How to Get From Barcelona Airport to the City Centre

This post outlines the options available for getting from Barcelona airport to your hotel, hostel or apartment. Which one is best for you depends on several factors including; arrival time, number of people in your party, which part of the city you are staying in and your budget.

Please note that this information refers to Barcelona Airport, also known as Barcelona el Prat or simply BCN (the airport’s IATA location code). Some airlines misleadingly refer to Reus airport and Girona airport as Barcelona Reus and Barcelona Girona. I will write about both of these airports in a separate article since they are NOT in Barcelona.

Tourists at Barcelona airport

Barcelona Terminal T1


By Taxi

A taxi from Barcelona airport to central Barcelona takes about 30 minutes and costs around €30. All Barcelona taxis are metered, the exact price depends on a combination of distance and the time taken for the journey. There are supplements for airport pickups and journeys after 8pm or on weekends. You can get more information about the tariffs here and here. Check the duration and cost a taxi to your hotel with this online taxi route calculator.

There are taxi ranks outside both terminals (T1 and T2)

Signs at the top of the ramp down to the taxi rank at Barcelona airport

To The Taxi Rank at Barcelona Terminal 1

Terminal 1 Taxi Rank

As you leave the baggage reclaim area, you will come to a metal barrier where people wait to meet arrivals. In the area behind the barrier you will see a large “TAXI” sign and a door leading to the ramp down to the taxi rank (see photo).

There is normally a uniformed attendant at the bottom of the ramp who will tell you which of the waiting taxis to take.

Terminal 2 Taxi Rank

Terminal 2 is divided into 3 sections A, B and C. Taxis wait on the road directly outside section B.

As you come out of baggage claim you will see signs directing you to the taxi Rank.

Please note that if you are arriving early evening on a weekday, the journey may take longer due to heavy after work traffic entering the city.


By Aerobus

The blue Aerobuses are a fast shuttle service between the airport and Plaça de Catalunya. Buses depart every 5 or 10 minutes from 5:35am until 1am (Terminal 1) or 6am until 1am (Terminal 2). The fare is €5.90 one-way or €10.20 return.

The journey takes approximately 35 minutes from Barcelona airport to the city centre and there is free Wi-Fi on board so you can let your family and friends know that you have arrived safely, update your facebook status or do some last minute trip planning.

The Airport bus at Barcelona T1 terminal

The Airport Bus or “Aerobus”

Tickets can be purchased from the driver (cash only – no large notes), from vending machines at the stops (Airport and Pl. Catalunya only) or online in advance from the Aerobus website. Tickets purchased online are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

The buses stop at Plaça de Espanya, Gran Via (near the Urgel metro station), Plaça de la Universitat and Plaça de Catalunya. Route maps to and from terminal 1 and terminal 2

To the Aerobus from Terminal 1

As you leave the baggage claim area, go straight ahead so that you pass between the taxi ramp and the “Caffe de Fiorre” coffee bar.

There is a large sign which guides you to the ramps down to the buses. (Shown in the photo at the start of this article).

To the Aerobus from Terminal 2

There are Aerobus stops directly outside the arrivals hall of Terminal 2 (used by easyJet and Ryanair as well as some other budget airlines)

The Aerobus is NOT covered by TMB tickets or travel cards such as the T10 or Hola Barcelona!.

It is however covered by the Barcelona City Pass which also includes skip the line entry to the Sagrada Familia, and Park Güell as well as the Hop on Hop off tour buses. Find out more


By Train

The train from Barcelona airport to the city centre

The airport train takes aproximately 20 minutes

Trains run every 30 minutes from the train station located at Terminal 2.

The journey time is around 20 to 25 minutes, depending on which of Barcelona’s train stations you choose to get off at. The first train is at 5:42 am and the last departs at 11:38 pm Train Timetable

Tip: If you purchase a T10 multi-trip ticket you can combine the airport train with the metro and bus as one journey for €1.02.

A single train ticket from the airport to the city centre costs €4.20 and can’t be used on the metro or buses.

