How to get from Barcelona Airport to City Center & back – A Local’s Guide

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Almost 8 million people visit the Catalan capital on the northeast coast of Spain annually. With so many arrivals you can certainly imagine that the way from Barcelona airport to the city center must be well developed. And it surely is. There are many ways to get from Barcelona El Prat Airport to the center of Barcelona. But even if you arrive at one of Barcelona’s other airports (Barcelona Girona or Reus airport), it’s not too difficult to find your way to the city center of Barcelona.

This article will show you step by step how to easily make sense of the Barcelona airport transfer (and back). Here you will find all the transport options from the BCN airports- of course, with prices and the travel duration. (There are ways to get into the city center for just around € 1.13 – sounds like a great deal, right?)

Barcelona Airport to City Center

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

BARCELONA INFOBOX

Where to stay in Barcelona: Hotel Santa Marta (Great hotel in the center near attractions & beach) or W Barcelona (Luxury option directly at the beach)

The most popular activities & tours in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia Ticket – Skip the Line

Camp Nou – Barça Museum und Tour

Barcelona Card – More than 25 Attractions

Park Güell – Skip the Line

La Pedrera – Skip the Line

Getting there: Make sure to check for the best flight deals on Flight comparison-Sites like Skyscanner

Transport: T-Casual Ticket (10-trips-Ticket) or Hola BCN Day Ticket

Want to rent a car? You can find great deals on RentalCars. It gets cheaper from El Prat Airport.

Barcelona Must-Have: Practical Spanish Travel Dictionary or Catalan Travel Dictionary and Barcelona-Guide

How to get from Barcelona El Prat Airport to the city center of Barcelona

There are several ways to get to the city center from El Prat Airport (the city’s main airport). El Prat airport is only about 15 km/9 miles from Barcelona and is, therefore, pretty easy to reach. In the following paragraph, we will provide you with all the options you have to get to El Prat Barcelona Airport and compare them to find the best transportation options for your Barcelona airport transfer.

Comparison of the different means of transport

Transport OptionDeparture fromDurationDeparture FrequencyPrice
AerobusTerminal 1 & 2ca. 35 MinutesEvery 5 - 10 Minutes5.90 €
Bus Line 46/ Night BusTerminal 1 & 2ca. 40 - 55 MinutesEvery 15 - 20 Minutes2.40 € (1.13€ with T-Casual); free with Hola BCN (besides Night Bus) or Barcelona Card
TrainTerminal 2ca. 25 MinutesEvery 30 Minutes4.10 € (1.13€ with T-Casual); free with
or Hola BCN or Barcelona Card
MetroTerminal 1 & 2ca. 30 Minutes or moreEvery 4 - 7 Minutes4.60 €; free with Hola BCN or Barcelona Card
TaxiTerminal 1 & 2ca. 20 - 30 MinutesAny timeca. 30 - 35€
Private TransferTerminal 1 & 2ca. 20 - 30 MinutesAny timefrom 40 €

Barcelona Airport Bus

Aerobus (Express-Bus)

Barcelona Aerobus, Barcelona Airport to city center

Departure from: Terminal 1 & Terminal 2

Duration: ca. 35 Minutes (depending on traffic)

Departure Frequency: Every 5 – 10 Minutes

Price: 5.90 € (10.20 € Return-trip)

Operating Hours: Aeropuerto (Airport) – Plaça Catalunya: 05.35 am – 01.05 am; Plaça Catalunya – Aeropuerto: 05:00 am – 00:30 am

Stops: Aeropuerto – Plaça España – Gran Via/ Urgell – Plaça Catalunya

Tickets: on-site or online here

The arguably easiest option to get from Barcelona Airport to the city center is the bus. From the T1 terminal, this option is usually also the fastest (depending on the traffic). Just follow the signs from the airport to the Aerobus bus stop.

The bus offers enough space, also for suitcases and larger luggage. The Aerobus goes directly to the city center (Plaça Catalunya is the city center of Barcelona). If you purchase a return ticket, you can save another € 1.60.

