Tourist Information Guide

Barcelona Metro Guide For A Visitor To The City

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This page contains essential information on the Barcelona metro underground system specifically tailored for a tourist visitor. The metro network offers you a fast, clean and efficient transport system to get around and explore all the major tourist attractions in the city.

Barcelona’s metro system comprises a network of 11 lines. Two operators, Barcelona Metro Transit TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) and Barcelona Regional Railway FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya) run the metro system. TMB operates 8 lines, FGC runs 4 lines. TMB operated lines are: L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L9, L10 and L11 and the FGC lines are L6, L7, L8. Each line is identified by a colour and number. Barcelona’s metro is a popular means of transport for both tourists and locals due to its safety, efficiency and reliability, with trains running every few minutes during peak hours. It offers comprehensive coverage over the heart of Barcelona, with stops that go practically to all parts of the city. See the following metro stations page which covers all metro lines with their stops and indicates if they have a lift or other accessibility options for persons with a disability.

It is simple to navigate the metro system using the Barcelona metro map which is present on the walls of each of the metro stations. Metro maps are also present in the metro trains themselves making it simple to plot out your journey. You can also pickup a free metro planner map from the manned metro booths at the entrance to most metro stations.

The way to use the metro map is to find your journey starting metro station and your end metro station - we give you the metro stops next to all the major attractions in Barcelona in all our guides throughout the website. You can then use our metro map to plot your route. Where you see one metro line crossing with another metro line you can change lines if the map has a circle joining those two lines. You would not pay for an extra ticket if you need to change metro lines provided that your total metro journey time is not more than 75 minutes and provided you don't leave the metro system during this time.

Barcelona Metro services generally operate between 05:00 - midnight, although many lines and services open earlier on weekends or during peak times of the year and operate later into the evening. During some major celebrations in the city the metro system will operate 24 hours per day. We give a full operating timetable for the metro further down on this page. The metro system is punctual and reliable – Barcelona Metro trains run every 2 to 5 minutes at peak times – meaning Barcelona's tourist attractions are conveniently accessible without you having to wait around for too long.A great way to visit the city is to get the BCN Essentials pass that includes a special ticket with unlimited journeys along with an app with a city audio guide that covers all the main city attractions. This is like having your own personal guide to the city with the transport included. The other way that vistors can get around the city to see tourist attractions is with the hop on hop off tourist buses for which there are two main operators: Barcelona City Tours and Bus Turistic.

Ticket machines for the metro can be found at all station entrances; these accept cash payments (notes or change) as well as credit cards. You can choose your preferred language on the metro ticket booths making it easy to understand the on-screen instructions. Barcelona's metro system is an affordable option for tourists visiting Barcelona, offering excellent value for money. This article will cover the Barcelona metro system in depth and outline some of the best tickets for tourists to get on a trip to Barcelona.

The main hubs for the metro system are at Plaça Catalunya (at the top of Las Rambls), Passeig de Gracia and Plaça d'Espanya. These metro stations have multiple different metro lines that you can change at to take you anywhere you want in the city.

Barcelona metro zone system

The transport zone system in Barcelona is a way of setting prices for transport tickets depending on the distance of the destination from the centre of Barcelona. The further the distance to the destination the higher the zone number and the higher the cost of the transport ticket. The transport system includes buses, trams, and the metro system. The city is divided into six zones, with Zone 1 being the most central zone and Zone 6 the outer most zone. Most tourist visitors to the city would only be interested in travelling in the Zone 1 area which has all the major Barcelona tourist attrations including Gothic Quarter, Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Casa Battlo and FC Barcelona etc. Barcelona International Airport is included in Zone 1 however a special metro ticket is needed to travel to BCN airport from the city centre.


Barcelona metro underground system
Barcelona metro underground system

Barcelona Metro Tickets Explained

The ticket price information on this page is valid until: 

31 December 2023

Locals in Barcelona would normally use the T-Casual ticket which offers 10 rides on the metro system in one ticket. However the T-Casual ticket is not necessarily the best choice of metro ticket for a tourist visitor. Tourist visitors typically need to take many journeys per day which could easily use up the 10 journeys offered by the T-Casual. Typically tourist are in the city for around 2 to 5 days and may want to use the metro system many times without concern that their tickets will run out of journeys. In addition, tourists may wish to travel to Barcelona Airport on the metro which the normal T-Casual pass does not cover you for. There is a special metro pass that are more suited for a tourist visit called the HolaBCN card.

