How to Get from Barcelona Airport to the City Centre

Barcelona Airport Sign - How to get from Barcelona Airport to City Centre

When flying to Barcelona, the main thing you’ll need to know is how to get to Barcelona city centre from the airport.  In this post, we’ll cover all of the ways you can travel from Barcelona airport to the city, from public transport to private transfers and taxis, so you can choose the best airport transport for you.

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Where is Barcelona Airport?

Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, more commonly known as Barcelona or Barcelona El Prat Airport, is close to a town called El Prat de Llobregat on the outskirts of Barcelona.  This is the main international airport of Barcelona and is the only airport actually in Barcelona.

Barcelona El Prat Airport is about 25 minutes’ drive from the centre of Barcelona by car or taxi and is well connected to the city centre by public transport in the form of buses, trains and metro.

Barcelona Airport Terminals

Barcelona Airport has 2 terminals and is the second-largest airport in Spain, after Madrid-Barajas.  How you get from Barcelona airport to the city could depend on which terminal you fly into, so check which one is indicated on your flight ticket.

There is a free shuttle bus which runs between the two terminals, so all transport options are possible from both terminals although you might need to transfer between them first.  The shuttle buses run frequently, every 5-10 minutes depending on the time of day, and the journey takes 10-15 minutes to get from one terminal to the other.

Below are the airlines which usually operate from each terminal, however, make sure you check your ticket to confirm which terminal in Barcelona you will arrive at so you can plan onward travel accordingly.

Barcelona Airport Sign - How to get from Barcelona Airport to City Centre
Barcelona Airport Sign – How to get from Barcelona Airport to City Centre

Barcelona Airport Terminal One Airlines

Airlines which operate at Terminal One include:

Aegean Airlines, Aeroflot, Air Algerie, Air Baltic, Air Canada, Air China, Air Europa, Air France, American Airlines, Arkia Israel Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Ba Cityflyer, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Airlines, EgyptAir, El Al, Emirates, Finnair, Iberia, Israir, KLM, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Rossiya Russian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, TAP Portugal, Tarom, Tunisair, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Vueling.

Barcelona Airport Terminal Two

Airlines that operate at Terminal Two include:

Aer Lingus, Air Arabia Maroc, Air Moldova, Air Transat, Atlantic Airways, Azur Air, Belavia, Blue Air, Bulgaria Air, Chalair Aviation, Corendon Airlines, Easyjet, Enter Air, Evelop Air, I-Fly, Icelandair, Jet2com, Jetairfly, Luxair, Norwegian Air, Iberojet, Pakistan International Airlines, Pegasus Air, Ryanair, SmartWings, Transavia com, Ural Airlines, UTair, Wizz Air.

Quick tips for Barcelona Airport Transport

  • If you choose convenience over budget then a taxi or private transfer is the easiest way to get directly from Barcelona airport to your accommodation.  There are always taxis available outside both terminals, although there may be queues during peak times.
  • Instead of a taxi, consider pre-booking a private transfer with Welcome Pickups.  For a price similar to a standard taxi, an English-speaking driver will meet you at the arrival gate and drive you to your accommodation, sharing information about key sights you pass along the way.
  • If you prefer public transport, check out the Hola Barcelona card which includes unlimited use of the metro, buses, trams and local trains, including the train journey from the airport to Barcelona.
  • The Aerobus goes directly to Plaça Catalunya so is a good choice if your accommodation is nearby.

How to Get from Barcelona Airport to the City Centre

There are several ways to get from Barcelona airport to Barcelona, take a look and see which option is best for you.

Taxi from Barcelona Airport to the City

Airport taxis can whisk you into the city centre in around 25 minutes, depending on traffic, and of course, will take you straight to your hotel or accommodation so this is a good option if you are short on time or have mobility issues.

There are always taxis waiting outside both terminals, you can easily spot the black and yellow cars lining up to collect people.  Taxis are available 24 hours a day, with increased rates before or after 8am during the week, and on weekends and holidays.

There is a minimum fee of €20, and to get into the city the cost can vary quite a bit, depending on where your hotel is and if there is a lot of traffic.  Expect to pay between €30 to €40 on average.

Taxis used to charge a supplement for each item of luggage, but that is no longer the case.

Pros: Fast if no traffic.  Drop off right at your accommodation.

Cons: Expensive for solo travellers.  May be a queue at the airport.

Line of Black and Yello Barcelona Taxis - Barcelona Taxi from the Airport to the City Centre
Barcelona Taxi from the Airport to the City Centre

Private Transfer to Barcelona from the Airport

If you’d prefer to pre-book your transfer from Barcelona Airport, Welcome Pickups offer private cars with English-speaking drivers to meet you at the arrival gate and take you directly to your destination, pointing out key landmarks along the way.

They aim to match the price of a normal taxi, so for a personalized service that’s excellent value and gives you peace of mind that someone will be waiting for you as you arrive.  Click here for a quote to check out the price for your journey.

Additional COVID safety precautions currently offered by Welcome Pickups include:

  • The driver wearing a mask during the ride and not coming into physical contact with the passengers or their belongings (e.g. luggage)
  • Hand sanitisers and hand wipes provided in the car
  • A minimum gap of 20 minutes between transfers so that the car can be cleaned & sanitised

Pros: Personalised, direct service including meet and greet and drop off at your accommodation.  Fast if no traffic.