Pros

  • Fast and easy
  • Long operating hours – early morning to night

Cons

  • Not the cheapest option
  • Only drives you to the center – if your accommodation is outside of the city center, a change of transport (thus, the purchase of another ticket) is necessary.
Barcelona Aerobus Ticket machine
You can buy your ticket either at the ticket machine…
Barcelona aerobus tickets
… or purchase your ticket from the sellers
Aerobus Terminal 2

Bus Line 46

Bus Line 46 Barcelona Airport Bus
From here you can take Bus Line 46

Departure from: Terminal 1 & Terminal 2

Duration: ca. 40 – 55 Minutes (depending on traffic)

Departure Frequency: Every 15 – 20 Minutes

Price: 2.40 € (1.13 € with T-Casual Ticket); free with Hola BCN or Barcelona Card

Operating Hours: 04.50 am – 11.50 pm

Stops: Aeropuerto – Plaça España, Check all the stops here

Tickets: In front of the Bus or T-Casual Ticket, Hola BCN or Barcelona Card

With this bus, you can reach the city center relatively quickly. The big advantage of the bus is its price. With the T-Casual ticket, you can get from the airport to the city center for just around one Euro. Unfortunately, Plaça Catalunya, which is considered Barcelona’s center, is not a stop on this bus route. So it may be that you need to change to other means of transport once you arrive in Barcelona, depending on where your accommodation is located.

If you are traveling with large luggage, you won’t find as much space on the bus line 46 as you have in the Aerobus.

Pros

  • Super low price
  • various stops
  • Long operating hours – early morning to night

Cons

  • Only goes up to Plaça España
  • It needs a bit longer than other means of transport, as there are more stops along the way
  • Less space for luggage than Aerobus

Night Bus (Nit Bus) Lines N16, N17 & N18

Signs at terminal 1 Barcelona airport
The signs at each terminal will guide you the way

Departure from: Terminal 1 & Terminal 2

Duration: ca. 40 – 50 Minutes (depending on the traffic)

Departure Frequency: Every 20 Minutes

Price: 2.40 € (1.13 € with T-Casual Ticket) or free with Barcelona Card

Operating Hours: Ca. 11.00 pm – 05.00 am, for a more detailed schedule, check here

Stops: Aeropuerto – Plaça Catalunya, You can check all the stops here

Tickets: In front of the bus or T-Casual Ticket or Barcelona Card

Basically, these bus lines are the night version of bus 46, except that the night bus goes to Plaça Catalunya. The big advantage of the bus is its price. With the T-Casual ticket, you can get from the airport to the city center for just around one Euro.

The different lines have different stops, but they all take you to Terminals 1 & 2 of El Prat Airport. The only difference is that the N18 line is usually faster (about 30 minutes) because it stops at fewer stops.

However, this line operates very irregularly in the low season (in some months only on Fridays). You may have to change to other means of transport after you arrive in Barcelona, depending on where your accommodation is located (more night buses are operating within the city center)

If you are traveling with large luggage, the night bus offers less space than the Aerobus does.

Pros

  • Super low price
  • Various stops
  • Runs throughout the night

Cons

  • It needs a bit longer than other means of transport as there are more stops along the way (except line N18)
  • Less space for luggage than in Aerobus
  • Maybe transfers necessary (depending on where your accommodation is located)
signs at terminal 2 BCN airport
You will also find a lot of signs at Terminal 2

Train: Rodalies R2

Rodalies R2 train to Barcelona airport
The Rodalies R2 train starting from the airport at Terminal 2

Departure from: Terminal 2

Duration: ca. 25 Minutes

Departure Frequency: Every 30 Minutes

Price: 4.10 € (1.13 € with T-Casual Ticket); free with Hola BCN or Barcelona Card

Operating Hours: Ca. 05.40 am – 10.30 pm; You can check the exact schedule here

Stops: Aeropuerto T2 – El Prat de Llobregat – Bellvitge – Train Station Barcelona Sants – Passeig de Gràcia – El Clot Aragó

Tickets: At the ticket automate at the airport (Terminal 2) or T-Casual Ticket, Hola BCN or Barcelona Card

Probably the fastest (If you are landing in Terminal 2) and, therefore, my favorite option is the train. The train usually runs twice an hour, unfortunately only from Terminal 2. However, many airlines (such as Vueling) usually fly to Terminal 1.

Between Terminal 1 and 2 runs a free shuttle bus, which takes about 10 – 15 minutes (More on this later in this article). The price for a single train ride is € 4.10. With a T-Casual ticket, which you can use all over Barcelona, the trip costs even less than half.

