Barcelona Is the Pearl of Spanish Catalonia
Barcelona attracts plenty of tourists from all over the world all year round. Being one of the brightest cities in Spain, it is equally interesting for those who love independent trips and participants in sightseeing excursions in Barcelona with locals. There is something to see here: the Old Town and the Gothic Quarter, the Drassanas shipyard, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia, the Ciutadella Park, Plaça de Catalunya, and the Zoo.
Barcelona El Prat International Airport
The distance from Barcelona Airport to the city center is 18 km. Barcelona International Airport El Prat (El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto) serves the most popular tourist city in Spain, so it is not surprising that the city is connected to it by a variety of means of transport. The name of the airport was due to the small town next to which it is located.
This is the second-largest air harbor in Spain and one of the busiest airports in the world. About 45 million passengers are served here annually. Every hour, 90 airliners from all over the world land and take off at El Prat Airport. In airline tickets, passenger guides, and on information boards, as well as in online ticket booking services, Barcelona Airport is abbreviated as BCN.
The question of how to get from El Prat airport to the city center worries tourists immediately after the end of the flight. The competition of carriers provides an acceptable price-quality ratio, making it possible to get from the airport to the center of Barcelona and any other area, regardless of the time of day. In the event of a sudden disruption of plans, you can easily use alternative solutions.
Ways to Get from the Airport to the Center of Barcelona
Traveling from Barcelona airport to the city center is easy. Several terminals have been built on the vast territory of the airport. Terminal 1 (T1) is located a few kilometers from Terminal 2, which includes three buildings:
All terminals are connected by free shuttle buses. You can get from Barcelona airport to the city center by bus, metro, train, taxi, or rented car. However, the most convenient way is to go to the metro or railway stations located here, and quickly, without risking getting into a traffic jam, reach the central regions by metro or train.
Passengers are offered commuter trains, the city subway, shuttle buses, and municipal buses, including night ones. The alternative is a taxi, a transfer, and a rented car. It is worth noting that the travel time by train is 30 minutes, by metro – 1 hour, by bus – 35 minutes, by municipal bus – 1-1.5 hours, and by car – 30 minutes.
Black and yellow taxis are waiting for passengers at the exit of the terminals. This option is especially convenient if you are traveling with children, arriving at Barcelona airport at night, or traveling with large luggage. Special signs will lead you to the parking lots. You can get from Barcelona airport to the city center around the clock. During the day, a trip to the center lasts 25-40 minutes. You can order both a comfortable sedan and a minibus for a group. What matters here is that city traffic jams are common on the streets of Barcelona. At night, a taxi will take you to the center in 20 minutes.
The fare from Terminal 2 to the center of Barcelona is within 30€, from Terminal 1 it is – 35€ (it is 4 km further). Luggage is included in this price. As a rule, the estimated cost of a trip to the center is indicated on a bright sticker in the corner of the rear window of a taxi. Barcelona taxi drivers work on a meter. Tariffs and extra charges are posted in the car. There is an additional fee for Barcelona airport taxi passengers at the airport. This amount is indicated separately on the sticker.
If you do not have heavy or bulky luggage, it is convenient to get from the airport to the center of Barcelona by metro, the ticket price is 4.60€. Since 2016, the Barcelona metro has had its stations at the terminals of El Prat Airport (line L9). Interestingly, the trains on this line are controlled by a computer dispatcher. So, the trains move without drivers and approach the platforms every 5-7 minutes.
The station at Terminal 1 is called “Aeroport T1”, and at Terminal 2 the metro station, respectively, is called “Aeroport T2”. The operating hours of these stations are from Sunday to Thursday – 05:00-00:00, on Fridays the operating time is extended until 02:00, and on Saturday the trains run around the clock. Hours of operation may vary during public holidays, so please check in advance.
For instance, to get to the center of Barcelona, to the main city attraction, the Sagrada Familia, you need to take the L9 Sud train, get to the Collblanc station, and change the line to L5 and go to the Sagrada Família station. The journey will take about 1 hour.
El Prat Airport is connected to the city center by rail. The RENFE train station is located next to terminals T2A and T2B, so passengers arriving at Terminal 2 can walk to the train platform in a few minutes. If you arrived at Terminal 1, free shuttles will take you to the electric train station in 10 minutes. The schedule of their movement is coordinated with the schedule of departure of commuter trains RENFE.
If you want to save money, the train is the best way to get from Barcelona airport to the city. This type of transport will allow you to more accurately calculate the travel time since there is no likelihood of traffic jams. Tickets for the train are sold in vending machines, the fare is 4.20€, the travel time is 25 minutes, trains depart every half hour.
The train is suitable for experienced travelers who know the route, without small children and bulky luggage since there are no special places, it is placed in the aisle or under your feet. The train schedule rarely changes, but we recommend checking it just before your trip.
Almost all electric train stations are conveniently connected to metro lines and ground transport stops. Station layouts are posted on platforms and in train cars. The map will help you to select a stop in the city center, which will be more convenient to get off.
From the airport “El Prat” buses can take you to the center, as well as to neighboring cities in Spain. International transportation is also carried out to some cities of Andorra and France. Buses depart from the airport to Barcelona with enviable regularity, you can choose between scheduled transport and express buses. After midnight, you can take the night bus to the center of Barcelona.
City bus number 46 TMB runs from the airport to Plaza España in the center of Barcelona. The stops of these buses are located at the exits of all passenger terminals. The ticket will cost – 2.20€. Luggage is transported in the cabin.
You are traveling in a shared bus for 30-60 people. On the way, the tourist will spend about 30 minutes. The bus is suitable for experienced tourists traveling light, without small kids, who speak the language and are not afraid to get lost.
The first regular bus takes passengers at 04:50, the last one departs at 23:50. Car departure intervals are 40 minutes. You can find the exact timetable at the bus stops. The peculiarity of this transport is that there are lots of stops on the way to the city. However, the driver will slow down on them only on demand.
By Aerobus (Express Airport Bus)
It will cost a little more to travel by express bus with the inscription “Aerobus” on board. The color of these cars is light-turquoise. They are larger and more comfortable than ordinary city buses. Besides, they have special compartments for luggage. Each seat is equipped with a USB port for charging smartphones, Wi-Fi, and CCTV cameras are free of charge in the cabin.
Travel time is approximately 35 minutes. The fare is 5.90€. Children under 4 years old can be transported free of charge. If you will be flying home from the same airport within two weeks, it is convenient to buy a round trip express ticket. It is valid for 15 days and costs €10.20.
If you are planning a long trip around Catalonia and its surroundings, it is worth renting a car. Barcelona airport car rental gives certain freedom of movement. Renting a car at the airport will cost more than in the city, there are special fees. The rental price starts from 8€/day, prices vary depending on the season. Car rental offices are open from 07:00 to 00:00.