How To Use Barcelona’s Public Transportation

This post covers the entire public transportation system in Barcelona, providing helpful information for tourists to help them navigate around the city with ease, as well as details about tickets and how to save money on admission.

 

 


TICKETS

There are several different public transit services in Barcelona, including the metro, trams, buses, and even suburban trains. 

Single tickets are €2.40 per ride, and you can purchase them at vending machines at metro stations and aboard buses.

Although you can purchase single tickets, they are not valid across all services and are only available for metro and bus.


Multi-Ticket Cards

Barcelona’s public transit system also offers what is known as T-Casual Tickets

These cards are valid for 10 journeys and they are available for as many as 1-6 zones on metro, tram, bus and suburban trains. 

Here are the prices for these cards:

  • 1-Zone T-Casual Ticket: €11.35
    • Price per ticket: €1.14
  • 2-Zone T-Casual Ticket: €22.40
    • Price per ticket: €2.24
  • 3-Zone T-Casual Ticket: €30.50
    • Price per ticket: €3.05
  • 4-Zone T-Casual Ticket: €39.20
    • Price per ticket: €3.92
  • 5-Zone T-Casual Ticket: €45.05
    • Price per ticket: €4.50
  • 6-Zone T-Casual Ticket: €47.90
    • Price per ticket: €4.79

Zone 1 is the city centre, so chances are you won’t need any other type of ticket. 

That said, if you plan to visit the outskirts of Barcelona, you may want to consider purchasing tickets for zones 2-6.

If you’re still not sure which zones you’ll need, the best way to avoid any problems is simply to purchase a travel card or tourist pass.

 

T-Casual and T-Usual


Unlimited Rides

In addition to the T-Casual tickets, you can also purchase a T-Dia pass with unlimited rides. Prices start at €10.50 for a 1-zone ticket.

There is also a T-Usual ticket which provides public transportation for one full month with prices starting at €40 for 1-zone tickets.

The best deal on admission for Barcelona public transport is via the Hola BCN travel card. 

These passes can be purchased for 2-5 days at a time, and they provide unlimited rides on the metro, buses, tram, and suburban trains.

  • Hola BCN 2-Day Card: €16.30
    • Price per day: €8.15
  • Hola BCN 3-Day Card: €23.70
    • Price per day: €7.90
  • Hola BCN 4-Day Card: €30.80
    • Price per day: €7.70
  • Hola BCN 5-Day Card: €38.00
    • Price per day: €7.60

In addition to the Hola BCN card, you can also get unlimited travel on all metro, trams, buses and suburban trains using the Barcelona Card. 

This is a great option if you’re planning to visit several landmarks and popular attractions. Please read our discount section for more details about the Barcelona Card.


Airport Transfers

Another factor to consider when purchasing tickets is whether or not you’ll need to use public transport to get from the airport to the city centre of Barcelona.

If you do need an airport transfer, it’s worth noting that you’ll need more than a single ticket to reach the city centre from the Barcelona airport. 

 

Barcelona Airport El Prat

 

While there is a metro train that can take you to the city centre, it requires a special airport ticket which is €5.15 one way and €10.30 round trip. 

T-Casual tickets are not valid at the airport metro stops T1 and T2, but T-Dia and T-Usual do provide at least one airport transfer. You can also take an Aerobus for €5.90. 

That said, if you use the Hola BCN or Barcelona Card, this service will be included at no extra cost. 

Considering that the price of these services is as little as €7.60 per day, you’d actually save money over the cost of a round trip airport ticket!


Cable Cars & Funiculars

In addition to all the other services available in Barcelona, there are also a few cable cars and funiculars at notable sites such as Montserrat, Montjuïc, and Tibidabo.

These transport options are not part of the public transit system and they have their own ticket prices. 

That said, you can save money on tickets for some cable cars by purchasing your admission online ahead of time.

We’ll provide more details about these services in our section covering Cable Cars & Funiculars in Barcelona.

 


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METRO

Barcelona’s metro service is arguably their most extensive public transportation system with 8 different lines and hundreds of different stops. 

The only problem with a metro system this wide and varied is that it might be a little difficult to navigate. 

Our guide will help you find some of the most notable and popular stops across each line so that you can find your way around the city with ease.

 

Barcelona Metro Map

(full map)

 

Lines

  • Line 1 | Red Line
    • Stops at Plaça de Catalunya, Arc de Triomf, Plaça de Sants, Marina, Plaça d’Espanya and more.
  • Line 2 | Purple Line
    • Stops at Sagrada Familia, The Monumental bullring, Plaça de Tetuan and more. 
  • Line 3 | Green Line
    • Stops at Plaça de Catalunya, Plaça d’Espanya, Plaça del Centre, Plaça Reial and more.
  • Line 5 | Blue Line
    • Stops at Sagrada Familia, Plaça de Sants, Camp de l’Arpa and more.
  • Line 9 | Orange Line
    • Mostly used for airport transfers, stops at Zona Universitaria.