Alternatively you can purchase a Hola BCN! transport pass which gives unlimited travel on the metro, buses, trams and commuter trains within zone 1 (including the airport train and metro).

Donload a FREE Map of Barcelona metro and train stations

To the Train Station from Terminal 1

There is a free shuttle bus which runs from terminal 1 to terminal 2. The journey takes under ten minutes but you should allow about 15 to 20 minutes in total to get from terminal T1 to the train station.

As you leave baggage reclaim, walk straight ahead so that you pass between the taxi ramp and the caffe de fiorre coffee bar. You will then see a sign which guides you to the ramps down to the buses. For the shuttle bus it is best to take the ramp down to the right (just before the Europcar car rental desk).

On arrival at terminal 2 you should follow the Green line painted on the ground. As you enter the terminal building, turn back on yourself and go up the escalators. You then walk for a couple of minutes along the covered bridge which leads to the train station. There are also lifts available.

The free airport shuttle bus seen from the escalator at Barcelona T1 airport

Airport Shuttle Bus

Train tickets can be purchased from the machines on the right-hand-side as you enter the station. The machines accept credit cards or cash (Euros). I recommend you purchase a T10 multi-trip ticket for this journey, here’s why.

To the Train Station from Terminal 2

There’s a covered bridge linking terminal 2B to the train station. If you arrive at terminal T2B, turn left as you exit baggage claim then follow the signs to the train station. There’s a yellow line on the ground which leads to the escalator up to the covered bridge. From T2A, turn right as you leave baggage claim and follow the signs to the train station. Allow 5 minutes to walk from baggage claim to the train station. Terminal 2C is easyJet departures only.

Which Barcelona Train Station ?

Upon Arrival

The airport train stops at the following train stations in Barcelona:

  • Aeroport
  • El Prat de Llobregat
  • Bellvitge
  • Barcelona Sants
  • Passeig de Gracia
  • El Clot – Aragó

Which station you should choose when travelling from Barcelona airport to the city centre depends on where you are staying:

Barcelona Sants – This station is close to Plaça Espanya and Montjuic and connects to metro lines L5 and L3. It is also Barcelona’s main train station with AVE, long distance, middle distance and commuter trains serving all of Spain.

Passeig de Gràcia – This station is the closest to the centre of Barcelona (Plaça de Catalunya and the Gothic Quarter) and connects with metro lines L2, L3 and L4.

El Clot-Aragó – This train station is convenient for Poblenou, Clot and the northernmost part of the Eixample (especially if you plan to take a taxi from the train station to your hotel). It connects with metro lines L1 and L2 and some local train lines.

For more information, check the Barcelona Metro/Train/Tram plan here

Going to the Airport

Barcelona El Prat Airport is the last stop on the line – Aeroport


By Metro (Underground / Subway)

Sign indicating how to get to the metro station at Barcelona airport terminal 1

Metro station sign at Barcelona airport

The new metro from Barcelona airport opened on February 12th 2016. The new line which is called L9 sud runs from the airport to the university in the south-west of the city and has 15 stops:

Airport T1, Airport T2, Mas Blau, Parc Nou, Cèntric, El Prat Estació, Les Moreres, Mercabarna, Parc Logístic, Fira, Europa-Fira, Can Tries-Gornal, Torrassa, Collblanc, Zona Universitaria.

The metro departs every 7 minutes (more frequently at peak times) from 5am to midnight Monday to Thursday, 5am to 2am on Fridays and non-stop from 5am Saturday to midnight on Sunday.

The airport metro ticket costs €4.60 – Standard single trip metro tickets and the popular T10 travel card CAN NOT be used on the airport metro

The HolaBCN! travel card which offers unlimited travel on the Barcelona metro, bus and tram network from as little as €14.25 for 48 hours (online price), can be used on the airport metro and can be purchased at the ticket machines in the station or in advance online.

The L9 sud metro from Barcelona airport doesn’t connect directly to the city centre centre. Most visitors will have to transfer to another line at either Torrassa (L1) or Collblanc (L5) and you may have to make more than one change to get to your hotel. Check the metro map here.

