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Transport in Barcelona – 2024

What are the different modes of transport in barcelona?

Barcelona has a wide range of high-quality public and private transportation options, connecting all neighbourhoods in the city and the surrounding areas.

Transport in Barcelona

News: Changes public transport in Barcelona 01-01-2024

Transport in Barcelona: an introduction

Whenever you walk through Barcelona, you don’t have to wander too far before you stumble across logos of different public transport companies.  It can be quite challenging to get your head around public transport in Barcelona and even more so if you are an expat and don’t speak Spanish or Catalan.

 

 

To better understand the public transport in Barcelona, it is important to be familiar with the involved infrastructures and companies, especially when it comes to metro and train.

TMB

Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) is the main public transport operator in The Barcelona metropolitan area.

Transport in Barcelona

Renfe

Transport in Barcelona

Rodalies

Transport in Barcelona

FGC

Transport in Barcelona

The names of the routes of their network are not random, but rather follow a system to make it easier to identify and locate them on the map.

ADIF

Transport in Barcelona

ATM

Public Transport in Barcelona

Transport lines metro, train & tram

Transport in Barcelona

Please keep in mind: every operator has their own sytem when it comes to the numbers and colours of the different transport lines. f.e.:

  • L1 = Metro (TMB)
  • S1 = Train  (FGC)
  • T1 = Tram
  • R1 = Train (Rodalies)

It can be confusing and you can easily mix up the different operators: always check:

  • the letters +
  • the number +
  • the logo of the operator. 

Safety

Overall, Barcelona is a very safe place to live but like most large cities, pickpockets are rife, especially using the public transport in Barcelona

What steps should I take if I lose or have something stolen while using public transport in Barcelona?

If any situation like these happen, tell the station staff or bus driver right away. They can help and guide you. If it’s something valuable, like your wallet or phone, report it to the police and get an official report. Also, check with the lost and found office for the metro or bus service (click here for Metro and bus, FGC or Rodalies) – they might have your things. If you lost important cards, like your ID or credit cards, contact the authorities or your bank. And if you have a smartphone, use its features to track or lock it remotely. Always be careful with your stuff when using public transport!

Zones

Barcelona’s public transport network is divided in zones.

  • The entire city of Barcelona and some neighbouring towns are within Zone 1.
  • Zones 2 to 6 cover surrounding towns and cities.

The further the distance from Barcelona the higher the zone number and the higher the cost of the transport ticket. 

Transport in Barcelona

Airport

Not all TMB tickets zone 1 and travel cards are valid to travel to the airport. Special Airport tickets are available for €5,15. Click here to read more about routes to the airport.

Limited mobility

Public transport in Barcelona is designed to be accessible for people with mobility challenges. The metro stations usually have elevators and escalators, and buses are equipped with ramps and have low floors for easy access. Trams and trains also provide accessibility features, like ramps and low floors. Taxis with ramps are available too, and you can book them in advance. 

However, it’s a good idea to plan your route, check the specific accessibility features of each station, and contact the transport authorities for detailed information. The TMB app or website can also help you get real-time updates on accessibility features and station conditions.

Single transport tickets in Barcelona

With different transport companies active in Barcelona you have huge variations in tickets. Although the different transport companies have their own ticket system, only applicable to their mode of transport. If you are a frequent traveller we recommend you to use the integrated ticket system of ATM.

Single tickets

A regular SINGLE ticket only works for one type of transportation, you can’t switch between different ones. But, if you have a single metro ticket, you’re good to go! You can switch between different Metro lines as long as you stay in the same area with gates.

Transport in Barcelona

Integrated fare system of ATM

The integrated fare system of ATM means that you need just one transport ticket to make any journey that might involve different means of transport (metro; urban, metropolitan and interurban buses; tram; and the rail networks Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya and Rodalies de Catalunya). Transport Metropolitan de Barcelona (TMB) offers travel cards to suit different needs. 

The most common ones are the single ticket, a 10-journey ticket (T-casual) or a monthly ticket (T-usual), all of which work on the metro, trains, buses and trams.

The price of the ticket varies depending on:

  • the number of zones required and
  • periods or journeys required and
  • your age (f.e. children), and
  • your personal situation (f.e. student, unemployed, big families).

Paper tickets with a magnetic strip

These are the old tickets (please see the image above), T-mobilitat is replacing this ticket system in the future. 