While there are other lines (Yellow, Light Blue, and Light Green), they don’t really include any notable stops that tourists and travelers might want to visit.

Line 3 makes a stop at Liceu, which is just a block away from Plaça Reial, where at least one of our self-guided Barcelona tours begins.

Metro trains arrive every 2-6 minutes and they observe the following hours:

  • Monday-Thursday: 5 am – 12 am
  • Friday: 5 am – 2 am
  • Saturday: 24 hours
  • Sunday: 5 am – 12 am

You’ll find ticket machines at each metro station in Barcelona, making it easy to purchase admission no matter where you are. 

 


TRAMS

There are currently 6 different tram lines and 3 separate networks in Barcelona, all of them accessible with either the Hola BCN card or the Barcelona card

That said, the line most travelers will want to consider is Tramvia Blau (otherwise known as the Blue Tramway).

Tramvia Blau is the most historic tram line in the city, and its route passes through streets full of beautiful Modernista houses to the bottom of Tibidabo Mountain, where you can ride a funicular to the top.

If you’re interested in enjoying excellent views of Barcelona, this is arguably one of the best tram lines in the city. This tram also passes by CosmoCaixa, a popular interactive museum.

Sadly, Tramvia Blau is temporarily out of service, but you can use bus 196 to take essentially the same journey. Check our buses section for more details.

NOTE: Tramvia Blau is scheduled to come back into service in 2020, but this date could be pushed back as a result of measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid 19.

The other two networks in Barcelona are Trambaix (T1, T2, T3) and Trambesós (T4, T5, T6). While Trambaix includes a variety of stops in the western half of the city, Trambesós covers the eastern and coastal region.

The Trambaix network provides stops at locations such as Zona Universitària, Palau Reial, Cornellà Centre, Plaça Francesc Macià, and other notable sites.

Alternatively, the Trambesós network starts at Villa Olimpica and includes stops at Marina, Teatro Nacional, Barcelona Zoo, Glòries square, Port Olimpic, and the Barcelona Forum.

Tram hours are basically the same as Metro hours with one key difference: they don’t offer 24-hour service on Saturdays. 

Instead, you can expect Barcelona trams to run from 5 am – 2 am on all weekend days.

 


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BUSES

Barcelona currently has over 100 different bus routes that connect all the districts of the city, including the suburban areas. 

Although this service provides a lot of notable stops, it’s a bit more difficult to navigate than either the Metro or Tram.

 

 

We cover some of the more popular stops provided by this service and the routes associated with them below.

  • Plaça d’Espanya | Line D40, V7, 23, 46, 65, 79, 150
  • Plaça de Catalunya | Line 19, 22, 24, 52, 62
  • Zona Universitària | Line H, 33, 7
  • Montjuïc Cemetery | Line 107
  • Tibidabo | Line 111, 196
  • La Sagrera | Line 96
  • La Marina | Line 125
  • Camp Nou | Line H
  • Plaça Reial | Line 59

Of all the lines listed above, we recommend using the bus to reach Tibidabo, where you can take the funicular to the top and enjoy spectacular views of Barcelona.

You may also want to use Line 59 to reach Plaça Reial, where at least one of our self-guided Barcelona tours begins.

There is also a bus line that can connect you with the airport known as the Aerobus. While line A1 services Terminal 1, A2 will take you to and from Terminal 2. 

The Aerobus provides stops at several popular locations in the city centre including Plaça d’Espanya and Plaça de Catalunya. This service isn’t technically part of the public transit system, and as such, tickets are €5.90.

Although the Aerobus is specifically designed for airport transfers, you can also use lines 46, N16, and N17 to get from the airport to the city centre, and these options will be much more affordable at €2.40 per single ticket.

Lines N16 and N17 are part of the night bus service, consisting of 17 different routes and running from about 10:30 pm – 5:30 am.

The main daily bus lines operate from around 5 am – 11 pm each day.

 


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SUBURBAN TRAINS

As the name implies, Barcelona’s suburban trains are mainly designed to connect the suburbs with the city centre, and as such, they’re mostly used by locals.

That said, whether you have family or friends in the suburbs or you just want to see some of the outer neighbourhoods in Barcelona, this service can be quite useful.

Suburban trains also provide stops at several notable public squares and other sites you might want to visit in the city, so even though you might not use them for much, they could still be quite useful.

These are basically commuter trains, also known as rodalies in Barcelona. While they are similar to the metro and tram services, you can tell the difference between them by the signifier “R,” which stands for “rodalies.”