Pros

  • Super low price
  • Various stops, convenient transfer to the metro at the train stations
  • One of the fastest alternatives (apart from waiting times)

Cons

  • Only runs from Terminal 2 (If you arrive on T1, a transfer by airport shuttle bus is necessary)
  • Longest waiting times (only runs twice an hour)
Ticket machine at El Prat Terminal T2
Don’t forget to purchase your ticket at terminal T2 before entering the train.
Just follow those yellow lines to get to the train station/ metro station at terminal t2

Metro Line L9 SUD

Signs for transport Barcelona
Just follow the signs to find the means of transport you are looking for

Departure from: Terminal 1 & Terminal 2

Duration: ca. 30 Minutes until Zona Universitària

Departure Frequency: Every 4 – 7 Minutes

Price: 4.60 € (T-Casual Ticket is not valid here); free with Hola BCN or Barcelona Card

Operating Hours: Monday – Thursday: 05.00 am – 00.00 am; Friday: 05.00 am – 02.00 am; Saturday: 05.00 am until Sunday until 00.00 am

Stops: Aeropuerto T1 – Aeropuerto T2 – Mes Blau – Parc Nou – Cèntric – El Prat Estació – Les Moreres – Mercarbana – Parc Logístic – Fira – Europa/Fira – Can Tries/Gornal – Torrassa – Collblanc – Zona Universitària

Tickets: At Ticket automate at the airport (the T-Casual Ticket* is not valid here), or Hola BCN or Barcelona Card

Another option is the metro. You can use the metro from both terminals. A Billet Aeroport costs € 4.60 each way. (Please note that you cannot use the T-Casual with the metro to or from the airport.)

The metro usually has the shortest waiting times, but it might be necessary to change trains if you want to get to the direct center of Barcelona. You have transfer options to the Barcelona Metro in Torrassa (L1 – Red Line), Collblank (L5 – Blue Line), and Zona Universitària (L3 – Green Line).

Depending on where your accommodation is located, using the metro is a convenient option. A big advantage of the metro is that it operates longer on the weekend than bus and train, Saturdays even during the whole night.

Pros

  • Short waiting times
  • Various stops
  • Easy transfer to other metro lines
  • Long operating times on weekends

Cons

  • More expensive than a regular Metro ticket, bus 46, or train
  • Does not go directly to the center
Metro Barcelona Airport to city center
Walk through this bridge to reach the metro or train station at T2.

Taxi

taxi at Barcelona airport, airport transfer
You will find a lot of taxis at BCN El Prat airport.

Departure from: Terminal 1 & Terminal 2

Duration: ca. 20 – 35 Minutes (Depending on traffic and location of your accommodation)

Departure Frequency: Any time

Price: ca. 30 – 35 € (Depending on traffic and location of your accommodation; perhaps night surcharge); You can find more information and prices by clicking here

Operating Hours: Any time

You can, of course, also take a taxi. Taxis are available at any time of day or night. If you arrive at night, you should expect a night surcharge. Please note that Uber has been banned in Barcelona for some time now (Capify is still available, though).

The taxi offers the most comfortable transfer from and to the airport as you are driven directly from door to door. Note that the trip may take a little longer during peak hours due to high traffic.

Pros

  • Short to no waiting times
  • Transport from door to door
  • no transfers necessary

Cons

  • More expensive than other means of transport
taxi only sign Barcelona airport
Follow this sign at t1 to reach the taxis
taxi cost calculator airport Barcelona
With this automate (at Terminal 1), you can calculate your taxi costs from the airport

Private Transfer

car picking up passengers from BCN airport

Departure from: Terminal 1 & Terminal 2

Duration: ca. 20 – 35 Minutes (Depending on traffic and location of your accommodation)

Departure Frequency: Any time

Price: from 60 € for 3 Pax

Operating Hours: Any time

Make a reservation: There are different trustworthy companies to book your trip with, e.g., here on GetYourGuide

The last option is to order private transport from the airport to the city. So you will be picked up directly at the airport and driven to your accommodation. This way, you save time standing in line for a taxi, as well as for the possible price negotiation. Plus, you can be sure that your driver speaks English and knows exactly where to take you.

Pros

  • No waiting time
  • Transport from door to door
  • no transfers necessary
  • No queuing

Cons

  • More expensive than other means of transport

Ticket Options – Which ticket is the best for you

Barcelona Ticket Options for airport transfer

T-Casual Ticket – Transport for 1.13 € in all of Barcelona

The T-Casual ticket (formally T-10 Ticket) is a great option for any traveler, and I recommend you to go for it. The T-Casual ticket costs 11.35 € (as of 2021) and offers you 10 trips in any of the various means of transport of Barcelona (metro (except to/from the airport), bus, train, and tram).

