Getting Around Barcelona on Public Transport

The capital of Catalunya, Barcelona, is a city that has a wonderful culture and a population that is passionate about its Catalunyan heritage, while its great history and vibrant nightlife makes it a very popular travel destination. While many parts of the city center can be enjoyed on foot, if you are looking to visit some of the attractions on the fringes of the city, or want to avoid sore feet at the end of the day, the public transport network here is very good and an ideal way to get around. Here is a brief look at some of the key features of the network in the city, and how you can use it to explore the wonderful city of Barcelona.

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The Barcelona Metro

Train in the metro train network
Tony Hisgett/Flikr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The first and most common method of getting around the city is by using the metro train network, and all of the major sights in the city have stops nearby, offering a quick and easy way to get to the different areas of the city. There are currently eight lines in operation, and a further two lines in development, with those served by modern electric trains. The metro also connects to the suburban lines that are operated by Renfe, transporting people further out into the suburbs and the commuter towns around Barcelona. Stations include the Sagrada Familia stop and Les Corts, which offers the best access to the Nou Camp football stadium.

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Buses and Trams in Barcelona

While the Metro is the easiest method of transport for visitors, you can also make use of the extensive network of buses in the city, and the two tram networks, with one in the east and the other in the west of Barcelona. Although the Metro is open late at night on the weekends, transport after midnight during the week will need to be done on the night bus system. Along with the Metro and the funicular railway, these different parts of the transport network all operate under one pricing system to make it easier for visitors and locals alike to handle getting around the city.

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Cycling in the City

Cycling in the city
Colville-Andersen/Flikr/ Colville-Andersen

Although not usually considered to be a great city for cycling, recent years have seen a nice network of cycle lanes opening up around the city, coinciding with the introduction of the bicycle rental scheme 'BiCiNg'. However, as this system is mainly for locals, and some work is required to get the card needed to rent these cycles, most short-term visitors will rent from one of the local bike shops, with cycling around the city a great way to see Barcelona.

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Getting to the Airport

There are several different ways that you can use to get to and from the airport, with trains, bus routes, and minibus transfer services all offering convenient ways to travel. The train service connects to three stations in the city center, while the minibus transfers are booked in advance, and usually shared with a small number of other travelers. With regards to bus connections, they are affordable and usually take around forty minutes, although this can take longer in the heavy traffic around rush hour in the morning and early evening.

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The Barcelona Card

Barcelona sites
Don McCullough/Flikr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you are going to be visiting a lot of the museums in the city, it might be worth looking at the Barcelona Card, which combines access to the transport around the city, along with free access to many of the museums in the city. Even if the attractions you want to visit aren't free, there are still discounts to hundreds more attractions. Alternatively, there are also travel cards that offer unlimited travel for a certain period, or ten journeys for a discounted price.

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Onward Travel Connections

If you are looking for the main transport connections from Barcelona, then many of these routes will usually begin from the main railway station, Barcelona Sants. This has high-speed services to cities across the country including Madrid, while there is also a TGV route connecting Barcelona with Perpignan in France. For bus connections across the country, Estacio d'Autobuses de Sants is near the main railway station, while the Estacio del Nord is another terminal in the north of the city.

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