Despite being such a big and crowded city, the public transportation in Barcelona is extensive. The modern public transport system is not only efficient, it’s also really good value, especially when compared to other big cities around the world.
The Metro system in Barcelona is one of the quickest and most comfortable ways to get around the city. It’s incredibly easy to use and takes very little time to navigate. You can also find buses and trams which are also part of an extensive public transport network. All three run until late in the night, making them very convenient and popular choices with locals and tourists alike.
Aside from the Metro, buses and trams, Barcelona also has a range of other public transport available for visitors. There are several cable cars, funiculars, railways, sightseeing buses, local trains, taxis and night buses available too.
If you’re planning a visit to Barcelona for two or three days or even longer soon, be sure to read this helpful guide on using public transport in Barcelona before you go. There are so many fantastic sights like the famous La Sagrada Familia, the Picasso Museum, Park Guell and more in Barcelona waiting for you!
What are the best public transportation options in Barcelona
Barcelona’s Metro system is the more popular and efficient mode of transport in the city. Not only is it easy to use, it’s also very modern and comfortable, making it a joy to travel on. Most of Barcelona’s main sights are near a metro station and trains are very frequent – you won’t have to wait longer than 5 minutes. The metro opens at 5am and closes at midnight, except on Friday nights when it closes at 2am and Saturday nights when it runs 24 hours.
Barcelona has over 200 bus lines around the city. Without knowing your specific route, it’s best to use an app like Google Maps or CityMapper to navigate your way around the bus network. The city also has a night bus (NitBus) which runs all night, even after the metro closes. These buses run from about 10pm – 5am and are a popular way to get home after a late night out on the town.
The official taxis in Barcelona are yellow and black, with a green light on the roof. If the light is on, that means the taxi is available and you can hail it from the side of the road. Alternatively, you can queue at a taxi rank to catch the next available taxi. Uber is also a popular choice in Barcelona and if you already have the app, it should continue to work as usual from any city including Barcelona.
How to navigate the Metro system in Barcelona
Buying a Metro ticket in Barcelona
You can buy Metro tickets in any Metro station in Barcelona, using the pay booths with helpful staff inside. Alternatively you can use the ticket machines which have several different language settings, including English, making them very easy to use. You can purchase a one-way ticket, or if you plan on taking more than 3 journeys then a ‘T-10 pass” is most cost-efficient. It’s valid for ten rides with no expiry date.
Figuring out the Metro network in Barcelona
A zone 1 ticket covers the whole city region, some suburbs and most of Barcelona’s sights. So this should be all you need for your visit. The Metro itself is very easy to navigate. All main entrances have a map on the wall to help you plan your journey. You can also ask a ticket booth staff member for help or for a free metro map.
Local tips for the Metro system in Barcelona
The T-10 ticket is by far the most cost-efficient way to travel in Barcelona. It lasts for 10 one-way journeys in total and you can share it with your travelling partner. Simply go through the barrier, hand it back to your companion and they can use it to get through themselves too.
If you plan on travelling more often as well as seeing some key sights, you should consider the Barcelona Card which gives you unlimited transport as well as discounts around the city.
Barcelona Metro operating hours
Barcelona’s Metro runs over the following hours:
- Sun-Thu: 5am-12am
- Fri: 5am-2am
- Sat: 24hours
The Metro also runs for 24 hours on January 1st, June 24th, August 15th and September 24th. On December 24th, trains stop running at 11pm.
How to navigate the Bus system in Barcelona
Buying a Bus ticket in Barcelona
You can use your one-way, T-10 and Barcelona Card tickets on buses in Barcelona. If you haven’t already got a ticket when you board, you can only purchase a one-way ticket from the driver. If you plan on doing a few trips, it’s worth popping into a Metro station and buying a T-10 card from the ticket machine.
Figuring out the Bus network in Barcelona
Barcelona’s bus network has over 200 routes, making it quite complicated to navigate without a detailed map or local knowledge. If you want to get from point A to B, it’s best to use an app like Google Maps or CityMapper to help plan your journey. Bus stops in Barcelona are indicated by a pole or a shelter. Many stops also have a platform for easier access. You’ll find the number of the bus on both the front and on the sides of the bus.
Local tips for the Bus system in Barcelona
If you see your bus approaching, make a signal with your hand to let the driver know that you’d like to get on. Often they stop anyway, but sometimes they’ll keep driving if you don’t make that initial contact. Use the front doors to get on and the back doors to get off. When your stop is approaching, remember to press the red button to ensure the bus stops.
The cheapest way to use public transport in Barcelona
The T-10 pass is the most cost-efficient way to travel on Barcelona’s public transport. It lasts for 10 one-way journeys across the city and has no expiry date. That means if you don’t use up all your journeys, you can save the card for your next Barcelona visit (any excuse to come back!) If you’re not confident ordering the pass in Spanish at the ticket booth, simply use the ticket machine and change the language to English.
Other tourist passes
If you plan on travelling more often as well as seeing some key sights, you should consider the Barcelona Card which gives you unlimited transport as well as discounts to entrance fees on attractions, shows, restaurants, tourist hot spots, etc. Another alternative is the Barcelona Tourist Travel Pass, which can be bought for 3, 4 or 5 days validity and gives you unlimited journeys between 05:00 – 23:00. This will be an ideal pass if you are planning for a 2 days or 3 days trip in this city. This is exclusively a travel card with no other discounts.