Those visiting Barcelona will probably have to depend on public transport to get around. This is no hardship as the city has several different forms of transport, and some of them, such as the cable cars and funiculars, make the ride almost as fun as the destination.
Barcelona has two cable cars, the Transbordador Aeri del Port (Port Cable Car) and the Telefèric de Montjuic (Montjuic Hill Cable Car). The Port Cable Car was built for the Universal Exposition of 1929 but didn´t officially operate until 1931. It starts in Montjuic and ends at Sant Sebastià beach in Barceloneta and each car carries up to 19 passengers. The ride takes about 5 minutes in total and is 70 meters above the ground. It runs every 10 minutes so the queue goes quite quickly.
The cable car has some of the best views of the city but you should wait until a clear day to really take advantage of the ride. Operating hours from October 20 to February 29 are 10am to 6pm, 10:45am to 7pm from March 1 to June 6, 11am to 8pm from June 9 to September 14, and 10:45am to 7pm from September 15 to October 19.
A one-way ticket costs €9 and a round-trip ticket costs €12,50. There is no official website but for more information you can call 932 252 718.
The Telefèric de Montjuic (Montjuic Hill Cable Car) is an eight person gondola-style cable car, similar to those used in ski resorts. It transports visitors up the mountain to the castle on Montjuic. To get to the cable car station you can take the buses 50, 55, or 61, or take the funicular train, which ends at the Telefèric de Montjuic station.
The journey takes 8 minutes and is 752 meters in length, with an elevation of 85.5 meters. It stops midway at the Mirador del Alcalde observation deck, and there you can get out and enjoy the views and take photographs. In January and February it is open from 10am to 6pm, from 10am to 7pm from March to May, from 10am to 9pm from June to September, from 10am to 7pm in October, and from 10am to 6pm in November and December.
A one-way ticket costs €6,50 and a round-trip ticket costs €9. For more information visit www.tmb.net, the city´s transportation website.
There are three funiculars in Barcelona, the Funicular Montjuic, the Funicular de Tibidabo, and the Funicular de Vallvidrera. A funicular is a cable railway which moves up and down a steep slope via a cable attached to a tram-like vehicle on rails. The Funicular Montjuic is operated by the TMB (the city transport agency) and climbs the mountain of Montjuic. It starts at the metro station Paral.lel and ends at Mirarmar Avenue in Montjuic, where it connects to the Montjuic Hill Cable Car.
It only takes a couple of minutes, and the final stop is just a short walk from the Fundació Joan Miró. It runs every day from 9am to 8pm every 15 minutes and costs €1,30 (city transport ticket and passes are valid).
The Tibidabo Funicular runs from Plaça Doctor del Andreu (at the end of Avenue Tibidabo) to Plaza Tibidabo. It was the first funicular in Spain and was inaugurated in 1901. At the top of the funicular is the Temple Expiatori (the Church of Atonement) and the Tibidabo Amusement Park.
To arrive to Plaça del Doctor Andreu you can take the blue tram, El Tramvia Blau. It runs every 30 minutes, but only when the amusement park is open. A one way ticket for the funicular is €2 and a round trip is €3.
The Funicular de Vallvidrera starts at the “Peu de Funicular” FCG (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya) station on the Metro del Vallès S2 train line. The funicular ends at the Vallvidrera village station “Vallvidrera Estació Inferior”. There is also a stop halfway up at “Carretera de les Aigues”. The Funicular de Vallvidrera opened in 1906 and was renovated in 1998. It´s primarily a commuter service but tourists also use it to reach the park of Collserola.
The cable cars are a great way to view the city and are a thrilling experience for anyone who has never ridden in one. They are also a great activity to do with children. The funiculars are not quite so exciting but they are the best way to reach the top of the mountains, and tend to be a bit more comfortable than other options, such as buses.
It´s worth travelling by at least one cable car and funicular while you are in Barcelona, if only to say that you´ve experience some of the most creative modes of transport available.