No matter where you go in Europe, getting from the airport to the city centre can be a financial and moral burden. In this blog post, we have listed 6 transport options between the El Prat airport and Barcelona city center along with duration and cost, the choice is up to you.
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Information About El Prat Airport
Barcelona’s main airport is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat. It is called El Prat for short. The IATA code for the airport is BCN. Official website of El Prat Airport is https://www.aena.es/en/josep-tarradellas-barcelona-el-prat.html
Barcelona El Prat airport has 2 terminals: Terminal 1 (T1) and Terminal 2 (T2). Depending on the airline you use, the terminal you will land at varies. While generally low-fare airlines like Ryanair, WizzAir, Pegasus usually lands at T2, Vueling, Turkish Airlines, Lutfhansa lands at T1. You can check the most accurate information about the terminal you will land at on your ticket or on the website.
Note that if you are travelling with Ryanair or other low-cost airlines, sometimes they land at Girona airport or Reus airport in Tarragona. Tarragona and Girona are different Catalan cities and are 1.5-2 hours from Barcelona. Just be sure where your plane will be landing.
Public Transport Tickets To Take You to Barcelona
T-Casual is the most popular city transport ticket and it lets you use for 10 journeys. It is valid in metro, some trains, buses, trams. You can easily buy it with cash or credit card from ticket offices or vending machines.
One ticket is deducted for each journey. Free transfer time is 75 minutes for different means of transport. In other words, you get off the metro and get on the bus, 1 ticket is deducted. However, if you use the same metro line regardless of direction more than once even during transfer period, it will cost 1 for each use.
As of 2023, the price of T-Casual is 11.35 Euro. With the new tariff, unfortunately, it can now only be used by one person!
Although Barcelona is best enjoyed on foot, there are places that are difficult to reach on foot. You can use this 10-journey T-Casual ticket to go to relatively distant places such as Park Güell, Camp Nou, Montjuic.
T-Usual (Unlimited Journey)
If you consider staying longer than a week or using public transport more, purchase a T-Usual ticket. It costs 20 Euro and gives you unlimited journey. Find more information here.
Single Journey Ticket
The cost of single journey ticket is 2.40 Euros. More information is here.
A multi-person travel card valid for 70 journeys in 30 days. Not valid for Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2 metro stations on line L9 Sud. More information is here.
A multi-person ticket for 8 journeys in 30 days. It costs 10 Euro. Not valid for Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2 metro stations on line L9 Sud.
A non-integrated metro ticket for one journey between Aeroport T1 and Aeroport T2 stations on line L9 Sud and the rest of the metro network. It costs 5.15 Euro.
Hola Barcelona Travel Card
Hola Barcelona Travel Card, takes you to and from the airport and make unlimited journeys on public transport in Barcelona over 2 (48 h), 3 (72 h, 4 (96 h) or 5 (120 h) consecutive days.
Commute in Ease with These Mobile Apps
I recommend you to download the application that is my hand and foot in city transport in Barcelona: Citymapper. Give the start and end locations in the application and it will give you all options of bus, metro, walking, bicycle along with how long each option takes.
Alternatively, you should always have Google Maps on your phone.
6 Ways To Get to Barcelona from El Prat Airport
Plaza de Catalunya(Catalonia Square) is taken as the destination point for given the duration and cost for the following ways.
Way 1: Get to Barcelona From Airport By Train (The cheapest)
Cost: 1,135 Euro (average cost per journey if you buy a T-Casual ticket)
Duration: Approx. 30 min (no traffic)
There is Rodalies R2 Nord train line from Terminal 2 of El Prat Airport to the city centre and all transport tickets listed above except airport ticket are valid on this line.
When you get off at T2 and pass through passport control, follow the train sign(as shown with red arrows in the following picture) or “Renfe” sign. This will take you to a covered pedestrian bridge. When you cross the bridge, you are at the train station.
The first train starts at 5.30 am and runs at 30-minute intervals until 23.31 pm. You can find departure times here. You should check Aeroport station. Best to check the times on Citymapper or Google Maps.
If you will be staying around Old Town(Gotic, El Born or El Raval neighborhoods) or Eixample, get off at Passeig de Gracia. From here you can walk to the Catalonia square in 5 to 10 minutes. Or you can transfer to the green metro (L3) line for free to get to La Rambla.
If you will be staying around Plaza de España, get off at Sants station.
In short, this is the cheapest and fastest way to get to Barcelona city centre, especially if you land at T2.
Free Airport Shuttle Bus to Take Rodalies R2 Nord If The Plane Lands at T 1 in El Prat
There is a free shuttle bus service between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
The shuttle stop is located on the ground floor of Terminal 1 for arrivals and on the 3rd floor for departing flights. In Terminal 2, it is located on the ground floor just outside T2B and T2C.
The shuttle departs at 5-10 min intervals and operates 24 hours. The journey between 2 terminals takes about 10 minutes. In other words, if you get off at T1, you can take the shuttle to T2 for free and use the Rodalies R2 Nord train.
