How to get from Barcelona Airport to the city center

Once you arrive at Barcelona’s airport (Aeroport El Prat), you probably want to head towards the city as quickly as possible. Fortunately, that’s not a problem. We have listed all the options for you.

The airport Barcelona-El Prat Josep Tarradellas (BCN) is located 18 kilometers from the city. By Aerobus, taxi and train it takes about 30 minutes to get to the center, the normal city buses take a little longer.

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6 Ways to Travel from Barcelona Airport to the center

There are six ways to travel to the city from Barcelona Airport. They are also described in detail one by one below this overview.

1. By taxi

If you want to get to your hotel or apartment quickly and without hassle, you can take a taxi. You can book a taxi in advance here, so you don’t have to wait in line. Cancellations are free up to 24 hours in advance!

2. By Aerobus

The Aerobus is a special bus service that connects the airport with the city center. It’s affordable, fast, and convenient.

3. By metro

There is also a metro line from both terminals at El Prat. The L9 Sud line does not stop in the city center, so you will need to transfer if you stay in the center. Note: regular public transport tickets are valid, but you will need to pay a surcharge traveling from the airport.

4. By train

The train can be convenient depending on the terminal you arrive at and the neighborhood where you’re staying. For example, if you arrive at T2 and need to go to Passeig de Gràcia or Sants Estació, the train is quick and cheap. However, trains run only every half hour.

5. By bus

City bus number 46 is, together with the train, the cheapest option. At night, you can take the night bus (Nitbus 16, 17, and 18). These buses go to Plaça Catalunya. Keep in mind that travel time is between 45 and 60 minutes.

6. By car

Of course, you can also drive from Barcelona airport to the city. You can rent a car at the airport. However, it’s worth noting that visiting Barcelona by car is not very practical, mainly due to scarce and expensive parkings. But perhaps you are planning to travel to another holiday destination after your city trip, in which case you might need a car.

Taxi from Barcelona Airport to the center

cab in Barcelona

The black and yellow taxi’s are available at the airport exit. Taxi’s have a taximeter, in Barcelona this is always the case so you don’t have to worry about being scammed.

What does a cab from Barcelona Airport to the city center cost? A taxi ride from the airport to the center of Barcelona usually costs around €35. Per suitcase you pay a surcharge of a few euro. The €3.10 surcharge for the airport is included in this total price.

In general, Barcelona cab drivers are helpful and reliable.

Please note at the airport there may be a long line at the taxi stop. You can book a taxi in advance here, so you don’t have to wait in line. Cancellations are free up to 24 hours in advance!

Aerobus: the shuttlebus to/ from Barcelona airport

aerobus at Plaça Catalunya

The Aerobus is a comfortable and affordable bus service connecting Barcelona’s airport with the city center.

In most cases, this is the best way to travel to and from the airport: the bus is fast, prices are very reasonable and it’s comfortable. The Aerobus runs seven days a week, day and night, for about every 10 minutes. The ride from the airport to downtown takes about 35 minutes, depending on how busy it is.

Where does the Aerobus leave?

Because Barcelona Airport has two different terminals, there are also two different lines:

  • Aerobus A1 runs between Barcelona and Terminal 1
  • Aerobus A2 runs between Barcelona and Terminal 2

Both Aerobus A1 and A2 enter Barcelona via the Plaça d’Espanya – Gran Vía/Urgell -Plaça Universitat route and have the central Plaça Catalunya as their final destination.

If you want to go from Barcelona to the airport, you can get off at Plaça Catalunya, Sepúlveda-Urgell or Plaça d’Espanya.

Aerobus time schedule

The Aerobus offers 24 hour services between the airport and Barcelona center.

The A1 bus between Plaça Catalunya and Terminal 1 runs every 10 minutes between 5:00 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and every 10 minutes between 9:55 p.m. and 00:35 a.m. The bus to T1 runs every 10 minutes. Between 6:40 and 21:55, the bus to T1 even runs every 5 minutes, so you never have to wait long. At night, between 0.35 and 5.00, the bus also runs, but less frequently: every 20 minutes.

Bus A2 between Plaça Catalunya and Terminal 2 runs every 10 minutes between 5 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. and less frequently between 10:30 p.m. and 5 a.m.: every 20 minutes.

Metro

The relatively new metro line L9 Sud connects both terminals every 7 minutes – every 4 minutes at rush hours – to subway station Zona Universitària, where you can change to the green line (L3).

Along the way, you can also change at Torrasa to the red line (L1), or at Collblanc to the blue line (L5). From Zona Universitària, the line continues as L9 Nord.

The metro is especially convenient if your hotel or apartment is a little further out of the center towards the airport, or for example near Camp Nou.

It is not possible to use the service from and to the airport with a normal metro ticket. If you want to travel to or from the airport, buy a ticket at €5.15 from one of the vending machines at the metro stations. You can also buy this ticket if you have already taken the L9 upon arrival at the airport. So you don’t have to look for a ticket vending machine while changing lines.