Mobile World Congress participants will be interested to know that the journey time by metro from the airport to the congress takes 22 minutes.

To the Metro from Terminal 1

As you leave the baggage claim area, go straight ahead so that you pass between the taxi ramp and the “Caffe de Fiorre” coffee bar. Keep walking straight ahead and you will see red metro signs above the escalator which leads down to the underground metro station (see photo above).

To the Metro from Terminal 2

The metro stop at terminal 2 is located underground next to the train station. Follow the directions given above and when you arrive at the train station you will see the entrance to the metro to the left.


By Regular Bus

Colourful signs at Barcelona Airport

Signs above the automatic doors leading down to the bus stops

During the day (from 5am to 11:50pm) bus number 46 runs from both airport terminals to Plaça d’Espanya. Unless you have already purchased a T10 or Hola BCN! ticket, the journey costs €2.20. This is a Little cheaper than the Aerobus but has the disadvantages of being slower, less frequent (2 per hour) and not having as much space for your luggage.

Route Map and Timetable Bus No. 46

Unfortunately the only places that you can purchase a T10 ticket at the airport are the train station at terminal T2 or at the tobacconist in terminal T1.

The Night Bus

If you are on a tight budget and arrive in Barcelona after the trains and Aerobus have stopped then you could take the night bus.

The bus route N16 takes you from T1 and N17 from T2 to the city centre.
The fare is €2.20 and there are buses every 20 minutes.

N17 Route Map and Timetable

I do not recommend the night bus unless you are staying near to Plaça de Catalunya or one of the other stops on route. If you arrive after the Metro has stopped running and have to connect to a second night bus your total journey time could be very long.

When arriving at Barcelona late at night I prefer to spend the extra money on a Taxi.

Other Public Bus Routes

There are also buses from the airport to Castelldefels, Sant Boi, Sant Joan de Llobregat and  Cornella as well as further afield including Lleida, Tarragona, Tossa de Mar, Roses and Cadaqués.

TMB Website – ALSASARFA


By Private Transfer

If you prefer to have someone waiting for you when your flight arrives then you may like to pre-arrange a private transfer with Book Taxi Barcelona.

By booking your transfer in advance you benefit from a fixed fare which is paid up-front via Paypal or credit card. Your driver will then track your flight and be waiting for you in the arrivals area holding a board with your name on it.

They also offer additional services such as bag drops, children’s booster seats, minibuses and vehicles adapted to carry electric wheelchairs or scooters as well as private transfers to/from the cruise port and other cities nearby.

Book your private airport transfer online


By Hire Car

There are several car hire companies at Barcelona airport including Europcar. I do not recommend hiring a car to get to your hotel. A car will be of little use during your stay in the city. Even if you plan to spend a night in Barcelona and then leave  the next the morning I would still recommend that you pick up your hire car on the day you depart.


Which To Choose?

There is really no single best way to get to or from the airport to Barcelona city centre. Which is best for you depends on things like budget, time of arrival, where you will be staying, how many people are travelling in your group, how much luggage you are carrying and personal preference. Generally speaking:

  • Staying near Plaça de Catalunya, Plaça de la Universitat or Plaça de Espanya? Take the Aerobus.
  • Staying anywhere else in the city and without too much luggage? Take the train and/or metro.
  • Arriving late/ in a hurry/  bulky or heavy luggage/ prefer to be dropped right in front of your hotel? Take a Taxi.

Note: All prices and fares mentioned in this post were checked and updated in January 2018.

More information about Barcelona airport here

281 thoughts on “How to Get From Barcelona Airport to the City Centre

    1. Richard Post author

      Hi Paul,

      I think that Vueling flights normally land at terminal 1 so you should first catch the free shuttle bus from terminal 1 to terminal 2.

      Once at terminal 2, walk over the bridge to the train station and take the R2nord train to Barcelona el Clot Aragó train station. Here yo transfer to the R1 northbound to Santa Susanna.

      The train from the airport arrives at platform 2, the train to Santa Susanna departs from platform 4.

