Getting around

By Metro


Barcelona has an excellent underground public transport system. The Metro goes pretty much any place in the city you will need to get to. It is run by the TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona;, who also manages the bus and tram network and the FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat), a pre-Metro, part-underground-part-overground system.

Metro tickets can be bought on the day of your journey or beforehand from inside the station, either at the ticket office or from touch-screen vending machines, which have English instructions. Various options are available. A single (senzill or sencillo) ticket in central zone 1 costs 1.45€. More economic options include a T-10 at 9.25€, which offers 10 journeys that can be shared by two or more people, or a T-Día for unlimited 24-hour transport in central Barcelona for 6.95€. You can buy reduced-price tickets valid for longer periods, but for most short visits the T-10 is your best bet, with the T-Día in reserve for extra-busy days. All these tickets are valid for the FGC and bus systems as well as the Metro.

When a sencillo ticket is activated, it is valid for up to 75 minutes on a different form of transport if you need to do a combined Metro/bus journey. The Metro runs 5am to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 5am to 2am Friday and Saturday.

TMB's easy-to-navigate website has information on the city's transport system in English, including which Metro stations and buses are equipped to take wheelchairs. The customer service number is tel. 93-318-70-74; there are also customer service centers at Universitat, Sagrada Família, Sants, and Diagonal stations. While it's tempting to hop on and off the Metro to see the sights, remember that Metro stations are often only about a 5- to 10-minute walk apart; a good pair of shoes is the best way around central Barcelona!

Getting Around Under Barcelona -- Here are the most useful Metro stops for sightseeing:

  • Paral.lel (lines 2 and 11) connects with the funicular line up to Montjuïc, where you can explore the castle and see some of the city's best museums.
  • Avinguda Tibidabo (line 7), behind L'Eixample, where you hop directly onto the Tramvía Blau (Blue Tram) to connect with the funicular up to Tibidabo's mountain-top fun-fair and church.
  • Lesseps (line 11) takes you close to the village-like quarter of Gràcia and within strolling distance of enchanting Parc Güell.
  • Sagrada Família (lines 5 and 6), where you can visit the famed Gaudí temple and climb one of its spires.
  • Liceu (line 5) deposits you in bustling La Rambla, midway between the labyrinthine medieval Ciutat Vella and multi-ethnic Raval quarter.
  • Barceloneta (line 4) in the former fishermen's quarter, with its market, fish restaurants, port, and beach areas.

By bus and tram


Sleek new tramvías (trams) ply the main routes through the city alongside the buses, which are plentiful but less convenient, being at the mercy of the city's infamous traffic snarls. Most bus and tram routes stop at Plaça de Catalunya, also the stop-off point for the Aerobús service from the airport and the Bus Turístic. Routes are clearly marked at each stop, as are timetables. However, most buses and trams stop running well before the Metro closes.

One bus service that is particularly useful is the Nitbus, which runs from 11pm to 4am and is the only valid alternative to the 2 to 3am taxi drought. These are bright yellow, clearly marked with an N, and most leave from Plaça de Catalunya. Note that while travel cards and other TMB passes are valid for daytime buses they're not valid on Nitbuses. Tickets cost 1.45€ one-way and are bought directly from the driver.

All Aboard! -- The most convenient way to see Barcelona, especially if your time is limited, is to hop on (and off) the Bus Turístic (tel. 93-318-70-74; This double-decker, open-top tourist bus travels to all the major sights; either disembark or stay on and continue on to the next hotspot.

There are two routes -- the red or Nord (North) route, which covers L'Eixample and Tibidabo with Gaudí's main works (including the Sagrada Família) as the highlights, or the blue or Sur (South) route, which allows you to see the Old City and Montjuïc; both have multilingual commentary along the way.

The main point of embarkation is Plaça de Catalunya, outside the El Corte Inglés department store. Cost is 22€ for a one-day pass (14€ for children 4-12) and 29€ for a 2-day pass (18€ for children 4-12). Tickets can be purchased onboard or at the tourist information office at Plaça de Catalunya. The service operates daily, except Christmas and New Year's Day, from 9am to 9:30pm.

By taxi


Yellow-and-black taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced. You can hail one in the street if its green light is on. Taxis have meters, but don't make the mistake of confusing the cheaper day rate (Tariff 2, starting at 2€) with the more expensive post-8pm night rate (Tariff 1, starting at 3.10€).

A list of prices and surcharges is (by law) on display on the back passenger window. There have been recent reports of taxi drivers charging exorbitant fares for short distances, so always make sure that the meter is turned on when you start your journey. To book a cab, either the next available one or for the next day, call the Institut Metropolità del Taxi (tel. 93-223-51-51; They can also give you information about booking wheelchair-adapted taxis.

By bicycle


One growing form of transport in the city is the bicycle. There are a number of bicycle lanes in the center of the city and a few firms that rent them, including Un Coxte Menys, Esparteria 3 (tel. 93-268-21-05), and Biciclot, Verneda 16 (tel. 93-307-74-75). The city now has a bike-sharing system in which red bicicletas (6,000 in all) are available for free from bus and Metro stations for up to 30 minutes for short trips. You are required by law to wear a helmet.

Other forms of transport


At some point in your visit to Barcelona, you may want to visit the mountain of Tibidabo for the views and fun-fair. A century-old tram called the Tramvía Blau (Blue Tram) goes from Plaça Kennedy to the bottom of the funicular to Tibidabo. It operates daily from 10am to 8pm from mid-June to mid-September and 10am to 6pm on weekends only the rest of the year.

At the end of the run, you can go the rest of the way by funicular to the top of Tibidabo, at 503m (1,650 feet), for a stunning panoramic view of Barcelona. The funicular operates only when the fun-fair at Tibidabo is open. Opening times vary according to the time of year and the weather conditions. As a rule, the funicular starts operating 20 minutes before the fun-fair opens and runs every half-hour; during peak visiting hours, it runs every 15 minutes. The fare is 2.80€ one-way and 4.30€ round-trip.

The Tibibus goes from Plaça de Catalunya, in the center of the city, to Tibidabo at limited times, again depending on when the park opens and closes. The one-way fare is 2.30€.

Barcelona's newest form of public transport is the sleek and comfortable Tramvía Baix, a modern tram that mainly services the outer suburbs. It is handy, however, for reaching the outer limits of the Diagonal and the Palau de Pedralbes. Hop on at Plaça Francesc Macià.

By car


A car offers the greatest flexibility while you're touring, even if you're just doing day trips from Barcelona. Don't drive in Barcelona; it's too congested, street parking is a nightmare, and garage or lot parking is expensive. Theoretically, rush hour is Monday through Saturday from 8 to 10am and 4 to 7:30pm. In reality, it's always busy.
On the other hand, if you're touring Catalonia province, a car is useful to get off the beaten track independently -- although bus and train transport to all the main places of interest, such as Tarragona, Montserrat, Girona, and the Costa Brava, is extremely efficient and economical.