You can get more information here for the shuttle service.
Way 2: Get to Barcelona From Airport By Airport Metro + Metro
Cost: 6.29 Euro (5.15 Euro for L9 Sud line + 1.135 Euro for single ticket (if you buy a T-Casual ticket))
Duration: 50-60 min (no traffic)
Apart from the train, you can also reach the city from the airport with the newly built L9 Sud metro line. However, it should be noted that you cannot use T-Casual in this metro. You need to buy a one-time Airport ticket, which costs 5.15 Euros one way and 10.3 Euros return. You also cannot transfer to the other metro.
If you decided to take the airport metro, another option is to get a daily ticket called T-Dia. This ticket costs 10.5 euros and is valid for 24 hours on all transport lines including the airport metro.
One of the disadvantages of this metro line is that it does not lead directly to the city centre. For this reason, for example, you have to go to Torrassa station first then take the L1 red line to get to the Catalonia Square. Therefore, it means longer commuting and more expense.
The metro stations where you can transfer to other lines of the metro network:
- Can Tries | Gornal (L10 Sud)
- Torrassa (L1 and L10 Sud)
- Collblanc (L5 and L10 Sud)
- Zona Universitària (L3)
In order to get to L9 Sud metro, cross the pedestrian bridge in T2. It’s next to R2 Nord train station.
Way 3: Get to Barcelona From Airport By Aerobus Airport Shuttle (Convenient and budget friendly)
Cost: 5.9 Euro (10.2 Euro if you buy a round-trip ticket)
Duration: 35-50 min (depends on traffic)
Official website: https://www.aerobusbcn.com/
Aerobus is the shuttle service between Barcelona city center and El Prat airport. There are 2 lines operating, A1 for Terminal 1 and A2 for Terminal 2.
- In both terminals, it can be easily found just after exiting the airport and by looking around a bit.
- It is the most convenient way of transport for those who do not want hassle with details and transfers.
- Aerobus has 4 stops. It stops at Plaza de Espanya, Gran Via – Urgell, Universitat and finally Plaza de Catalunya. Plaza de Catalunya is also where it takes off.
- It departs every 5 minutes and takes approximately 35 minutes to Plaza de Catalunya.
- You can buy the ticket from the staff in the bus by cash or credit card.
- The one-way price is 5.9 Euros. If you buy round trip, it is 10.2 Euro.
- There is free WiFi in the bus.
- There are luggage storage areas in the bus.
- Special note: Due to occasional demonstrations in Barcelona, roads might be closed. The route and transport duration of the bus may vary.
Way 4: Get to Barcelona From Airport By Taxi
Cost: Approx. 35 Euros
Duration: 20-40 min (depends on traffic)
Barcelona Taxi Tariffs 2023 (Official website): https://taxi.amb.cat/en/usuari/tarifes
Taxis have some fixed tariffs. If we consider the destination as Plaza de Catalunya, it will cost around 33 Euros.
Taxi Apps to Ride a Taxi in Barcelona
Does Uber Operate in Barcelona?
As of the day of this article, Uber does not operate in Barcelona. You can use the above apps to ride a taxi.
Way 5: Get to Barcelona From Airport By Bus line 46
Cost: 1.135 Euro (average if you buy a T-Casual ticket), Single ticket 2.40 Euro
Duration: Traffic dependent
You can take bus line 46 between Plaza de España and T1 & T2. The fare is 1 ticket again. Even if you do not have a T-Casual ticket, you can get on the buses by paying cash to the driver. Of course, you will pay a little more by cash (2.4 Euro). You can reach this square from Plaza de Catalunya by metro.
Way 6: Get to Barcelona From Airport By Night Buses (N17 and N18)
Cost: 1.135 Euro (average if you buy a T-Casual ticket), Single ticket 2.40 Euro
Are you travelling to Barcelona at night or have a late flight from Barcelona? The N coded night bus lines are for you.
The N18 departs from Plaza de Catalunya and goes to both terminals (T1 then T2). It stops at a few stops. You can also take it from Plaza de España. You can see the route from the Citymapper link and the times if you click on the stop.
The N17 similarly leaves from Plaza de Catalunya, but stops more. It also only goes to the T1. For the route and times, click here.
If the routes of these buses don’t suit you, look for other N-coded buses like N6 and N0 for transfer. You can take a bus close to you to Universidad, Plaza de Catalonia, Plaza de España and then transfer to N17 or N18.
If you want to know which bus stops at which bus stop in the huge square, the bus stops are written on the bus stops. Google Maps will help you with this.
In conclusion, Barcelona is a vibrant city waiting to be explored, and El Prat Airport serves as your gateway to its wonders. Whether you prefer the convenience of a taxi, the budget-friendliness of public transport, or the flexibility of a rental car, there’s a way that suits every traveler. So, when you step off that plane at El Prat, take a moment to choose your preferred way to dive into the beauty, culture, and adventures that Barcelona has to offer. Your journey starts here, but the memories you’ll create in Barcelona will stay with you forever. Safe travels!