      Note, not all R1 trains go as far as Santa Susanna. If you find that you’re on one of the trains which terminate at Calella, Arenys de Mar or Mataró just wait there for the next train which goes further north. Trains which stop at Santa Sussana will have a final destination of Maçanet or Portbou.

      Reply
  1. Saul Arcos

    Hi Richard,
    How about from The airport, terminal 2 to Hotel Santa Marta, Carrer del general Castanos # 14. Two adults will arrive at 4 pm. We are ok taking public transportation and walking carrying baggage.

    Thank you,

    Saul

    Reply
    1. Richard Post author

      Hi Saul,

      For that address, the best option is to take the train. If you purchase a T-10 travel pass from the machines at the airport train station it works out at just €1.02 each and takes about 45 minutes.

      Catch the R2 Nord from the airport to Barcelona Sants (3rd stop), then transfer to the R2 Sud to Barcelona Estació de França (2nd stop). Your hotel is about 100m from the Estaió de França train station.

      Reply
  2. Marina

    Hi Richard, what about Novotel on avenida Diagonal, barcelona city? From BCN 4 adults and 4 kids 7-12yo. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Richard Post author

      Hi Marina,

      The cheapest way would be to purchase a T-10 travel pass (one can be shared between the 8 of you) and catch the R2 Nord train from terminal 2 to Barcelona El Clot Aragó train station then take the metro line 1 (red line) one stop to the Glòries metro station which is a few metres from your hotel.

      When you arrive at the Glòries metro station, it’s best to take the Pl de les Glòries Catalans exit because it’s slightly closer to your hotel.

      When boarding the train at the airport, try and sit at the rear of the train (the end nearsest to the ticket barrier) because the escalators and lifts at Barcelona el Clot Aragó train station are at this end of the platform.

      The metro station is connected to the train station. After you exit the ticket barriers at the train station, you will see 2 short flights of stairs (3 steps each) followed by an escalator. At the top of the escalator, turn right and follow the passage to the metro station. There are also ramps and lifts if needed.

      Reply
  3. Rachael

    Hi!
    I am wondering which is the best mode of transport to get to the Gothic Quarter form the airport?

    Reply
    1. Richard Post author

      Hi Rachael,

      It really depends on where you will be staying in the Gothic Quater.

      In order to be able to give the best possible answer I need you to tell me:

      The name / address of your hotel or hostel.
      Which terminal your flight lands at.
      What time of day you will arrive.
      How many people are you travelling with.
      Are you OK with walking a bit and carrying your luggage?

      Reply
  4. Joanne

    Hello,

    We are going to be staying in Mataro (Hotel Atenea Port Barcelona) and are trying to figure out the best method of transport. I have read that we can take trains (transfer at Barcelona Saints) or take an Aerobus + R1. Would you recommend one over the other? Also, do you need to validate train tickets the way you need to in Italy?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Richard Post author

      Hi Joanne,

      I recommend that you catch the R2 Nord train from the airport to Barcelona El Clot Aragó train station (2 stops after Barcelona Sants) and then change trains there to the R1 to Mataró.

      It’s more convenient to transfer at El Clot Aragó because it’s a smaller station than Sants.

      The train from the airport arrives at platform 2, you then just need to go up the escalator to the vestibule then down the stairs to platform 4 where the trains depart to Mataró.

      There are also elevators so you don’t need to struggle with your bags. All R1 and RG1 trains heading north from platform 4 stop at Mataró.

      Upon arrival at Mataró, turn left as you leave the station. At the end of the train station building, there are some stairs which lead down to a subway (underpass). At the bottom of the stairs, turn back on yourself and follow the tunnel which leads beneath the train tracks towards the beach. At the end of the tunnel take the right-hand set of stairs up to street level. Facing the port / out to sea, you will see the hotel Atenea to your right about 30m away. You can’t miss it.

      Lastly, yes you need to validate your ticket at the barriers at the airport train station and then again when you exit the station at Mataró.

      Reply
      1. Joanne

        Wow, thank you for the detailed directions! I had emailed the hotel and not gotten a response. :-P

        I’m sure I’ll have more questions as I go through your wonderful blog. Thanks again!

        Reply

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.