The Barcelona Card was introduced as a great way to save money on transport, various attractions, and tourist sites. The card is perfect for those savvy travelers and tourists who want to fit as much into their holiday as possible!
Although, if you’re the type of person who likes to spend their time relaxing on the beach, this card may not be for you. Here is a quick overview of what to expect from the Barcelona card.
What is the Barcelona Card?
In summary, the Barcelona card aims to help you save money on both transport and tourist attractions. You will get unlimited transport around the city with many discounts and free entry to various museums, restaurants, and tours of Barcelona.
The card is a dream for those who like to completely immerse themselves in everything the city has to offer.
Wanna buy it in person? You are also able to buy your cards at the Tourist Information Offices which are located right in Barcelona city center.
It should be easy to find – you just might have to wait a bit though.
Is it worth it?
This question entirely depends on what type of traveler you are and what type of things you want to see and do in Barcelona.
To make your decision easier, we have put together a detailed review of all the fantastic benefits but also some honest alternatives so you are fully informed!
2. Barcelona Card Transport
Barcelona has a fantastic public transport system with the most preferred method of travel being the metro (underground). If you want to explore all corners of the city, this is the perfect way to do it as the metro lines cover most areas of Barcelona.
Luckily, the Barcelona card ensures that you get completely unlimited and free travel across the whole metro system in Zone 1. No worries, that this is limited to one zone as this area easily covers all the main tourist attractions, museums, beaches and nightlife that the city provides!
Insider tip: Download the Barcelona Metro app on your phone to make exploring the city super simple.
If the metro isn’t your thing, the Barcelona Card also allows you free access to:
and the trains
Having all these options are all really convenient and easy ways to roam around the city.
Another benefit of the card is that it makes your airport experience quick and stress-free as the airport train and metro are both included within the price, as well as some buses departing from the airport.
So, if you’re keen to see all corners of the city without getting sore feet, you should definitely take advantage of the unlimited free trips!
It will also save you from having to constantly buy new tickets, something that can be a hassle and also make you a possible victim to common pick-pocketing!
3. Alternative Transport
If you’re the type of traveler who enjoys taking things at a more leisurely pace, you may not have the desire to travel around as much.
There are many alternatives to the Barcelona Card which can give you access to the city on a more limited scale.
A favorite for tourists was the T-10 card which was giving 10 journeys across all metro lines, buses, trains, and trams. This was a fantastic deal as it only costed 10.20€ within Zone 1, a perfect fit for those who to spend less time and money traveling about.
Update: since January 2020, T-10 Card is no longer available. Nowadays T-10 has been replaced with T-Casual (we explain the T-Casual below).
Of course, much of the city can easily be explored on foot! Barcelona pales in comparison to big cities such as London and New York, so if you don’t mind walking then you probably don’t need to take advantage of the transport offers included in the Barcelona Card.
To give you an idea, you can walk from the popular Barcelona Cathedral to Arc de Triomf to Parc Cuitadella in about an hour, so consider this before splashing out on transport costs!
It’s also worth noting that the Barcelona card does not include taxi fares. This shouldn’t be a problem during the day, however, during the week the metro closes at 12 am and 2 am on Friday.
So if you’re a fan of taxis of if you’re keen on partying into the night, you might want
to skip on the Barcelona Card.
Remember that the Barcelona Card only covers Zone 1, so if you’re looking to take day trips outside of the city, such as to Sitges or Girona, the card will not cover this.
Local transport: how do locals move around?
Until December 2019 most locals were using the T-10 card. It was also perfect for tourist, as you could share that card, which contained 10 rides. The valid time for this card is unlimited (not really unlimited, but one year long).
From January 2020, T-10 has been replaced with T-Casual. It is also a card with 10 rides. The main difference is that this a one-person card, it cannot be shared.
The T-Casual costs11,35€
A single ride with the metro/ bus costs 2,40€
Therefore, it is only useful to buy the local T-Casual if you plan to take the bus/metro/tram… more than 5 times.
Note: T-Casual does not include transport to the airport.
You will be spoilt for choice with the free entry museums included in the Barcelona Card, there truly is something for everyone.
Without the card, most museums range from 5€ to 12€, so if you want to save money with the Barcelona Card it would be recommended to visit at least 3 museums depending on how long you are staying.
It is also worth remembering that most museums will be closed on a Monday, and the card does not include access to temporary exhibitions.
5. Alternative Free Entry
Honestly, there are not many alternatives when it comes to gaining free entry to museums and attractions in Barcelona; although as many museums range from 5€ to 12€ it means you probably won’t need to splash out on the big bucks.
The best way to gain free entry without the Barcelona Card is to visit the city during the first Sunday of every month where many museums are free to enter all day.
This even includes museums that are included with the card such as:
La Virreina Centre de la Imatge: free admission every day.
Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB): free admission on Sundays after 3pm.
Maritime Museum: Admission is free every Sunday from 3pm.
