Far and away the most straightforward way to town for fresh arrivals is by taxi. There are taxi stands outside both terminals, and queues tend to be short. You should get to any hotel in the metro area in around 30 mins. Expect a fare of €30-40. We have yet to experience a dishonest Barcelona taxi driver. We have yet to find one genuinely fluent in English either, but have always managed to find our destination.
Barcelona’s notorious pickpockets are going to find tourists encumbered with all their possessions easy targets – for this reason alone we can’t recommend the taxi service highly enough. Get yourself safely to your hotel first, and then venture forth.
The Aerobús service connects T1 and T2 to Plaça Catalunya in the centre of town for €5.90. From there you can cab or train to your hotel.
The Barcelona Metro also serves the airport, with a service on L9 Sud from Aeropuerto to Barcelona Sants and Passeig de Gracia every 30 minutes between 6:00 and 23:00.
You may also arrive by train – most commonly at Barcelona Sants (Sants Estació), which connects with the Metro to get you anywhere in town with ease. There is also a busy taxi stand outside. Estació de França is another point of arrival, though much less busy than Sants. This historic station doesn’t have a direct connection to the Metro, though there is a Metro stop five minutes walk away (L4 Barceloneta).
Barcelona may welcome as many as 32 million tourists in a year, but the permanent population is only 1.6 million, so it is actually a fairly compact town. Add to this the fact that most tourist attractions are in the old town or near the waterfront, and you have a city that is ideal for walking.
The plus side is that if you get around on foot in the charming Ciutat Vella – old town – you’re going to make discoveries that you wouldn’t otherwise. The only downside is that sometimes it seems there are too many tourists on foot, particularly on Las Ramblas, and the nearby Barri Gòtic. It can get busy.
Barcelona’s Metro (excellent interactive map here) is a surprisingly extensive underground rail system, and easily the best solution for when your feet have had enough. There are touchscreen ticket vending machines at all stations. If you’re planning to use the system lash out on a T10 ticket, that gives you 10 rides anywhere on the system in a 30 day period for €10.20. Single trip tickets cost €2.20.
There are taxi stands in busy areas, and you can usually hail one on the street with ease.
Uber addicts have to learn to live without – the service is not available in Barcelona, but then the system wasn’t broken like so many other taxi regimes, so no loss.
Unfortunately Barcelona has a well-earned reputation for petty thievery – particularly pickpockets. Never carry a wallet in a back pocket. It may be helpful to distribute cash in different pockets. And keep handbags close at all times – never on the back of a chair.
Be aware that Barcelona’s notorious pickpockets target visitors, and public transport is a happy hunting ground, likewise busy tourist attractions (though you’re unlikely to be bothered inside attractions that charge fees).
Also be aware that these guys are professionals – it is all-too-easy to be scammed in one way or another.
If you do fall victim, you may need to make a police report. You can file a report online here, or in person at police stations, (the main one is at Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 76-78. Be prepared to wait; they have a lot of people to deal with). There is more info here for dealing with lost documentation.
You’ll save yourself some hassle if you have documented your credit card numbers, passport info, and phone IMEI number, and kept it safe elsewhere.
The emergency number is 112 to report robberies, accidents, assaults, fires, or medical emergencies.
Turisme de Barcelona offers a tourist information service at (+34) 932 853 834 daily from 8am until midnight, for tourists and visitors to answer any questions or help deal with incidents.
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