 

 

There are also some S lines as well, and this letter stands for “Suburban.”

Here are a few of the more notable stops you can reach using the suburban trains/rodalies of Barcelona:

  • Plaça d’Espanya | S4, S8, R5, R6
  • Plaça de Catalunya | S1, S2, S5, S55
  • Castell de Torre Baró | R3, R4, R7
  • Arc de Triomf | R1, R3, R4
  • Estacio de Franca | R2
  • La Sagrera | R3, R4
  • Montserrat | R5

As you can see, there are several great reasons to use suburban trains, although some stops are arguably better than others.

For example, if you want to visit Montserrat, these trains will offer you one of the easiest and most affordable routes to the historic site. 

Anyone interested in seeing the Castell de Torre Baró will also appreciate that there are multiple suburban trains servicing that stop, as well as landmarks like Arc de Triomf.

It’s also worth noting that the R2 Nord train services the airport from the T2 terminal, providing yet another affordable transfer to the city centre of Barcelona.

Ticket prices and operating hours are the same as the metro, and T-Casual/Hola BCN cards are valid on suburban trains as well.

 


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CABLE CARS & FUNICULARS

While there aren’t a lot of these services in Barcelona, there are a few you may want to consider while visiting the city.

 

 

We’ll cover the most notable examples in this section.


Montjuïc Cable Car

This service will help you ascend to the Montjuïc Castle, and it also provides one of the best views in the entire city.

Ticket Prices

  • Single Tickets: €8.90/Adults | €7.10/Children | Children 0-4 are free
  • Return Tickets: €13.50/Adults | €9.70/Children | Children 0-4 are free
  • Get a 10% discount when purchased online.
  • Save €2 with the Barcelona Card.

Operating Hours

  • Nov-Feb Hours: 10 am – 6 pm
  • Mar-May Hours: 10 am – 7 pm
  • Jun-Sept Hours: 10 am – 9 pm
  • October Hours: 10 am – 6 pm

Tibidabo Funicular

This service will help you ascend the Tibidabo Mountain in order to reach the Tibidabo Amusement Park, and you can also enjoy great views from here as well.

Ticket Prices

  • €4 when purchased with tickets for the Amusement Park.
  • €7.50 without tickets for the Amusement Park.

Operating Hours

The Tibidabo Funicular runs from 15 minutes before the park opens to 15 minutes after it closes, and it operates on the following days each week:

  • Mar-Dec: 7 days a week
  • February: Weekends only
  • January: Closed

Montserrat Cable Car

This service is designed to help visitors climb the mountain of Montserrat and see the monastery at the top, and it’s another excellent location to enjoy the views of Barcelona.

Ticket Prices

  • Single Tickets: €7.50/Adults | €4/Children | €6/Seniors
  • Return Tickets: €11.50/Adults | €6/Children | €9/Seniors
  • Free for children 4 and under.

Operating Hours

  • Mar-Oct Hours: Everyday from 9:40 am – 7 pm
  • Nov-Feb Weekday Hours: 9:40 am – 5:15 pm
  • Nov-Feb Weekend Hours: 9:40 am – 6:15 pm

 


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DISCOUNTS

In addition to the Hola BCN Card, there is also a tourist pass known as the Barcelona Card. 

This service provides admission to dozens of popular attractions as well as unlimited access to all public transit including metro, trams, buses, and suburban trains.

Here are just a few of the locations you can visit for free using the Barcelona Card:

  • National Art Museum of Catalonia
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Frederic Marès Museum
  • Chocolate Museum
  • Egyptian Museum
  • Olympic Museum
  • Picasso Museum
  • Music Museum
  • CosmoCaixa
  • CaixaForum
  • And more!

 

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In addition to covering admission prices for several popular attractions, this pass also offers additional discounts on other activities including the following excellent examples:

  • Palau Güell | 25% off
  • Gaudí Experiència | 20% off
  • Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar | €1 off
  • Barcelona Bus Tours | 20% off
  • PortAventura World | 20% off
  • Montjuïc Cable Car | €2 off
  • L’Aquàrium de Barcelona | 20% off
  • Barcelona Zoo | 20% off
  • Opera & Flamenco | 20% off
  • And more!

With the addition of a discount on the Montjuïc Cable Car, this could be a much better option than the Hola BCN Card for some travelers.

When you compare prices with the Hola BCN Card, this pass is typically €5-€7 more per day, but all you really need to do is use it for a few of the free attractions each day to save a decent amount of money.