Palau Güell: Admission is free the first Sunday of the month.
It’s true that the Barcelona Card offers discounts which will help you make the most out of your visit and pack in as much as possible.
However, there are also plenty of fantastic attractions and places to visit in Barcelona which will not cost you a penny.
Popular free attractions include:
Arc de Triomf,
El Carmel Bunkers,
Barceloneta Beach and
even some parts of Parc Güell!
If you’re happy to focus on the free attractions Barcelona has to offer, then you should avoid purchasing the Barcelona Card.
It’s also important to think about what attractions you are hoping to visit and if the discount is worth the price of the Barcelona Card.
For example, Tibidabo and the Montjuic Cable Car, both very popular with visitors, only offer a small 2€ discount with the Card.
Furthermore, there are also several discounts already in place for seniors, children, and students, so it’s worth checking out those offers before purchasing anything.
When it comes to buying the Barcelona Card to take advantage of the discounts, you should consider which attractions or museums you are most keen to visit and whether they are already free or require a fee!
8. Barcelona Card Extra Features
Barcelona can be tough to navigate if you are visiting for the first time, there are so many different neighborhoods that it could potentially feel a little overwhelming, to begin with!
To help you find your way around the city, the Barcelona card provides a useful map of the city to make exploring much easier.
The Card also comes with a guide which can help you decide what to do from the countless number of attractions and activities available in Barcelona!
Luckily, the guide comes in 6 different languages ❲English, Catalan, Spanish, French, German, Italian) so no need to worry about not understanding the lingo.
Other cool features of the Barcelona Card include discounts on rental bikes, scooters, and lockers, which is super handy if you need to store luggage whilst you’re waiting to check in to your accommodation.
Whilst having a physical copy of a map can be useful, don’t forget that you can also access this through your phones. Google Maps is great when searching for directions, but you can also download the Barcelona Offline City Map for free.
In addition, you can download the free app ‘Barcelona City Guide, Offline Maps and Tours’ which will give you a detailed insight into fun things to see and do, as well as handy directions.You might think an alternative to using discounted rental bikes with the Barcelona Card is the fantastic Bicing system in Barcelona, but that’s not true, as Bicing is only available for people living and having an address in Barcelona city.
If you have a friend, you could ask them to borrow their card, as Bicing allows you to pick up bikes that are found in public stations throughout the city using their app. To rent a bike with Bicing for 2 hours will only cost you 5€ whilst the app also allows you to plan your trips!
10. Barcelona Card Vs Alternative Cards
This review of the Barcelona Card shows you the amount it has to offer and how you are able to take advantage of all the Card provides depending on what type of traveler you are.
Although, in order to keep you fully informed and make the right decision, it’s also useful to look at the other cards and passes which are designed to make your experience in Barcelona is worthwhile.
Here is a helpful summary to help you make those comparisons:
10.1 Barcelona Card Express
The Barcelona Card Express is almost identical to the Barcelona Card in terms of discounts and offers. The main difference is that the express card does not offer free entry to any establishment.
Despite this, discounts range from 10% to 50% off at around 90 different museums and attractions. This list is very similar to the Barcelona Card.
Much like the Barcelona Card, the Express card offers you free unlimited travel throughout the city on the metro, trains, trams, and buses within Zone 1 in the 48-hour period.
It also includes the journey to and from the airport.
How does it compare?
There are two key differences between the Barcelona Card and the Barcelona express: the 48 hour time limit and the lack of free entry offers.
With that being said, if you are only in Barcelona for a short period of time, you may not have enough time to take advantage of the free entries regardless.
If you are only in Barcelona for 2 or 3 days, the express ticket is a great option and will give you plenty of discounts for a bargain price. Anyone who is planning on a longer trip through may find the Barcelona Card a more worthwhile purchase.
As the name suggests, the Articket is designed for those with a keen interest in art.
This pass gains you entry to the permantent and temporary exhibitions of the 6 best art museums in Barcelona.
The ticket includes free entrance to six of the most popular art museums in Barcelona:
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya,
Fundació Joan Miró,
Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona,
Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, and
Fundació Antoni Tàpies.
The ticket also enables you to skip the queues and gives you entry to both permanent and temporary art exhibitions.
The Articket does not provide any offers or discounts related to transport.
How does it compare?
If you’re a true art-lover and your priority in visiting Barcelona is to immerse yourself in the art world, then this ticket is perfect.
The website claims that you can save a useful 45% on admission prices, that’s almost half the fee! The ticket also lasts for a whopping 12 months, so if you are planning on more than one trip to Barcelona or planning a long-term stay, this is ideal.
However, the downsides to this ticket are that you are only able to visit each museum once, which may be quite limiting.
Also, unlike the Barcelona Card, this ticket does not include any transport offers or discounts to other attractions.
If you are exclusively interested in art, this ticket is great, but if you are looking for a more varied experience, the Barcelona Card is the best option.
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