How to Get to Barcelona’s City Centre from the Airport

If you’re trying to reach the city centre from Barcelona-El Prat Airport, there are several different transfer options to consider which we will cover in this post.

 

 


OVERVIEW

Three of the main public transport services in this city provide transfers from the airport to the city centre at relatively low costs (€2.40-€5.15).

While the metro and suburban trains usually only run during the day (5 am – 12 am), there is a night bus, so public transit will always be an option for airport transfers.


These are definitely the most affordable transfer choices in Barcelona, and you could save even more money on the metro, bus, and suburban trains by using either an Hola BCN Card or a Barcelona Card, which you can learn more about in our post on navigating the Barcelona public transportation system.

 

Barcelona Airport El Prat

 

Additionally, there are private transfers, taxis, and Ubers.  

No matter how you plan to reach your destination in Barcelona, you can expect each airport transfer to take between 30-45 minutes.


METRO TRANSFER

Barcelona’s metro service is one of the easiest ways to reach the city centre.

There is currently one route that offers service at the airport – the L9 Sud (Orange) line.

This metro line runs every 7-10 minutes and you can expect it to take around 30 minutes to reach its final destination, Zona Universitària. 

 

Barcelona Airport Metro Line L9

 

This stop is close to the city centre and there are several other metro, tram, and bus lines which provide service from this location to other popular neighbourhoods in Barcelona.

You can expect this airport transfer to be available during the following times:

  • Mon – Thur | 5 am – 12 am
  • Fri & Holidays | 5 am – 2 am
  • Saturday | 24 hours
  • Sunday | 5 am – 12 am

Tickets for the metro airport transfer are €5.15 one way and €10.30 round trip. 

Alternatively, if you plan to use public transportation for even a few additional journeys, you might want to consider a travel pass instead.

The Hola BCN Card will cost as little as €7.60 per day depending on which version you get, and it includes unlimited rides on all metro, trams, buses, and trams in Barcelona.

There is also a tourist pass known as the Barcelona Card which provides unlimited rides on all public transportation in the city in addition to several free museums as well as discounts on popular tours, attractions, and more.

If you want additional information about either the Barcelona metro service or discount opportunities, please read our post about how to navigate the Barcelona public transit system.

 


BUS TRANSFERS

In addition to the metro services, there are also a few bus lines you can use as a transfer between the airport and city centre in Barcelona.

The main service used for this purpose is known as the Aerobus, and they offer two lines (one from each terminal) into the city. 

The A1 line can be found at Terminal 1 while the A2 line is at Terminal 2.

Aerobus is a bit more expensive than the public buses in Barcelona at a ticket price of €5.90 one way and €10.20 round trip.

But one advantage over using the metro is that you’ll be given more storage room for your luggage.

Much like the metro service, the Aerobus can get you to the Barcelona city centre in about 30-35 minutes, and they offer service every 5 minutes.

 

 

If storage space isn’t a major concern, you could save some money by using the public bus line 46, which runs from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 to Plaça d’Espanya.

The advantage of this line is that it will only cost €2.40 for a single ride, as little as €7.60 per day for the Hola BCN Card, and depending on how you use the Barcelona Card you might pay even less!

In addition to this public bus, there are also two night-bus services that provide transfers from the airport between the hours of 10:30 pm – 5:30 am, N16, and N17. 

This is another advantage to taking the bus over other options because from Monday to Thursday, the metro does not offer service between the hours of 12 am – 5 am.

For more details about buses in this city, please check our post about navigating the public transit system in Barcelona.

 


SUBURBAN TRAIN TRANSFERS 

These trains are very similar to the metro, but they’re actually a completely different service. 

That said, there is at least one suburban train which offers transfers from the airport to the city centre of Barcelona.

The R2 Nord train runs from Terminal 2 to Maçanet-Massanes, which is actually outside the city. 

 

 

As such, if you’re trying to reach Barcelona, you’ll need to pay close attention and get off at either the Barcelona-Sants or Barcelona-Passeig de Gràcia stops.

The Barcelona-Sants stop is fairly close to Placa d’Espanya, as well as the L3 and L5 metro lines. 

If you want to get even closer to the city centre, Barcelona-Passeig de Gràcia isn’t too far from Placa de Catalunya and the L3 metro line.

Ticket prices and operating hours for suburban trains are exactly the same as the metro, making this another affordable alternative at just €2.40 for a single ride.

The only disadvantages to this service are the fact that it only runs out of Terminal 2 and you really have to pay attention to the stops to make sure you don’t travel beyond Barcelona.

There is a bus at the airport which can take you from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 for free, but this is an additional hassle you wouldn’t have to worry about with other options.

For more information about suburban trains, please read our post about navigating Barcelona public transportation.

 


PRIVATE TRANSFERS

If you want to avoid being packed into public transit with a bunch of other people, one of the best options is to get a private transfer.

There are several companies offering this service in Barcelona, and depending on which one you choose, you can expect to pay at least €35-€45 for a ride to the city centre.

These companies usually charge per the ride and allow up to 3-4 passengers per private transfer, which could make the price less than €10 per passenger.

Private transfers offer 3 key advantages: pickup upon arrival, luggage handling, and quick transportation into downtown Barcelona.

As you can see, even if a private transfer costs more, you may still want to consider this service just to make the whole process quicker, easier, and less stressful.

For more information or to find a company, please check the following list of private transfers in Barcelona.

 


UBER/TAXI TRANSFERS

Since the metro and suburban trains stop running late at night, this could be one of the quickest and easiest ways to reach the city centre without taking one of the night buses.

Another advantage to these services is the fact that you don’t have to wait for a transfer and you’ll receive door-to-door service from the airport to your hotel or place of residence.

Taxis serve the Barcelona airport 24/7, so you’ll always be able to find one waiting outside your terminal. 

The only issue with this service is the fare, which is charged per kilometre traveled, so you might pay more than other transfer options.

 

Barcelona Airport Taxi Line

 

That said, most people will find that their fare will come to a total of between €30-€45, which is comparable to a private transfer.

Alternatively, you could also get an Uber into the city. This service is available via an app you can download onto your phone and use to schedule a pickup ahead of time or upon arrival.

Uber rides from Barcelona airport to the city centre range from €27-€35 on average, so they can be more affordable than taxis, but even if you do save some money, it won’t be a huge discount.

The reason Uber can offer better deals is that they are a ride share service, which means you could choose to share your ride with another traveler. 

Ultimately, both of these options are an excellent alternative to private transfers, especially if you’re short on time and you can’t purchase an airport transfer until you get to Barcelona.

 


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About the author

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers.

Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.