Getting around Barcelona is fast and easy. It has one of the best public transport systems in Europe, and the city center itself is really walk-able and comfortable to explore by bike.
Even when staying right in the old town, the very city center, you need to get around somehow. Here’s my brand-new guide on beach hotels in Barcelona (with pools and roof tops).
So, what transport shall we pick? Barcelona is our home town, so we know the best ways to get around. And there are many different options to consider. We show you how to get around Barcelona the easiest, fastest and cheapest way.
psssst…our top choice is #4, the vespa by Via Vespa.
We put together the numerous options of transportation. Just click on the one you’re interested in. We will walk you through its pros and cons.
On the menu:
- Metro, Tram and Train
- Public bus
- Sightseeing Bus Touristic
- Scooter and Vespa (my favorite)
- Car (and parking)
- exception: Ferrari
- The Verdict
1. Getting around Barcelona: Metro, Tram and Train
You have every type of transportation to choose from.
The tickets you purchase is valid for the metro, tram as well as the train, if you’re not leaving the city with the train. The train, however, would be the better option when planning to get out of the city or for day trips to Sitges, Gerona or Costa Brava.
For more ideas, check our list of 33 day trips from Barcelona.
Pros of the Metro:
Fast, cheap, and always available!
The metro system in Barcelona is one of the best ones we know! You will wait maximum 5 minutes during the day for the next metro.
There are many metro stations and it is easy to understand.
We recommend purchasing a T10 Ticket which is valid for exactly 10 rides (around 10€)
It costs less than individual tickets and you can use them as a group as well. There are as well daily tickets and 2-day or 3-day tickets. Those are recommended if you plan to use the metro more than 6 times a day.
Either way, on almost every entrance you will find official workers from the metro. They are used to tourism so in most of the cases they speak – at least a bit of – English to help you out.
- almost always available
Metro Operating Times:
The Barcelona metro operates daily starting from as early as 5.00 am. On Friday night the metro runs until 2 am. And from Saturday night to Sunday, the metro operates all night long. This is very convenient.
Here are the opening times for the metro:
- Weekdays (Monday to Thursday): until midnight.
- Fridays and public holidays: until 2.00 am at night
- Saturdays: runs all night
- Sundays and public holidays during the week until midnight
There is always a special schedule for events and festivities in the city.
Check out the schedule on the official website TMB.cat for more info.
Cons of the metro:
Thieves love to be around the metro, waiting for opportunities. Please watch your belongings in the metro, and you will be fine.
Here is a handy guide on how to stay safe in Barcelona.
Also, another con we do not really like: you’re underground, meaning you don’t see the city. This is, however, a personal opinion.
- make sure you watch your belongings, as thieves tend to come here
- faster than the bus, but underground – no view to the city
More: This video below gives you a deep insight into the metro system in Barcelona and the ticket to purchase. Give it a go.
2. Public Transport: the Bus
Taking the local bus is another great way to get from A to B.
You can get a feeling for the local life, see people rushing to their work, kids on their way to school and so on.
The buses in Barcelona are well connected and they usually leave very frequently.
However, depending on where you’ve to go, it can take a bit longer than the metro. Getting to the beach is faster though. Therefore, make sure you check the route beforehand.
There are as well night buses available. When the metro stops, you can always catch a bus. However, a Taxi might be the better option, as you don’t have to wait.
Another plus is the safety. It is less likely to get robbed in a bus other than the metro, but you still have to watch out your belongings. Therefore: It is highly recommended!
Pros in the overview:
- you see the city
- safer than metro
- night buses available
Depending on your itinerary, the public bus can be slow.
Try to avoid the bus during rush hour, meaning, don’t take the bus between 5:30 pm and 7 pm, when people finish work.
Good to know: You can buy a single ticket on the bus, but you cannot buy a T10 Ticket! The T10 ticket is a ticket for 10 rides, and you can buy it in every metro or train station. It is valid for the bus as well.
3. Hop On Hop Off Bus
The tourist bus, also known as “Hop on Hop Off Bus”, is one of the most popular ways for getting around Barcelona.
There are different routes to take around the city and you can hop on and hop off as many times as you want. Obviously, they cover all the major tourist attractions like Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Camp Nou, Ramblas and so on.
You can start taking the Bus Turistic from Placa Catalunya, the main square in the very city center.
Pros of the Bus Turistic:
For those who have little time but want to check all the touristic points of Barcelona, the turistic bus can be a good idea, as it goes straight to them.
- direct stop at the main attractions (or nearby)
- you see the city from your seat
- double decker buses with panoramic views
- interactive guides
- free WiFi
- official Barcelona couriers on board
- restricted schedule: from 9 am to 7/8 pm (depending on the season)
- it does not go off the beaten path
- purely touristy!
Good to know: with your ticket, you can use the different lines, check all of them. For the night turistic bus, you need a separate ticket.