The entrance to the metro is in Terminal 1 on the first floor near the buses, in Terminal 2 next to the Renfe train station. They are clearly marked with signs.

Metro ticket machine barcelona

Train

From Terminal 2, a train (Rodalies) leaves every half hour in the direction of Barcelona. The airport station is easy to find. As you exit the airport from T2, you will see a walkway on the left. If you cross it, you are practically already on the platform. You have to go to the second floor for this (where the departure hall is also located).

If you arrive at Terminal 1, the train is not advisable because you will have to travel to Terminal 2 by shuttle bus between T1 and T2 first, which will cost you extra time. If you don’t mind, you can use this shuttle bus for free.

Tickets for the train can be bought at the ticket machine on the platform. A single ticket costs €2.55.

A ten-ride T-Casual ticket, the Hola BCN Transport Card and the Barcelona Card are also valid on this train.

This train – Line R2 Norte Aeropuerto – stops in Barcelona at the following stations:

  • Barcelona Airport
  • El Prat de Llobregat
  • Bellvitge
  • Barcelona Sants – (Transfers possible to metro L3 and L5)
  • Passeig de Gràcia – (Transfers possible to metro L2, L3 and L4)
  • Barcelona Estació de França (no metrostation)
  • Barcelona -El Clot Aragó – (Transfer possible to metro L1/L2)
  • Barcelona – St. Andreu Comtal

If your apartment or hotel is in the center, the Passeig de Gràcia station will probably be the best option.

Bus & nightbus

City bus number 46 departs from both terminals and is, together with the train, the cheapest way to get to the city center, although in most cases it’s better to take the Aerobus (much faster).

The bus goes to Plaça d’Espanya, where you can also catch it if you’re heading towards the airport. You’ll pay less than the Aerobus, but the trip takes considerably longer. Price: €2.55.

During the night you can take the night bus N16, N17 and N18 to and from the airport. This service runs every twenty minutes between Barcelona and the airport (both Terminal 1 and 2).

Because the bus also passes through the suburbs of Hospitalet and El Prat de Llobregat, the ride does take longer. Count on more than three quarters of an hour.

The Nightbuses stop right in front of the airport. Departing from the city, get on at Plaça Catalunya – the stop is on the Ronda Universitat street – or at Plaça Universitat, along Gran Vía, or at Plaça Espanya. Tickets at €2.55 can be purchased from the driver.

Rent a car

If you need a car for your visit to Barcelona or because you also need to be in the area and not just in the city itself, you can rent a car at the airport. Several car rental companies are located there including Avis, Sixt, Hertz, Budget, Europcar.

The companies have offices in Terminal 1 as well as Terminal 2, in the latter case two in fact, both in the large hall T2B and in the smaller T2C where Easyjet is currently located.

Keep in mind that car rental agencies may be busy, especially during the peak season. Always make sure to book in advance, otherwise the cost will run up considerably. On the way back, it is advisable to allow extra time if you also have to return the car, as you may have to wait.

Do you also bring your car back to the airport and still need to fill up because you have to return your rental car with a full tank? You can. At the entrance you will find a Galp gas station and close by another Cespa gas station. This gas station is always open. You can also drive the car through the car wash, but this service is closed at night.

The Terminals: T1 and T2

The Barcelona Airport El Prat has two terminals: the new terminal T1 and the old T2. It is important to know which terminal you are departing from. This is usually indicated on your plane ticket, but you can also look it up in the current flight information.

T1 was inaugurated in 2009 and it is a beautiful terminal. Here you can do some great tax-free shopping or eat a sandwich. You will also find plenty of stores after security: Mango, Natura, a Barça Store, Adidas, Accessorize, and many more.

T2 is the oldest terminal and less beautiful than T1, but it also has everything you need. You can shop extensively duty free, grab a bite in one of the many cafeterias (or at the Burger King) and you can stop at Mango, Natura and the official FC Barcelona store. Art lovers should look around upon arrival and try to spot the fat horse made by the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero. If you like this horse be sure to also take a look on the Rambla de Raval: here stands the fat cat, El Gato, also by Botero. Outside the terminal you will find a mural made by the Catalan artist Joan Miró.

Free Shuttle Bus between T1 and T2

You can travel from one terminal to another using a free shuttle bus, but keep in mind that you’re at least 15 minutes away.

Free wifi is available in both terminals.

Other airports near Barcelona

In addition to Barcelona Airport El Prat, it is also possible to use the airports near the Catalan cities of Girona and Reus. It is often more economical to travel to one of these airports. However, keep in mind that you will spend more money on transportation to get to the city.

Yes! You came this this far!

My name is Annebeth, I’m originally from The Netherlands and I have been home in Barcelona for 22 years. As an online guide, journalist, author of many travel guides about the city and co-owner of bicycle tour company El Ciclo, Barcelona is my great inspiration and I am happy to share everything I know (and learn) with you. You will also find personal tips and recommendations so you can experience that authentic, local and unique Barcelona feeling once you’re here.