Now that you’ve decided to visit Barcelona, it’s time to figure out the best way to get from the Barcelona airport to the city centre. Thankfully, the Barcelona El Prat Airport (the BCN Airport) is only 15 km from Plaça de Catalunya, a transportation hub in the Barcelona city centre. In this post, we review the 6 best methods of transportation from the Barcelona Airport to the city.
This post about airport transportation is written for all visitors to Barcelona, but if you are visiting Barcelona with a baby or toddler, we also provide the information and recommendations you need to make the best & safest choice for your family. It’s no longer just about cost and convenience, now you need to think about Barcelona car seat laws as well.
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7 Ways to Get From the Barcelona Airport to City Centre
So how do you get from the Barcelona El-Prat airport to your hotel? We have listed your airport transportation options in order of convenience:
1. Private Transfer from Barcelona Airport to Your Hotel
Private transfers are so convenient, we believe they are the best way to get from the El Prat airport your hotel. Instead of getting into a taxi line, your personal driver will greet you at the arrival gate with your family name on a sign. Who doesn’t love that?
Private transfers from the airport to the city need to be booked in advance and will generally cost you a flat fee. The convenience and personal service of a private transfer from the BCN Airport straight to your hotel isn’t as expensive as you’d think. In fact, airport transfers are often the same cost as a taxi from the Barcelona Airport.
Families needing to travel from the Barcelona airport to their hotel with a baby will appreciate the ability to pre-book an infant car seat. This is the safest method of airport transportation for your baby to travel and it respects local car seat laws.
We have booked private transfers several times after trans-Atlantic flights with our kids. After such a long travel day with kids, we simply love the affordable luxury and pure convenience of this airport transfer service.
Welcome Pickups is a Barcelona airport transfer service which provides private transportation from the Barcelona airport to directly to the door of your hotel, all for the same price as getting in line for a BCN airport taxi. Welcome Pickups is baby-friendly and offers complimentary infant car seats if requested at time of your reservation.
In addition to your convenient airport transfer, Welcome Pickups simplifies your trip planning by offering essential products (such as local SIM-cards or mobile hot spots) and experiences (such as tours, day trips, restaurant suggestions, etc.).
2. Barcelona Airport Taxi or Uber
If you aren’t traveling with a baby or toddler, then taking an Uber or Barcelona airport taxi to city centre is simple and fast, though it will likely be your highest cost option. The cost of a taxi from Barcelona airport to city centre could be as high as €30-60 when you include surcharges for airport pickup and for each piece of luggage.
For new parents traveling from the El Prat airport to their hotel with a baby, a Barcelona airport taxi is not a good option. Licensed Barcelona taxis cannot be pre-booked and the odds of randomly finding a Barcelona taxi with a baby seat is virtually nil. Same goes with taking an Uber with a baby from the El Prat airport – you can’t reserve an infant seat.
If the speed and convenience of a taxi or Uber appeals to you, but you don’t want to bring your car seat, we recommend a private airport transfer to your hotel.
3. Take the Aerobus from the Barcelona Airport to the City
Taking the airport bus from the Barcelona airport to city centre is a convenient and affordable alternative to private transfers, taxis or Ubers. The Barcelona Aerobus travels from the El Prat airport to Plaça de Catalunya in the city center in just 35 minutes. This specially designed airport bus has a section for your luggage and offers free Wi-Fi onboard.
If you are traveling to Barcelona on a budget, the airport bus is one of the cheapest Barcelona airport transfer options. A one-way ticket on the Barcelona Aerobus costs €5.90 per person, while a return ticket costs €10.20. Children under 4 are free on the Barcelona airport Aerobus.
Parents traveling to Barcelona with a baby or toddler will appreciate not needing to bring a car seat on the Aerobus.
We used the Aerobus for our trip to Barcelona with our baby as our hotel was only a few blocks away from Plaça de Catalunya.
4. Barcelona Airport Shuttle Van
Booking an airport shuttle to your hotel is a good option for solo travelers to get from the Barcelona airport to their hotel. Aside from private transfers, Ubers and taxis, airport shuttles are the only transportation from the Barcelona Airport directly to your hotel. The cost of an airport shuttle typically falls between a dedicated bus route and public transportation.
