General Travel Tips Barcelona
A city that I have been living in for over 1,5 years. A beautiful city, where I’ve had amazing experiences, lots of visits from friends and family, where I’ve been over 30 times at the airport.
From all those travels, weekend escapes and experiences within the city here are my best travel tips for Barcelona.
Before you read these tips it is vital to ensure that you look at this article and others to make sure that you are travelling safely no matter where you go, to make sure that your trip goes smoothly.
1. Airport, Arrival and Departure
To get to Barcelona there is only one airport, the Barcelona El Prat. There are two terminals: T1, the newer airport and for general airlines and T2, the older airport which is mainly used by low-cost airlines. Moreover, the airport also has a separate private Business Aviation Terminal for smooth, speedy, and secure transfers from private jets through to ground transport. This ensures that passengers flying via Jettly’s Jet Charters and other private jet charters are able to enjoy a relaxing and luxurious experience.
The best ways to get to the city are either by taxi or bus.
Taxi will cost you something between 25 and 35 euro, depending where in the city you are heading to and if there is traffic or not. In any case there is a minimum charge of 20€ to and from the airport. Make sure to know that the airport has an supplement of 3,10 € and 1 € for any non carry-on luggage. The taxis in Terminal 1 are on level -1 which you can reach by taking an escalator after leaving the protected area. In Terminal 2 you can find them just by stepping outside to the street. In both cases there is an organisation for the lines and you’ll have to wait your turn.
Busses to the centre will cost you 5,90 €. There are two stops, one is in Placa Espanya and the second one in Placa Catalunya. The second stop is the real hearth of Barcelona. Make sure to bring cash and a smaller bill(maximal 20 €) with you. They won’t change larger bills than 20. If you are part of a larger group, it may be worth hiring a minibus. While minibus insurance can be expensive, the convenience of it can’t be beaten.
Busses to the airport will cost you 5,90 €. Before entering a bus make sure you know if you’re departing from Terminal one or Terminal 2. The bus driver can mostly help you with that if you know your Airline, but they are not always right. Depending on the Terminal you’ll have to take the Bus A1 or A2. There are three stops, where you can hop in but the most important ones are Placa Catalunya or Placa Espanya. Make sure to bring cash and a smaller bill(maximal 20 €) with you. They won’t change larger bills than 20.
2. About the City
Barcelona is a lovely city with lots of different areas. I have written a more detailed post about this here.
In general the city is very safe. However be aware of pickpocketing ! Where tourists are you can find them in every city. So be aware of this especially in touristic areas and around touristic attractions as well as when getting on and of the metro.
Barcelona’s the perfect holiday place for a city trip combined with a view days at the beach. I was also able to strike a few conversations with the locals thanks to curso de español.
3. How to move in the city
Barcelona is filled with busses and metros and to travel from one place to another is pretty simple, however might be a little confusing if you’re not used to this metro net. Here are the most important information about how to move in Barcelona.
Metro / Bus: One way costs 2,15 € 10 rides are 9,95 € this is the cheapest way to get around and what most local people use too. You can even share one T10 ticket by stamping it once for each person.
Rent a bike or e-bike: Especially Barceloneta is filled with these small shops where you can rent them for a day or two and discover the city.
Touristic Busses: If you have view time and want to see all Barcelona has to offer I’d suggest a touristic bus. The fair is circa 25 €, depending on the operator and you’ll get to see all the sightseeing places all over Barcelona and an audio guide in lots of languages.
By foot: Barcelona is a big city but there are some areas where you are better of by foot. Two of the most beautiful areas are Gothic and El Born but with the tiny streets there are not many ways to travel but by foot. Take the time at lunch or before dinner to walk down here, choose form one of the small restaurants and enjoy the small and idyllic streets.
At night: Barcelona’s metro is open till midnight but on Saturday is going the full night. In addition to the metro there are night busses working all week, which will take some time but bring you to almost every area of the city.
4. Negotiation and prices
Barcelona is a european city, therefore lots of the prices and rules are working around the european standard. Most prices are not negotiable if you are not counting the illegal markets on the street or the vintage markets on the weekends.
Cocktail in a Bar: starting at 5 €
Cocktail in a Club: mainly 10-15 €
T10 metro ticket: 9,95 €
Taxi: The taxis in Barcelona are more on the low side in Europe. To/From airport circa 30 €.
Dinner: 15 – 30 € usually / person
Spa: Read all about this here.
5. Opening Hours and Timings
In Spain the working and eating hours are quite different to european standard, however the state is thinking about changing this in the future.
Shop opening hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm usually with some exceptions and smaller shops closing over lunch.
Sunday: shops are usually closed, but there is one shopping centre called Maremagnum close to the Barceloneta, which is open on Sundays.
Lunch time: usually 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Dinner time: Starting at 9:00 pm. On weekends it is not unusual to have dinner at 10:00 or 11:00 pm
Nightlife: bars are filled at all times during the evening, but usually start to fill as of 10:00 pm. You tend to go to clubs as of 1:00 am but people also arrive after 2:00 am often. Remember most clubs have free entrance lists which are valid only up to 2:00 am.
6. ATM’s and money exchange
Barcelona is full of banks at every angle with ATM’s to withdraw your money from. If you’re somewhere close to the centre you’ll never have to walk more than 5 minutes to find one.
Money exchange can be done in banks for a small additional fee or in Placa Catalunya in one of the official exchange places. Don’t exchange in small bars or places close to the beach as you never know what could expect you.
7. Food and drinks
Food is generally very good in Spain and Barcelona and you will find something for every taste.
Typical to eat are tapas in the evening, which would be as an aperitif or as a full meal. You can find these bars all over the city and usually the full ones are the best is terms of taste. To give you an idea, ‘Patatas Bravas’ tend to cost 3,5 € on a reasonable price.
For lunch the city is filled with menus of 10 € / person. Here are my best cheap lunch places for Barcelona.
Dinner is varying a lot and depends on the type of cuisine as well as the style of the restaurant. Paella is one of the typical dishes and cost usually around 18 € / person. You can find some restaurant suggestions here.
8. The beach
If you are in Barcelona to have a combined holiday between Beach and City then here are some tips for you.
It is super simple to get to the beach in Barcelona. If you take the metro to Barceloneta (yellow line) then it is only a 5min walk down to the beach. However in summer time the beaches close by the centre are very dirty and filled with people so if you’re planning got actually ly down and relax I’d suggest you to go to ‘Marbella Beach’ or my personal favourite ‘Platja Boatel’. Both of the two beaches are a little further away but are still reachable by metro and bus.
However if your idea is to have a full day at the beach I’d suggest you to check out my city-escapes for Barcelona and choose one of the most beautiful beaches around Barcelona.
Travelling to Barcelona soon? There are also blog posts about General travel Tips for Barcelona, the best beach alternatives, Barcelona’s main areas, Cultural Highlights, Best Clubs, The best Spas, City Escapes, Best Restaurants and best Pizza Places.
Any questions? Just write me an email or drop a comment below! Best, Be-Sparkling!