Q: We have booked a hotel on Las Ramblas and would like to know what is the best public transportation option from Barcelona airport to Las Ramblas?
A: First we need to define what you mean by "best". You have quite a choice of different transportation options from the Airport (BCN El Prat de Llobregat) to Las Ramblas and which is best depends on your circumstances and the following factors:
- How many people are in your group?
- What time you are arriving?
- How much luggage do you have with you?
- Do you have young children in your group?
- Are you looking for only the cheapest option?
- Do you want the quickest option or are you OK to pay less and for the journey to take a little longer?
- Do you want door to door transportation or are you OK to walk some of the distance? If so how much distance?
- Do you want the convenience to book your transport in advance and have someone pick you up or are you OK with making your own way?
- Which airport terminal you are arriving at?
- What part of the Las Ramblas (La Rambla) are you looking to go to exactly? Las Ramblas is a long boulevard - nearly 1.2km long. Depending on where your hotel is you would need different types of transportation.
You will see later on in this answer why the above factors are important to consider. Once we go through each type of transportation option you will be able to make the right decision based on your specific requirements.
Before we start however, I think it is best you have an idea of the geography of Las Ramblas because we will be referring to it in this answer.
In the map below you can see Las Ramblas runs from Plaça Catalunya in the north down to the Columbus monument (Mirador de Colom) in the south. We have also included many of the main hotels along Las Ramblas so that you can identify where you hotel is.
Map of Las Ramblas Showing Hotel And Closest Metro Transportation stops.
|= Metro Stops||= Hotel||= Photo|
Factors to consider when choosing your transportation form BCN Airport to Las Ramblas
RENFE Train (Airport Train)
This option is good if you are arriving at T2. There is no train connection from T1 therefore if you really wanted to take the train you would need to take the free shuttle bus between T1 to T2 first. This would delay your transfer somewhat. The train is good if you have a lot of bulky luggage with you as there is plenty of room on the train.
The airport RENFE train runs from T2 at Barcelona airport to the following 3 stops in the city centre:
1. Sants Estacio,
2. Passeig de Gràcia
You can see the Passeig de Gràcia station in the map above. The important thing to know is that the Passeig de Gràcia is also connected by the green line metro. Therefore you could get off at Passeig de Gràcia and then change for the Green line metro to go to Las Ramblas.
The first thing to notice on the map above is there are in fact 3 metro stops on Las Ramblas. They are Catalunya, Liceu and Drassanes. These three stops are all on the Green line metro line 3. Once you identify where your hotel is on La Rambla you can choose the nearest metro exit to get off at.
If you intend to use the public transport to get around whilst in Barcelona it is best to purchase either the Barcelona Transport Pass, Barcelona Card or the T10 ticket for your journey on the RENFE train. You can then catch the RENFE train at the airport to Passeig de Gràcia station and change for the metro to take you to one of the three metro stops listed above. The journey still only counts as one journey on your T10 ticket. This is because the journey time lasted less than 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Pros: RENFE Train is a good option if you arrive at T2 or you have bulky luggage. If you don't mind making a change from the train to the Metro at Passeig de Gràcia then this is a good economical option for you to consider.
Cons: Not too convenient if you arrive at T1. You will also need to change at Passeig de Gràcia to catch the metro to La Rambla. The airport train only runs every 30 minutes and does not run during the night.
Aerobus (Express bus service) The Aerobus option is good if you arrive at either T1 or T2 and want a quick way to get into the town centre. It has limited stops so it is much faster than the TMB bus option which has considerably more stops. The bus also runs more frequently (there is one every 6 minutes) . You do pay more for the Aerobus however compared to TMB and you can't use either the Barcelona Transport Pass, Barcelona Card or the T10 ticket. You would need to purchase the tickets for the Aerobus from a payment machine at the Aerobus stop. Once at Plaça Catalunya you can either walk to your hotel or if your hotel is further down La Rambla you can catch the metro from Catalunya to the nearest metro stop to your hotel. You would need to also buy a separate metro ticket to do this leg of the journey.
Pros: The Aerobus is a quick means of getting to Plaça Catalunya from the airport either from T1 or T2. It has plenty of luggage space on board, and the service is frequent (every 6 minutes).
Cons: It costs more than the TMB bus or RENFE train and you cant use any of the Barcelona transport tickets or travel passes mentioned above. You only travel as far as Plaça Catalunya so you will still need to walk to your La Ramblas hotel or catch the metro.
TMB Airport Bus. This runs from both T1 and T2. You can use both the Barcelona Travel Pass and the T10 ticket on this bus. The TMB bus has many more stops than the Aerobus so it takes longer to get into the town centre. It also has less luggage space so it could be a little more cramped than the other means of transport. You can use the Barcelona Card, Barcelona Travel Pass or the T10 ticket on the TMB bus - so it is an economical option to get Catalunya square in the city centre. Once at Catalunya you can either walk to your hotel or catch the green line metro from Catalunya to the nearest stop on La Rambla to your hotel.
There is also the NitBus (Night bus) which runs during the night when the TMB bus stops running.
Pros: An economical means of transport from either T1 or T2 you can use the T10 ticket, Barcelona Travel Pass, and Barcelona Card. You can catch the bus either day or night.
Cons: Less luggage space means it could be cramped if it is busy, journey ride takes longer than other forms of transport. You still need to walk or take a connecting metro from Catalunya station to your hotel.
An airport taxi is a convenient way to travel to Las Ramblas. One cab can hold up to 4 people with their luggage. There are also a small number of van taxis that are licenced to carry up to 6 passengers. Note most van taxis however only have a license for 4 people like a regular sized cab. The typical fare to a Las Ramblas hotel is around €25.00. It is probably the most convenient, simplest and quickest way to get to the city centre. The other main advantage with a taxi is that there it is normally a door-to-door service. Sometimes the hotel is in a one way street that the taxi driver cannot access. In which case you may have a short walk. However generally the taxi driver can drop you off right outside your hotel. For the price I would recommend a taxi if it is your first visit to Barcelona especially if you are in a small group.
Pros: One of the most convenient means of airport transportation from Barcelona airport to Las Ramblas. It is also quick (only 20 minutes). Up to 4 passengers can travel in the cab with luggage some taxis have a special license to carry up to 6 people however it is best to reserve these in advance. If you are arriving in the airport you would need to ask an attendant at the Taxi rank to find you a cab for 6 people. Note you may have a waiting time since only a small percentage of Barcelona taxis have a license to carry 6 passengers. No problems in finding your accommodation since the taxi driver will drop you off outside your hotel. Taxis operate all night long. Operates from both T1 and T2.
Cons: Can be more expensive if you have only 1 or 2 people in your group. The cab cannot accommodate more than 4 passengers or 6 passengers if the taxi has a special license.
Shared minibus transfer
Shared minibus transfer will ensure that you are taken door-to-door for your hotel on Las Ramblas. You can arrange this in advance of your trip by booking online. You have plenty of luggage space and you can travel in larger groups. You will have someone waiting for your party at the airport. This means of transportation is probably the least stressful of all since you arrange it in advance and somewhere is at the airport to assist you.
Cons: It is more expensive to arrange this form of transport.
I hope this gives you a good picture as to what are some of the best options for arranging your airport transportation to Las Ramblas. Make sure to visit all the links above which give much more detail on each form of transport.