On my most recent trip to Barcelona, I flew direct from New York City’s JFK Airport, to Barcelona’s El-Prat Airport, located just a few miles outside Barcelona city center. The airport has two terminals simply named 'Terminal 1" and "Terminal 2." Barcelona offers many different ways to get from the airport, whether it is by bus, taxi or rideshare, and by subway.
The local airport express bus service is called “Airport Aerobus.” The buses conveniently pick up and drop off at both terminals and deliver to two main transportation hubs in Barcelona city center, Plaça de Catalunya and Plaça España. This is the option that I took on my last visit to Barcelona.
You can purchase tickets in person at kiosks or you can purchase them online. Ticket prices start at €5,90 for a one-way journey. If you take the bus on a return trip back to El-Prat, be mindful of getting on the correct bus for your departing terminal. Bus A1 delivers to Terminal 1 and bus A2 delivers to Terminal 2. When in doubt, ask the drivers for clarification. Additional details about routes and schedules for the express bus can be found on this Airport Aerobus information page.
The Metro connects Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at Aeroport del Prat de Llobregat to Barcelona city-center. The train is called "L9 Sud." Although the service runs about every ten minutes, this is usually a more slow option compared to the Express Bus due to making connections to get on the L9 line. You also need a special ticket to ride between the airport that costs €5,15.
Taxi and rideshares are the most expensive, but most convenient option of them all. It would cost anywhere from €30 to €50 each way to travel to and from the airport to Barcelona city-center.
Barcelona is a very walkable and very connected through public transportation. A rental car is highly discouraged as it basically impossible to find parking in the city. The metro system is set up in zones
(zones 1-6) for the geographic area and is very easy to use. Stations are clearly marked with metro signs and the system is easy enough to navigate using maps. We picked up a 3-day travel pass from the nearest subway station which allowed us unlimited rides for the time that we spent there. More information about metro and fare can be found on the Barcelona Metropolitan Transportation website.
There are many options for hotels in and around Barcelona. However, we are proponents of house sharing services, like Airbnb, or lodging in hostels while traveling abroad. My stay in Barcelona supported this stance. Our host provided invaluable local recommendations for what to see and where to eat and drink.
At the end of our trip, we were invited by our host to share a bottle (or two or three) of Cava (a type of champagne famous to the Catalonia region of Spain), and Spanish prosciutto with another pair of adventurers from Slovenia that were lodging in the same flat. We shared conversation of culture and our personal lives in an opportunity you wouldn't get at a hotel. Funnily enough, we had all been at the same laundromat just a few hours before and did not realize it.
Barcelona is a beautiful coastal city that is rich is art, architecture, and culture. The city has its own identity featuring sprawling beaches, gothic architecture, and wonderful museums. Checkout 8 of our favorite things to do in Barcelona below:
The logical choice of cuisine while in Spain is Spanish food. Barcelona is rich with places that serve tapas, or shareable small plates that allow you to sample many different dishes. Tapas are served both cold and hot and can andI combined to make a full meal. Ingredients vary widely so you can have a truly unique cultural experience. Tapa bars around Barcelona serve tapas that start at just 1 euro!
Seafood paella is another great choice of Spanish cuisine and is a dish you can't skip while in Spain. Make sure to bring your appetite because portions can be quite generous.
All together, Barcelona, Spain is a magical place filled with new things to explore and wonderful culture that I can't wait to return to. The food, the people, and the scenery are unlike anywhere else. If Spain is an option for your travel plans, do not hesitate to make the journey!