimes, apps have surge pricing where cabs are controlled by meters.

    If you’re on a budget and don’t want to take public transportation, taxis are the cheaper option. Don’t worry - taxis are totally safe and always available!   

    Are taxis cheap in Barcelona? 

    Yes - taxis are cheap in Barcelona Taxis are incredibly cheap in Barcelona. You can look up meter rates to get an idea of what your trips will cost. 

    Taxis will always accept credit cards and Apple Pay. This makes your travel needs conveneint and stress-free.

    Do you tip taxi drivers in Barcelona?

    No, it is not necessary to tip cab drivers in Barcelona. If you’re feeling generous, I’m sure they would appreciate it! 

    Can I use my Uber app in Spain?

    You can use Uber in Spain, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Just grab a taxi! Taxis are more readily available, easier to catch, and usually cheaper as well. 

    Are Ubers allowed at Barcelona airport?

    Technically Ubers are allowed at Barcelona airport, but it’s often a standard cab that will pick you up. 

    When you leave the Barcelona airport, you'll find an orderly line of passengers waiting for taxis. Taxis are plentiful and you'll be in one and on your way within a matter of minutes.

    This is efficient and often much easier than searching for an Uber.

    What ride sharing app in Barcelona?

    Cabify is the best ride sharing app for Barcelona. You can also use Free Now, but you need a Spanish number.

    Uber is newly available in the city, though it’s not primarily used as of now. 

    If you're worried about finding rides in Barcelona, you'll quickly see how easy and efficient simply hailing a taxi in the street will be!

    Final Thoughts: How to Get Around Barcelona As a Tourist

    There you have it. Now you know how to go around Barcelona! The public transport network in Barcelona is one of the best in the world

    Efficient and cost effective options like the T-Casual Barcelona card open up the city to everyone. Start your morning enjoying a coffee in front of the Barcelona cathedral in the old city, then whip up to Gracia for some tasty food in the afternoon. 

    This guide has given you everything you need on all things Barcelona transport. Keep this guide on you and you’ll be traveling around the city like a local your whole trip. 

    Bon Voyage. See you in Barcelona!

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