Here’s a comparison to help you understand what we mean:

Hola BCN Card Prices

  • 3-Day Card: €23.70
    • Price per day: €7.90
  • 4-Day Card: €30.80
    • Price per day: €7.70
  • 5-Day Card: €38.00
    • Price per day: €7.60

Barcelona Card Prices

  • 3-Day Card: €46/Adults | €22/Children
    • Price per day: €15.33/Adults | €7.33/Children
  • 4-Day Card: €56/Adults | €28/Children
    • Price per day: €14/Adults | €7/Children
  • 5-Day Card: €61/Adults | €33/Children
    • Price per day: €12.20/Adults | €6.60/Children

The first thing to note is that while the Hola BCN Card does not offer passes for kids, the Barcelona Card has discounted services for all children between the ages of 4-12. 

Both cards provide free service to kids under the age of 4.

If you’re traveling with children, you could actually save more money buying a Barcelona Card for your children than a Hola BCN Card, and both services provide unlimited access to the public transit system.

Although adults will pay €5-€7 more per day for the Barcelona Card, that’s essentially the price of 1-2 attractions included with the pass at no extra cost, and you could save more than that each day with the discounts on tours and other activities!

In other words, if you’re planning to take a tour, visit a museum, or see one of the attractions included with this tourist pass, it makes a lot more sense to purchase a Barcelona Card than a Hola BCN Card.

For more details, please read our post covering Barcelona tourist attraction discount passes.

 


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Self-Guided Gaudí Tour of Barcelona

This post is a Gaudi tour of Barcelona. Use can use it to get around on your own or to discover some of the magnificent city architecture associated with Gaudi and Modernism.

There are numerous “free tours” or rather pay-what-you-wish tours that cover Gaudi buildings.

These tours run daily in both English and Spanish. You can book them for free here.

 

 

Related Tours in Barcelona:

Self-guided Barcelona Gaudí  Tour

If you prefer to explore on your own this self-guided tour will take you to all of the main Gaudí sites. As they are spread out, we will need to twice jump on the metro system. The Barcelona metro is safe, clean and efficient. You can buy one, two or three day passes, but most people choose the flexibility of the T-10 ticket. The T-10 gives you 10 journeys, which can be shared between your group and have no expiration date, for less than 10€.

If you are planning on paying to enter the Gaudí houses, the monumental zone of the Park Güell, or la Sagrada Família, you should plan ahead and book tickets to avoid the lines.

Begin the tour in Plaça Reial, just off Las Ramblas (closest metro, Liceu on line 3, the green line). If you did the Gothic Walking Tour we recommend (Hyper-Link), you will have already visited the square.

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was born in the Catalan countryside, near the town of Reus in 1852. His father was a Coppersmith and metal work would be a feature of his designs throughout his life. He came to Barcelona to study architecture, graduating in 1878. As a student he worked on many projects under various masters, his first and only public works are the street lamps here in Plaça Reial. They show the city crest of Barcelona and are topped by the helmet of Hermes, a symbol for commerce. Barcelona has more symbols of Hermes than any other city in the world. Walking the streets today it may seem very relaxed, but in Gaudí’s day the city was a hive of activity with industry booming and revolutionizing the city.

Head back to Las Ramblas and take the road opposite, C/Nou de la Rambla.
On the left you will see Palau Güell. You may also have seen this on our self-guided gothic walking tour. (Hyper-Link). This palace was built by Gaudí between 1886 and 1888 for Eusebi Güell. Güell would be the architect’s main patron throughout his life. Note the letters E and G sculpted into the two gates. The parabolic arch of the two gates is very typical of Gaudí and would be a recurring theme in his work. So too, the trencadis cracked ceramic decoration on the building’s colorful chimneys.

This is the cheapest Gaudí building to enter. The ticket office is to the left of the building. On the first Sunday of the month there are a limited number of free entrances available after 4pm.

Head back to Las Ramblas and turn left, up the hill. Go down into the metro using the stairs on the right of Las Ramblas as you look up the hill. If you do not already have a ticket, use the touch screen machines to buy your ticket paying in cash or by card. Un Viatge is a one-journey ticket. As we will be using the metro again later, we recommend buying the T-10 ticket.

Take the metro (Line 3, there is only one line in this station) in direction Trinitat Nova. Get off at Passeig de Gràcia station. Head to the exit and up into the light.

You will come out of the metro by the Manzana de la Discordia, the most famous block of Modernista architecture in the world.

Manzana de la Discordia

Passeig de Gràcia is the most expensive street in Spain. You will notice the streets around here are all in blocks. This is the Eixample neighborhood, built according to a plan laid out after the city’s walls were destroyed in the mid-nineteenth century.

The Apple of Discord is a Greek legend about an apple fought over by the goddesses in order to be considered the most beautiful. Here the name is used an allegory. We have five buildings by five different Modernista architects, all fighting to be considered the most beautiful!

