Getting around in the city – a few things you should know about public transport in Barcelona

Living in a city like Barcelona does not only mean long summers, constant culinary temptations or (at least short) winters without heating – it also means a great influx of visitors from close and afar. Good friends, family members, friends of friends, acquaintances of those people you once met at a party in a faraway place – they all magically remember you when it comes to planning their visit to Barcelona. They somehow manage to track you down and consult you (if they do not ask you directly for lodging) on classical topics related to their visit in this magnetic city.

One question I get a lot and therefore think is worthwhile delving into a little bit is the topic of getting around in the city to make sure you choose the right ticket (and not pay in vain) for your personal Barcelona experience.

There is one main public transport company called TMB, an acronym that stands for “Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona”. They run the subway, trams and busses and are generally the best way to get around the city (unless you choose to rent a scooter, but that is another story). TMB has teamed up with the other public transport providers (FGC’s local trains “Ferrocarrils” and Renfe’s medium-distance trains “Rodalíes”) to offer packages that allow you to travel on all of the public options available within the Metropolitan area with only one ticket.

TMB has recently started to cater to short-time visitors as well, which now makes three options interesting to the short- or medium-time visitor to the city:

1) T-10 – the locals’ choice [subway and bus (TMB), local train (FGC), tram (TRAM) and regional train (Rodalies de Catalunya)]

This ticket allows you to take10 trips that can last a maximum of 1h15min each. Within these 75 minutes you can change the means of transport, but cannot repeat the same line twice (as in leave the subway system and get in at the same stop again). This ticket is ideal for sharing – just slip the ticket through the validating machine once for every person travelling in the group. The last number on the printed stamp on the back of the ticket indicates the number of trips you have left. I usually recommend this ticket (currently 9,80€) to my visitors, since Barcelona offers very walkable distances, so you can stroll around easily and only need the ticket for occasional rides.

Insider tip: You can only purchase this type of ticket at the vending machines in the entrance area of a subway stop, not on the bus!

Subway stop Diagonal - recent modernisation efforts have made the city's subway system a great and efficient way to get quickly from one point to the other.

Subway stop “Diagonal” – recent modernisation efforts have made the city’s subway system a great and efficient way to get quickly from one point to the other.

2) Hola BCN! – for the frequent travelers  [subway and bus (TMB), local train (FGC), tram (TRAM) and regional train (Rodalies de Catalunya)]

If you want to get to the sights as quickly as possible and use the public transport system to the max, then this option might interest you. TMB just recently presented this new ticket called “Hola BCN!”. It is a multi-travel day card and is available for 2 to 5 days. You have as much rides as you please for the period you choose, however it is valid for one person only.

Insider tip: Now you can even get the ticket online and save a 10% off the normal price: buy here. Prices start at 12.06€.

Hello Bcn! - the city's new initiative to cater to the short-time visitor's transportation needs.

Hello Bcn! – the city’s new initiative to cater to the short-time visitor’s transportation needs.

3) Barcelona Card – for the curious sight-seers [subway and bus (TMB), local train (FGC), tram (TRAM) and regional train (Rodalies de Catalunya) PLUS discounts and free admissions at some museums]

The city offers another ticket (2 to 5 days) for visitors that also includes discounts or even free admission to some of the city’s most important museums (however, make sure to have a close look to see which of the museums you have on your to-do-list are actually included), as well as some maps. This automatically increases the price, but also offers a good way to skip the queue at some sights. Prices start at 33.30 €.

Insider tip: You can also skip the line at nearly all famous monuments by getting an official tour guide who, at the same time, will be able to make the place come alive with history and interesting anecdotes and will give you an unforgettable personal experience.

Busses in Barcelona: Get on in the front and out at the back.  Here you see Nr 24 to Carmel, the most comfortable way to famous Park Güell.

Busses in Barcelona: Get on in the front and out at the back. Here you see Nr 24 to Carmel, the most comfortable way to get to famous Park Güell.

A piece of heartfelt advice: Never forget to validate your ticket, since fines are hefty. In the subway it is quite obvious; you cannot get in without validating the ticket. As for the busses, always get on the bus through the front door. Just behind the driver you will find the validating machine. For getting off the bus, use one of the back doors.

Want more information? Why not get in touch! Visit our website at www.HiThisIsBarcelona.com

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