The Ultimate Barcelona Metro Guide [2024]

Coming to Barcelona and want to know how to get around the city using public transport?  The metro system in Barcelona is an efficient and easy way to get around Barcelona. Here’s everything you need to know about the Barcelona metro, including how to buy metro tickets, metro hours of operation and which metro lines in Barcelona you can use to navigate the city.

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Before travelling to Barcelona, make sure you book accommodation and popular attractions ASAP as hotels and tickets can sell out.

⭐ TOP 3 BARCELONA ACTIVITIES TO BOOK IN ADVANCE:

1: Sagrada Familia Skip the Line Ticket - a must-see in Barcelona!

2: Park Guell Admission Ticket - colourful mosaic terraces and gorgeous views

3: Casa Batlló Entry with Self-Audioguide Tour - stunning Modernist Building & rooftop

🛌 MY FAVOURITE HOTELS IN BARCELONA:

$$: Sercotel Hotel Rosellon - Incredible view of the Sagrada Familia from some rooms and the terrace

$$: H10 Madison 4* Sup - top location with rooftop pool & view of the Gothic Cathedral

$: Chic & Basic Lemon Boutique Hotel - great value hotel near Plaça Catalunya

❗BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS❗

Although Barcelona is a safe city, pickpockets are a problem here, particularly in popular tourist areas and on the metro.  Use a theft-proof backpack and consider getting some hidden-pocket clothing to keep your belongings safe.

Why Use the Metro in Barcelona

Public transport in Barcelona is clean and efficient (most of the time), and the metro is usually the quickest way to get from A to B as it avoids the city traffic above.  It is cheap to use, easy to navigate and safe – although pickpockets can be a major problem so keep a hand on your belongings at all times!

Buying Barcelona Metro Tickets

You need to buy a ticket before you board the metro, contactless credit cards are not valid for your journey.

Standard single metro tickets and rechargeable T-Casual 10 journey tickets can be purchased from ticket vending machines available at all metro stations which accept both cash and card payments.  You can also purchase the Hola Barcelona Travel Card in advance online or from the ticket machines in the metro station.

If you just want to take a single journey on the bus, you can buy a bus ticket on the bus with a credit card, but not the metro.

READ MORE: Is the Hola Barcelona Travel Card Worth It?

Buy Your Metro Tickets Online or From These Red Ticket Machines at every metro station
Buy Your Metro Tickets Online or From These Machines

Barcelona’s metro system offers various ticket options to suit different travel needs.  Before you buy your tickets, think about how many times you’re likely to use the metro while you are in Barcelona so you buy the best ticket for your trip.

Children under the age of four can travel for free, otherwise, everyone else will have to buy a ticket.

Select your language using the flags displayed on the machine, then you can select the desired ticket type and zone, and the machine will provide you with the corresponding ticket.

Once you are in the metro system your ticket allows you to change as many times as you need, for a total journey time of up to 75 minutes.  You can also switch between the metro, buses and trams for up to 75 minutes as well.

Separate from the metro, you can also use these tickets for journeys on other public transport in Barcelona, including buses, trams, Montjuic Funicular and suburban trains within certain zones.

Types of Metro Tickets in Barcelona

Since the beginning of 2024, the ticket system has changed and now it is no longer possible to buy the old disposable metro tickets.  The new scheme is called T-mobilitat, and provides rechargeable tickets instead.

You can still buy the following tickets at the machines in all metro stations:

  • Hola Barcelona Travel Card for unlimited travel on public transport for 2, 3, 4, or 5 days
  • A single ticket for the metro or bus
  • A single airport ticket for 1 metro journey to or from the airport
  • The T-casual 10-journey ticket
  • The T-dia single-person day ticket
  • The T-familiar 8-journey ticket over 30 days
  • The T-grup 70-journey ticket over 30 days
  • The T-usual ticket for unlimited travel on public transport for 30 days (best for commuters and not common for tourists).

These tickets are not personalised, and you can buy them or recharge multi-journey tickets you already have at any ticket machine in the metro station.

T-mobilitat also has an option for using your mobile phone to buy and use as a contactless ticket.  If you live in Spain it is possible to register for T-mobilitat and buy additional transport cards online which will be delivered to your home, but delivery outside of Spain is not permitted.

