There are many ways to get around in Barcelona – from the metro to buses, from taxis to trams, even using a funicular. All are easily accessible and remarkably affordable. And each will make your stay much more pleasant.
Of course, the best way to get a “feel” for any city is by walking its streets. And Barcelona, particularly in the city’s center, is pedestrian-friendly … a great place to move around on foot.
However, some of the city’s best sights are not centrally-located. You’re going to need public transportation to get to the parts of town where these sights are located. And in Barcelona, with its excellent local transport system, that is going to be easy.
In fact, you will find many choices, all of which are not too taxing on your budget. In addition to the metro, the tram and the buses, you can also use the Ferrocarils de la Generalitat (FGC) which is a suburban train and the Cercanias, two commuter lines that take you away from the city center to sections of town that might otherwise be difficult to reach.
The metro (underground or subway) and the plentiful bus lines are the two modes of public transportation you are most likely to use as you explore Barcelona. However, if you choose to travel to some of the scenic villages that are outside the city center, but still somewhat close to Barcelona, such as Sitges, your choice of public transportation is likely to be the Cercanias train line.
As is true in most European cities, Barcelona’s metro is efficient, easy-to-use and very useful for covering distances that are too great for walking. Unlike metros in other European cities, Barcelona’s system is relatively small … only 85 kilometers in total. Fast and reliable, with frequent service available on each of its 6 main lines, the metro is immensely popular with locals and visitors, as well. It is probably the best way to see most of the city.
Importantly, Barcelona’s metro system offers travelers a variety of different passes designed to suit specific needs. For example, there is the T-Dia Personal Pass that provides unlimited travel in the system for 24 hours for one person only. There is also theT50/30, a pass best suited for people who are staying in Barcelona for a month or more. This pass is usable for 50 trips over a 30-day period.
The extensive bus network perfectly complements the metro. There are many routes, most of which pass through Plaza Cataluña (the city center), Plaza de España or Plaza de Universidad. While these bus routes are convenient, it’s important to note that when you are in the pedestrian-friendly, and often crowded, area of Barrio Gotico, it can be difficult to catch a bus. In such situations, it may be wiser to walk over to one of the nearby, larger roads to catch a bus or to use the metro.
Barcelona’s buses are all very comfortable and clean and you can use your metro pass to board any bus … or use your bus pass to take the metro.
Barcelona also has a new tram system called Trambaix. It operates out of Avinguda Diagonal and, currently, has only a few stations on the line. You can board this train if you are interested in going to Camp Nou Stadium, the home of Barcelona’s famed football (soccer) team or to the Royal Palace in Pedralbes.
Finally, Barcelona has a funicular. Comfortable and fun to ride, it will take you to the top of Montjuic Mountain or Tibidabo Hill both of which are worth visiting.
It’s important to note that the city’s transportation system is divided into zones. Zone One covers the central part of Barcelona and is the area most likely to be traveled by visitors.
Here’s something else you need to know: prices and fares on all of the various transportation services are generally modest and affordable. For example: a single, one-way trip on the metro or a bus costs only 1.30 Euros. The price becomes even lower when you buy and use a pass.
Taxis also offer visitors a great value. They are abundant and readily-available throughout Barcelona. You need only look for their distinctive yellow-black coloring to spot and stop one. Unlike taxis in other European cities, Barcelona’s cabs are not only affordable, they are also safe. Most are privately-owned and licensed by the City Council. And all feature a meter that helps you keep track of the fare throughout the trip.
There is also a schedule of approved fares for specific trips … and none of these fares is expensive. Consider: a taxi ride from Barcelona Airport to the city’s center costs about 20-25 Euros. A short trip within the city generally costs no more than 4-7 Euros.
There is no doubt that Barcelona is a visitor-friendly, pedestrian-friendly city. There’s so much to do … so much to see … and so many reasonably-priced and easy-to-use ways to get to the very best sights.