Understanding the metro in Barcelona is fundamental to having a good holiday.
The 11 lines (eight classic lines and three overland trains) are as prompt as any metro system in Europe and perhaps more importantly – they’re air conditioned.
The only complaints you hear aside from spoiled locals who have never commuted a day in New York or London are tourists getting ripped off buying €2.20 single tickets.
After reading my Barcelona metro guide you won’t be one of them.
Barcelona Metro Map
Click the button below to enlarge or download your very own Barcelona metro map.
You can also grab these at the Barcelona Tourism Office at the airport or any metro stop.
Barcelona Metro Hours
|Monday to Thursday||From 05:00 to midnight|
|Friday||From 05:00 to 02:00 (Saturday)|
|Saturday||From 05:00 all night|
|Sunday||From midnight to midnight|
|Holidays: Jun 23-24, Aug 15-16, Sept 23-24, Dec 31, Jan 1||All day/night|
For those not fond of graphs here it is again:
The Barcelona metro opens daily at 5:00 am with the last train departing at 12:00 midnight. On Fridays and holidays trains run until 2:00 am.
Service is limited on Christmas Eve till 11:00 pm.
- During the day trains run every 2-4 minutes
- At night trains run every 6-10 minutes
Barcelona Metro Tickets
To buy tickets for the Barcelona metro you’ll need to use the machines found at station lobbies. Tickets are valid for the entire Barcelona transport network including metro, bus, tram, and Montjuic funicular lines.
There is a supplemental charge for the Barcelona airport metro to the city centre: €4.50.
Tickets can be purchased using cash or credit/debit card.
All tickets have a 75 minute validity.
Locals typically buy single zone 1 tickets for €2.20 or a T-10 ticket (10 rides in zone 1) for €10.20.
You can save 5% on your Barcelona travel card buying directly from Barcelona Turisme:
The Barcelona transport network encompasses 6 zones.
Single ticket prices increase exponentially at €3.00 (Zone 2), €4.00 (Zone 3), €5.10 (Zone 4), €6.50 (Zone 5), €7.60 (Zone 6) respectively.
Here is the Barcelona metro zone map.
Barcelona Metro Passes
You can buy single tickets for €2.20 but the price and ticket machine lines are hardly ideal. I always suggest tourists pick up a discount transport card that gives you unlimited metro access like the Hola Bcn or Barcelona Card. They save you time and money.
You can always go with the T10 but unlike the passes above it’s not valid for the airport.
Find out which discount card is right for you by clicking the banner below:
L9S Metro (Orange Line)
The newest Barcelona metro line connects the city to both terminals of El Prat Airport.
It isn’t the fastest line and won’t take you to many of the main hotel and hostel neighbourhoods in the city – it is primarily used for residents getting home to the outskirts.
If you want to get super central you’ll need to change lines.
Connections: the orange line meets the red line (L1) at Torrassa station, the blue line (L5) at Collblanc, and the green line (L3) at Zona Universitaria
L1 Metro (Red Line)
My favourite line crosses the city from east to west and stops in some of the city’s great meeting points like Arc de Triomf (Ciutadella Park), Plaça Catalunya, and Plaça d’Espanya.
Finding a holiday apartment along this line is about as convenient as it gets, as you’ll be able to get around with ease.
Connections: the red line meets the yellow line (L4) at Urquinaona, the green line (L3) at Plaça d’Espanya, the purple line (L2) at Plaça Universitat, and the blue line (L5) at Sagrera and Plaça de Sants.
L2 Metro (Purple Line)
This line connects neighbouring city Badalona with Parallel.
The main points of interest along this line are the Sagrada Familia, Passeig de Gracia and its famous Gaudi buildings La Pedrera and Casa Batllo, and the glitzy neighbourhood of Eixample and the rough and ready Raval.
Connections: the purple line meets the yellow line (L4) and green line (L3) at Passeig de Gracia, the blue line (L5) at Sagrada Familia, and the red line (L1) at Plaça Universitat and Clot.
L3 Metro (Green Line)
This line sort of twists its way around the city in a U-shape and serves quite a few main attractions.
Along the green line you’ll find three stops on the famous La Rambla: Plaça Catalunya, Liceu, and Drassanes. You’ll also get to the main shopping district at Passeig de Gracia and Diagonal. A few stops along you’ll reach Plaça d’Espanya and the Magic Fountain.
Connections: the green line meets the blue line (L5) at Diagonal, the red line (L1) at Catalunya and Espanya, the yellow line (L4) at Passeig de Gracia, and the purple line (L2) at Parallel and Passeig de Gracia.
L4 Metro (Yellow Line)
Arguably the most popular of Barcelona metro lines is most useful serving the city’s best beaches. Be careful! Especially in the summer the line can get quite busy.
Along the yellow line you’ll find the bohemian Gracia neighbourhood, the Gothic Quarter‘s central square and its Barcelona Cathedral, the upper parts of the city and the Bunkers lookout, and the nightclubs and casino of the Port Olimpic.
If you’re looking for a great beach holiday grab your accommodation along the yellow.
Connections: the yellow line meets the red line (L1) at Urquinaona, with the purple line (L2) at Passeig de Gracia, with the green line (L3) at Passeig de Gracia, and with the blue line (L5) at Verdaguer.
L5 Metro (Blue Line)
I would call this one the business line as it takes people from residential areas into the centre.
The main stop here is Barcelona’s biggest train station: Sants. From here you’ll be able to get a train to the airport, Madrid, or even France. You’ll also get to Camp Nou at Badal station and Sagrada Familia is home to Barcelona’s famous church.
Connections: the blue line has connections with the green line (L3) at Diagonal, the yellow (L4) at Verdaguer, and the purple line (L2) at Sagrada Familia.
Barcelona Metro Tips
- Avoid taking it during rush hour (8:00-9:00 am and 6:00-7:00 pm).
- Changing lines could leave you a long walk at Plaça Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia and Sants.
- Always walk further up the platform for more carriage space.
- Miss the last train? There’s probably a night bus to get you back.
- A good rule of thumb is to calculate 2 minutes per metro stop to get your travel time
In general the trains are well kept and quiet.
The only thing you’ll need to worry about, as mentioned before, are the petty thieves operating in tourist areas – mainly in and around the stations at Liceu, Drassanes, Placa Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia, and Sants.
Use common sense and you’ll be fine.
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