As in most large cities, parking in Barcelona won’t be easy, especially in certain areas downtown at peak times of the day and if you don’t want to pay a penny.
To save transportation problems, if you travel within the metropolitan area we suggest that you opt for the subway, the bus, the Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat, or the RENFE.
Still, if you have no other choice but to move by car and having to park it, there are some things you should know. It is, for example, possible to find free parking in Barcelona if you are travelling to the Ciudad Condal on weekends or after 8 in the evening. That is when parking spaces that you normally have to pay for are free of charge.
To give you an example: the Zona Verde, Zona Azul or Zona de Carga y Descarga (green zone, blue zone, or loading zone) is where usually cars are authorized to park during weekdays, but on Saturdays and Sundays it is allowed for other car users to park here.
This article by ShBarcelona will tell you all you need to know on parking in Barcelona, whether you want to park your car for free or need help finding the best parking spots with the most affordable prices.
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Find out how to park your car in Barcelona
In the peripheral areas surrounding Barcelona that are less densely populated you can find free parking in Barcelona. Good examples are the Zona Universitària or the upper side of Poble Sec, near Montjuïc.
In these areas, you can leave your car for long periods of time without having to pay anything, but you should routinely check that your vehicle hasn’t been towed away due to a sporting event or that your car hasn’t been stolen. Want to know more about where to park your car for free, then read our article: All about free parking in Barcelona.
One negative aspect of these parking spots is that it is not very useful if you live away from these areas, because once you’ve parked the car you must take public transportation to get to your home.
Different types of parking in Barcelona
In Barcelona, there are different types of parking: the blue zone, loading zone, and green zone for Barcelona’s residents. Let’s look at these different types of parking options and how to use them.
1. Zona Verde (green zone)
This area is indicated by green lines painted on the ground. It is divided into 22 zones and is very beneficial for the residents in that zone, because they only pay 1 € per week to park there once they got the green zone resident card, of course.
For those who don’t have such identification, the rate is higher and they can’t park there for longer than 1 or 2 hours. For more information visit the website: www.areaverda.cat.
To find out more specifically how the green zone works, visit this link on How the Zona Verde Parking Zone in Barcelona Works?
You should always pay attention to traffic signs to make sure your vehicle is properly parked.
2. Zona Azul (blue zone)
You can also park in Barcelona’s blue zone parking spots. It is a payment area for all users with a time limit parking, between 1 and 4 hours depending on the area.
This blue zone payment schedules are from Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm and from 4pm to 8pm, and in beach areas or the city center those are extended until Saturday and even until Sundays and holidays.
The purpose of this blue zone is to promote high turnover of vehicles around service areas in Barcelona.
If you want to park in this area you must purchase a ticket at the machine and place it in a visible area of your car. These parking meters are well-known all over Europe and can be found on (almost) every sidewalk.
Thus, if a Guardia Urbana officer passes by your car in this zone you won’t be fined, because he or she can see until what time your parking spot is paid for.
Once you’ve parked your vehicle check that it is correctly placed to avoid fines or that the municipal crane take your car.
Penalties for unauthorized parking are 100 € and the crane rate is at least 150 €, so be careful!
If you need more information, read this article on How the Zona Azul Parking Zone in Barcelona Works?
3. Zona de Carga y Descarga (loading/unloading zone)
The third and last option for parking is known as the loading and unloading zones. Technically these are called Distribución Urbana de Mercancías (DUM).
These streetside parking spaces are used from Monday to Friday from 8am to 8 pm, except for those in the centre, because these are also used for loading and unloading on Saturday mornings.
You can recognize the loading zone by the yellow lines on the street, and you will usually find them on street corners. Professionals can use this zone free of charge, but only for a maximum of 30 minutes.
If you are there outside the hours mentioned earlier you can use this parking zone, and this makes them the ideal spots to park your car for free in Barcelona on weekends.
Is it possible to park in Barcelona in the weekend?
If you want to come to the city on a Saturday or Sunday, then the parking situation is totally different! Why? Because parking in Barcelona is much easier on those two days.
It is basically easier to find free parking in the city, because the rules for the green and blue zones don’t apply anymore on those days.
So if you happen to be in Barcelona on any day of the weekend and want to park your car, just remember to look for either a green or blue zone. Parking in Barcelona in the weekend can be free in some areas.
We do recommend, however, that you always check the traffic signs as the rules for parking here depend on the season and, for example, the specific location. Parking near the beach needs to be paid for on every day of the year.
The same goes for streets that are in the centre of Eixample. These are normally not free of charge either.
What about parking in bus lanes in Barcelona? There are many bus lanes where you can park your car on weekends.
You can park them there from Friday (at midnight) until Monday morning (7am), and you should check traffic signs to find out where it is allowed to park in bus lanes.
Although there are more and more free parking areas in Barcelona during the weekend, we always recommend checking twice before parking your car somewhere.
Checking traffic signs carefully means you will learn of the parking zones that are off limits, and you will mainly find these in the city centre and in commercial zones.
Do you know other zones for parking in Barcelona?
Thank you for writing this article. I will be having guests this summer during August and it is nice to know that they may be able to take advantage of free parking in Barcelona. However, it is not clear to me how to determine where the green parking areas are for non-residents in Vallcarca. Where can I find this information? Thank you for any additional information you can provide.