After stamping the card, the ticket is valid for 75 minutes. If you need to change your means of transport during these 75 minutes (e.g., from the metro to a bus), no new trip will be charged.

Unlike the former T-10 Ticket, the T-Casual Ticket is only valid for one person and cannot be shared with other travelers.

Can I use the T-Casual ticket for airport transport?

You can use the T-Casual ticket to get to El Prat Airport for the following means of transport:

Means of TransportT-Casual Ticket valid?
AerobusNo
Bus Line 46/ Night BusYes
TrainYes
MetroNo
TaxiNo
Private TransferNo

Where can I buy the T-Casual ticket?

You can get the T-Casual ticket at ticket automates in any train station, metro station (subway station) in Barcelona, and at the ticket machines at the airport in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. All the machines can be used in English.

When is the T-Casual Ticket worth it?

The T-Casual ticket is perfect for all travelers who complete at least 6 trips. Therefore, you should purchase this ticket if you will use public transport occasionally during your stay.

However, if you have planned many trips or are not well on foot, you might want to opt for a day pass or similar (check the next paragraphs for more information on those).

Hola BCN Card

The Hola BCN Card is a great way to save money if you travel a lot by public transport. The Hola BCN Card offers unlimited trips by bus, train, metro, and tram within Barcelona (excluding transportation at night). When buying your ticket, you can choose between 48, 72, 96, or 120 hours of operating time.

With this ticket, you stay mobile and can quickly get from one attraction of Barcelona to the next. This is especially worthwhile if you want to see a lot but don’t have much time.

Can I use the Hola BCN Card for airport transport?

With the Barcelona Card, you can use the metro (subway), the public bus lines (line 46, not the Aerobus or night buses), and the train to and from El Prat airport at no extra cost.

Means of TransportHola BCN valid?
AerobusNo
Bus Line 46/ Night BusBus Line 46 yes, Night Bus no
TrainYes
MetroYes
TaxiNo
Private TransferNo

Where can I buy the Hola BCN Card?

Tourism office at Barcelona airport
Make sure to get your Hola BCN or Barcelona Card here after arriving with the voucher you bought online.

The easiest way to get the Hola BCN Card is to purchase it online here before you arrive in the city. Note, however, that you must exchange the voucher at the airport (at the tourism information) or in one of the specified travel agencies downtown before receiving the actual Hola BCN Card. If you like to use it for getting from the airport to the city, you should exchange them at the El Prat Tourist Information Office in Terminal 1 or 2.

When is the Hola BCN Card worth it?

The Hola BCN Card is worthwhile for those who use public transport a lot and want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. It is also suitable for anyone traveling with children or elderly or physically restricted.

Extra tip: Decide on a Barcelona Itinerary before buying your ticket. This way, you can calculate how many public transport trips you will need and can be sure the ticket you choose will be the best deal for you.

Barcelona Card

The Barcelona Card gives you free access to Barcelona’s various transport options for the period you choose during your purchase. You have the choice between 3, 4, or 5 days. Besides, the Barcelona Card gives you free entry to many of the city’s museums and discounts at various museums and attractions in Barcelona.

If you’re in town for just 2 days, you can opt for the Barcelona Express Card instead, which also includes many discounts (for more information about the Barcelona Express Card, click here).

With the Barcelona Card to the airport?

With the Barcelona Card, you can use the metro (subway), the public bus lines (line 46 and night buses, not the Aerobus), and the train to and from El Prat airport at no extra cost.

Means of TransportBarcelona Card valid?
AerobusNo
Bus Line 46/ Night BusYes
TrainYes
MetroYes
TaxiNo
Private TransferNo

Where can I buy the Barcelona Card?

The easiest way to get the Barcelona Card is to purchase it online here before you arrive in the city. Note, however, that you must exchange the voucher at the airport (at the tourism information) or in one of the specified travel agencies before use to receive the actual Barcelona Card. If you like to use it for transport from the airport to the city, you should exchange them at the El Prat Tourist Information Office in Terminal 1 or 2.

When is the Barcelona Card worth it?