The only other way for non-residents to buy other transport tickets is to register and use the T-mobilitat app (which is awful and didn’t work properly for me), or make an appointment to buy the tickets from a T-mobilitat office.  Check the information about the T-mobilitat scheme here.

Bearing all that in mind, the easiest option for visitors is to either buy the Hola Barcelona Travel Card online in advance, or to buy that or one of the other tickets from the ticket machines at the metro and train stations.  I don’t recommmend using the T-mobilitat app!

Select Your Metro Ticket Type
Select Your Metro Ticket Type

Most Common Barcelona Metro Tickets

The most common types of metro tickets for visitors to Barcelona are:

Hola Barcelona Travel Card

This travel card is designed for visitors who are in Barcelona for 2 to 5 days and provides unlimited rides on public transport, including the metro, buses, trams, and suburban trains, within the specified time period,  It also includes the metro or train journey to and from the airport.

It can be great value if you plan on taking several journeys during your stay.  You can buy the Hola Barcelona Travel Card online in advance here, or from the ticket machines. Read more about the Hola Barcelona Travel Card here.

Hola Barcelona Travel Card Cost:

  • 48-Hour/2 Day Public Transport Ticket: € 17.50
  • 72-Hour/3 Day Public Transport Ticket: € 25.50
  • 96-Hour/4 Day Public Transport Ticket: € 33.30
  • 120-Hour/5 Day Public Transport Ticket: € 38.20

If you also plan to visit lots of museums while you are in Barcelona then the Barcelona Card could be better value for you as it also offers discounts and free admission to certain museums and attractions, as well as unlimited transport during the duration of the ticket.  It’s valid for between 3 and 5 days with prices starting from €55 for 3 days.  Read more about the Barcelona Card here.

T-Casual

This is a single-person, multi-journey card that allows for ten separate trips by one person on the metro, buses, trams, and suburban trains within Zone 1 of the Barcelona transport network.

Cost: €12.15 for 1 zone (plus 50 cents for the card if you buy a new one, there is no added cost for topping up your existing card)

NB: The T-Casual replaced the popular T-10 which could be shared between multiple people – the T-Casual cannot be shared, each person must purchase their own ticket.

T-dia Card

An individual travel card allowing an unlimited number of journeys to be made in one day on all operators in the integrated transport system.  It is valid for 24 hours (1 day) from the time of the first validation. You can also use it for a maximum of one round trip to or from Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2 metro stations on line L9 Sud, or the train journey from and to the airport.

Cost: €11.20 for 1 zone.

Single Ticket (Bitllet senzil)

A single ticket is valid for a single journey on the metro network, including transfers, within the city limits.  It is not valid for metro stations Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2 on line L9 Sud, but you can use it for a bus journey or the Montjuïc funicular.

Cost: €2.55

Single Airport ticket (Bitllet aeroport)

Trips to the airport on line L9 are not included in the standard metro tickets, so if you travel to or from the airport on the metro you will need one of these airport tickets.  It is valid for a single metro journey to or from the airport on the metro network.

Cost: €5.50

INSIDER TIP: The R2 train line (not the metro) from Barcelona Airport Terminal Two to Barcelona is included in the following metro ticket types:

The New T-mobilitat Transport Card
The New T-mobilitat Transport Card

T-usual card

A month-long travel card for unlimited journeys on all operators in the Integrated Fare System. The ticket is only to be used by the holder and could be useful if you’re spending several weeks in Barcelona on a Workation or as a Digital Nomad.

Cost: from €21.35 for 1 zone

T-familiar Card

The T-familiar card is a multi-person travel card allowing 8 journeys in 30 consecutive days from the first validation, so it could be useful for families who only want to take one or two journeys on the metro.

Cost: €10.70 for 1 zone.

Which Barcelona Transport Ticket is Best for You?

Which Barcelona metro ticket you buy will depend on how many times you are likely to take the metro, bus or other public transport in Barcelona.

Most tourists tend to buy the Hola Barcelona Travel Card, which is great value as long as you are going to make use of it and get your money’s worth.

