Getting from the Airport to City Centre
Barcelona's El Prat airport lies around 13km southwest of the city centre, and there are a few different transport options to get you into town.
The easiest (and of course most expensive) of these options is to catch a taxi. There is a taxi rank just outside the arrivals hall. When we arrived in Barcelona for our latest visit it was a Friday evening and we wanted to get into town as quickly as we could so we could go out to dinner - so taxi was the best solution for us. Although at this time there was a long queue of people waiting for a cab, there was also a constant flow of empty taxi's arriving and it didn't take us too long until we were on our way. A taxi to the city centre costs between 20-30 euro depending on extra charges for luggage etc.
Another easy option is to catch the A1 Aerobus, which departs every 10-15 minutes from outside the arrivals terminal. The bus takes 30-40 minutes and costs around 3.75 euro - you can buy your ticket on the bus. The bus goes to Placa Espana and Placa Catalunya.
On our first visit to Barcelona we caught the train from the airport to the city centre. The RENFE train service departs every 30 mins or so, and the trip to the city centre takes approximately 25 minutes. You can get off the train at Barcelona Sants or Passeig de Gracia and change onto the metro from there if required. A oneway ticket from the airport to Sants station costs around 2.60 euro.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
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Arrive by Cruise Ship
We picked up a cross Atlantic cruise ship at the harbor. It was a 17 day cruise, and a few stops along the way; like Mallorca, Malaga, Canary Is, and Freeport Bahamas. This may be the way to go home once, but no more. Beside getting something replicating the Legionares Flu, we put up with very obese people, and a number of scooter chairs they get around the ship in.
The ship was new and could hold 4,000 passengers plus crew, but they did not expand the ship facilities very much, if at all, so the whole ship was more cramped than when there would be 2,000 passengers on board.
Horse & carriage rides around the port
Barcelona is a very walkable city but if you fancy a romantic Horse & Carriage Ride - then this is available at a price! We passed by the horse many times and he seemed to be parked up quite a lot with no fare paying passengers to be seen!
Pity those horses in the summer months = but maybe in Summer it is more popular because of the heat - still pity the horseRelated to:
- Family Travel
We bought a Barcelona card which gave us unlimited travel on bus, metro and some trains. With it you get a book with loads of free stuff (including a boat trip, fee entrance to musuems) and discounts off the entrance fee at various sights.
You can get them for 1 - 5 days.
Ours paid for itself many times over.
You can buy them at tourist information bureaus (there's one in the airport when you arrive)
Barcelona-El Prat Airport
This airport is about 18 kms. away from the city centre of Barcelona, and it musn't be confused with other airports published as Barcelona-something as, for example, Barcelona-Girona; this city is tens of kilometers away.
The best way to get to the city is by a bus called Aerobus (www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/sp/aeropuerto/aerobus), which takes you to Plaça Catalunya in about 20-30 minutes. From there, you can take the bus or the metro depending on where your accommodation is. This website is in different languages.
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how to move around
I walked miles and miles in Barcelona but the Metro helped us a lot to move faster sometimes. It works 05.00-00.00 (some lines close earlier). Hopefully, on Friday/Saturday metro operates till 02.00. I noticed many stairs in some stations so have this in mind if you carry heavy luggage. Each metro line has a different number and color, eg. Line 1 (Red), Line 2 (purple) etc
There are signs that will lead you to the exit, other metro lines, or buses (pic 2). Some funiculars are attached to the metro system, for exable go to Paraller by metro and change to the funicular to Montjuic park
The bus network was very helpful too but we always have to ask a local about the line and the correct direction. On the days that we were more relaxed (having already seen the basic sights) we choosed bus because you travel overground, and you can watch outside.
We never used a taxi but there were everywhere and they have good prices (the airport is an exception). You will easily recognize them because of their black and yellow color (pic 3)
The single ticket for metro/bus costs 2euro but it’s much better to buy a 10rides-ticket(Tarjeta Multiviaj) for 9,25euro. You can use it together with your partner. The ticket machines are in Spanish/catalan/English so don’t worry about it, they are very easy to use, just check for the T10 ticket. If you plan to use more than 6 rides per day check the day tickets (5,80e) or for 2 days (10,70e), 3(14,30e), 4(19,50), 5 days(23,10e).