The Barcelona Card is worth it for those who want to see some of Barcelona’s main attractions and museums while using unlimited public transport. Especially if you are traveling with small children, older people, or for some reason, you don’t want to walk much, this ticket is advantageous.

Shuttle Bus between Terminal 1 & Terminal 2

The free shuttle bus between Terminal 1 & Terminal 2 at El Prat Airport

If you arrive at Terminal 1 and want to use the train from Terminal 2 or if you would like to switch between the terminals for other reasons, there is a free shuttle bus available. Just get out of the main entrance of the airport and follow the signs.

The bus will leave as soon as it’s full. Normally, you only have to wait a couple of minutes for it to leave. The journey takes about 15 minutes (usually, the journey from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 is a bit faster).

Sign Shuttle Bus Airport
Just follow those signs to reach the shuttle bus.
Signs for shuttle bus at the Barcelona airport
There are signs everywhere in the airport.
Green lines to airport shuttle bus
Or just follow the green lines at Terminal 2 that lead you to the shuttle bus.
Shuttle bus terminal 1 & 2, el prat airport
They will lead you outside to the bus stop.

From Barcelona Girona Airport to Barcelona’s City Center

Barcelona Girona Airport is located approximately 103 km (64 miles) from Barcelona. For many, it comes as a surprise when they suddenly land just about 100 km from their actual destination. That’s why it’s best to be prepared and know the options on how to get from Barcelona Girona Airport to the center of Barcelona.

Fun Fact: The name of the Barcelona Girona airport is so confusing for us foreigners only because the airport’s actual name is Girona Costa Brava. This name makes way more sense since the airport has nothing to do with Barcelona.

From Girona Airport to Barcelona by Bus

Arguably the easiest and cheapest way to get from Barcelona Girona Airport to the center of Barcelona is by bus. Bus timetables are adjusted to Ryanair’s arrivals to avoid long waiting times. The bus runs from Girona Airport to the Estació d’Autobusos Barcelona Nord (near Arc de Triomf) and vice versa. The journey takes about 1 hour 10 minutes.

The tickets can be purchased either on-site or online on the website of Sagalés. (No affiliate link) There is no price difference if you buy tickets online or on-site. A ticket costs 16 € and 32 € for a return ticket.

From Girona Airport to Barcelona by Train

Another way to get from Girona to Barcelona is the train. Please note, however, that the train only leaves from or to Girona city center. For the way between Girona’s city center and Girona’s airport, an additional taxi or bus ride is necessary. A taxi ride costs about 20 €.

From Girona Airport to Barcelona by Taxi

Another option is to take a taxi. Note, however, that this option is not exactly cheap. You should expect to pay at least 130 €.

From Barcelona Reus Airport to Barcelona’s City Center

Barcelona Reus airport is not located in Barcelona despite its name. Instead, it is about 106 km (65 miles) away from Barcelona. Like Barcelona Girona Airport, there are not many ways to get from this airport to Barcelona (and vice versa).

From Reus airport to Barcelona by bus

Probably the easiest and cheapest way to get from Barcelona Reus Airport to downtown Barcelona is by bus. The bus runs from Reus Airport to Barcelona Sants Station. The journey takes about 1 hour 40 minutes. The departure times depend on the arrival of the plane to avoid long waiting times.

The tickets can be purchased on-site. The provider is called Hispano Igualadina. You can see the timetable here. A ticket costs 16 € and 28 € for a return ticket.

From Reus airport to Barcelona by train

Another way to get from Reus to Barcelona is by train. Please note, however, that the train only goes to and from Reus city center. For the way between Reus’ city center and Reus’ airport, a taxi or bus has to be taken. A taxi ride costs about 20 € and a bus ride 1.25 €. You can get to the train station by bus number 50. The journey takes about 10 minutes. (Note that the bus station is not near the train station, which is about 45 minutes walking away from each other.)

From Reus airport to Barcelona by Taxi

Another option is to take a taxi. Note, however, that this option is not exactly cheap. You should expect to pay at least 130 €.


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About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

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2 thoughts on How to get from Barcelona Airport to City Center & back – A Local’s Guide

  1. Thanks a lot for this advice! I will take it on for my next trip to Barcelona, I personally love a lot to go when there it’s Champions League season so I can watch the games but I always take a long time at the airport, fortunately, with this advice I will reduce my time in the airport! Again thanks a lot for this article!

    Reply

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