BCN Airport to City Center
Barcelona Airport to City Center
Barcelona Airport to City Center

Barcelona Airport to City Center

Barcelona Airport (BCN) Transportation Options To The City Center

Tourists visit Barcelona year-round to enjoy everything this city – which is the capital and largest city in northeast Spain’s autonomous Catalonia community – has to offer, which includes beautiful beaches, great weather, unique shops, art galleries and museums, activities and more. And airlines around the world provide direct connections that land at Barcelona Airport.

The airport’s full name is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport and it’s also known by its International Air Transport Association designation of BCN. The airport is situated roughly 7.5 miles (or about 12 kilometers) southwest to the city center, and therefore you will have to rely on one of the various methods of transportation to get to wherever you are staying.

You can choose to make the journey from either taking a bus, getting a taxi, riding on the subway system known as the Metro, boarding an aboveground train or renting a car.

Deciding which type of transport to use will depend on a number of factors, including how many people you are traveling with, how much luggage you have, and your budget for the trip. Browse the specific details about the five options below and learn about their pros and cons, as this should assist you in narrowing down the choices to identify the most suitable selection.

For all of these transportation methods there are many signs in the airport directing you how to get to them, or you can ask an airport staff member to point you in the right direction.

Barcelona Airport to City Center by Taking a bus

If you are looking to keep your travel costs low, the bus is an affordable selection, but it does have some negative aspects. For example, the space to store luggage will be limited and many other passengers will be sharing it, so if you have many bags, they might not all fit.

There are several routes and timetables available, and you can find information on these at the bus pickup areas in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The Aerobús Line 46 to downtown Barcelona is one of the most popular routes during the day, and the N17 Line is well-used at night.

Services are available from 5am until 1am daily, although the exact times will depend on which bus line you decide to use. If your flight arrives at the airport outside of the bus operating hours, you will need to choose from one of the other transportation options to get to the city.

Tickets for bus trips can be purchased either from vending machines located at the airport bus waiting area, or you can buy them on board – but you need exact change to do so.

Cost: The price of this method will vary depending on which service you use and it can range from just over €2 for a ride from the airport into downtown Barcelona to more than €10.

Time: A bus is usually the slowest choice for getting between Barcelona Airport and the city, and you should plan on the ride taking up to 45 minutes, and possibly longer with heavy traffic.

Barcelona Airport to City Center by getting a taxi

Taxis are a great option if you would like some privacy on the trip into Barcelona because the only people in the car will be you and your traveling companions, along with the driver. You’ll be taken straight to your hotel and your bags will be safely locked in the vehicle’s trunk.

It’s also possible to get a Barcelona airport taxi from the airport 24 hours a day, every day of the week, so you shouldn’t have long to wait for a ride even if you experience a flight delay and land very late at night or early in the morning. Once you are at the taxi pickup area at either of the two terminals, look for the official taxis that are colored black and yellow, and only get in these cars.

You are not required to give your taxi driver a tip but handing them a few Euros in coins or notes as a thank you for a safe, fast and comfortable ride is a welcome gesture. Do not feel obliged to give them a tip if you think the ride was too expensive or it was unsafe.

The ridesharing service Uber is also available at Barcelona Airport, so if you’d rather use this, once you’ve landed, just open the Uber app on your smartphone or other device and enter your destination, and you’ll be given an estimate of the price for the one-way ride into the city.

Cost: A taxi from the airport to the center of the city will have a minimum cost of €25 and it could be much more depending on your destination, because fares are based on distance.

Time: You should be able to get from airport to downtown Barcelona in less than 25 minutes, but taxi pickup waiting times and traffic levels could result in the journey taking longer.

Barcelona Airport to City Center by riding on the Metro

The Barcelona airport Metro, or subway system, is a low-cost choice for getting to the city center, and you can find a station to board the subway in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. You’ll be getting on the Metro’s L9 South route, also known as the orange line, which goes from the airport to Barcelona.

Just note that space for your luggage could be limited on the Metro compared to a taxi or rental car, particularly when you’re traveling at a busy time. The journey might also take longer than other options because the subway makes several stops on the way to central Barcelona.

