Ultimate Guide to the Airport Transportation in Barcelona
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOW TO GET FROM EL PRAT AIRPORT TO BARCELONA
How do you get from El Prat airport to Barcelona? It was a long flight, you are probably tired and jet-lagged, a bit disoriented after arriving to the Barcelona-El Prat airport for the first time. And now… how do you get to your hotel?
Today we are sharing with you our favorite Barcelona airport transportation options:
L9 Subway Line
- What ticket do you need? Unfortunately, the T-Casual card and the regular single tickets can’t be used to get to the airport: you’ll need to get a special airport single ticket or a multi-day pass. You can collect them at the ticket machines of the station.
- When does the subway run? The Barcelona metro runs from early in the morning until late at night every day. You can check the exact metro operating hours here.
- What areas does it service? Unfortunately, the subway does not connect directly with the city center. The L9 South goes through suburbs with logistic, industrial and business areas before reaching Barcelona. It enters the city via the Southern end of Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, which works for those staying in hotels near Fira 2 or attending trade shows over there. Then it continues towards the FC Barcelona Stadium and ends in Zona Universitaria, where there area some more high end business hotels as well as university dorms.
- Does it connect with other subway lines? It connects with the FGC (Llobregat-Anoia lines) taking you to Pl. Espanya. It could be an option if you are staying in the Hill of Montjuic, but the Aerobus is more time-efficient. It also connects with the L1 taking you to Pl. Catalunya – but the Aerobus remains a faster option (even compared to the Rodalies train). It also connects with the L5 – a good option if you are staying around Sagrada Familia. And it connects with L3 but again it’s not very time-efficient compared to other airport transportation options.
Here are some tips for riding the Barcelona metro.
This Blue bus is the Barcelona airport shuttle departs from both airport terminals and takes you to Plaça Catalunya in 30 to 45min. For many reasons, it is a popular Barcelona transport from airport.
- How much is the ticket? A one-way ticket is slightly less than the special airport subway ticket. Plus there are return ticket available and valid for 15 days that make it even cheaper. You can check the current fares here.
- What is the Aerobus schedule? The Aerobus runs 24/7, very frequently. You can check real-time information about their frequency here.
- What areas does it service? The Aerobus connects the city center (Plaça Catalunya) with the airport via Sepúlveda and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes avenue. The A1 line takes you to Terminal 1, and the A2 takes you to Terminal 2.
- Does it connect with other Barcelona public transport means? Yes! Plaça Catalunya is pretty much the center of L1 and L3, plus the lines L2 and L4 are just one block away. Plaça Catalunya also has the FGC trains taking you to Sarrià and Av. Tibidabo.
- Any other special features? The Aerobus has free Wi-Fi service and cellphone chargers.
TMB Bus #46
The Bus 46 is a local bus connecting the Airport with Plaça Espanya. It departs from Terminal 1, stopping at different airport facilities and T2, before heading to the city. Because of its many stops, it’s a slow transportation system.
- How much is the ticket? While in theory you can use a 10-trip T-Casual card or an Hola Barcelona multi-day pass that you can continue using during your stay in Barcelona… You’ll have to head to the R2N station to find a ticket machine. Instead, consider a city pass such as Barcelona Card that you can buy online and collect at the Tourist Information Point of the airport, and it gives you additional discounts in the best city attractions. Otherwise, you might be better off getting a 1-zone one-way ticket, for about half the cost of an Aerobus ticket. Just take into account that since 2020 bus drivers do not sell tickets anymore. Buy your one-way ticket online here to spare you to trouble of having to go all the way to the subway station to find a ticket machine.
- What are the operating hours of the Bus 46? This bus runs daily from 5.30AM to 11.50PM.
- What areas does it service? Besides stopping in T1 and T2, this bus also stops in the Freight Terminal of the Barcelona Airport, and then it has over a dozen other stops along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. For more information you can check this.
- Does it connect with other public transportation? It connects with L1 and L3 in Plaça Espanya, but if you are planning to make this connection, the Aerobus will be a more time-efficient way to travel for you.
R2N suburban trains
- How much is the ticket? The Rodalies trains take the T-Casual, that you can get from the ticket machines at the station. It’s a great option, because you’ll be able to continue using it during the rest of your stay in Barcelona. Or you can buy a one-way ticket, for about half the cost of the Aerobus. You can also get a multi-day transportation pass from the ticket machines, or the Barcelona card city pass that is collected at the airport tourist information point.