Our Insider Tip

The BCN Essentials pass offers unlimited travel on Barcelona's public transport, including the metro, tram, and RENFE airport train, as well as admission to the top Barcelona attractions Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. With an audio guide and interactive maps included, it's like having a personal tour guide to show you the city. Explore Barcelona at your own pace with this all-in-one pass that is sent to you by email immediately after your order.

Click here to learn more about the BCN Essentials Pass

HolaBCN Card: Barcelona Tourist Travel Pass

This card can be purchased for 3, 4 or 5 days validity. Unlike the Barcelona Card it is exclusively a travel card and does not give discounts on entrance tickets to Barcelona attractions. See our page on the Hola Barcelona Travel Pass for more detailed information on this card. One advantage of the HolaBCN card over the T-Casual ticket (see below) is that it offers unlimited journeys between the following hours:

Unlimited journeys between certain hours: 05:00 - 23:00

You can also use the HolaBCN card to travel to Barcelona airport on the metro system - something you cannot do with the T-Casual ticket.

Another advantage of the HolaBCN card over the T-Casual ticket is that you can buy the T-Casual online before your trip which can help you with your planning and give you peace of mind you have your transport costs covered before you arrive in the city.

Our Insider Tip

Buying individual tickets for each journey to see tourist attractions is not economical or time effective unless you will be making only 3 journeys on public transport. Much better is to buy the BCN Essentials Pass with unlimited metro journeys and an audio guide to all the main attractions, or, if you just want unlimited metro journeys card the HolaBCN card

Barcelona Card - Transport and Discount Ticket

The Barcelona card not only gives you free unlimited transport but it entitles you to discounts on the entrance fees to attractions, shows, restaurants and souvenir shopping etc as well.

If you want unlimited number of journeys on public transport for the duration of your holiday with discounts on activities consider the Barcelona Card. It can save you a lot of bother in buying tickets and save you money.

Barcelona Card
Unlimited number of journeys on public transport: Free

T-Casual Transport Ticket

ticket -T-Casual
T-Casual Ticket

You can buy tickets for individual journeys for the metro but if you are here for more than one day or intend taking more than 5 journeys on the metro or buses it's best to buy the T-Casual ticket (see below).

Metro Ticket Price
Single ticket: €2.40

The T-Casual ticket (Zone 1 ticket) is another type of transport card which you can purchase at the entrance to any metro station. Unlike the Barcelona Transport Card a T-Casual ticket will only entitle you to 10 journeys on the metro, FGC (FGC run train lines similar to the metro around the city centre) buses, tram and RENFE all Zone 1 areas. The main city centre areas are all in Zone 1 however note that the T-Casual is not valid to Barcelona Airport.

It is possible to buy a T-Casual for each of the other 6 zones however to see most of the Barcelona attractions in the city centre.

A T-Casual will save you the trouble of buying individual tickets for each journey as well as saving you money. If you consider the price of a normal single journey ticket you will see that with a T-Casual you can save some money  for 10 journeys.

Metro Ticket Price
Single ticket: €2.40

T-Casual ticket: €11.35
For 10 journeys with T-Casual you can save: €12.65

T-Casual is valid indefinitely within a calendar year. However the card will expire one month after the new tariffs are released in January each year.

You can buy a T-Casual from any metro stop and from the Airport at the entrance to the RENFE train. Please note that the T-Casual (Zone 1) is valid for journeys in Barcelona City Centre Zone 1 on the metro, FGC and TMB buses, Tram and RENFE. However the T-Casual is not valid on the metro to Barcelona airport.

If you need to travel outside of Zone 1 you can buy a different T-Casual zone ticket that will cover you for other zones.

T-Casual Zone 1 ticket validity for transport to Barcelona Airport?

