Barcelona is a very walkable city, and beautiful to boot, so if you have the time and the inclination I’d recommend walking as much as you can to take in the ambience of the city. However, if you prefer a quicker or easier way to get around Barcelona and to ease your aching feet then there are lots more options to choose from.
Public Transportation in Barcelona
Barcelona has an excellent public transport system and can get you anywhere in the city that you need to go. Current Covid regulations mean that masks must be worn by anyone over the age of 6 years on all public transport, including platforms, passenger stations and cable cars.
Transport tickets can be used on any of the public transport options, that is buses, trams and the metro, as well as local trains (called cercanías).
If you plan on taking 6 or more journeys by bus or metro (including the train from/to the airport), then you could buy a 10 journey ticket called a T-Casual, which used to be known as T-10. This allows you 10 journeys on the bus, tram, metro or train within zone one for just €11.35. If you only plan to use public transport once or twice, a single ticket costs €2.40. Children under 4 travel free.
There are also transport cards specifically designed for tourists, called the Hola Barcelona Travel Card. However, unless you plan on taking public transport everywhere, I don’t think they are the best value. For example, a 48-hour transport card costs €16.30, but you would have to take more than 10 journeys in 2 days to make it better value than the T-Casual Card.
The Barcelona Metro System
The underground Metro is the easiest public transport network to navigate but keep a close eye on your belongings. Barcelona is notorious for pickpockets who stalk the metro looking for victims. Don’t make it easy for them!
The Barcelona metro has 8 lines, identified by a number and a colour. All of the lines begin with a letter L followed by the number, for example L1 is the red line that runs across the centre of Barcelona from Hospital de Bellvitge to Fondo. In total there are 165 stations across the city so the chances are you can find one close to where you need to be.
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.
The bus system can be a bit confusing as there are so many intersecting lines and routes. However, if you have wifi access then Google maps will tell you the best route to take. Each bus now has an information board that announces the next stop so you know where to get off.
In general, to get somewhere quickly I’d recommend the metro over the bus as the traffic in Barcelona can be horrendous, especially during rush hour. However, being overground is more scenic!
There are a few tramlines dotted around the city, although not as common.
Local Trains in Barcelona
The cercanía local train network will take you further out of the city, and to the airport. T-Casual tickets for Zone 1 can be used on trains to go from the centre of Barcelona to Barcelona El Prat airport, but you cannot use the metro to go to the airport if you only have a zone 1 ticket.
There is a stupid amount of taxis in Barcelona, so if you need to get anywhere fast you easily can flag one down. They all have a meter and should use it. Official Barcelona taxis are black and yellow, so don’t get in cars of a different colour.
Uber is not permitted in Barcelona.