It is very convenient to know that you just have one ticket that will cover all of your public transport needs throughout your trip and you don’t need to worry about topping up or buying new tickets once you have your Hola Barcelona Card that is valid for the duration of your stay (from 2 to 5 days).

You can buy the Hola Barcelona Travel Card online in advance here, or from the ticket machines at any metro station including at the airport. Read more about the Hola Barcelona Travel Card here.

If you also plan to visit lots of museums while you are in Barcelona then the Barcelona Card could be better value for you as it also offers discounts and free admission to certain museums and attractions as well as unlimited public transport for the duration of the ticket.  Read more about the Barcelona Card here.

However, if you only plan on using Barcelona public transportation a few times then you might not need to buy the Hola Barcelona Card, and a couple of single tickets or the T-Casual 10 journey ticket might be sufficient for your needs.

If you are only spending one day in Barcelona and think you’ll take 5 or more journeys, then the T-dia day ticket will be best for you.

Topping Up Existing T-Casual Cards

If you already have a T-Casual or T-Usual card that you want to top up, you can do that at any of the ticket machines, and select the option “I already have a card” which will allow you to reload your ticket.

Top Up Your Existing Card or Buy a New Rechargeable Transport Ticket
Top Up Your Existing Card or Buy a New Rechargeable Transport Ticket

Barcelona Metro Zones

Barcelona’s transport network is divided into different zones. The most commonly used zone for visitors is Zone 1, which covers the entire city of Barcelona and the immediate surrounding areas.  You can find a map of the zones on the official TMB website here.

If you plan to travel outside Zone 1, such as to the airport or neighbouring towns, you may need to purchase additional zone tickets or pay an extra fare.

Barcelona Metro Lines

The metro lines in Barcelona are colour-coded and numbered.  Each line is also identified by the first and last stations on the line:

  • L1 Hospital de Bellvitge / Fondo (Red Line)
  • L2 Paral·lel / Badalona Pompeu Fabra (Purple Line)
  • L3 Zona Universitària / Trinitat Nova (Green Line)
  • L4 La Pau / Trinitat Nova (Yellow Line)
  • L5 Cornellà Centre / Vall d’Hebron (Blue Line)
  • L9N La Sagrera / Can Zam (Orange)
  • L9S Aeroport T1 / Zona Universitària (Orange)
  • L10N La Sagrera / Gorg (Pale Blue)
  • L10S ZAL | Riu Vell / Collblanc (Pale Blue)
  • L11 Trinitat Nova / Can Cuiàs (Pale Green)
  • FM Paral·lel / Parc de Montjuïc (Funicular de Montjuïc)

Barcelona Metro Map

You can find a map of the Barcelona metro system below, as well as at every metro station and on the metro trains as well.  I also find Google Maps useful for showing me which metro stations to use.

When you get to the metro station to take the metro, follow the signs for the correct line that you want, and before you go onto the platform check you will be going in the right direction.

Before the entrance to each platform is a sign which tells you the direction of the train and the final stop, and a list of all of the stops that it will pass in that direction, with the current station at the top.

For example, in the photo below I was at Navas metro station which is listed at the top, and this is the red L1 line going towards Hospital de Bellvitge, stopping at Clot, Glories, Marina, etc., all the way to Hospital de Bellvitge at the bottom.

Make Sure You are Going the Right Way on the Metro - Sign showing the direction of the L1 metro
Make Sure You are Going the Right Way on the Metro

On the wall above each platform, there is also a map of the metro line showing all of the stops on that line, and the direction of travel is shown by colouring the remaining stops in the same colour as the line.  Stops that have come before your current station are shown in white.

Similarly, once you have boarded the metro train, above the door is another line map showing you the current location and the remaining stops.  Verbal announcements are made (in Catalan) to tell you what the next stop will be.

Red arrows at the end of each carriage light up to show you which side of the train the doors will open so you can prepare to get off at your stop.

Barcelona Airport Metro Tickets

The journey to the airport is not included in standard single metro tickets for use on the L9 metro so you will need to buy a special Single Airport ticket (Bitllet aeroport).  However, one return journey to/from the airport is included in a T-dia metro ticket, or your Hola Barcelona card.

Alternatively, you can use the other tickets such as the T-casual to board the R2 train from Clot, Passeig de Gracia or Sants train stations to the airport at no extra charge.

