Barcelona is served with excellent transport connections by air, by sea, and by land. As a destination Barcelona is easy to get to, whatever the method of transport.
The main airport is just 15km to the southeast of the city centre. There are two more airports connecting Barcelona, both with excellent public transport links. These are Girona, to the north, and Reus, to the south, both at a distance of no more than 100km away. The AVE high speed train now connects Barcelona with Madrid. As one of the most advanced high speed railway connections in the world, the journey takes a mere two and a half hours. Barcelona has excellent road connections with the rest of Europe. By motorway, the French border can be reached in less than two hours, starting from the city centre. France connects Barcelona with all the important fast roads of Europe.
Barcelona’s port is one of the most important in the Mediterranean, both for cruise ships and cargo ships. The port has 6 international cruise terminals and 3 ferry terminals, embarking to some 825 destinations worldwide.
The port is also an important tourist destination for both inhabitants of Barcelona and for tourists alike, due to the Maremagnum leisure centre where one can find shops, restaurant and a cinema. Next door are Barcelona’s aquarium and Imax cinema. The port terminals themselves all offer shops, bars, restaurants and a tourist information office.
The passenger terminals in the inner port area of Barcelona can be grouped into two kinds:
Terminals for Ferries:
These are the terminals found in the quays closest to the city, at the end of Las Ramblas. Here are terminals on Sant Bertrand quay and the WorldTradeCenter quay, with ferry lines that connect Barcelona with the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza), and other Mediterranean ports such as Genoa, Civitavechia and Tangiers.
Prices will vary according to season, and whether or are a foot passenger or are travelling with a car. We recommend further investigation through the ferry companies websites:
Terminals for cruise ships:
The steady increase in cruise ships docking in the Port of Barcelona has also meant an increase in the number of terminals available to them. Currently the four main terminals for large cruise ships are Terminals A, B, C and D, which are found on the Adosat quay (Moll Adosat), some 2km from the city.
How to get to the city from the Port
Barcelona’s Port is just at the end of Las Ramblas, practically in the city centre. From the Ferry Terminals closest to the Port’s entrance it is 10-15 minutes walk to the Christopher Columbus monument at the foot of Las Ramblas, and Drassanes metro station(line 3 – green).
We do not recommend walking to Las Ramblas and Drassanes from the cruise ship terminals located in Moll Adosat, as this is much further, some 2km.
Instead there is a shuttle bus (blue bus) servicing all terminals that terminates at the Christopher Columbus monument at the foot of Las Ramblas. From here you can access all of the centre on foot, or enter the metro system at Drassanes metro station (line 3 – green).
The price for a one way ticket on the shuttle bus is 3 euros, or 4 euros for a return. Tickets are bought on the bus. The timetable is not fixed, but is co-ordinated with the arrival of cruise ships arriving in the Port.
Last but not least, the quickest, most practical option is probably to take a taxi from the cruise terminals. The trip to the Columbus monument at the end of Las Ramblas takes less than ten minutes and costs under ten euros. Or, if you decide to continue on directly to your final destination within Barcelona, this should take no more than 20-30 minutes and should not cost more than 25 euros.
The bus station with most national and international connections in Barcelona is the Estación del Norte, though there are also buses from Sants Station and from other parts of the city.
Estación del Norte bus station:
Metro: Arc de Triomf, red line (L1)
Barcelona Sants bus station:
Viriat, s/n (08014)
Metro: Sants Estació – blue line (L5) and green line (L3)
An ample network of roads and motorways in and around Barcelona provide fast and easy access to the city, making the car one of the most popular ways of reaching Barcelona.
Barcelona is approximately 150km from La Jonquera, where the motorway crosses into France. Here Frances network of motorways and roads connects with the AP7 motorway, running all the way into Barcelona in under 2 hours.
Among the other main routes from Barcelona the two most important are the AP2 motorway, that connects with Madrid and the centre of Spain, and the AP7 motorway that runs parallel to the coast in a southerly direction towards Andalusia, passing through Valencia.
Access to the city from the motorway is managed with two ring roads (the Ronda de Dalt and the Ronda Litoral). Other entrance points include Avenida Diagonal, Avenida Meridiana, and Gran Via. It is worth being aware that traffic can be intense at peak times.
Once inside Barcelona, traffic volumes can be very high just as they can in any large city, though Barcelona’s grid plan does allow greater mobility than in many cities.
It is not recommended to move around the city by car as public transport is very good. Your best option is to park your car in one of the numerous public car parks found all across the city. Prices vary but are around 2 to 3€/hour, or 30 to 35€/day.
Additionally, the car parks in Barcelona Forum, Estacion del Nord and Biomedical Research Park all offer special rates for long term stays. An interesting proposition if you do not plan to use your car during your stay. For more information about prices see http://www.bsmsa.cat/
Street parking is restricted and must be paid for in Barcelona. There are two zones, blue and green, with prices that vary from 2-3 euros per hour, for a maximum period of two hours. Conditions usually apply from Monday to Friday, from 8am to 8pm.
BARCELONA AIRPORT “El Prat”
Barcelona’s international airport, named El Prat (The Meadow), is 15km southeast of the city. Currently El Prat is undergoing a process of modernisation and expansion to cope with the steady increase in passengers seen in recent years. As a result the new Terminal 1 opened in 2009. Designed by the famous Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill, Terminal 1 increases the capacity of the airport to 55 million passengers per annum, with 90 flights every hour instead of the 62 of before.