Casa Batlló

Considered by many as their favorite Gaudí building, Casa Batlló was renovated by Gaudí between 1904 and 1906, for Señor Batlló, a rich textile magnate. It is typical of Gaudí’s dislike of straight lines and preoccupation with color. He was a devout Catholic and saw God as the world’s ultimate architect, trying to copy his maker’s work as much as possible in everything he built.

Casa Batlló is often called the house of bones for the columns in the lower windows and its balconies that look like skulls. Many see the Catalan legend of Sant Jordi slaying his dragon in the scaly skin-like tiled roof with the crossed topped tower representing the knight’s lance entering his victim.

At the time of writing Casa Batlló is 20€ to enter and the queues can be very long. We recommend booking in advance to avoid unnecessary waiting times.

For a free peek at the back of Casa Batlló go around the corner onto C/Aragó and check out the view from inside the hardware store.

Head up Passeig de Gràcia to Casa Milà. Note the tiles under your feet on Passeig de Gràcia, they were designed by Gaudí for the inside of Casa Batlló.

Casa Milà

Casa Milà, or La Pedrera, was designed by Gaudí as a luxury apartment building for the Milà family. It was the first building in the world where the walls are not load bearing. Instead Gaudí designed a central skeleton frame and then hung the giant, undulating stones off of the fame.

Each metal balcony is hand-hammered and unique. On the roof you will see more examples of trencadís tile mosaics. Where the façade meets the roof you will see small inscriptions in Catalan of the Catholic prayer and directly above the door a small letter M. This represents María or Mary, mother of Christ. Casa Milà was built between 1906 and 1912, but Gaudí quit the project before finishing it due to arguments about money and design with the Milà family.

Many in Barcelona did not like Gaudí’s designs and Casa Milà was nicknamed La Pedrera, or the quarry as an insult. The original plan was for a statue of María on the corner of the building, but the Milà family scrapped this idea after a series of church burnings in 1909.

A visit to La Pedrera is also 20€ or you may choose to visit at night for live Jazz music on the roof. You may have already seen the roof in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film the Passenger featuring Jack Nicholson!

Continue up Passeig de Gràcia and enter the Diagonal metro station. Take Line 3 again (the green line) in direction Trinitat Nova. Get off at Vallcarca.

Walk down Avinguda de Vallcarca and then turn left up the hill on C/de les Medes. Two escalators will help you climb the hill. Turn left on Avinguda del Coll del Portell and enter the Park via the back entrance.

Park Güell

This is the back entrance of Park Güell and allows us to first see the incredible view of Barcelona from the Park’s pinnacle, the three crosses. This is representative of Jesus’s crucifixion on Calvary hill. The whole Park leads up this way with the incredible snaking raised walkways built by Gaudí.

The Park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was originally conceived as a luxury gated community for Barcelona’s elite, but due to it’s remoteness from the city there was little interest in building on the 60 planned lots and in the end only two houses were built, neither of them designed by Gaudí. The architect eventually moved into one of the houses in the park.

The use of the English, Park, instead of the Catalan, Parc, is a reflection of Güell’s interest in the English garden city movement.

As you head down through Park Güell, you will eventually reach the Monumental Zone. This is where the most impressive of Gaudí’s designs are to be found, including the world famous mosaic bench. To enter this area you now have to pay (8€ at the time of writing, with a 1€ discount for buying online). You may want to consider downloading the free mobile app audio guide for Android or Apple.

This is perhaps the most fairytale like of Gaudí’s work and it is no coincidence the architect was inspired by the tale of Hansel and Gretal. As you go down the stairs you will encounter the most iconic Gaudí image, the trencadís mosaic lizard. You can then walk amongst the columns that hold up the platform with the bench where you were standing earlier. This was designed as a central market place for traders to enter the Park and sell to the rich residents, but as only two houses where built it never got put to use.

You can pay extra to visit Gaudí’ house, though many are underwhelmed by the information inside.

A better option is the 4D Gaudí Cinema on C/Larrard, outside of the main gates as you head downhill towards Lesseps metro. This virtual tour is just 9€ and will show you inside of all of Gaudí’s main buildings. It’s great for big and small kids alike as you fly on a simulator through turn of the 20th Century Barcelona!

Once you’re done with the Park, head downhill to the Travessera de Dalt ring road and turn right until you see Lesseps metro. More energetic travellers may wish to take the ring road the other way, walk to the Modernista Hospital Sant Pau by the architect Domènech i Montaner, and then down to La Sagrada Família.

If you’re taking the metro it’s line 3 again, this time in direction Zone Universitària. Go two stops to Diagonal and change for the blue line, 5. Take this in direction Vall d’Hebron, two stops and get off at Sagrada Família.

Sagrada Famíla

Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece has 3 main façades. Start with the Passion façade to the west of the church on C/Sardenya.