One of the most frequently asked questions is what to do if your paper ticket gets damaged.  If your ticket got damaged because of a broken machine, you can officially get a new one. But, if you have a fancy ticket like a T-usual or a T-jove and you accidentally damage it, there’s a chance you might still get a replacement.

T-mobilitat

T-mobilitat is the new digital card system for public transport in Barcelona province. It integrates the entire territory, all integrated transport tickets, and all operators. Within the system of T-mobiltat you have different types of cards, please see the image below.

Transport in Barcelona

Besides the different types of cards within the T-mobiltat system, there are also different types of tickets. We explain the most common one below.

T - casual (10 journeys)

T - usual (30 days)

Please note: there are special cards available at a reduced price for members of large families and single-parent families.

T - familiar (8 journeys)

T - 16

T - jove (90 days)

Please note: there are special cards available at a reduced price for members of large families and single-parent families.

Other type of tickets

As already mentioned, there are many different type of tickets. For example for:

  • groups
  • large families
  • passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility (and their accompany)
  • people on low-incomes

If you would like to have more information about other type of tickets within the integrated fare system of ATM please click on the link below.

 

You can also go to the website of Renfe, Rodalies of FCG to receive more information about their tickets system only applicable for their form of transportation.

Bicycles ot other large items

Foldable scooters are treated the same as foldable bikes when it comes to different means of transport in Barcelona. For buses, only foldable bikes are allowed, as long as they are folded. On the metro, foldable scooters are generally allowed, except during busy times on weekdays (7:00-9:30 and 17:00-20:30), though in practice, this rule is not strictly enforced, and foldable bikes are always allowed. For FGC, Rodalies, and Tram, both foldable scooters and bikes are allowed at all times, and it seems like nobody really minds.

 

Please keep in mind Electric scooters and wheels are not allowed in public transport in Barcelona.

Metro

The Barcelona metro system has 8 different lines and 165 stations, with carriages running regularly every day.

 

Two operators, TMB and FGC run the metro system.

Transport in Barcelona

Metro lines

Each metro line is identified with an ‘L’, followed by it’s own individual colour and number to simplify the process. 

  • TMB (red logo) and
  • FGC (orange logo)

are the two logos you should look for in the street to find the entrance to a metro station.

Transport in Barcelona

Main stations

The main hubs for the metro system are:

  • Plaça Catalunya 
  • Passeig de Gracia and
  • Plaça d’Espanya. 

Tickets

Schedule

The final time refers to when the last train leaves the terminal station at each end of every metro line.

Funicular

The funicular of Barcelona operates like a metro with two stops: Parallel and Parc de Montjuïc, located on the mountain, which then links up with the cable car.

Tickets

Montjuïc Cable Car (Telefèric de Montjuïc)

Transport in Barcelona

Tram

Transport in Barcelona

There are 2 main tram lines in Barcelona, with a total of 29,2 km of track and 56 stops. Both are very well maintained and quiet compared to other methods of transport in the city. a total of 29.2 km of track and 56 stops.

Trambaix (T1, T2, T3)

Which runs from Francesc Macià to the towns of Sant Just Desvern, Sant Joan Despí, Sant Feliu de Llobregat and Cornellà.

Trambesòs (T4, T5, T6)

Which links Sant Adrià de Besòs and Badalona to Barcelona. 

Tickets

Tramvia Blau

Transport in Barcelona

The Tramvia Blau is temporarily closed for modernization works on its infrastructure.

 

The equivalent journey can be made via Avinguda Tibidabo as far as Plaça Doctor Andreu using bus route 196, which operates daily between 07:30 and 22:00

Trains

Trains run along the Costa Brava to Blanes, to the airport, along the coast via Castelldefels and Sitges all the way to Tarragona. All of these lines meet in Barcelona, where they travel underground and are integrated into the public transport network. There are also underground connections between the stations of the Metro, Rodalies, Renfe and FGC. 

 

The city’s current main terminal train station is Barcelona Sants.

important to know

There are different operators, with different platforms, tracks and stations .

Transport in Barcelona

Tickets

Free season ticket for Rodalies trains

You can obtain a season ticket for free travel on Rodalies trains.

  • A deposit of 10 euros is required.
  • It is individual, personalised and non-transferable.
    • You can purchase them at ticket offices, vending machines and through the Renfe Cercanías app with a QR code.
  • It is valid for unlimited journeys between any departure and arrival point in the hub for which it has been issued.
  • If you purchase it with a bank card and have done 16 trips, the deposit will be automatically returned.

