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Barcelona Airport Transfers to the city

Arriving in Barcelona can be confusing but this section will help you with what to do when you arrive including transport from the airport to the centre and the first things to do as a new resident, tourist, business visitor, student or backpacker.

Most arrivals first touch down at Barcelona’s “El Prat” Airport. Situated not far from the city centre passengers have the option of catching the Barcelona Airport Bus (under €6 per person) that leaves every 5 min and takes 30 min to reach the city’s central square of Plaza Catalunya (5.30-12:55).

At the airport a link bus runs regularly between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, and at Terminal 2 (T2) you can catch a train to the centre. The train takes approximately 40 min to reach the central train stops of Passeig de Gracia, and Barcelona Sants Station (6:00-23:00). The train costs a single metro trip, and an economic option if you are in town for a few days is purchasing a ten trip: T-10 travel card. Once in town the Barcelona metro is a highly efficient and user friendly system of getting around! Barcelona transport in general is pretty savvy: check out the public bike service if you are planning to live or study in Barcelona.

Hiring a car is another option for airport arrivals. Do be aware that Barcelona is a major international city and with that comes some major intersection traffic! Securing a good map or GPS system is advised for new arrivals. There are also taxi stands aplenty in front of both terminals – including the smaller Terminal 3 – and it costs around €16 to reach central Plaza Catalunya. Airport taxis and minibuses are certainly the fastest way to reach the city, but it all depends on what has brought you to Barcelona, be it for a business conference, adventure, to study , or perhaps you are starting a new life in this grand Mediterranean city.

North of Barcelona the city of Girona also boasts an international airport. The most convenient mode of arriving to Barcelona from here is by catching the Barcelona Bus that brings you to Estacio d' Autobusos Barcelona Nord (Barcelona's main bus terminal). Make sure you check that bus’ destination is Barcelona and not Girona. (€14.00 single and €25.00 return). Girona itself is a gorgeous Romanic city with one of the best preserved Roman walls in Europe. From Girona you can catch a train to Barcelona, which takes around 1hr 25min.

Arriving to Barcelona by train usually brings you to the major stations of: Barcelona Sants Station, Passeig de Gracia, or Estacio de Franca. Check on Google Maps which station is closest to your destination – the national train provider RENFE also has an English language option on their website.

Advice for new arrivals:

  • GET UP HIGH: Taking in the city from above is always a good starting point. The green, sea-side hill of Montjuicthat you see flying into Barcelona offers fabulous views of the city. One sky-high option for reaching the side of Montjuicis catching the red cable-cars from down at the waterfront near the sail shaped W-Hotel. You disembark beside a café with grand views, and from here you can walk, or catch another cable car, to the fortress atop the hill. You can also access Montjuicfrom the metro stop Parallel, on the yellow line, or from Plaza Espana. The second most stunning outlook is from atop the famous Park Güell further uptown, catch the green metro line to Vallcarca and from here outdoor escalators assist your assent up to the wondrous dreamland of architect Antoni Gaudi!
  • BE SAFE: Barcelona unfortunately has a reputation for pick-pocketing so be vigilant with your belongings; especially on the metro, when you are swimming at the beaches, and watch out for scammers around the major, crowded tourist areas. Also, take care after a few glasses of cava and keep an eye out for each other: don’t put your bags on the back of chairs, etc. However, Barcelona has very little violent crime and people are generally respectful and friendly to visitors.
  • GET LOCAL: Grab a local Barcelona Connect magazine guide and get a feel for the lay of the land: in Barcelona there are very distinct suburbs (barrios) that run along the coastline starting at Montjuic. Running north from Montjuic the barrios are called: Poble Sec , Raval, Gotico, Borne, Barceloneta, and the long suburb that boarders the city beaches is known as Poble Nou. Each area has a distinct feel and exploring them is a never-ending adventure.
  • SEAFRONT CITY: Barcelona’s seafront was transformed by the 1992 Olympics and is now an excellent meeting place for friends, business, or pleasure. Barcelona is recognised as a world centre for conferences, and there are many professional options for business visitors throughout the city.
  • GAUDI AND MODERNISM: Further uphill, away from the waterfront, is the large suburban area of L'Eixample, which is home to many of the city’s Modernist architecture marvels and the impressive basilica envisioned by Antoni Gaudi: la Sagrada Familia. A great way to orientate yourself with the town is by taking a bus tour for a glimpse at the wonders of Modernist architecture. Another recommended option is doing a walking tour around the city’s historic centre, which will let you in on local history, culture and customs.
  • FEEL AT HOME: Sorting out decent accommodation in Barcelona is another must for new arrivals. In general the quality of accommodation in Barcelona is top notch, but backpackers don’t be afraid to seek out different accommodation options around town, if your hostel has not lived up to expectations! There is a wide variety of options, including hotels, hostels, or short and long term affordable apartments for rent.
  • LEARN A CATALAN WORD: Catalunya is one of Spain’s northern most states, it’s a semi-autonomous region with Barcelona as its capital. The majority of people in Catalunya speak Catalan, a mixture of Spanish and French. To ask for a coffee, for example, you say: Um café amb llet, si us plau! (Coffee with milk, please). Locals are always impressed when visitors give it a go!
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