Using the metro is an awesome way of moving around Barcelona for sightseeing. Today we are going to discuss the specificities of the underground Barcelona transportation system, so you feel comfortable doing that and don’t look like a tourist.

There are in Barcelona metro stops every few blocks in the city center, and it’s always faster than a bus. So go ahead, grab a Barcelona subway map from a tourist office, and get ready to go!

Here are our 5 basic tips for understanding how the Barcelona metro system works:

Get your ten-journey metro card

Barcelona subway system

If you are planning to take the metro as your main Barcelona transportation means, a ten-journey metro card is the ticket you need: as long as you are going to use it 5 times during your stay, the price will be better than if you bought single-ride tickets. Plus since they are shareable, if you are 2 people or more, it gets paid-off even quicklier! Ten-journey metro cards can also be used in buses and the train to the airport, and they are valid until the next fare changes.

Ticket machines

There haven’t been ticket-offices with real people in them for a while in the Barcelona underground… But don’t worry: the ticket vending machines speak English (just select it before touching any other button, though). Also make sure to have a small bill or coins to pay, as the change is always given in coins. Credit cards will only work as long as you have a PIN number (yes, in Spain we have PIN numbers for credit cards, too!)

Validating your ticket

Moving around Barcelona

Nothing annoys more a local than to have a tourist blocking the validation machines. So once you’ve got your ten-journey metro card, check out where is the little arrow that will show you which you need to insert the ticket. Also make sure that you are in the right side of the validating machine: there are arrows showing you what door will open if you use that machine (if you are in the wrong side, someone else will go in for free through the door you opened for them!). Remember to retrieve the ticket, and don’t get too close to the door as sometimes they don’t open when you are too close: if that happens, just step back and it’ll open.

In the train

There are visual and sound signals telling you what’s the next station: very convenient! However, remember that in the Barcelona subway system the doors won’t open until you action the button or lever: if you are standing in front of the door waiting for it to open, an angry Barcelonan will do it for you and push you out of his way (or you’ll miss your stop if no one else is getting out!)

EscalatorsBarcelona metro system

The Barcelona metro system etiquette says that if you are not going to walk up the escalator, you have to stand to the right to let passengers that are in a hurry walk up. Same thing if you are a couple or a group and you are not walking up, remember not to block the way.

Convenient, frequent and fast, you’ll soon discover that moving around Barcelona by metro is the easiest way of sightseeing.

AND BONUS! What can happen when exiting the subway?

Exiting the subway

You won’t need to validate your ticket again to exit the station, however, don’t throw it away until you are back in the street, as occasionally there are ticket controls to catch people who sneak in the Barcelona metro system without paying. If you didn’t spend your 10-journey metro card, you can still use it until the next fees change.

Have you ever used the Barcelona metro system? Tell us how was your experience by leaving a comment below!


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