Metro - the fastest Barcelona transport

April 16, 2009 by Olga Simon  
Filed under Metro

There are 6 lines and each line is colour-coded and identified by a number -  L1(red), L2 (violet), L3 (green), L4 (yellow), L5 (blue) and L9 (orange), plus also part of the network is the funicular railway that runs from Paralel metro stop to Parc de Montjuic and which is one of the best ways to get to the top of the Montjuic Mountain.

The metro is definitely the fastest way of getting around Barcelona. Though Barcelona city centre is perfectly walkable and pedestrian-friendly, some of the city’s best sights such as Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou etc. are not in the main part of the town, so you are likely to need the excellent local transport system. 

The city’s metro is relatively small with 85km of track and is open since 1924. It is fast and frequent service (trains coma and leave with 2- 4 minutes interval) that is used by 300 million people per year. Metro stations are recognized by the white diamond and red M letter inside. The metro system is probably the most convenient Barcelona transport and it is highly popular with locals and visitors alike.

Metro sign and Ferrocarils de Generalitat train system sign in Barcelona

Metro sign and Ferrocarils de Generalitat train system sign in Barcelona



The metro hours are Monday – Thursday, Sunday and holidays from 5 a.m. till midnight;
Friday and day prior to festive dates – 5 a.m. till 2 a.m. ( for the late-night owls (party-goers);
Saturday (and the night before public holidays 01 January, 24 June, 15 August and 24 September)  - non stop service.
December 24th – closing at 11 p.m.

Metro system (as well as all transport system in Barcelona) is divided into Zones, with Zone One being most central. As a visitor you are very unlikely to need anything than Zone One, as all metro stops are within it. Zone Two and other outer zones starts quite far from the central part of the city and cover small towns and suburbs.

All tickets can be bought before you travel and not just on the day of travel, because your first journey will be counted from the moment you push it through the turnstile for the first time. Tickets can be bought from the ticket office at each station or from the ticket machines you can find at any metro station. They operate in a few different languages, accept cash or credit cards and are very easy-to-use.

Almost all the machines have a touch screen method that allows you to choose the type of pass you want to buy, zone and if using Rodalies service (local trains service) – your destination.
Just select what you want to buy by touching it, insert your credit card or money and wait until the machine prints your ticket and receipt. Should you have any difficulties, just call a nearby station officer. 

You can buy single ticket (one trip only) that will cost you 1,40 euro at the metro though it is highly recommended you choose one of the vast array of passes Barcelona metro has to offer you. Just choose the one that better suits your needs.

T-10 Barcelona metro pass valid for 10 trips

T-10 Barcelona metro pass valid for 10 trips

T10 ticket (valid for 10 trips for all means of transport) is a multi-person ticket (it can be shared) with time limit of 1 hour and 15 minutes, which means the time you can transfer on the same ticket once validated without extra charge. So once you have activated your pass on entering a metro station you have 1 hour and 15 minutes in which you can transfer to another transport method.

In this way you will not be charged for a second journey – it counts as a part of the first. It comes to be especially useful when you need to combine several means of transport (bus and metro for example) to reach your destination point. This transfer rule works for all passes except of a single ticket. Cost 7,95 euros.

T-Dia: If you are planning several trips within the same day you may be better off buying a one-day pass, which costs 6.00 euros for Zone One and  allows you to use any transport inside the city for 24 hours (it becomes valid from the time it is first used). Single person ticket, unlimited number of trips.

Or depending on the length of your visit and how often you think you will use the metro (and also the bus and local trains), you may want to consider a Bus +Metro+ Ferrocarils de la Generalitat ticket which gives you an unlimited number of journeys in 2, 3, 4 or 5 days on the metro, bus and FGC trains, including the train to and from the airport.

T-mes: Being in Barcelona for a long term stay, it may be better to buy a month pass that gives you unlimited number of trips using all means of transport for the selected zone. Valid during 30 consecutive days from the first validation. Single person use; ticket should be verified by your ID card. Cost 49.30 euros

T-familiar: Created specially for family travellers the pass is a multi-person ticket with 70 journeys for all means of transport valid during 30 consecutive days after the first validation. Hence, being on a 2 weeks holiday with your family you can buy a single T-familia pass and take any public transport at any time. Cost 46.75 euros.

Barcelona metro train at blue line L5

Barcelona metro train at blue line L5

There is also another subway trains system in the city, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat, and the difference is that these depend on the Regional Government instead of the Municipal Authorities. Anyway the tickets are valid for both systems so you do not need to worry about buying a different one to use it.
For example, at Plaza Cataluña you can take a FGC train that will deliver you to the foot of Tibidabo Hill.

Some useful tips

* By the way, the ticket checks are not frequent in Barcelona metro, which does not mean they never happen, so keep your ticket handy.

* Another thing to keep in mind is that not all the doors in Barcelona metro automatically open once the train stops; sometimes you will probably have to pull the lever to open the door. Just don’t forget about it in order not to miss your stop.

* The exit signs in metro stations are marked Sortida, they are grey and will also list the street name you are about to exit onto. 

* Some of the lines criss-cross in the centre of Barcelona, though you may find you seem to walk for ages underground to change from one line to another. This especially concerns a long walk at Passeig de Gracia, Plaza Cataluña and some others.

* Many stations do not have escalator or have it only for ascending. Thus when you go down you have to use the stairs and if you travel with lots of luggage in tow, you may be better of avoiding the Metro, unless you know you can carry the weight with no problem.

(All prices mentioned are valid for 2010)

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