On holiday you’ll find the highly regulated Barcelona taxi system everywhere – you likely won’t wait more than a minute and prices are cheaper than most major European cities.
Yes, it’s still the most expensive way to get around but with a few precautions taking a taxi in Barcelona can be a great way to get around.
Update: there’s a new game in town! The highly regulated, super easy, customizable, wifi-ed, and up to 20% cheaper Barcelona taxi alternative Cabify app has launched to rave reviews.
Keep reading for regular Barcelona taxis or click here to skip ahead to my Cabify section.
How to Get a Taxi in Barcelona
Look for fluorescent green lights in the windows – these ones are free.
To book a taxi in advance call +34 93 225 0000 (mandatory for more than 4 passengers). You can also book Barcelona taxis using any of their company-supported apps.
There’s a useful taxi fare calculator available online.
Barcelona Taxi Prices
There is a minimum charge of €2.10-€2.30 depending on the time of day.
A typical taxi trip in the city costs €6.00 and €15.00.
- Tariff T1. Weekdays 8 am to 8 pm: €2.10 + €1.10 per km.
- Tariff T2. Weekdays 8 pm to 8 am + Sat and Holidays 8 am to 8 pm: €2.10 + €1.30 per km.
- Tariff T3. Sat and holidays 8 pm to 8 am: €2.30€ + €1.40 per km.
- Airport: €3.10 (the minimum charge to Barcelona is €20.00).
- Cruise terminal/port: €3.10.
- Major stations (Sants, Norte, França and the Exhibition Centre): €2.10.
- Large baggage (bigger than 55 x 35 x 35 cm): €1.00 each.
- Special nights (23-24 June, 24-25-31 December, January 1st): €3.10.
- Wheelchairs, strollers, guide dog: Free.
Taxis at Barcelona Airport
There are taxi stands in both terminals which are easily found following the signs outside departures. The minimum airport charge from El Prat airport is €20.00.
The typical cost of a taxi from Barcelona airport to the centre is between €30.00 to €35.00. From Terminal 1 (T1) expect to pay about €30.00 while Terminal 2 (T2) is about €35.00.
For groups larger than four ask one of the taxi stand attendants to call a van taxi (€3.10 supplement).
Barcelona Taxi Safety and Complaints
This isn’t a trip to the ‘big square’ in Marrakesh – we’re taking a taxi in Barcelona! Drivers are required by law to run on the meter so you’re unlikely to get ripped off.
The ones I’ve dealt with are honest. Whether I’m speaking to them in Spanish or doing a ‘marketing test’ in English the results are the same: a logical route with no hassles.
I’ve heard very few bad Barcelona taxi stories, and most came from people who enjoyed Barcelona’s best nightlife a little too much. If you’re tipsy just get in that cab, pronounce the name of your hotel confidently, and pay attention!
Bad experience? Ask for a receipt (un recibo) and cite it using this taxi complaint form.
The form must be mailed to: Metropolitan Taxi Institute, Carrer Número 62 No. 18, Barcelona, Spain, 08040.
Wheelchair Accessible Taxis in Barcelona
While typical Barcelona taxis are not outfitted for disabled visitors there is a separate company called Taxi Amic. These spacious tailor-made taxis come with a special ramp to accommodate wheelchairs.
Timetable: weekdays from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, weekends 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.
You can book the taxi online (with 24 hour’s notice) at the Taxi Amic website.
To book a taxi via phone call Taxi Amic at +34 934 208 088.
Barcelona Taxi Hacks
- Taxis with green lights can’t pick you up within 200 meters of any taxi stand.
- Don’t tip the drivers (tipping is not expected anywhere in Spain).
- For €2-3 extra you can call for an ‘ecological’ taxi at (0034) 932-783-000.
- If your hotel is near the airport check first to see if your hotel includes free shuttle service.
- Supplements are usually added at the end of the trip.
- Many of the smaller tourist streets in the Gotico, Raval, and Born are pedestrian-only. Check your destination and try to find a logical drop-off point in advance to avoid the driver giving you the run-around.
- Make sure you’re heading the right direction. Most Barcelona streets are one-way, so often a quick look on your smart phone GPS to position yourself on the right side of the street could save you money.