Transportation to the city centre from the airport is rapid by large city standards, taking around 20-30 minutes, and it is a straight forward trip regardless of which of the different options available one chooses. Though there are a number of firms offering car hire in the airport terminals, we do not recommend using a hire car to reach the centre, as it is quite simply unnecessary and harder work than public transport.
We can recommend the following public transport options:
A taxi is the quickest and easiest way to reach the city centre, especially if you are travelling as a family, or with lots of luggage. There are taxi ranks immediately in front of both passenger terminals and finding a taxi is easy.
All licensed taxi cars in Barcelona are black and yellow, with a sign on the roof indicating if it is available, in which case you will see the world taxi in green light.
The journey from the airport to the city centre typically takes 20-30 minutes, and costs around 30 euros depending on traffic.
The cost of a journey is shown on a meter inside the taxi, just as in other countries. A surcharge is added for each suitcase carried. You will find a list of surcharges in the interior of all taxis.
The Aerobús is a shuttle bus service connecting both airport terminals with the centre of Barcelona. It makes various stops within the city before arriving in Plaza Catalunya (see below for more information regarding route and stops made).
The Aerobús leaves approximately every 5 minutes and its journey time to the centre is approximately half an hour, so it is an excellent alternative if you prefer not to take a taxi. There are two Aerobús services, the A1 (dark blue) – for Terminal 1 (T1), and A2 (light blue) for Terminal 2 (T2).
First departure from Pl. Catalunya: 5:00 am
First departure from Airport: 5:30 am
Last departure from Pl. Catalunya: 00:30 am
Last departure from Airport: 01:00 am
Route and stops:
Airport to Pl. Catalunya:
Airport Terminals – Pl. Espanya – Gran Via/Urgell – Pl. Universitat– Pl. Catalunya.
PL. Cataluña to Airport:
Pl. Catalunya – Sepúlveda/Urgell –Pl. Espanya – Airport Terminals.
5,90 € for a single and 10,20 € for a return. Tickets are bought on the bus and the maximum change for cash payments is limited up to 20 €.
More information – http://www.aerobusbcn.com/
There is a train service (RENFE) from the airport to the city centre, departing every 30 minutes. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes.
The station at the airport is located in front of Terminal 2, reached through a covered walkway. A transfer bus connects the train station with the new Terminal 1 building.
If you take the train from the airport to the city centre you need to get off in either Sants Station, Passeig de Gracia, or El Clot. All these stations also form part of the metro system.
The train operates every 30 minutes from 06:08am until 23:38pm.
A single ticket costs 2,80 €. The airport station is within zone 1 of the Barcelona metropolitan region integrated transport system, so if you buy a discounted 10 trip (T-10) ticket, you will also be able to use this on buses and in the metro within the city.
A Barcelona Card allows you to travel between the airport and the city centre for free.
More Information: 902 240 202 www.renfe.es
The new metro line L9-Sud (orange) connects the airport terminals to the city center. With a frecuency of 7 minutes, this line will get you to three stations where you can change to other lines of the metro network: Torrasa (L1 – red), Collblanc (L5 – blue) and Zona Universitaria (L3 – green). It also goes to the Fira (Fira station) where you can connect with Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat.
There is also the option of reserving a private airport transfer car, this will wait for you at the airport and transfer you to the Barcelona apartment you have reserved. These airport transfers are luxury vehicles with an experienced chauffeur who speaks several languages, especially suited to groups of more than 4 people.
As well as El Prat airport there are two smaller airports. These are primarily used by low cost carriers and are used by many visitors to Barcelona.
GIRONA – COSTA BRAVA AIRPORT
Girona – Costa Brava airport is 100 km north of Barcelona. The quickest and easiest way from Girona airport to Barcelona, or visa versa, is on the “Barcelona Bus”.
The timetable is synchronised with the arrivals and departures of Ryan Air flights, and the journey takes around 1 hour 15 minutes.
You catch the “Barcelona Bus” right outside the main terminal building, and it arrives in the ‘Estación del Norte’ in Barcelona. There is a metro station called ‘Arc de Triomf’ (red line – L1) right next to the Estación del Norte. Should you wish to take a taxi instead, there is a taxi rank right outside the station.
A one way ticket costs 12€, a return 21€.
“Barcelona Bus” / Sagalés bus company:
TEL. 932 320 459
Departure: from Estación del Norte, C/ Ali-Bei, 80.
Reus airport is approximately 100 km south of Barcelona. The easiest way to reach Barcelona from Reus is by bus.
The timetable of bus departures and arrivals is synchronised with that of flight arrivals and departures, and the journey takes roughly 1 hour thirty minutes. In Barcelona Sants Station is the final stop. From Sants there are tow metro lines, the green line (L3) and the blue line (L5), taxis and numerous buses.
A one way ticket costs 12.50€, a return 22€.
“Hispano Igualadina” bus company:
TEL. 933 396 364
Departure: Estación de Sants, C/ Viriat.
Barcelona’s rail network connects the city with Spain’s major cities, as well as with other European destinations such as Paris, Zurich and Milan.
Sants Station is the main train station of Barcelona and Catalonia. One of the main advantages of this station is its excellent integration into the cities general transport system. Centrally located, it offers a taxi rank, numerous bus routes, and two metro lines – the green line (L3) and the blue line (L5).
The station concourse offers various services including a bank, pharmacy, gift shops, a tourist information point and ticket office. There is full wheelchair accessibility.
One of Barcelona’s most important train lines is the line to Madrid. The AVE high speed train connects the two cities in 2 hours and 40 minutes, passing through Tarragona, Leida and Zaragoza, at a cost of roughly 100 euros.
For more information see: www.renfe.es