Barcelona has one of the best and busiest public transportation systems in Europe. At any given moment there are approximately 1,000 buses and 11,000 taxis cruising around the Catalan capital. There are also a bunch of bike rental stations popping around Barcelona for those who are into cycling. One of the most affordable and convenient ways of getting around Barcelona, however, is using the city’s metro. Tourists are sometimes intimidated about learning how to ride the rails in Barcelona, but it’s really not that difficult if you’ve used any other metro systems.
Barcelona’s Metro Lines
The Barcelona Metro now has eight main lines owned by the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona and three urban lines operated by the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Cataluny (FGC). There are 156 stations and approximately 150 trains in the Barcelona Metro. The metro lines owned by TMB include L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L9, L10, and L11. FGC’s metro lines include L6, L7, and L8. Standard operating hours for the metro is between 5AM to midnight between Monday – Thursday and on Sundays. The metro is open from 5AM to 2AM on Fridays 24/7 on Saturdays.
Barcelona has six transport zones that start in the city’s center and branch out to surrounding suburbs. Tourists, however, only have to be concerned about Zone 1, which encompasses the center of Barcelona. Like any other metro system, you have to find the station you want on a map and head in the direction of the last stop on your line. The TMB lines are given the following colors on Barcelona Metro maps to help you distinguish them: L1 is red, L2 is lilac, L3 is green, L4 is yellow, L5 is blue, L9 is orange, L10 is light blue, and L11 is light green.
Barcelona Metro Ticket
Of all the ticket options available at the metro, the T-10 is the most popular option among tourists. This ticket entitles you to ten trips within Zone 1 for a flat fee of €10.20. T-10 tickets don’t expire until January of next year and you can legally pass them back to let friends and family into the station on an additional journey. You can also use T-10 tickets to get around Barcelona’s trams, buses, and RENFE train.
If you’re only going to take one journey on a metro, then you might want to consider getting a single journey pass. These passes cost €2.20 per ticket, so they aren’t worth it unless you’re going on one trip. On the opposite extreme, if you think you’re going to be using hte metro a lot, then there are unlimited “Hola Barcelona” cards available for purchase. The tickets and prices are as follows: 2-day for €15, 3-day for €22, 4-day for €28.50, and 5-day for €35.
Please keep in mind that standard single tickets can’t be used to get you to the Barcelona Airport via the metro. There’s a special single-journey ticket to the airport which you could purchase for €4.60. T-10 tickets and “Hola Barcelona” cards, however, can be used to get you to the El Prat Airport. By the way, the metro line you want for the airport is L9.
Barcelona’s Above-Ground Tram System
Along with the metro, Barcelona has an above-ground tram system guests can take advantage of in certain areas of the city. In total, there are six tram routes, three of which start at Francesc Macià Station, two of which start at the Glòries Station, and another which starts at Ciutadella Station. Trams tend to arrive at each stop four times per hour off-peak and two times per hour during peak hours. Barcelona’s trams are open from 5AM to midnight every day.