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Part of planning our trips always includes finding the best options to get from the airport to our hotel. Add a baby to the mix and this part of trip planning can get a little more complicated. It’s no longer just about cost and convenience, now we need to think about car seats too.
We like to pack light and avoid bringing car seats on our trips, especially if we won’t have any use for the car seat once we are at our hotel. If the city we are visiting has good public transportation that can get us from the airport to our hotel in a reasonable amount of time, that is usually the option we will choose.
So what are your options in Barcelona to get from the airport to your hotel? Here are your choices listed from most convenient to least convenient:
Private transfers are the most convenient method of getting to your hotel. This service is similar to a taxi, but instead of getting into a taxi line, your personal driver will greet you with your family name on a sign at the arrival gate. This service needs be booked in advance and will generally cost you a flat fee. The personal service tends to cost a bit more than a metered taxi. Suntransfers.com offers this service starting at approximately €40 per trip.
If you want your baby to travel safely with a car seat, a private transfer is likely your best option as you cannot be sure a taxi in the queue at the airport will have a car seat.
Taking a Shared Van
This service entails a passenger van waiting at the airport until it has collected enough passengers to fill the seats. The driver will then drop everyone at their hotels in the most efficient way possible. This is the only non-taxi option where you get dropped off at the door of your hotel. The cost of this option typically falls between a dedicated bus route and public transportation. How long it takes is a bit of an unknown, as you don't know how long you have to wait at the airport before the van is full and you also do not know if you will be dropped off first, last or in the middle. One caution with this option, given you will be travelling in a passenger vehicle (albeit a large passenger van) you should inquire ahead of time about car seat rules.
The following operators offer services from the Barcelona El-Prat Airport:
Suntransfers.com: Prices start at approximately €9.50 per person. Babies travel free, but car seats are not available for rent, nor can you bring your own.
Shuttle Direct: Prices start at approximately €11 per person. Babies must pay for their own seat. If you wish to use a baby seat, you must bring your own.
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Taking the Aerobus
The Aerobus is a convenient and affordable alternative to travel from the airport to the city center in 35 minutes. These specially designed buses have a section for luggage as well as a seating area.
You can buy your ticket three ways:
- with a credit card at the machines inside the terminals
- using cash as you board the bus at the airport bus stop
It costs €5.90 per person one way and a return ticket costs €10.20. The return ticket is only valid up to 15 days and you must keep the ticket. Public transport tickets (the Barcelona Card and T10 cards) do not work as the Aerobus is privately operated and not part of the public transportation system.
The Aerobus has two lines, one from Terminal 1 and the other from Terminal 2. The earliest the Aerobus leaves from the airport is around 5:30AM and the last bus departs around 1AM. Similarly, when returning to the airport, the Aerobus begins running around 5:00AM and the last bus leaves the city centre shortly after midnight. The Aerobus takes approximately 35 minutes from the airport to the city centre. It leaves every five or ten minutes depending on the time of day.
Both lines follow the same route:
• Begin at the airport
• 1st stop: Plaça d'Espanya
• 2nd stop: Urgell
• 3rd stop: Plaça Universitat
• Final stop: Plaça de Catalunya - located in the Gothic Quarter and near most tourist attractions. You will be dropped off and picked up by the big department store 'El Corte Ingles'. The majority of passengers get off at this stop.
The route is the same (in reverse) on the way back, with the exception of it not stopping at the Plaça Universitat stop. Check which terminal your departure flight leaves from then ensure you are on the right bus (A1 or A2) for your trip back to the airport.
Visit their website to buy tickets or for more information on fares, routes and timetables. They even have free WiFi on the bus. Children under 4 are free.
Need to rent a stroller in Barcelona?
Taking the Airport Train
The RENFE Airport Train also costs €2.15 for a single ride and you can use the Barcelona Card and T10 Transport tickets for it. Children under 4 are free. The train is a good option if you don't have much luggage.
To catch the RENFE train to the city center you have to go to the train station at Terminal 2. If you arrive at Terminal 1, you will need to catch a free shuttle bus to Terminal 2. Once at Terminal 2 follow the signs for RENFE and cross an overhead walkway. Trains run every 30 minutes from 06:00 to 23:30 and will take 25 minutes. The stops for this train are Sants Station, Passeig de Gràcia and El Clot. Passeig de Gràcia will be the most central stop to the city center. It is a ten minute walk from Plaça de Catalunya.
If you have a stroller or a lot of luggage be aware that there are stairs at the station, so you may need help getting up and down them. Also, as with everything you do at the airport, keep an eye on your belongings as pickpockets may be around.
RELATED: 7 Tips to Avoid Being Pickpocketed
Be more prepared by doing less.
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Taking the TMB Bus
Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), Barcelona's public transportation service, offers cheaper bus options from the airport to the city centre. The TMB buses cost €2.15 for a single ride and you can use the Barcelona Card and T10 Transport tickets for it. Children under 4 are free. The trade-off is that it will take longer than the Aerobus and will have limited room for luggage. Buses run every 25 minutes and can take 40-60 minutes depending on the time of day.
Your TMB options are:
• From 05:00 to 00:15: the No. 46 bus runs from the airport to Plaça Espanya.
• From 21:55 to 04:45: the N17 (from Terminal 1) and N16 (from Terminal 2) run from the airport to Plaça de Catalunya.
Taking a Taxi
Taking a taxi is normally easy - simply show up at the airport, get in line and grab a cab. This isn't the case when you have a baby. The downside is that a licenced taxi cannot be pre-booked, so you can't be guaranteed that you'll get one with a car seat. The total cost for a taxi could be as high as €30-60 when you include surcharges for airport pickup and for each piece of luggage.
We elected to take the Aerobus from the airport as it offered us a good mix of value and convenience. The journey to Plaça de Catalunya was seamless. We carried our daughter on the bus in our baby wrap, which worked well.
Using the Aerobus was simple, fast and convenient. This is the option we would recommend using if your hotel is located within reasonable walking distance of one of the stops, otherwise a private transfer is likely your best bet.
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