Barcelona is a large city. In fact, it is the 6th largest European city in terms of population, with around 2 million inhabitants. The city is mostly flat, except for Castell de Montjuïc and Park Güell, which are two landmarks that you can’t miss. Barcelona is an exciting city full of good vibes and it has much to offer. But how easy is it to get around? In this post, we’ll look at just that.
Walking in Barcelona to discover hidden secrets
Barcelona is a bustling city, with each winding and hidden lane full of mystery. To discover its secrets, you need to walk around as this is the best way to feel the atmosphere. If you booked accommodation in Gracià, Eixample, Las Ramblas or the Gothic quarter, grab a map and look around. Some of the most exciting attractions are located on your doorstep. From Eixample, you should take a stroll to the chic Passeig de Gràcia Avenue. From here, walking south towards the sea, you will naturally end at Carrer de La Rambla. Just one thing to remember: the city is crowded with locals and tourists, so take care of your belongings.
Cycling in the narrow streets: is it a good idea?
Barcelona is indeed very well equipped for cyclists and you’ll no doubt see many residents using bikes. Cycling is a wonderful mode of transportation, especially during the summer. You can enjoy the sea breeze and have a real sense of freedom when riding a bike. As we said before, a large part of the city is flat and there are plenty of cycle lanes. You will also easily find “Bicing” stations and “Bicibox” where you can safely park your bike before taking the metro. On top of this, there are some wonderful parks where you can go for a ride. Parc de la Ciutadella, located near the Gothic quarter in El Born, is a great place to explore by bicycle. In fact, it’s so popular that all around the area you’ll find bike rentals shops.
To rent a regular city bike, check out Green Bikes, which is located in the Gothic quarter. The staff are helpful and can assist you with child seats, plus the price is low compared to other shops. It will cost you €2 per hour or €20 for 2 days for a 3-speed bike. Bikes for children are available (without discount), but child seats and helmets can be obtained for free. It’s not compulsory for adults to use a helmet, but children under 16 years are required to. Green Bikes is open 7 days a week from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm. You pay the rental fee only when you return the bike. The rental price includes a lock and a Barcelona bike lane map. They have 2 shops, within a 5-minute walking distance from each other in Carrer Escudellers, 48 and Carrer Ample, 53.
Bus, Metro, FGC, Tram, Train: all in one!
The public transportation in Barcelona is simple and convenient. However, you may need to use multiple modes of transport in order to get to where you want to go. Many attractions, such as the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Montjuïc Castle are quite far from the centre. Here we’ll take a look at the public transport options.
Travelling by bus isn’t the quickest way to travel as journey times depend on the traffic. Nevertheless, buses are comfortable, they’re adapted for wheelchairs and you can enjoy views of the city while travelling. They are operated by a company known as TMB. Services commence at 4.24 am and end at 11.00 pm. Another company offers night buses (Nitbus) starting around 11.00 pm and finishing at 6.00 am.
By Metro, FGC and Tram
There are 11 lines that serve the city, and they’re numbered from L1 to L11. L6, L7 and L8 are urban overground railway lines operated by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC). The remaining lines L1 to L5 and L9 to L11 are underground. You should either download a service map or get one from a kiosk at the metro station. Metro is a fast way to travel, and you can get around most of the city using the metro service.
If you need to visit some more distant districts going to the north of Barcelona up to Moli Nou, Tibidabo and Sant Cugat del Vallès, then the FGC train will be useful. The 3 lines start from Plaça de Catalunya, the University and Plaça de Espanya near Sants-Montjuïc. The same applies to the Tram with T1 to T6 lines which can drive you to L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and further down on the west of the city or towards Badalone on the east.
By train and funicular
The “Rodalies” are intercity trains that can take you out of Barcelona to Sitges or Girona. From Estació de França near Parc de la Ciutadella, Estació Sants in Eixample or Passeig de Gràcia stations you can reach Sitges in about one hour and enjoy a beautiful day at this resort. On the map look for the R1 to R4 or R7 and R8 lines or search their site for more destinations. Finally to visit Castell de Montjuïc, take the funicular in the Paral-lel metro station (L2 or L3). From there you can go further up and use the Montjuïc Cable Car (extra fare of € 12 not included).
All of this at the cheapest cost!
Be aware that buying a single ticket will be the most expensive option, costing you around €2.20. There are several other options available to you. These options include the ATM T10 ticket which costs €10.20 for 10 journeys. You will only need to buy the Zone 1 ticket as this will cover all sightseeing within the city. You can buy it in any metro station and the ticket can be used by more than one passenger. There are some limitations in the validity of the ticket during the day and with a bigger group or family, it can get complicated. The second option is the “Hola BCN” card, which is valid from 2 to 5 days, costing from €15 to €35 (children up to 4 years old travel free of charge). With this card, you can enjoy unlimited journeys by metro, bus, tram, FGC, Rodalies and the funicular.
Finally, the Barcelona Card offers not only access to all the above unlimited mentioned transportations means as on top of this discounts on major sightseeing, museums, restaurants and more. It costs between €45 and €60 depending on the period of validity. Children aged between 4 and 12 years receive a 50% discount. It is advisable to buy the Hola BCN or Barcelona Card online to avoid queuing.
By taxi or car
Official taxis are black and yellow and they are generally not expensive, depending on how far you travel. You will pay what is on the meter, so there’s no surprise and no cheating. A 5-minute ride will cost you around €6 and a regular taxi can take up to 4 people. However, it’s unlikely that you will need to take a cab with so many public transport options available to you.
Are you thinking about renting a car? Forget about it! Even if you drove to Barcelona, the best you can do is to park your car and leave it there. In terms of parking, it may be easier to find a spot in the Ciutat Vella district. The price will vary but you should expect to pay an average of €15 – 20 per day. The only attraction that you may need a car in order to get to is Castell de Montjuïc.
Now you how to get around in Barcelona, check out where to eat in Barcelona and, most importantly, where to stay in Barcelona. If you would like all information about Barcelona in one easy place, then why not download our electronic city guide?