The trade-off is that airport shuttles can take longer. An airport shuttle van waits until it has collected enough passengers to fill the seats. The driver will then drop everyone at their Barcelona hotels in the most efficient way possible.
We do not recommend this method of BCN airport transportation for families visiting Barcelona with a baby as you will need to bring your own car seat to comply with Barcelona car seat laws.
Shuttle Direct offers Barcelona Airport shuttle services from the El Prat Airport. Prices start at approximately €13 per person, so keep in mind if your group is 3 or more, it will likely be cheaper to enjoy the very convenient service of a private transfer with Welcome Pickups.
Still planning your trip? Read about Spain with a baby (includes, Barcelona, Cordoba, Madrid & Seville)
5. Barcelona Airport Train
The RENFE airport train from the Barcelona airport to the Barcelona city center is a good option for travelers with little luggage.
Trains depart the Barcelona El-Prat airport train station at Terminal 2 every 30 minutes from 06:00 to 23:30. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes with stops at Sants Station, Passeig de Gràcia and El Clot. Passeig de Gràcia is the most central train station to the city center.
The RENFE Train is the cheapest airport transportation to city centre at only €4.50 per person one way, with children under 4 for free.
Parents traveling to Barcelona with a baby won’t need a car seat on the RENFE airport train. There are lots of stairs at the train station, so you may need to use a baby carrier or lug your travel stroller up the stairs.
Also, as with everything you do at train stations in Europe, keep an eye on your belongings as pickpockets may be around. You may be interested in our tips to avoid being pickpocketed.
6. Public Transportation from the BCN Airport to the City Centre
Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), Barcelona’s public transportation service, offers a Metro from Barcelona airport to the city centre. The journey on the L9 Sud line costs €4.50 for a single ride and will take roughly 30 minutes.
Taking the airport metro is best for travelers with hand luggage and without children. The L9 Sud metro line takes you to the Zona Universitària station, which is near Barcelona city centre. From here you’ll need to transfer to another line to get to the city center metro stations (Plaça de Catalunya, Plaça Españya or Estació Sants).
TMB also operates a public transportation bus from the Barcelona airport to Plaça Espanya. The No. 46 bus runs from 05:00 to 00:15.
7. Rent a Car at the El Prat Airport
It’s so easy to get from the Barcelona Airport to city centre without a rental car, that we offer renting a car at El Prat as a last resort option.
For parents visiting Barcelona with a baby or toddler, we recommend not traveling with your infant car seat. As described above, there is a wide choice of baby-friendly transportation from the Barcelona airport to your hotel. Once at the hotel, you’ll find Barcelona is a very walkable, baby-friendly city with good public transportation. Your car seat will take up a lot of space and collect dust in your hotel room.
Get Free Public Transportation with the Barcelona City PASS
If you plan on seeing many of Barcelona’s top attractions, consider purchasing a Barcelona City Pass. This popular discount card includes free admission to over 30 top Barcelona attractions as well as unlimited use of Barcelona public transportation, including the El Prat airport.
Find a Hotel Near Barcelona’s Transportation Hubs
If you choose one of the Barcelona airport transportation options above, staying at a Barcelona hotel near your transportation hub will reduce your need to walk with luggage or take a taxi. We use Booking.com as we like their lists of family-friendly hotels. See the top family-friendly Barcelona hotels near the transportation hubs on Booking.com:
- Barcelona El-Prat airport hotels
- Plaça de Catalunya hotels (Barcelona Aerobus, Barcelona Metro)
- Sants Station Hotels (RENFE Airport Train, Barcelona Metro)
- Passeig de Gràcia Hotels (RENFE Airport Train)
- El Clot Hotels (RENFE Airport Train)
- Zona Universitària hotels (Barcelona Metro)
- Plaça Españya hotels (Barcelona Metro)
Are you looking for a baby-friendly Barcelona hotel? Make an excellent choice with one of our 6 baby-friendly Barcelona hotels.
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.