The Public Transportation system in Barcelona, much like in a lot of other cities internationally, is extremely well managed and easy to use. Whether you are only staying short term and need an easy way of navigating the city, or have found an apartment to rent in Barcelona and don’t want to add the cost of your own car or bike to your budget, the many modes of public transportation that are available at a low cost to the commuter make for a great alternative transport option. Collectively, the different forms of public transportation cover all of Barcelona and continue to the surrounding towns and regional areas outside the city center. Whether you intend to use public transport as a simple commute to work, or travel to the attractions that lie on the outskirts of the city, there is always an option available.
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All the forms of public transport in Barcelona, which include the Roadalies de Barcelona (a series of train lines operated by two different companies, the FGC and the RENFE), the TMB (which includes the subway system of Barcelona and a series of buses), and the Tram system are all reliable and easy to use, even for people who don’t speak Spanish. The transports share an integrated ticketing system, so commuters are able to ride any of the different options of transport. There are several different ticketing options available including multi-ride tickets.
Types of tickets
The most popular ticket used is the 1 Zone T-10 ticket. For €10.20, the T-10 allows you take 10 trips at a discounted price. Valid for everywhere in the city center, the T-10 can be purchased from ticket machines at all metro and train stations and some major bus stops. If you are planning on using public transport more than once a day, other ticketing options are available.
If you only intend to ride intermittently or aren’t staying in Barcelona long enough to ride 10 times, you can purchase single tickets as well, which cost 2.20€ each.
The T-50/30 costs 43,50€ and it gives you 50 trips for a period of 30 days.
A similar option is the T-Mes, wich is also valid for a month but it gives you unlimited trips. The T-Mes is priced at 54€.
If you need to use public transports every month and don’t want to go through the trouble of purchasing a ticket every monthly, you can invest on a T-Trimestre, which costs 142€ and lasts for 3 months.
A lot of TMB tickets are non-transferrable, which means that they can’t be used consecutively by two people. The T-70/30 is a good option for families because it allows many people to use the same ticket for a month. The T-70/30 is priced at 60,90€.
If you plan on traveling through Barcelona for only one day, you can buy the T-Dia ticket for 8,60€, which is cheaper than buying a T-10.
If you are only staying for a few days in Barcelona, as a tourist, the HolaBCN! tickets might be a worthy investment. There are 4 different HolaBCN! tickets:
- 2 days for 15€
- 3 days for 22€
- 4 days for 28.50€
- 5 days for 35€
You can use metro, bus, tramway and some trains with these tickets. The 2, 3, 4 or 5 days start from the first time you use the ticket. If you want to get a good deal, you can purchase the tickets online before your trip on the Barcelona Smart Moving page. Not only do they offer you a discount on HolaBCN! but also on other tickets for the Barcelona City Tour Bus or the Montjuïc cable car, for example.
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The importance of buying a ticket
Riding public transport in Barcelona without a valid ticket can, and often does, result in a €200 fine, so buy a ticket and keep it with you to avoid problems. The only tickets you can share with other people are the T10 and the T-70/30. All the other tickets can be used by one person only and you have to enter your ID number in order to get them.
The metro system in Barcelona starts its service at 5 am every day of the week with a vehicle arriving every four minutes (longer at the earliest and latest hours of the day). The metro system shuts down at 12 am from Monday to Thursday, 2 am on Friday, and during the weekend it runs uninterruptedly until 12 am on Sunday. Traveling by metro tends to be quite quick, with an approximate commute of 2 minutes for every station
The bus system doesn’t have such straightforward schedules, with each bus operating on its own time. Most of the buses run only during the day, with some starting their service at around 4 or 5 am and stopping between 10 and 11 pm. There are, however, night buses, which cover certain areas of the city. Any bus which has an N before the number is a night bus. For more information on bus schedules, click here.
Trains also operate on a variety of schedules. To know all of the departure and arrival times of the train you need to take click here.
The tram system has a similar schedule than that of the metro system, starting its service at 5 am every day of the week. The tram system shuts frown at 12 am from Monday to Thursday, 2 am on Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays, and 12 am on Sunday.
Navigating the city and the surrounding areas
There are plenty of websites that will assist you in navigating the city and the surrounding areas by using the public transport system. The Renfe and TMB websites have detailed maps of the areas that they provide services to, and also have voyage planning programs that will help you know exactly how to get to where you want to go. Most of the public transport stops in the city also include local maps of the area that they service.
All in all, Barcelona boasts one of the best public transport systems in Europe making it a pleasure to move around the city.