Cons: Expensive for solo travellers.

GET A QUOTE

Shared Transfers from Barcelona Airport

You can also arrange shared transfers from Barcelona with companies such as Shuttle Spain, which stop off at specific hotels in Barcelona, not individual addresses.

Pros: Cheaper than private transfers

Cons: More expensive than the bus and not necessarily quicker.  Only drops off at specific destinations, not individual addresses.

Barcelona Airport Train - How to Get from Barcelona Airport to City
Barcelona Airport Train – How to Get from Barcelona Airport to City

Train from Barcelona Terminal 2 to City Centre

I love getting the train to and from Barcelona.  It is quick, relaxing and cheap.  The train journey is part of the Barcelona public transport system and is included in the Hola Barcelona travel card.

The train leaves from Barcelona Airport train station across a raised walkway from Terminal 2.  It is the R2 line and stops at the main station in Barcelona (Sants), Passeig de Gràcia and El Clot-Aragó, as well as some stops on the way into the city and carries on beyond Barcelona.

The train journey from the airport at Terminal 2 to Sants station takes 20 minutes, 27 minutes to Passeig de Gràcia and 31 minutes to El Clot-Aragó.

It is then possible to change trains at Sants to go to Plaça Catalunya on a different train line, or you can get the metro, bus or taxi to get closer to your accommodation if you can’t walk from the main station stops.

The trains run from around 6am, with the last train to Barcelona leaving the airport at 11.38pm.  You can check the timetable on the Renfe website here.

Pros: Cheap, included in the Hola Barcelona Card.  Fast service if you are staying close to the main stations.

Cons: Only 2 trains per hour.  No overnight service.  Only available from Terminal 2 (although you can take the free shuttle between terminals)

Aerobús – Airport Bus to Barcelona City Centre

The Aerobús is a dedicated airport bus running an express service from the airport to Barcelona city, stopping at a few key destinations including Plaça Espanya before terminating at Plaça Catalunya.

There are two different lines, one for each terminal.  Aerobús A1 goes to and from Terminal 1, and Aerobús A2 goes to and from Terminal 2.

You can buy tickets online on the official website here, from the bus stop terminals at the airport or in Plaça Catalunya, or from the driver.  One-way tickets cost €5,90 per person and return tickets cost €10,20 per person.  Children under 4 travel free.

The service runs 24 hours a day, from every 5 minutes on peak times and routes to every 20 minutes at quieter periods in the early morning.  The website has details of the timetable and stops.

Pros: Dedicated express service.  Frequent and direct to the city centre.  Inexpensive.  Convenient for accommodation close to Plaça Espanya and Plaça Catalunya

Cons: Only a few stops in the city so may need to change to a taxi/metro to get to your accommodation.

Barcelona Aerobus - The Bus from Barcelona Airport to the City Centre
Barcelona Aerobus – The Bus from Barcelona Airport to the City Centre

Transport Not Usually Recommended for Visitors

I’ve included these options so you have all of the information, but don’t recommend these as they either take a long time or just aren’t very convenient unless you happen to be staying right next to one of the bus or metro stops.

Public Bus

There are public buses that go to and from the airport which are included in the Hola Barcelona travel card.  You can also buy a single ticket on the bus or use the T-Casual transport tickets.  Lines include:

  • From Barcelona Plaça Espanya to airport terminal T1 and T2 with the 46.
  • Night bus Nitbus N18 from Barcelona (Pl. Catalunya-Ronda Universitat) to the airport, terminal T1 and T2.
  • Night bus Nitbus N17 from Barcelona (Pl. Catalunya) straight to airport terminal T1.
  • Night bus Nitbus N16 from Barcelona (Pl. Catalunya) to Castelldefels, stopping at terminal T2.

Pros: Included in the 10 journey T-Casual ticket and the Hola Barcelona travel card.  Night services are available.  Convenient if you are close to the stops on the route.

Cons: Can take a long time with traffic and frequent stops

Metro from the Airport

Metro line L9 Sud connects the airport terminals T1 and T2 with the city of Barcelona, every 7 minutes.  The journey is included in the Hola Barcelona travel card, but not included in the 10 journey T-Casual ticket, so you will need to buy a separate Airport ticket for €5.15 if you don’t get the Hola Barcelona card.

The metro runs from 5am to midnight during the week, from 5am to 2am on Fridays and eves of public holidays, all night on Saturdays and until midnight on Sundays.

Pros: Some night service.  Runs frequently during operational hours.

Cons: Takes longer than the train.  Will probably need to change lines to get to your destination.

A Barcelona Metro from Barcelona Airport to City Centre
You Could Get the Metro from Barcelona Airport to City Centre but I don’t recommend it

Rent Your Own Car & Driving from Barcelona Airport

I have saved this till last, as I don’t recommend hiring a car in Barcelona unless you plan to travel outside of the city every day.  Parking in Barcelona is expensive and in short supply, so it is much easier to move around the city by public transport or taxi.

If you plan to spend a couple of days in the city and then explore further afield there are car rental companies in Barcelona city centre where you can arrange car hire for when you need it, without having to worry about parking.

However, if you do decide to hire a car at the airport, I’d suggest using Google maps or a sat-nav to direct you to where you want to go.  Driving in Barcelona can be stressful as it is busy, with many of the streets running one way only.  Also be aware of the motorbike and scooter drivers who zip around queuing traffic.