Barcelona is a very walkable city, though for those less able, or those who enjoy trying out the local transport, then the TMB Metro is the go. There are 6 lines - L1, L2, L3, L4, L5 & L11, plus also part of the network is the funicular railway that runs from Paral·lel metro stop to Parc de Montjuic.
The metro runs from 5am to midnight Sun-Thu and from 5am to 2am on Fri & Sat. Some of the lines criss-cross in the centre of Barcelona, though you may find you seem to walk for ages underground to change from one line to another.
Tickets can be bought from the ticket office at each station or from the ticket machines which operate in a few different languages. You can buy single tickets or books of ten single tickets if you are planning a few single trips during your stay.
If you are planning a few trips within the same day you may be better off buying a one-day pass (T-Dia), which costs 5.25 euro for zone 1 (Feb 2007). Or depending on the length of your visit, and how often you think you will use the metro, you may want to consider a 2, 3, 4, or 5 day pass.
Full details of all the tickets and pricing can be found on the website below.
Metro And Bus Tickets
You can buy tickets for individual journeys for the metro at 1.30 Euros per ticket. But if you are here for more than one day or intend taking more than 5 journeys on the metro or buses it's best to buy the T10 ticket .
The transport ticket you choose to buy depends on how many journeys you intend to make. If you don't want to be concerned with buying travel tickets and you want a ticket that gives you unlimited number of journeys during your stay then it is worth considering the Barcelona Card
In general the Barcelona metro system is easy to use. The trains and the stations are clean and safe.
There are good signs. Trains run frequently. There is a digital sign on every track that announces the time till the next train (and its number and destination). I never waited more than 5 minutes for any train.
The different lines are all colour coded, which makes it quite easy, usually, to find the track you want.
The abono 10 [or T10] card provides 10 rides for only Euro 7.70 rather than paying Euro 1.35 for each ride (September 2009). The same card is good for the trams and the buses too. Tickets can be bought in machines at every station. Careful! The machine for credit cards does not take cash and visa-versa! Most of the machines have full explanation in English.
With all that - when you have to change lines it can be a trek from one place to the other. At times I walked for more than 10 minutes, going up stairs and down, around corners and taking escalators.
Trying to find Line R5 for Montserrat was difficult. Only time that I actually had to ask directions.
Some of the stations have only steps, no lift, nor escalators - and they can be difficult with many, many steps to climb.
There is a good metro map here:
In order to get from one general area to another, the subway is the best bet in time and money. The system has a very efficient run operation, and the cars are clean inside, with many running every few minutes to avoid long waits. the grid connects with the rail lines at Plaza Espanya, and all bus routes are next to the exit points. The subway lines are easily followed and the connection between routes is good.
A fare for one ride is 1,40 Euro, but a ten ride discount ticket then averages 80 Euro cents. There is a free time of 75 minutes that you cane take a bus to connect to subway line, or visa versa that is free if you get on within that time frame.
When I was in Barcelona I used to travel a lot by underground. The metro system runs all over the city.
I should recommend to buy a T10 ticket. This is valid for 10 travels and can be used by different persons. You can buy it at every tube station.
Many of the sights in Barcelona are within walking distance from each other but some are further away and most of them can be reached by metro. In Barcelona there are six different lines, each with a different colour and number. The metro is running between 5am - midnight on Sunday - Thursday. On Friday and Saturday they are running between 5am - 2am.
I bought a T10-card which is valid for 10 rides (one zone) on the metro, buses, FGCtrains and rodalies. You can change between the different transports and each ride is valid for 1 hour and 15 minutes. You can buy the cards in machines at the metro entrances, using cash or bankcards. A T10-card was 7.20 Euro (February 2008). I lost my card and had to buy a single ticket later. It was 1.30 Euro.
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 Barcelona Metro is clean and efficient. Most places of interest can easily be reached by the Metro.
Metro operates from 5am to midnight (Monday to Thursday and Sundays), and 5am to 2am Saturdays and Sundays.
The metro system in Barcelona is great and easy to use. On every stop there are maps of the whole system and it's very easy to navigate and find your way around. We used the T-10 ticket which allowed us to switch trains in one ride- every ride is good for 1h and 15 min.
The trains are fast and we didn't wait more than 4-5 minutes for a train. At the entrance of every stop there are machines to by a ticket in several languages- fast and easy, and maps of the stops of each train.
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:
In general we would suggest to tourists when touring Barcelona, use the metro if your destination is too far to walk. Although many and most of the tour sights are within walking distances from each other but some are a bit further away and most of them can be easily and effeciently reached by metro. So far, there are six different lines, each with a different colour and number for easier to remember and recognize. The metro here in Barcelona is in full swing from 5 in the morning till midnight on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays which is considered a weekend it is in full function from 5 in the morning till 2 in the morning. Even with us locals we purchase the T-10 card which is good or valid for ten rides (those that labels zone one and so forth, I find it only confusing as we use these for all rides and is legal and acceptable by the metro machine., the metro, busses, FGC trains and rodalies are also accepting the metro tickets for transfers. You are allowed to change between the different transports and each ride is valid for one hour and 15 minutes. You can buy the cards in machines at the metro entrances, using cash or even bankcards. A T-10 CARD is 7.20 Euros (effective 02/08) For single ticket riders is quite expensive they cost 1.30 euros single ride. Now if your going to use the city airport bus, it cost 2.10 by bus, which you can pick up right in front of El Corte Ingles. If your going to Girona from Barcelona (by regional train) 5.90 Euros from Mondays through Fridays.
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.
The T-10 is a transport ticket with 10 rides and is good for the metro and bus and several people can use it. Every ride is good for 1h 15 min (for zone 1- almost all the main atractions are within that zone) which means that for example you can use the metro and the bus in one ride. For 7 days in Barcelona we bought 2 T-10 tickets, every ticket costs 7.95 euro.
We found the metro system in Barcelona very useful, and our three day travelcard good value for money when using it, especially as our hotel was at a little distance from the town centre and some of the places we wanted to visit were rather spread out too. The maps were simple to use to work to the best route and the clear signs at each station made it easy for us to find our way from platform to platform, when we had to change trains. It was a quick efficient way to get from place to place and we never seemed to have to wait long for a train. We also felt very safe using it, even late at night.
Of course the disadvantage of travelling along underground is missing the view of this beautiful city that you would have travelling above ground and we also found that, as with the London underground stations, we often had quite a long walk, sometimes with stairs, when changing trains. We didn't mind this for our sightseeing but found it more difficult with our entire luggage when travelling from the airport to the hotel, so on the way back, we decided to take a taxi instead, which was well worth the extra cost.
There is a clear printable map available on the website listed, which shows the metro and other connecting public transport services.
You can use this ticket from the airport and can be used by more than one person. We bought 2 of these tickets during our stay and used them for 2 trips to and from the airport, return to the Nou Camp and return to Parc Guell. This cost us €6.90 each and it costs that to go just to the airport so we got 8 free trips.