Barcelona Airport- How to Arrive and Other Useful Info
The Barcelona Airport, also known as the El Prat Airport, is located just 10km southwest of Barcelona in El Prat de Llobregat. It is the second-largest airport in Spain and serves both international and domestic travelers.
The airport has two terminals, T1 and T2. T1 is the newest terminal, which was inaugurated on June 17, 2009. It´s facilities include 168 check-in counters, 50 runways, 15 baggage carousels, and 12,000 parking spaces. T2 has three separate buildings called T2A, T2B, and T2C. T1 and T2 are quite far from each other (4 km) and you can´t walk from one to another, so it´s very important to know which terminal you are leaving from.
If you are leaving from the city center the easiest way to get to the airport is by Aerobus. The Aerobus is an express bus service that goes from Plaça Catalunya (just outside the El Corte Inglés) to the airport. If you are going to T1 you will need to take the A1 Aerobus and if you are going to T2 you will need to take the A2 Aerobus. The busses look the same (they are a light blue color with Aerobus written on the side) but have different numbers on the front of the bus, so make sure you catch the right one.
A single ticket costs 5€ and a return ticket (valid for nine days) costs 8,65€. From Plaça Catalunya the journey takes around 30 minutes. You can also catch the Aerobus at Plaça Espanya. The first bus leaves Plaça Catalunya at 5:30am and the last bus leaves at 12:15am.
If you are catching the bus from the airport to the center you will find a stop just in front of each terminal. At T1 you will have to buy a ticket on the bus, but at T2 you can purchase a ticket at the large blue machine near the stop.
You can also take the train to and from the Barcelona airport. Some people prefer this option as it´s quite inexpensive and a bit more reliable since you don´t have to worry about traffic (the journey from Sants to T2 takes only 25 minutes). If you are coming from Barcelona you can catch the train at the Clot, Passeig de Gracia, or Sants train stations. If you have a T10 metro ticket you can use that, otherwise you will have to buy a ticket at one of the machines for 1,60€.
When you arrive to the airport you will arrive to T2. If your flight leaves from T1 you will then need to catch a shuttle bus, which is free. It is a large blue and green bus and there is a stop directly next to the train platform, just go down the platform and turn left. If you arrive to the T1 and want to take the train to the Barcelona center you will have to take the shuttle bus to T2 and then catch the train from there. In this case you will find the shuttle bus just outside the terminal. The journey between terminals takes 10-15 minutes.
Another option is to take a taxi. It will take the same amount of time as the bus and cost anywhere between 25€ and 35€ although surcharges will be added for luggage, and travelling at weekends, at night, or on a holiday. Since it doesn’t save you any time this option is only recommended if you are travelling in a group (in which case the price per person will be almost the same at the bus). Taxis are available 24 hours a day outside the terminal buildings, just look for the black and yellow cars with a green light on top.
If you plan to rent a car for you stay in Barcelona then you can pick it up at the airport. There are several car rental agencies in the airport itself, including Hertz, Avis, National Atesa, and Europcar. Just make sure to reserve it before you arrive to ensure that there will be a car available. Driving licenses from Europe, Canada and the United States are valid for visitors to Spain, just make sure to carry it with you at all times (contrary to popular belief, there is no need for an international driving license). Most rental agencies require that the drivers be at least 21 years of age and have at least one year of driving experience.
If you have a flight very late at night or early in the morning and don’t want to take a taxi you can take the night bus. This bus is called the Nº 17 NitBus and runs from 10pm to 5am. It leaves from Plaça Catalunya (outside of El Corte Ingles) and also stops at Plaça Espanya. You can use your T10 pass for this bus, or purchase a ticket on the bus for 1,40€. The bus will stop at both T1 and T2. Just keep in mind that this is a normal bus service, not an express, so it can take up to 40 minutes from Plaça Catalunya and sometimes more due to all the stops.
All of the terminals are quite clean and modern. Facilities include currency exchange, disabled facilities, left luggage (lockers), lost property, restaurants, shops, tourist information, and VIP lounges for first class passengers.
· Be aware of pickpockets at the airport and on all public transport. Keep valuables such as passports, cash, and mobile phones on you at all times. When in public transport, stow luggage as close to you as possible and keep an eye on it, especially during stops when people are getting on and off.
· It´s much cheaper to change money in a bank than in the airport, so you should only change money at the airport if it´s an emergency, and then only the amount you need.
· Busses can get quite crowded during the tourist season, especially the Aerobus, and there is often a queue. Make sure to always arrive a bit early just in case you have to wait.
· If you will need to pay for a ticket on board the bus make sure to bring smaller bills, such as a five. The drivers can provide change, but often not for larger bills. Of course, if you can pay with exact change that is always easier.
It´s relatively easy to get to and from the Barcelona airport since compared to other international airports it´s quite close to the city center. It´s also not difficult to find your way around, and most of the staff speaks English if you need help finding your way. As with any airport, it can be a bit confusing the first time you arrive so it´s always best to give yourself enough time to find your correct terminal and gate without feeling rushed.