Check the Metro timetables ahead of your trip, but usually it is open from 5am until midnight weekdays, extending to a 2am closing on Fridays, and it runs 24 hours a day on weekends.

You can buy a ticket for the ride from a machine at the Metro station, and you have several options include a single one-way ticket or a more expensive card that gives you the ability to make unlimited trips on Barcelona’s public transportation for a certain amount of time.

Cost: Getting on the Metro is another good option for those fliers who want to cut costs for the journey into Barcelona, with the price of a one-way ticket costing around €4.50.

Time: Even if you have to wait several minutes on the airport station platform before you’re able to board a Metro into the city, the entire travel time should be within 30 to 45 minutes.

Barcelona Airport to City Center by boarding a train

Separate from the Metro, which is a subway system, the airport also has an aboveground railway that departs from Terminal 2 and takes passengers directly into Barcelona. If your flight arrives at Terminal 1 you can take a free shuttle bus to get to the station at Terminal 2. The station is connected to Terminal 2 by a walkway that is about 200 meters long.

When you get to the railway station at the airport, you’ll be taking the R2 Nord Line train, which includes a stop at Barcelona Sants downtown, where you can make connections to Madrid and other popular destinations in Spain. Trains operate between just before 5.45am and just after 11.35pm each night, so you won’t be able to get on the railway outside of these hours.

You should purchase your ticket for your one-way train ride into Barcelona before boarding the R2 Nord Line, and this can be done at one of the ticket machines at the station.

Cost: This can be an excellent choice if you have a limited budget for your vacation, as the total price for a one-way fare from the airport to the city center should be under €5.

Time: If you board the direct train from the airport to the Barcelona Sants station, which is the main railway station in the city, the travel time including waiting should be under 30 minutes.

Barcelona Airport to City Center by renting a car

For the most independence on your vacation, consider renting a car to get from the airport to Barcelona because you can drive directly to your hotel or other destination, and then use the car to explore the city and beyond on your own schedule instead of relying on public transportation.

Several car rental companies have kiosks available at either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2: Avis, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Europcar, Goldcar-InterRent, Hertz-Thrifty, Sixt, Record Go and Firefly.

Getting from the airport into the city by car is simple, just follow the signs directing you out of the airport until you see one for the C-31 or the C-32 that connect to one of several roads to Barcelona, and then it’s a straightforward route that will take you to downtown.

Cost: The priciest choice and the exact cost will be based on how long you rent the car and which type of vehicle you choose. You’ll also need to pay to refuel the car as needed.

Time: It should take you about 20 minutes to get from the airport into the city center but can be faster during quiet traffic times like late at night or slower at busy periods such as rush hour.

Barcelona Airport to City Center FAQ

The bus, Metro or railway are usually the three lowest-cost options for your ride, as whichever of these methods you choose the cost should be around €5.

No, some of the choices can’t be used at certain times. Taxis and rental cars are usually available 24 hours a day, each day of the week. But the railway, subway and buses stop services for several hours overnight, so check those schedules before your trip.

The airport is about 7.5 miles (or roughly 12 kilometers) from the center of Barcelona.

This depends on which option you choose for making the trip, with the fastest choices being a taxi or rental car for a drive time of 20 to 25 minutes. The railway should take about 30 minutes, followed by the Metro at up to 45 minutes and the bus taking possibly even longer.

There are eight car rental businesses at the airport that you can choose from: Avis, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Europcar, Firefly, Goldcar-InterRent, Hertz-Thrifty, Record Go and Sixt.

There should be ample signage throughout the two airport terminals to guide you to whichever method of transportation you decide to use, for example pointing the way to the taxi pickup area outside both buildings. But note that the railway is only available in Terminal 2, so if your flight has landed at Terminal 1 you’ll need to take a free shuttle bus to Terminal 2.

For those people who are flying in a group of five or more people, or who have many bags, or both, your best choice will be getting two or more taxis or an oversized rental car. Space for seats and luggage on all of the public transportation options can often be very limited.

You do not have to give your taxi driver any tip, as there is no law or regulation requiring this. But you can hand the driver a few Euros in notes or coins as a thank you, if you believe that the ride you received was comfortable and safe, and charged at a fair price.

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