Finally, there is a touristic bus (Barcelona Bus Touristic) (pic 4) that I don't support anywhere but if you dont have much time it will take you from all the main sites. There are 2 different lines(blue and red) that covers a huge area of the city. You ticket is valid all day so you can hop on and off as many times as you like. 1 day ticket costs 21euro and 2days ticket 27euro
If you rent a car, you have to watch out the other drivers (they seem aggresive sometimes like in every mediterranean country, respect the speed limit and always put your seat belt on (even at the back seats). During the night it is much more peaceful on the side streets (pic 5) but at the big avenues (Gran Via etc) the traffic never stops...
The metro network is quite wide and it links almost the most important sights of Barcelona. Just Tibidabo, Montjuïc and the airport don't have metro stations although they have another means of transportation such as train, funicular or bus.
Furthermore, it's really useful that the system works round-the-clock during the weekends.
There are a few useful websites (in different languages) that offer very good information:
Barcelona is a big city and some important sights are far from the centre, so that, it's necessary to take public transportation. However, the best way to visit a city, is on foot. The city has many streets and avenues that deserve a walk, let alone the heart, the Gothic district and Las Ramblas.
metro line L5
When I was in barcelona, the metro line L5 was undergoing some expansion work and i had a bad day looking for a L5 metro for going to Temple de Sagrada Familia. I went to a metro station of L5 and from there I was directed by a yellow line painted throughout with L5 written on it for about 1.5 kilometers until I finally arrived at the new station. On the way I had to cross streets, shops, parks and then come to the right place whereas the station i had first visited had L5 marked on it. It seemed that the new L5 station was being moved to a different location altogether.
By Car: How Far/How Long...?
Some road distances to Barcelona from:
- Madrid: 623 kms.
- Paris (France): 1.038 kms.
- Sofia (Bulgaria): 2.368 kms.
- Kiev (Ukraine): 3.155 kms.
If you check the website, you'll find info about some other road distances together with the driving times and the best routes.
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Cable Car Montjuic to Barceloneta
On Montjuic, you have two cable cars. One gives access to the fortress on top of the mountain. The second goes between Montjuic over the boat harbor into Barceloneta, that is the one we took.
We arrived at the cable car station before opening time so had an hour before it began (change in schedule between summer and winter times, our fault for not checking). Our luck was in operation and I will talk about the small restaurant there on the edge of the mountain later.
The cable car ride is gorgeous and gives you a good perspective of both the size of Barcelona and also a better idea of just how close everything for the tourist is. You can see from Rambla street to Park Guell and from there to Sagradia Familia and down to Barceloneta. You can actually walk all those distances.
This is an excellent ride for the kids also.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Hiking and Walking
THE CABLE CAR
This is a very nice idea if you are walking by Port Vell area.If you take this cable car,it will take you to the mountain of Montjuic,the views from mountain and also from the cable car are beautiful!!!!.
Trams in Barcelona
The trams in Barcelona were very well maintained and clean and ran quickly from stop to stop around the city. The routes were fairly easy to work out from the maps at the stops. Although I don't think the tram routes and connections were shown on the metro map that we used, they did seem to have good connections with other forms of public transport, such as the buses and metro. The leisure and tourist three day travelcard we used was also valid on them.Related to:
- Road Trip
Funicular, teleferico to Montjuic
From Metro:Parallel you can catch a funicular and then cable car (teleferico) to the Castle of Montjuic. When we were there it was less than 7 Euro for the two roundtrip. You get great views from the open cable cars. Of course I am such a tourist that I always enjoy these unusual forms of transportation. I have not seen a funicular in the US. Also, I sometimes have a bit of acrophobia but felt no uneasiness in either here. You could also take a taxi for not much more, but think of the fun you would miss!
They are open Mon-Sat 10:45-20:00. Closed on Sunday.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
The touristic bus takes you all around the city and stops at all of the main attractions. They also give you backround info about all the sights you see. The bus runs all day untill 8pm. It costs about 15-20 euros for the whole day. You can catch the bus at any one of thier stops. or to make it easier: go to plaza catyluna. At the left of the photo is one of the bus-stop signs for the tour bus.
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