The idea to build a church here was not Gaudí’s but after one year the chief architect was fired and Gaudí got the job in 1883. Many at the time were concerned about the loss of faith amongst the lower classes and Gaudí’s design was intended to make the church a beacon calling the masses back to faith.

After ending his work on Casa Milà, Gaudí argued with the Milà family about his fee. At this time his last remaining family members died leaving the unmarried Gaudí alone. Seeing a corrupt world around him Gaudí decided only to work on religious projects for the remainder of his life. In 1926 the 73 year old architect decided to move into the construction site at Sagrada Família and one day after work that same year he was heading down to a church in the old city to prey when he was hit by a tram, later dying of his injuries. The great architect’s tomb is inside his masterpiece, so he did not finish the project, but he said it would take 200 years to complete his design, so he knew he would not himself finish it.

The sculptures of the final days of Jesus’ life on the Passion façade are by Josep María Subirachs. They should be read from bottom left to top right in an S shape, starting with the last supper on the bottom left and ending with the crucifixion at the top. This whole side is symbolic of death with the sun setting on this façade. Walk around the church to the opposite façade to see what Gaudí finished in his own lifetime.

The darker stained stone shows us exactly what Gaudí finished during his life. This is the nativity façade and shows the traditional images from the birth of Christ. The smaller triangular portico to the left is dedicated to Joseph and shows scenes from before the birth, the small portico to the right is dedicated to Mary and shows scenes of Jesus growing up, and the grand central triangular portico is dedicated to Jesus and shows the baby Jesus in a manger at the bottom above the doors. To the left and right are the shepherds and kings bringing their gifts and all around angels celebrate the birth with celestial music.

The four imposing towers are replicated on the other side and will be replicated again on the bottom façade when it’s finished. These twelve towers will represent the apostles. When the project is finished there will be an additional tower to Mary at the back, four towers to the evangelists in the middle and the largest tower representing Christ will rise from the middle to a height of 174m making this the tallest church in the world.

We are now in the final phase of building and for a fascinating insight into how they are going about it, check out the current chief architects talk. The planned completion date in 2026, for the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death, whether or not they make that, you do not have to wait to see the project completed as there is a fantastic computer simulation of the finished project.

If you pre-booked a ticket for Sagrada Família you enter on the nativity side of the church, if you did not you can queue up on the passion façade side. If do go inside, you are not paying an entrance fee, you are giving a charitable donation to the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Família.

Enjoy your visit! Book your walking tour of Barcelona on the Book Online Page.

Self-Guided Gothic Tour of Barcelona

This post is a self-guided tour of Barcelona’s Old Town and Gothic Quarter. Use can use it to get around on your own or to discover what is here.

There are numerous guided tours that cover this important part of the city. Many of them are “free tours” or rather pay-what-you-wish.

These tours run daily in both English and Spanish. You can book them for free here.

 

 

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Self-Guided Gothic Tour of Barcelona

Colom MonumentColumbus Statue

This 47 m (155 ft.) monument to the world’s most famous sailor was built for Barcelona’s Universal Exposition of 1888.

Looking around the Port Vell (old port) area today you’ll get incredible views of the hill of Montjüic, Las Ramblas, ships in the harbor, and Roy Lichtenstein’s colorful Cap de Barcelona statue along Passeig de Colom.

But this would have looked very different in Columbus’s day when he returned from his first voyage to the New World and visited Barcelona in 1493.

Today everything here is modern, but this is where the Roman ships would’ve come aground when they founded the city of Barcino in 25 BC.

Begin walking up Las Ramblas past the human statues and you’ll see the medieval Drassanes shipyard on your left. This is now the maritime museum of Barcelona and a must for naval enthusiasts.

As you stroll up Las Ramblas, on your left you’ll pass Arts Santa Monica, a modern gallery for travelling contemporary art, the Teatro Principal (the oldest theatre in the city, founded in 1579), and the beautifully tiled building which houses El Cordobés, the oldest and best Flamenco Tablao in the city.


Palau GüellPalau Güell

Turn left on C/Nou de la Rambla and at no. 3-5 you’ll find your first Gaudí creation, Palau Güell.

Built by the city’s most famous architect for his rich patron Eusebi Güell between 1886 and 1888 as Barcelona was at the height of its industrial boom and about to host the Universal Exhibition.

This is the cheapest Gaudí house to visit as it’s the only one publicly owned.

As soon as you leave Las Ramblas you enter the Raval neighborhood. This notorious part of town was once the city’s red-light district and visitors would do well to watch their valuables in this area, especially at night. Return to Las Ramblas and almost immediately turn right for our next Gaudí piece.

Like a lot of the open spaces off of Las Ramblas, Plaça Reial was originally a convent but that was burned down in the anti-Catholic riots of 1835. The square was designed by Francesc Daniel Molina i Casamajó and is typical of Spanish plazas around the world. Can you see anything Gaudíesque here?