>>Click here to read more about how to get from Barcelona airport to the city centre.

Barcelona Metro Hours of Operation

The Barcelona metro opens every day at 5.00 am. The metro closes at different times, depending on the day of the week and public holidays.  The last trains leave the terminal station at each end of every metro line at the indicated end time.  The timetable is as follows:

      • Weekdays (Monday to Thursday): until midnight.
      • Fridays and eves of public holidays: until 2.00 am.
      • Saturdays: continuous service all night.
      • Sundays and mid-week holidays: until midnight.
      • 23 June (Midsummer Eve): continuous service all night.
      • 24 December: until 11.00 pm.

There are a few metro stations which have different opening hours, but they aren’t commonly used by tourists.  In case you need them, those are L9 Sud stations Parc Logístic, Mercabarna and Mas Blau and L10 Sud stations ZAL, Riu Vell, Ecoparc and Port Comercial, and La Factoria.  These stations operate Monday to Sunday from 5.00 am to midnight and on 24 December until 11.00 pm.

The Frequency of Metro Trains in Barcelona

Barcelona metro trains run every few minutes all throughout the day.  The exact frequency varies depending on the line and the time of day, which could be anything every 3 minutes to up to every 10 minutes at quiet times on the less-frequented lines.

Validating Tickets

Once you have bought your metro ticket you must validate it before entering the metro platform. Look for the ticket barriers and follow the green arrow on the front directing you to the correct side to walk through.

Scan your T-mobilitat or transport card on the pale blue square reader on the top of the ticket barrier and the gate will open for you to walk through.  Don’t wait too long before you walk through, they close automatically!

The small information screen near the scanner will tell you how many journeys you have left on your T-Casual or other multi-journey card.  Once it reaches 0 journeys left you’ll need to top it up before you can take another trip.

Scan Your Ticket on Top of the Gate to Enter the Metro
Scan Your Ticket on Top of the Gate to Enter the Metro

For the old-style disposable metro tickets, your ticket will be stamped and spat out on top of the barrier for you to collect before you go through.  Make sure to keep your ticket throughout your journey, as you may be required to show it during inspections.

Each time you use a T-Casual ticket, the machine will stamp on the back of the card so you can see how many journeys you have used, and how many you have left before you need to buy a new ticket.  The last number on the row shows how many journeys you have used.

Titol Esgotat” means you have no more journies left and you’ll need to buy a new ticket for your next journey.

How to reach Barcelona’s Main Attractions by Metro

Barcelona’s metro system will take you wherever you need to go, as long as you know which station you need to get off at.  Google Maps is useful for finding suggested routes, but you can just as easily use the Barcelona metro map to figure out how to get there.

The Tmb website also has a journey planner available online here and through their app.

For easy reference, these are some of the most popular attractions in Barcelona and the metro stations & lines you need to get there:

  • Plaça Catalunya – L1 and L3, Plaça Catalunya
  • La Rambla – L1 and L3, Plaça Catalunya, also L3 Liceu and Drassanes
  • La Sagrada Familia – L2 and L5, Sagrada Familia
  • Camp Nou – L3 Palau Reial and L5 Collblanc
  • Park Güell – L3 Lesseps
  • Casa Batlló – L3, L2, and L4 Passeig de Gràcia
  • Picasso Museum – L4 Jaume I
  • The Magic Fountain – L1 and L3, Espanya
  • Sants Train Station – L3 and L4 Sants Estació
  • Barcelona Airport – L9 Aeroport T1 or Aeroport T2 (or train R2 to the Airport)

More Tips for Using the Metro in Barcelona

Avoid Rush Hour

Keep in mind that metro lines can get very crowded during peak hours as commuters cram onto the trains, so plan your travel accordingly.  Avoid the peak times around 8.30am – 9.30am and 4.30pm to 5.30pm if you can!

Beware of Pickpockets

Pickpockets are notorious in Barcelona, and many operate on the metro and in the stations.  Be especially careful of your belongings when it is busy.  A pickpocket can grab your phone or wallet as they brush past you, so make sure you keep your valuables safely hidden away.  Use a theft-proof backpack and consider getting some hidden-pocket clothing to keep your belongings safe.