How to get around in Barcelona
If you are new to a city it can be overwhelming to understand how the public transport system works. Luckily, many places to see in Barcelona are walkable and public transport is easy to use.
If it is your first time in the city and you speak no Spanish, the metro is probably the best way to get around Barcelona. The network is wide and works the same way as in any other metropolis.
Avoid tourist traps and buy a 10-ride card rather than the 24h, 36h or 72h tickets. Once you know what you want to see, you’ll notice how walkable Barcelona is. You will need fewer metro rides than you may think. For inspiration, read this travel guide on 24h in Barcelona.
There is a metro to the airport, but it’s much more expensive than the bus or train.
I use google maps to find out how to get around in Barcelona. If possible, I choose the bus option. The metropolitan transport authority TMB also has its own app, that can give you the same information.
The process of buying through the app is not refined yet, as you still need to pick up your ticket from a ticket machine after you bought it online.
Validate your ticket once you enter the bus.
Ferrocarils and Renfe run trains from Barcelona. The 10-ride tickets are also valid on these trains to get around the city. This way you can avoid lots of metro stops sometimes.
Taxis are yellow and black and easy to hail anywhere in the city at any time. There are apps to reserve taxis as well. Prices are metered, not up for negotiation. Payment by card is usually possible.
There was back and forth with Uber and the like in Barcelona. At this moment, there are no ridesharing apps allowed, only apps to request regular taxis.
You will see red “bicing” bikes all around the city. These are for residents only and require local ID to rent. It’s an annual contract, so not tourist friendly. However, even as a tourist you can take advantage of Barcelona’s bike friendly roads and ample bike parking. Several bike rental places around the city cater to travelers who want to cycle for only a day or even half day.
One of my favorite bike trips in Barcelona has been a tour of Montjuic on an e-bike.
There are tram lines and it is a convenient way of travel, but most of them go to areas with few tourist attractions. Unless you are going to the zoo or some of the museums it is unlikely this will be the most convenient way of transport for you.
However, the TMB tickets are always valid for any mode of transport (tram, train, metro, bus) per trip. So maybe in combination with a bus it makes sense.
Barcelona lies between a small mountain range and the sea. If you go towards the mountains, you may want to use the funicular trains uphill. Some are run by TMB and your ticket will be valid. The historic blue one that takes you to famous Tibidabo costs extra.
If you are not scared of heights, enjoy the view of the city from a cable car! From Barceloneta it takes you to Montjuic. And a seperate cable car takes you up to the fortress Castell de Montjuic.
I hope this post was helpful and you now feel comfortable getting around Barcelona. For questions, please leave a comment below. Enjoy your trip!