Many people miss them, but the colorful street lamps were designed by Antoni Gaudí. They were his first and only publicly funded work as he asked for more than the city fathers were willing to pay and spent years acrimoniously haggling over his fee!

There are many nice terraces for lunch or a snack in Plaça Reial though, be aware, the prices are much higher in and around Las Ramblas. For a night out, both Jamboree jazz and blues club, which later becomes a popular nightclub, and Sidecar rock club are worth a look.

Leave Plaça Reial by the arched entrance, on the left when you entered, and turn right on C/Ferran where you’ll pass lots of souvenir shops as you head up the gently sloping Mont Tabor hill where the Roman’s built their first settlement.

Plaça Sant Jaume

This is where the city is ruled from today. Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya an autonomous region within Spain with its own language, parliament and government. The Catalan government works out of the Palau de la Generalitat with its image of Saint George killing a dragon on the northern side of the square.

On the southern side of the square you’ll see the Adjuntament, or city hall. Inside here you’ll find the incredible gothic hall of the council of one hundred, who ruled the city during its first golden age in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Consell de Cent is open to visit on Sunday mornings and well worth a visit. On top of the city hall you’ll see the three flags of; Spain, Catalunya with it’s four red bars on a gold background, and Barcelona, split into four with the Catalan stripes and the white and red cross of Saint George, patron saint of the region.

Leave the square by the small C/Paradis on the upper corner of the square for a hidden gem.

Temple of Augustus

In a small dark corner of C/Paradis you’ll see an open doorway. Go into the courtyard and descend the steps on the right for a true hidden gem, the four huge Roman columns of the Temple of Augustus. When the Romans first ruled here they were not Christian and at the highest point of every city had a temple to their gods. Incredibly three of these columns had been built on top of over the years and ran through the floors and ceilings of several apartments before one resident, on seeing the forth column proudly displayed in Plaça de Reí, informed the authorities that he was living with an architectural gold mine! Be aware that the temple is closed on Mondays.

Continue on C/Paradis to the back of the Cathedral, turn right and down the hill into the Plaça del Reí.

Plaça de Reí

Plaça_del_ReiAs you enter the square you’ll see the city history museum on the right. It’s in a fitting place with so much history here. The palace of the Counts of Barcelona, at the end of the square on the left as you entered, was first built during the brief 200-year reign of the Visigoths after the collapse of the Roman Empire. After the Visigoths, the city was briefly part of the Muslim ruled Al-Andalus, but you won’t find many traces of that in Barcelona. The Moors ruled here for less than 100 years before being conquered by the Franks who set up the first Counts of Barcelona.

During the Middle Ages these Counts spread the city’s power, conquering neighboring lands and marrying into the royal line of the Crown of Aragón. In 1469 the most famous king of Aragón, Ferdinand, married Isabella of Castile famously bringing together the two biggest kingdoms on the peninsular. Ferdinand and Isabella also funded Christopher Columbus and you’ll see copies of their contracts with him on the walls inside the Archives of the Crown of Aragón as you leave the square through the Palau de Lloctinent.

Turn right as you head down to the front of the Cathedral. You’ll pass through Plaça del Iu with the Museu Frederic Mares, which used to be the Barcelona headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition.

The CathedralCathedral

Head out into the bustling square in front of Barcelona Cathedral for the best views. The current building was begun in 1298 but took 150 years to build. The towers and ornate neo-gothic façade you see today were not added until the 19th Century in preparation for the Universal Exhibition.

The Cathedral is dedicated to Santa Eulalia the city’s first patron saint. It’s free to enter before midday and after 5pm. In the cloister, which will see soon, there are 13 geese to commemorate Santa Eulalia.

For now turn your back on the Cathedral and walk to the left.

Plaça Nova

Plaça_Nova, PicassoYou’ll pass the 4th Century Roman Wall on your left and walk into Plaça Nova between statues of metal letters spelling out Barcino, the original Roman name for the city. Opposite the Roman walls you’ll see some Picasso sketches engraved in the concrete decorating the ironically very ugly building that houses the College of Architects of Barcelona. Picasso grew up and learned to paint in Barcelona from 13-24 years old, and on the other side of the old town you’ll find the wonderful Museu Picasso. It pays to book in advance to avoid the lines (It is free on Sunday afternoons but the lines are huge!).

Opposite the College of Architects you’ll see the entrance to the Roman city. Head up C/Bisbe and stop in Plaça Garriga i Bachs where you can enter the cloister of the Cathedral for free. Inside you’ll find 13 geese representing Santa Eulalia’s thirteen tortures at the hands of the Romans.

On leaving the cloisters take the small C/del Bisbe de Montjüic, on your right as you leave, and you’ll head to the perhaps the city’s most tragic and picturesque square.

