Arriving into Barcelona is a piece of cake. Most people will fly, but you can get here by train or car pretty easily. The Spanish roads are great and buses will take you right across the country! Saying that, if you’ve got a lot of baggage, a long-distance bus may not be the easiest option.
Taxi is a more common option than you might expect, especially among those bringing a few bags with them. It’s only €30 to get dropped off at your door, and saves an awful lot of hassle.
Then there’s the Aerobus - a direct bus service that runs every 5-10 minutes (€5.90 for a single), and drops you off at either Plaça de Espana or Plaça de Catalunya, though there are plenty of other stops which may suit you more. There’s also the TMB (number 46) and the NitBus (night bus - number N17) which can take you into town, though they take a little longer and are less frequent.
If you prefer the train, there are RENFE services running a couple of times per hour, and the journey is around 25 minutes. All in all, it’s a pretty easy trip and you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding your way.
Motorbikes are pretty popular around the city, so if you have a licence and want to be the coolest guy on campus, do it. For the rest of us mortals, the public transport system is superb, and the weather is nice enough that you can almost always walk or cycle comfortably.
For using the metro, tram, buses and commuter trains, you buy a single "public transport ticket" which lasts 75 minutes and works on all of them. It’s based on duration, so you don’t need different tickets for each mode of transport. Guide prices:
Single – €2.15
10-journey pass (single zone)– €9.95
Monthly pass (single zone) – €53.75
Air-conditioning! The entire subway system stays cool and comfortable even during the hottest months of summer, making it a great way to navigate the city in the heat. It’s also very punctual, clean and quick. If you’re going more than a 10-15 minute walk, a monthly pass (€53.75) could make your life a lot easier!
The Bicing (CityBike) system in Barcelona is one of the easiest and most comprehensive in Europe, though it’s also one of the most expensive. There are over 6,000 bikes and 420 stations across the city, so they’re pretty much always available. An annual pass costs €47.16, which entitles you do 30 free minutes per hire. You can dock the bike after 29 minutes and take out another (or the same one) and get an additional 30 free minutes, ad infinitum.
It’s about €1.50 per hour if you go over the limit, and €4.50 after two hours. Compared to rival cities, like the city bikes in Vienna, which costs €1 upfront and you get an hour free at a time, this is pretty expensive and many locals will choose to use their own bikes, being more financially beneficial in the long run.
The bus system in Barcelona is well-established and runs very smoothly, covering the entire city via all major hotspots. They’re usually less crowded than the subway, and many people enjoy travelling around in the sunshine rather than underground, so catching a bus is a good option.
Unlike many major cities. Barcelona taxi fares are quite cheap! You can cover a 15-minute journey for just €10, so if there’s a couple of you it’s not much more expensive than the subway. They are also very handy if you’re in a tight spot and are rushed for time! There’s no Uber in Spain, so no point checking on that.
Of course you can walk across any city in the world, but in Barcelona it’s easier than most - the city centre really isn’t that big. A great way to get to know your way around, and top up the sun tan, consider walking if you aren’t going too far or in a big hurry.