Getting around in Barcelona is easy – you just have to decide which of the methods of transportation you wish to use.
- Transit Bus
- Hop-on-Hop-off Tourist Bus
- Rental Car
Walking – favorite way of getting around in Barcelona
My favorite mode of transportation in most cities is walking. Slow, yes – but so enjoyable. I see so much more when I am walking than when I am in a taxi or bus. Just remember to bring comfortable walking shoes. Break-in those shoes before your arrival in Barcelona so that you can enjoy your visit to the fullest. In Barcelona watch for the blue signs pointing the way to tourist sites around the city.
For my first solo trip to Barcelona I took an overnight flight from NYC, landing in Barcelona at 7:15 in the morning. I had researched my options for getting to my Airbnb rental (click here for $20 towards your first rental) in La Ribera neighborhood and AeroBus turned out to be a great option – such a cheap and easy way to get from the airport to the central historic region of Barcelona.
To travel from Barcelona airport to Placa de Catalunya AeroBus is a convenient form of transportation. At a cost of 5.90 Euros (single trip) or 10.20 (for return ticket – valid within 15 days of validation) it is also very cheap. There are numerous stops along the way but Placa de Catalunya is the last stop.
On my first trip to Barcelona I was through customs and immigration and sitting on the AeroBus within 45 minutes of my arrival. Another 30 minutes or so and I was getting off the bus at Placa de Catalunya enjoying a sunny morning and walking among the locals headed to work. I went to the nearest coffee shop for a cappuccino and croissant.
With the AeroBus ticket I was given a coupon book for discounts at local restaurants, art museums, music events, bicycle and scooter rental, etc.
AeroBus website: AeroBus schedule and rates
Bus and Tram
Barcelona has an extensive public bus system for travel throughout the city. All of the buses in Barcelona have been adapted for people with reduced mobility. On the TMB (Transport Metropolitans de Barcelona) website you can look up information for bus schedules and maps. There is also a new TMB map website where you can enter your beginning and destination addresses for route info.
Click here to visit the main TMB website for Barcelona bus schedules and maps.
This was my favorite way to get around the city of Barcelona fast and cheap. I bought 10 ride passes at the ticket vending machine. Each time you use the ticket – feeding it into the machine at the entrance to the metro – the date and time of use is printed on the back of the ticket. There are numerous entrances to the underground metro stations in Barcelona so do take note of the street name for the entrance/exit at the metro.
The metro lines are identified by number and color. To locate metro stations look for signs bearing a red “M” with white background. When buying metro tickets from the vending machines at the metro stations you can select language preference on the bottom right-hand part of the display – see the flags on the photo above.
Hola BCN! is a special pass that may be purchased for unlimited access to Barcelona public transport. Tickets are available for 2, 3, 4, or 5 days. If you buy online you can get 10% off. Click here for Hola BCN! tickets.
Transport Metropolitans de Barcelona website: Metro schedule, rates, maps
Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus
These tourist buses charge a flat rate for the ticket which is good for 24 hours, or you can buy a 2 day option. You can hop-on and hop-off the bus at any of their stops as many times as you like for the duration of your ticket. The beauty of the Hop-on Hop-Off Tourist Bus is that you don’t need to figure out how to get to all the best tourist sites in Barcelona – just hop-on and hop-off at the top things to see in Barcelona.
For 10% discount on tickets as well as information on routes, maps, and more visit the website:
There are bicycle rental options and there is the Bicing bike-share system in Barcelona. The Bicing website is only available in Spanish or Catalan but here is a link to the Bicing map page. Using Google translate: The map can be displayed stations in operation and see real-time availability of bicycles at each station. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. If I see one of the Bicing stations on my upcoming trip to Barcelona I may give it a short test ride. (Update: Bicing is setup for locals traveling on short trips around Barcelona – not really for tourists)
I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to riding a bike in a city. I think I am too easily distracted and would probably get in an accident due to my lack of attention to traffic. Or I would make such an effort to pay attention that I wouldn’t enjoy the seeing the city as I rode my bicycle. Smaller towns are more my style for bicycle riding but I know plenty of people who would be keen to explore Barcelona by bike.
Here are a couple of bike rental options in Barcelona:
Bici-Rent – located near Plaza Catalunya – bike rentals and tours available
Green Bikes Barcelona – rentals, tours, sales, and repairs
You can zoom around Barcelona with a scooter rental. For me a scooter would offer the opportunity to get lost that much faster and much more often than I do on foot. I did not try out a scooter rental but it looks like a fun way to get around in Barcelona.
Some scooter rental options in Barcelona:
Barcelona Moto Rent – rent a scooter – located near Plaza Catalunya. Or try their scooter delivery service. They also offer an option (for those with hand luggage only) to pick you up at the airport via scooter.
Vesping – tour around Barcelona in style on a Vespa rental
Taxis are always an option in any major city. I mostly try to avoid using taxis as they are generally more costly than public transportation. I would use a taxi in Barcelona if I were attending an event that was not easily accessible by metro and walking.
If you prefer to do the driving yourself then a rental car is a great option. There are plenty of great day trips from Barcelona so a rental comes in handy if you want to get to Sitges or Montserrat on your own.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post walking is still my favorite way to see a city. I enjoy being outdoors getting some exercise and seeing the city life up close. Barcelona is a great walking city and I stayed in La Ribera neighborhood so I could easily walk to:
- Palau de la Musica Catalan
- La Catedral
- Arc de Triomf
- Parc Ciutadella
- Casa Batllo
- Casa Mila – also known as La Padrera
- Museo Picasso
- Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
- El Born Centre Cultural
- Gothic Quarter
- La Boqueria – Las Ramblas
- Lots of restaurants and tapas bars!
Whatever transportation options you choose for getting around in Barcelona I hope you love the city as much as I did. Enjoy your travels!
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What is your favorite mode of transportation when traveling?