Plaça Sant Felip Neri

Plaça Sant Felip NeriThis square has been the setting for many movies and music videos in recent times but it shows scares of the biggest tragedy in Spanish history, the Civil War. In 1939 General Francisco Franco rose up in Spanish Morocco against the democratically elected government in Madrid. The next day the army on the peninsular did the same. In the big cities like Barcelona, revolutionaries defeated the uprising, and a bloody three-year civil war ensued. Franco won with the support of Hitler and Mussolini, whose air forces bombed Spain’s big cities. The shrapnel damage can be clearly seen in the façade of the church, which was being used as an orphanage at the time of the bombing in 1938. You’ll find a small plaque commemorating this on the far side of the square under the round window.

The Civil War, and 40-year dictatorship that followed, remains a taboo subject with many Spanish people. Catalans remember it as a time when their language was suppressed and political dissent was heavily punished.

Leave the square by the only other exit and turn right and then immediately left into the Call.

The Jewish Quarter

You’ll have noticed how the streets around here are very thin and labyrinthine, they go back a long time and are known as call in Catalan. Here in Barcelona and Girona, they use the word call to refer to the Jewish Quarters. During the golden age of the Crown of Aragón 20% of Barcelona’s population was Jewish and this area would have had up to 5 synagogues. The tragic expulsion of the Jewish people happened early here in Barcelona than in the rest of Spain. In 1391 angry mobs attacked the call destroying the Jewish community.

Continue past the fantastic Zona d’Ombra wine war (If you can resist a pit-stop for a glass of local produce!), past the plaça and turn right on C/Marlet, where you’ll find what is believed to be one of the lost synagogues. Today the building is an information center and for a few euros they will give you a fascinating speech about the history of the building.

Continue down C/Marlet; turn left at the bottom and then right on C/del Call. Looking up to your right you’ll see the remains of the old arched entrance to the Jewish Quarter. At the bottom of the street turn right on C/Banys Nous. This was the street of the old Roman Baths, though there are no traces of those left today, you can get fantastic churros con chocolate to snack on from Xurreria Manuel San Román. Turn left on C/de l’Ave Maria and you’ll pop out into the Plaça Sant Josep Oriol at the side of Santa Maria del Pí.

Santa Maria del PíSanta Maria_del_P

Original Catalan Gothic architecture tends to be less decorated and simpler than northern Gothic, and Santa Maria del Pí, begun in 1391, is no exception. Walk to the front of the church to see one of the most beautiful rose windows in the city. You can climb the church tower by day for breathtaking views of the Gothic Quarter, or enter the church later in the evening for one of their enchanting Spanish guitar shows.

On leaving Santa Maria del Pí turn left on C/del Cardenal Casañas.

Las Ramblas

You’ll arrive at Las Ramblas by Miro Ramblasthe ornate modernista, Casa Bruno Quadros, with its Asian style dragon decoration commemorating the original owner’s import-export business. Cross to the center of Las Ramblas and you’ll see to your left the luxuriant Liceu Opera House and, under your very feet, a work of art by one of the world’s foremost surrealists, Joan Miró. Miró was born here in the Barrio Gótico in 1893; the same year anarchists were bombing the Liceu Theatre. For a fascinating insight into the world of Joan Miró, check out the Fundació Miró museum up on the hill of Montjüic.

Casting your eyes back down Las Ramblas, you might still be able to catch a glimpse of our old friend Columbus, but we’re going to head up Las Ramblas and end our tour right outside the city’s beating heart, the fabulous Sant Josep La Boquería food market.

After all this walking you deserve some rest and refueling, and what better place than an 800 year old market. La Boquería is named after the gateway where peasants first came in 1217 to sell their wares to Barcelona citizens without paying the taxes imposed inside the walls. Today you’ll find the place packed full of bars and restaurants, or, for a cheaper option, buy your own food and sit and eat in the little park behind the market.

This is the end of the tour, for a quick getaway the Liceu metro station on line 3 is right in front of the market. Enjoy Barcelona!

Free Walking Tours Barcelona

Free Walking Tours Barcelona

There are several types of free walking tours in Barcelona with most companies offering both a Gothic Quarter as well as a Gaudi/Modernism tour.

But there are also free tours that focus on the Spanish Civil War, street art, as well as one on the city’s nightlife scene.

There’s even a free bike tour available.

In this post, we will explain your options, provide schedules, and a calendar.  Read more »

What to Do in Barcelona in February

This post covers the top 10 things to do in Barcelona in February, including evening, free, as well as family-friendly activities, updated for 2020.

 

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA IN FEBRUARY

This top 10 list has concerts, football games, tours, and other fun things to do this month in Barcelona. Read more »