Free season ticket for regional and medium distances

Season ticket for regional or medium-distance travellers.

  • A deposit of 20 euros is required.
  • An individual, personalised and non-transferable season ticket.
  • You purchase them now at the usual points of sale: vending machines and ticket offices at the station.
  • When you purchase it, you must choose a journey between two stations.
  • It is valid for unlimited journeys, in either direction, between the two chosen stations.
  • If you purchase it with a bank card and have done 16 journeys, the deposit will be automatically returned.

Urban buses

Public Transport in Barcelona

The buses in Barcelona operate on over 100 routes and connect all of the city’s districts and surrounding areas.

Buses in Barcelona are highly efficient and easy to use, they are adapted for people with reduced mobility and information regarding the next stops and transfers is provided inside the vehicles.

Buses usually run from 5 am-10 pm and the running times and frequency of service are shared at the bus stops.

Bus Etiquette

Tickets

Letters & colours

Night-bus Service

Barcelona also has a night bus service (Nit Bus) which serves most of the city and its suburban area. You can identify the night buses with the letter N on the front (for example, N12). The night bus service usually starts around 10 pm and ends between 5 am – 6 am. They all stop at or depart from Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya.  

Dual destination

Dual destination lines finish at two different destinations. This means that the place they start is the same, but some buses follow the complete route (longer), while others take shorter trajectory and the route ends a few stops earlier.

Double stops

This is a stop where two buses may simultaneously let passengers on and off. Double stops can shorten the time the buses are halted, and hence reduce the total time of the route.

A double stop consists of a central section, formed by one or two bus shelters, and two posts that indicate the two different stopping points. These posts indicate number 1 or 2 as applicable.

The first bus reaching the bus stop halts at stopping point 1, for as long as this is possible. If another bus arrives when stopping point 1 is occupied, this bus halts and lets on passengers at stopping point 2. The bus that halts at stopping point 2 will not halt again at stopping point 1 and continue its route, except in the case of blind passengers. If a blind passenger wants to get on this bus, it will halt at stopping point 1, even though it has already stopped at point 2.

Neighbourhoud lines (bus de barri)

Which offer short local journeys within the neighbourhoods.

Bus on demand

 This service seeks to make it easier for the city’s residents to move around certain neighbourhoods, taking into account their specific needs and the times at which they travel.

Suburban buses

The suburban bus service connects Barcelona with the rest of the municipalities in the metropolitan area like Badalona, Barcelona, Castelldefels, Cervelló, Cornellà de Llobregat, El Prat de Llobregat, Esplugues de Llobregat, Gavà, Les Botigues de Sitges, l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Molins de Rei, Montcada I Reixac, Montgat, Sant Adrià de Besòs, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Sant Climent de Llobregat, Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Sant Joan Despí, Sant Just Desvern, Santa Coloma de Cervelló, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Tiana and Viladecans.

Interurban and international buses

The Barcelona Nord Bus Station is the central hub for the arrival and departure of buses from the city of Barcelona to different destinations, both national and international.

 

You will find many of the interurban buses that connect Barcelona with other municipalities in Catalonia at the station companies, such as Moventis, Sagalés and Teisa. 

Taxis

Taxi fares in Barcelona

Taxi fares in Barcelona are quite cheap compared to other major European cities but this does depend on the time of day and whether or not it is a public holiday. There are additional fees for luggage and for trips to and from the airport, cruise-ship terminal and Fira Barcelona. 

 

Fares are displayed on the taximeter, and are usually charged per kilometre.

 

You can usually pay by credit card or cash, but it’s always better to have some cash on you just in case.

Taxi apps

Cycling in Barcelona

Barcelona is an extremely bicycle-friendly city with numerous bicycle paths. There are also many bike parking stands, signage, traffic lights, and lane dividers to protect you from motorists.

 

Cycling is part of the solution for more urban mobility in Barcelona. The city council of Barcelona is increasing the bike network, developing a strategic plan for secure bike parking in the city and studying the addition of more electric bikes. Cycle and be part of the environmentally friendly solution!

Bicing

Bicing is an urban bicycle-sharing company operating in Barcelona. Residents with a yearly membership can simply swipe their card at a Bicing station to unlock and use a bicycle.

They have different tariff plans, starting with €35,00 a year.

Transport in Barcelona

Ambici

AMBici is the ELECTRIC bicycle sharing service available in 15 municipalities within the Barcelona metropolitan area.