4. Scooter (even better: a red Vespa!)
Jambalaya, this is our favorite – fast, affordable, fun!
Renting a scooter is quite cheap, and you can park almost everywhere around the city. You can go up the Tibidabo and Montjuic which is quite fun. You can go to the beach, hit the city afterwards, and drive to a Barca match in no time!
I wrote a big guide on scooter rental in Barcelona. It covers everything from prices, safety and rental companies.
Even better than a scooter is actually renting a beautiful red vespa. We did this. And we would always repeat it, as you’ll feel like in a vintage movie.
The place to rent a red, green or yellow vespa in Barcelona is Via Vespa. Check out the official website here www.via-vespa.com
- fast from A to B (perfect for a 1-day trip)
- park (almost) everywhere for free
- Traffic is busy in Barcelona. Experience is recommended, although not required. Just drive slower and keep right and you will be fine.
- Make sure you park in the marked parking spots for scooters. They are basically everywhere, so don’t park in the middle of the road.
5. Getting around on two wheels: Bicycle
Eco-Friendly, fast and especially beautiful to cruise along the beach and the Passeig de Colom!
Renting a bike can be a great option to get around Barcelona.
Try to avoid the most narrowed streets in the old town and try not to run down anyone with the bike.
But seriously, a bike is a fab option.
It is faster than walking and slower than sitting on a scooter. It is also really safe. You can rent your bicycle as well with Via Vespa.
- perfect for medium distances
- especially perfect to go to the beach
- you can park everywhere
- special bicycle lanes around the city
- Safety issue: Make sure you always lock your bikes properly. The bike rental provides you a big lock, use it!
- Renting a bike overnight? Take the bike inside or park it directly at the renting shop itself. Bikes are NOT safe on Barcelona’s streets at night.
There is also great bike tours to join. The best bike tour we have joined is Steel Donkey Bike Tours. Their alternative bike tour takes you around the hidden gems of Barcelona, and “rides” you through the local life.
Check out the official website www.steeldonkeybiketours.com for prices and schedules
11.000 taxis to choose from – not too bad, right?!
The taxis are quite affordable, compared to European standard rates for Taxis. You can stop a taxi all around the city at all times. We never had any bad experiences with taxis. Actually, quite the opposite. Taxi drivers here are known for being helpful and quite knowledgeable about their city.
What about UBER? UBER is currently not legal in Barcelona, and rarely used. Best option is to go with a legal cab.
- Accessible whenever
- Accessible wherever
- safe and fast (except during the rush hour or special festivities)
- “higher cost” compared to the other options above
- avoid taxis in rush hour between 5:30 pm and 7 pm – streets are too busy, and it’ll take you longer
Walking!! Barcelona is very walk-able.
Actually, whenever I walk I discover something new. It can be a plant concept store, a new café, cool restaurants with an interesting offer on daily menus, and so on.
Some of our best restaurants in Barcelona list were actually discovered by walking. If I wouldn’t be so lazy, I would always walk. Be better than me!
- You discover new locations – all the time
- perfect to explore El Born, Gothic Quarter and Gracia
- Time-intense, slow
- Quite hot during summer season
8. by Car
Uff…a car in Barcelona is quite a hassle.
The traffic is always busy, the parking spots are super limited, and even if you manage to score on, you will have to pay for parking. Also, driving through Barcelona by car can be very slow.
Therefore, if you can avoid this, do so!
- perfect for day trips outside the city. Here you find our 33 epic day trips from Barcelona
- You don’t get wet on a rainy day (well, we tried to find another plus here!)
- traffic is busy
- it’s slow inside the city
- expensive parking
9. Exception: Ferrari
UPDATE: You cannot rent a Ferrari anymore in Barcelona.
For my 30th birthday, my friends gave me a very special present. Besides my surprise party, I got to drive a Ferrari for 1 hour through Barcelona. I’ve to admit, I am not a big fan of motorsport or cars, but this one was seriously awesome!
I got to drive a real Ferrari with 500 on horsepower.
When I saw the car in real-life, I got a bit nervous. But one staff member of the rental company will be your Co-Pilot, so no worries at all. He will navigate you through the city, giving you advises if you need to.
- Unique experience!
- affordable, prices starting from 90€
- none, seriously, none!
The Verdict: Getting around Barcelona
You see, there are plenty of options.
All of them have their pros and cons.
It is not easy for us to make a generic recommendation. It always depends on your travel style, the amount of time you have and obviously your own preferences. So here I try a generic recommendation for the different traveler styles:
Remember to read my guide on how to rent a scooter in Barcelona.
Speed Traveler: Don’t have much time? Then Bus Touristic is a very convenient transportation. It is safe, fast and comfortable to see all the sights. Start your journey from Placa Catalunya and keep your camera ready.
You can find all our articles and information on spending One Week In Barcelona here.
Do you have any preferences or things to add? We would love to get your feedback.
Leave us a comment below.
Safe travels and enjoy Barna!
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