- What are the operating hours of the trains from the airport? The trains run approximately from 5.45AM until midnight, but only twice an hour.
- What areas do they service? After stopping in a couple of suburbs, the train stops in Barcelona Sants Estació and Passeig de Gràcia before heading towards other city suburbs. Don’t fall asleep or you might end up way further than you were planning to get off!
- Do they connect with other public transportation? Get off in Sants Estació if you are heading to La Rambla (L3), or nee the L5 to get to Camp Nou, Diagonal or Sagrada Familia. Passeig de Gracia also connects with L3. Avoid the connection with L2 because it’s a veeeery long walk.
The Barcelona black & yellow taxis can be a good airport transportation option. Average taxis can take up to 4 passangers. But if you have a lot of luggage you’ll probably need a taxi van with room up to 6 passengers. Just be aware they charge a small additional supplement. There are lots of taxis waiting outside the arrivals terminals, no need to download a taxi app.
What about Uber?
Uber legally exists in Spain, however they are forced to only allow licensed taxi drivers as Uber drivers. And even like that, the Barcelona taxi drivers lobby has been fighting them so strongly that only a small minority of local taxi drivers have joined Uber and as a result the app is not as convenient as it can be in other parts of the world.
There’s a similar app called Free Now that you can use instead while in Barcelona, but you won’t really need it for the ride from the airport to the city center because there’s always so many taxis in the terminals anyway.
Unless you don’t trust taxi drivers and rather than paying what the meter says (in case they took a detour that went unnoticed by you), you prefer a fixed price. In my experience, though, when the drivers are honest, the fixed-price is usually at least 1 or 2 euros more expensive.
The N16 connects Sitges with Barcelona via the Airport at night. It stops only in T2, and its route enters Barcelona via Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes (just like the Aerobus), but with many stops on the way. You can find out the timetables and exact stops here.
The N17 and N18 are pretty similar to the N16, except that they don’t go to Sitges. The N17 only stops in T1, and the N18 stops in both T1 and T2. So basically they connect the Barcelona airport with Plaça Catalunya via Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, just like the A1 Aerobus, but with many more stops.
- How much is the ticket? The night buses cost the same as the daytime normal buses. So as we mentioned with Bus 46, you could use a 10-trip T-Casual card but… it’ll be too late at night to access a ticket machine or collect a city pass from the Tourist Information Point. So do get your one-way ticket online here.
- When do night buses work? The N17 is the earliest night bus in the airport, with the first departure at 21.55. The first N16 stops at 23.33, and the first N18 doesn’t depart until 00.18. Make sure to check the exact departure times from the websites I gave you above.
- What areas do they service? All three night buses enter Barcelona via Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, just like the Aerobus, but with many more stops – what makes it quite slow. The N16 is the only one that takes you to Sitges, stopping in other suburbs on the way.
- Does it connect with other public transportation? Take into account that even if it connects with the metro L1, L2 and L3, it is likely to be already close by the time you get there. Once in Plaça Catalunya you can take a taxi, or connect with any other of the Barcelona Night Bus lines.
They are also the best airport transfer to the cruise ship terminals besides regular taxis. Make sure that the company you choose uses only professional fully licensed and insured drivers with SP plate vehicles (SP stands for Servicio Público – Public Service).
You can book your private transfer from Barcelona airport with us, too. Our drivers are uniformed, professional and discreet. We use new Mercedes vehicles with leather seats and air-conditioner. Plus we have complimentary water bottles available on board.
And the genius idea of Barcelona airport transportation to your hotel that nobody tells you about!
Take a sightseeing tour from el Prat airport to Barcelona
Move around in style! If you are landing in the morning, it is very likely that your hotel room or apartment won’t be available until noon or later. Why would you waste your precious first hours in Barcelona lying in the coaches of the lobby when you could be starting to get familiar with our city?
We can send a driver to pick you up at the terminal and then our guides will join you at the entrance of the city for a relaxed Barcelona city tour from airport ending at the hotel (or apartment or cruiseship). Starting your stay in Barcelona with a great tour starting at the airport is a very smart way to get in town.
How are you planning to get from el Prat Airport to Barcelona?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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