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
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
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
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
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
the barrios are called: Poble Sec ,
and the long suburb that boarders the city beaches is known as
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
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
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
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
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!