The T-Casual zone 1 ticket is valid for some selected transport to Barcelona Airport but not others. The T-Casual however cannot be used on the Barcelona Metro to the Airport.

T-Casual zone 1 ticket is valid on the following means of transport to airport:

1. RENFE train
2. TMB airport bus N46
3. TMB night buses N18 and N17

T-Casual zone 1 ticket is not valid for the following transport to airport:

1. The airport metro stops Aeroport T1 or Aeroport T2 on Metro Line L9 Sud
2. The Aerobus (the express bus service to the airport).

For the metro journey to Barcelona Airport you need to buy a special airport metro ticket. See our page on travelling to Barcelona airport by metro for more information.

A little known point about the T-Casual ticket. The T-Casual ticket can be used on more than one means of transport and all be counted as a single journey provided that your journey is less than 1 hour and 15 minutes. This means, for example, you can make changes at metro stops (provided you don't leave the metro), then leave the metro and jump on a bus to finish your journey or vice versa as long as the total length of the journey is less than 1 hour and 15 minutes. NOTE you cannot re-enter the metro once you have left it - this would count as another journey.

If you want to see the extent of the travel Zones we have provided a link to the FGC Zone map. Please note that you will need Adobe Acrobat to read this. Barcelona train Zones

How to use the T-Casual? (or any metro ticket)

Once you've purchased your T-Casual ticket and want to use the metro you have to put the ticket into a ticket validation machine at the metro entrance. The machine checks the ticket and then marks it on the back with a printed day and time stamp. You then have to pull the ticket out of the machine slot, and in that instant, the turnstile lock is released, and you can pass through.

Each time you use the T-Casual ticket you will see how many journeys you have left on the LCD display of the ticket validation machine.

For using a T-Casual on a TMB bus there is a small ticket validation box inside the bus that you have to put your ticket in to validate it.

Take Care of your T-Casual

The T-Casual card can be damaged if you keep it in your pocket and crease it. If the card becomes unreadable by the ticket validation machine due to damage, take the card to the metro attendants box and say " Esta tarjeta no funciona" Which means this card does not work. They will then issue you with a new T-Casual card free of charge with the respective number of journeys that was left on the old card.

Thanks due to Sudir, USA for asking the above question.

Our Insider Tip

It's a good idea to have change as well as notes because some entrances are unmanned and have automated ticket machines. Some of these automated ticket machines will only accept change.

ticket booth
Metro ticket booths

Navigating the Barcelona metro system

All main entrances have a wall map to help you plan your journey. However you can also ask the ticket booth attendant for a free metro map or "mapa" to take with you.

See our page on the Barcelona metro map

Our Insider Tip

How To Estimate Your Metro Journey Time

Here is a good guideline to estimate your journey time on the metro. As a general rule of thumb allow 2 minutes per stop. Some stops are quicker and some slightly longer but over all this rule of thumb works well to give you an estimate of travel times with a little time built in for possible small delays etc.

If you need to change metro lines then add an extra 10 minutes for the change. You will only need to wait 5 minutes between trains at the most. On Sundays the metro runs a little less frequently in which case add an additional 10 minutes waiting time to your overall calculation Thanks due to Sophie, UK for asking this question.

You can find out more information about the T-Casual ticket by visiting our dedicated page on T-Casual ticket frequently asked questions.

Metro Timetable

The operating hours for the metro system are shown in the table below. Normally you won't have to wait more than 5 minutes for a train to arrive.

Metro operating hours

Month Day Time
05 and 06 January Thursday - Friday 05:00 - 02:00
January - December Monday - Thursday 05:00 - 00:00 Midnight
Friday - Saturday 05:00 - 2:00
Sunday 05:00 - 00:00 Midnight
Public Holiday 05:00 - 00:00 Midnight
24 December Sunday 05:00 - 23:00
25 December Monday 05:00 - 02:00
26 December Tuesday 05:00 - 00:00 Midnight

Important note: The operation times shown in the table above will change if there is a public holiday or "fiesta" normally the metro will operate throughout the night on the eve of the public holiday but it is recommended to check the operational hours during these times with an attendant at a ticket booth to confirm.

Barcelona City Pass

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