They have different tariff plans, starting with €40,00 a year.

Cycling blogs

Bike rental in Barcelona

Cars

Anyone over 18 with a valid driving license from their home country can legally drive in Spain for a short period of time. For Non-EU/EEA citizens, this applies for the first six months after moving to Spain and gaining residency. For EU/EEA nationals, it’s two years.

 

The motorways (autopistes and autovies) are the fastest way of getting to Barcelona. Along each motorway there will be toll roads identified by their blue signs. 

 

Alternative routes to get around Catalonia involve using county and national roads, although these are generally slower. County roads can be identified by the letter C, national roads by an N and local roads by an E.

 

Tip: For Brits, remember that in Spain you must drive on the right-hand side of the road!

Blogs related to cars

Car hire & parking

Scooters & Motorbikes

Scooters and motorbikes (more commonly known as ‘motos’) are another popular method of transport in Barcelona.

The general rules regarding licences are the same as those for cars.

 

However, there are stricter rules when it comes to parking, for example when it is not possible to park in the street and where there is not specific signage prohibiting it, you can park on the pavement only under the certain conditions.

Electric scooters and wheels

  • Electric scooters and wheels are not allowed in public transport in Barcelona.
  • It is obligatory to wear a helmet when riding electric scooters.
  • It is not allowed to circulate on pavements, except where specific spaces exist for this, with the exception of the under-12s and those accompanying them.

Scooter rental services

Cruise ships & ferries

Port Vell in Barcelona is the largest cruise ship port in the Mediterranean;

  • with seven international passenger terminals and
  • four ferry terminals.

It has links to the Balearic Islands and other major Mediterranean ports. Ferries leave daily for the Balearic Islands, and there are also direct links with various ports on the Italian coast and Tangiers.

Balearic Islands

Italy

North Africa

Public Transport

All terminals have good connections with the city’s public transport network. In particular, the T3 PORTBUS shuttle takes cruise passengers from Plaza de Colón in central Barcelona to terminals A, B, C and D on the Adossat wharf. Ticket prices are €3 for a single and €4 for a round-trip ticket.

Barcelona Airport

Barcelona International Airport (also known as El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto) is the closest and busiest airport to Barcelona city centre. 

 

The 2 other airports nearby are Girona and Reus which are approximately 120km outside Barcelona.

El Prat, T1 and T2

Barcelona Airport consists of two terminals located at a 4 km distance from each other.

  • Terminal 1 (newest, biggest and the main terminal)
  • Terminal 2

In-between terminal transfers are handled via free shuttles. The shuttle buses frequently run, departing every 5-10 minutes and reaching their destination in approximately 10 minutes.

How to get at El Prat?

Taxi

Taking a taxi from the airport is a low cost and convenient way to get to the city centre, especially if you’re travelling in a large group or you have a lot of luggage. You will be able to find a taxi rank outside any of the main terminal exits.

The RENFE train

The RENFE train will take you from Barcelona airport directly to the city centre where you can change for the metro system at either Barcelona Sants (Sants Estació) or Passeig de Gràcia stations. The train station is based at T2 in-between T2A and T2B. 

L9 Metro

You can also get to the airport via the L9 metro line. There are two stops at Barcelona airport which are called: Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2.  Not all TMB tickets and travel cards are valid. Special Airport tickets are available for €5,15.

Aerobús

Another option is to take the Aerobús, the official shuttle bus service which connects Barcelona Airport T1 & T2 to Plaça España or Plaça de Catalunya in the city centre. You can either purchase tickets online beforehand or when you get on the bus, prices are €6,75 for a single or €11,65 for a return ticket.

TMB bus no.46

The TMB bus no.46 bus travels from the city centre stopping first at T2 and then continuing on to T1. The big advantage of using this bus is that you don’t have to purchase a special ticket and you can use the T-Casual ticket.

Public transport in Barcelona for tourists

Hola Barcelona Travel card

With the transport passes offering unlimited travel for 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours , you’ll be able to get around the city and its surrounding area and save yourself time and money.

Barcelona card

More than 25 free museums and cultural spaces and unlimited public transport for 3, 4 or 5 days, including the train and/or metro to Barcelona Airport. And access to more than 70 discounts on tours, entertainment, shows and other services.

Barcelona Digital Pass

The Barcelona Pass includes Sagrada Família ticket, Park Güell ticket, access to the Barcelona Bus Turistic and
10% code for other attractions.

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