Which is Barcelona's Main Airport and How to Get There
Barcelona's airport situation is simple, made complicated only by unscrupulous airlines pretending that other airports are near the city when they're not.
If you plan on visiting the city of Barcelona, there is only one airport you should consider: Barcelona International Airport in El Prat de Llobregat , 10km outside of Barcelona city. Its code is 'BCN' and it is often referred to simply as Barcelona El Prat.
More on Barcelona:
Other Airports Near Barcelona
There are two more major airports in the region of Catalonia - Reus (REU) and Girona-Costa Brava (GRO). Both of them are approximately 100km from Barcelona.
Sabadell airport is Catalonia's fourth airport, but it is mainly used for training purposes.
Transfer Time and Price from Barcelona Airports to Barcelona
Which airport you fly to will make a big difference to how much time you spend after arrival getting to your hotel.
- Barcelona El Prat Airport Between 15 minutes and 35 minutes, depending on traffic and mode of transport. Cost between 1.50€ and 6€ (more for a taxi). See below for more information.
- Reus Airport Just under two hours by bus. Costs 22€ for a round trip. Read more about Reus Airport.
- Girona Airport Takes around one-and-a-half hours by bus and costs 16€ for a one-way trip. Read more about Girona Airport.
So I Shouldn't Fly to Reus or Girona?
Not necessarily. In some circumstances, one of these airports will be more appropriate for you. Check out the reasons you might want to
- For a Long Weekend in Barcelona Fly to the main Barcelona airport. You'll lose too much of your time transferring from the other airports to the city.
- To Reach the Pyrenees and France Fly to Girona. Girona is also a reasonably nice city in itself and is close to Figueres, where the must-see Salvador Dali museum is. However, there is also a bus to Andorra from Barcelona Airport.
- For a Beach Vacation All three airports are close to beaches.
- For Architecture Barcelona, of course. But Reus also has some fantastic modernist buildings, while Girona has a famous Jewish Quarter.
However, price will usually be your biggest deciding factor, particularly for longer trips. To find the cheapest flight to one of these airports, try this link:
Private Transfer from Barcelona Airport to Your Barcelona Hotel or Costa Brava
A private transfer is just a little more expensive than a taxi going to Barcelona and cheaper if you are going to the Costa Brava. It is also available 24 hours a day (after midnight taxis in Spain charge extra).
Public Transport to and from Barcelona Airport
There are two main ways of getting from the airport to Barcelona - the train and the bus. The train is the cheapest, the bus is the quickest. But check where you get dropped off in relation to where your hotel is.
The Barcelona Metro does not run to the airport.
Train from Barcelona Airport to the City
There is a train (a part of the local Rodalies train network) to Barcelona Sants station or to Plaça Catalunya. This is the cheapest way of getting to and from the airport. The service is less frequent than the bus but it stops in more places and is free if you have a Barcelona Card. See what you can get with the card here: Barcelona Card.
- Frequency: Every 30 minutes from around 5.30am to around 11.30pm
- Price: A little over a euro if you buy the right ticket (see below)
- Principal Stops: Passeig de Gracia and Plaça Catalunya
- Duration 25 minutes to Passeig de Gracia.
Top tip! A ten-journey ticket can be shared between multiple people and is valid from the airport. One ten-journey ticket costs less than two single tickets from the airport and you'll still have eight 'free' journeys to use during your stay in Barcelona. Read more about the Barcelona Metro.
See more Barcelona Travel Tips.
Airport Bus to Barcelona
There is a regular bus from the airport to the city (and the other way too). This is currently the best way of getting to and from the airport, but it costs a little more. Note, when going from the city to the airport, there are two buses - the A1 and the A2, which go to Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, respectively. If you get on the wrong one, you'll have to take another bus to get to the terminal you need.
- Frequency: Every five minutes, from 5am to 12.30am
- Price: Around 6 euros.