- The lost property contacts are +34 90 210 1564 or [email protected]
When to Take a Taxi in Barcelona
It’s so easy to get around Barcelona by public transport that taking taxis can be impractical.
For this reason I suggest taking a taxi in Barcelona if:
- You’re in a big hurry.
- The company is paying.
- It’s raining (rare).
- You’ve had a few drinks (not rare).
- You’re made of money (very rare).
If you’re going anywhere in groups of three or four the price difference between a taxi and the metro is negligible. You’ll get nearly anywhere central for 2-3 euros each.
Especially at night when buses run less frequently, getting an extra 45 minutes of sleep and not dragging your luggage around town at 4:00 am might be worth the extra money.
Getting Around with Cabify
Here’s a great new service that’s only just recently launched in Spain.
As mentioned this is a private taxi service similar to Uber only better. These are licensed drivers hired by Cabify that pay taxes and are subject to Spanish law. In fact, it’s a Spanish company.
The elegant black cars are always clean and in tip top condition. The drivers are polite, well-dressed, and reserved. The thing that surprised me the most is that they won’t talk unless spoken to! The drivers are used to working with foreigners and have good levels of English.
Also, compared to regular Spanish taxi drivers they drive (perhaps mandated by the company) in a much safer manner.
All Cabify cabs come with free wifi (the password is cabifymola).
I don’t know how they do it but they cost very little!
While public transport options will always cost less, compared to regular taxis there’s a big difference. Here are a couple of examples:
Plaça Catalunya to my house: €14.00 – €15.00 with a normal taxi/€9.38 with Cabify
Airport to city centre: €30.00 – €35.00/€27.00 with Cabify
These are prices that barely fluctuate even with traffic. The only change you’ll incur is a small nighttime supplement with is negligible.
How Cabify Works
Like Uber you’ll need to have a basic understanding of using mobile apps – the app is in English so you’ll have no language barrier at any point.
Here are the steps to ordering your cab in Barcelona:
- Sign up using this link (you’ll get a €6 discount on your first ride). Update 21/10/17: Cabify has suspended this offer while they plan a new first rider discount, but I still suggest signing up for the convenience without the discount..
- Download the app.
- Put in your details and a payment method (bank cards or PayPal).
- Indicate the pick up address and destination address.
- Check the final price and pickup wait time (usually no longer than 10-20 minutes).
- Finalize payment.
- Receive/check the confirmation email (ride summary + link to rate the driver later).
- Select options like the type of music you’d like, air conditioning, if they open the door etc.
- You can also select a luxury car (more expensive) or a standard one called ‘lite’.
- Get picked up!
A few restrictions/guidelines
No cash is given to the driver as the money is debited automatically.
Cabify can be booked up to one hour in advance.
There is a €6.00 minimum purchase with Cabify and a €10.00 minimum if booked in advance.
If you make a mistake in the booking process you have 10 minutes to cancel the booking without charges (if booking in advance you can cancel up to an hour before the trip).
If you’re running late you’ll have a 15 minute courtesy after which you’ll incur a rate of €0.55 a minute for the driver’s wait.
Getting From Barcelona Airport to the City Centre
Everything goes just as I’ve explained above.
If you’re looking to book a Cabify once you’ve landed at the airport I suggest you keep in mind the €0.55 a minute waiting charge should you use up your 15 minute courtesy. If your flight is delayed this could be a problem.
To avoid this I suggest one of two options:
- Book your Cabify once you’re aboard the plane and sure you’ll depart on time (it takes 2 minutes)
- Book once you’ve landed if you’ve got a roaming data plan
What’s cool here is that you can even use the app to put in a special request that the driver show up at the Terminal with a placard with your name on it 😉 Just make sure you specify whether it’s Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.
At the moment the service is not available from Girona Airport.
Do let me know how your Cabify journey went in the comment section below! Is it better than taking a taxi in Barcelona or what?
Help Me Help You
You’re ready for your Barcelona taxi experience but if you’re not sure make to drop me a line in the comments below with your destination and I’ll let you know the best way to get around.