- Principal Stops: Placa Catalunya and Placa Espanya
- Duration: The company gives a conservative estimate of 30 minutes to Placa Espanya, but I found the journey to be much quicker (it can be as quick as 15 minutes)
Taxis to the Airport
A taxi should cost no more than 40€, plus a little extra for each bag. Agree on the price before you get in the taxi. If you feel you have been overcharged, ask for a receipt. On the receipt, it will explain how to make a complaint. For taxis adapted to people with special needs, call +34 933 581 111.
Taxis might not accept bills of over 20€ so get changed in the airport. It may be more convenient to get a private transfer (see above) than to take a taxi.
Buses to and from Other Cities
Several bus companies run services to other towns and cities in Catalonia and the east coast of Spain.
Hire car from Barcelona Airport
There are several car hire companies that run from Barcelona airport. However, I wouldn't recommend a hire car for visiting Barcelona as public transport is so good in the city. If you are spending a few days in the city before visiting other parts of Catalonia, get your hire car from the city center: it'll be cheaper.
Why Use Barcelona's Other Airports: Girona and Reus
Reus is 100km to the south-west of Barcelona. The nearest famous city is Tarragona. The coast between Reus and Barcelona is littered with fine beaches.
With lots of cheap flights to Reus airport and with its proximity to Tarragona, Reus might be an attractive option for visiting Barcelona and Catalonia.
How to Get from Reus Airport to Barcelona
If you intend in only visiting Barcelona, Reus is not the best airport to fly to.
- There is a transfer from Reus airport to Barcelona which costs around 22€ for a round trip. The journey takes 1h45.
- The bus, which is run by Hispano Igualadina, coincides its buses with the flights to Reus airport. If you have a flight, you'll have a bus. If your flight is late, all of the bus's passengers will be later, so it will wait for you (though how long, I cannot say, especially late at night). To double check when the bus is due to leave, check the Hispano Igualadina website (it is in English and it works, a rarity for bus websites in Spain). Get your ticket on the bus, you cannot book in advance. And remember that they will only accept euros. The bus arrives at Sants station on Carrer Viriat (and leaves from the same place for your bus back to the airport).
- A taxi can be 120€.
- There is also a bus from Reus airport to Reus center.
How to Get from Reus Airport to Tarragona
- There is a very infrequent bus from Reus Airport to Tarragona from Hispano Igualadina. The journey takes only 15 minutes and costs a couple of euros but it only runs three or four times a day. Buy the ticket in person on the bus.
- A taxi will cost under 30 euros.
- If you don't want to wait for the bus or pay for the taxi, you could take a bus to the town of Reus and then another bus from Reus to Tarragona.
- An alternative is to not fly to Reus at all but to fly to Barcelona Airport, stay in Barcelona for a few days and visit Tarragona as a day trip.
How to Get from Reus Center to Barcelona
- The cheapest and quickest option is the train, but the service is infrequent. The journey takes between 1h30 and 2h30. Check Renfe for timetables and prices.
If you want a short stop before you travel on to Barcelona, I recommend Tarragona, which is much better connected than Reus.
Read more about Tarragona.
Where to Stay Near Reus
You will get cheaper accommodation in Tarragona or Barcelona than you will in Reus.
Girona is 100km to the north-east of Barcelona, not far from the border with France and good for day trips to Figueres.
But rather than heading straight for Barcelona, who not consider a night in Girona? Read about Things to Do in Girona.
How to Get from Girona to Barcelona
From Girona Airport to Barcelona
Barcelona Bus is operated by Sagalés and, though it coincides its departures with Ryanair flights, is not operated by Ryanair. This can be a problem if your flight is delayed for some reason. The bus takes you to Barcelona's Nord bus station and takes 1h30m.
From Girona Center to Barcelona
For those spending a few days in Girona before going on to Barcelona, there are regular trains to Barcelona throughout the day. Read more here: Girona to Barcelona.