Barcelona metro is one of the favorite means of transport to go around the city as it is fast and easy to use since distances in Barcelona are not very big, the average time for commuting from one place to another one is 20 minutes. The metro network goes around the city and gets into nearby cities too such as Cornellà, Santa Coloma and Badalona among others.
The underground started in 1924 with the green line, currently line number 3, this changed completely how Barcelonians moved around the city. Right know we have different metro lines, 8 to be exact: L1 -red-, L2 -purple-, L3 -green-, L4 -yellow-, L5 -blue-, L9 -orange-, L10 -light blue-, L11 -light green-.
If you are moving through touristic zones you will be picking up most likely, the yellow, purple and green lines. In the map below, it shows different means of transport, the underground lines that are specified in the legend with the schedule, the fgc lines -metropolitan train, L6, L7 and L8-, the tram lines -called T1, T2, T3 and are green- and some train lines appear too with and R symbol in orange. With the R2 line you go to the airport for example.
Public Transportation Passes
There are different transportation passes to go around the city to use with the metro and/or bus, the prices below are subject to change -2015 prices- but they will give you an idea of the cost and which ticket is the best for your travel plans.
Single ticket- Bitllet senzill: 2.15 euros
A good way to visit the city is walking, if you like to wind around the city, the single ticket might be your choice for when you are tired and want to head to the hotel taking the metro or the bus. If you are going to use the public transport less than 3 times a day and only for a day or two this will be your ticket of choice. However if you share the ticket with a colleague the T-10 is a multi person pass and has 10 journeys, or if you use it more than 4 times a day, the T-dia or the Hola Bcn! passes might be the best. It truly depends on how much do you plan to use the transport and how, there are plenty of options and if you do it well you can save some pennies too.
T-Dia: 7.60 euros
If you are going to use a lot the transport in a single day, the T-Dia is your choice, it allows you to do unlimited journeys during a day, from the first validation to end of service. Bear in mind that it is an Individual travel card.
T-10: 9.95 euros
The T-10 is probably one of the most used cards since it is a multi-person travel card valid for 10 journeys, if you are visiting the city you will move around zone 1 which is the capital, there are up to 6 zones that go to the surrounding are of the city. For zone one users,you have 75 minutes between the first and the last validation of the ticket if you are changing lines or mode of transport, within that time it will count only one journey.
Barcelona Travel card by days: Hola Bcn!
There are travel cards by days, to use unlimited times during the course of 2 days up to 5 days cards, the card includes metro and bus (tmb), local trains (fgc), tram and regional trains (called Rodalies de Catalunya-this is the one that gets you from and to the airport by train). Bear in mind that it is an Individual travel card.
The prices are: 2 days is 14 euros, 3 days is 20.5 euros, 4 days is 26.50 euros and 5 days is 32 euros
Be advised that there are more integrated tickets than the ones explained above but those are for a month in different modalities, trimestres etc...More for locals or if you plan to spend a long time in Barcelona. If you wish to check out what other tickets are available, you can see them all in tmb metropolitan transport network.
Where to buy metro tickets
There are different places to buy metro tickets in Barcelona, the most usual one in the same metro station there are vending machines and also a ticket office that is manual in most of them. You can also buy them in a tobacco shop or in a lottery ticket stall. Some of the integrated cards can also be bought online, such as the Hola Bcn! which are the unlimited day passes.
Take into account that since TMB is the same company who runs the metro and the buses in the city, the same ticket is valid for both transports, so you can mix and match the journeys with metro and bus combined in the same ticket.
You can see the time table below of the underground but there are a couple of local tips I would like to give you:
If you take the metro in the morning in weekdays, note that normally people start working at 9am, so picking up the metro from 8.30 to 9 might be a nightmare and the wagons are completely full. My advice is either wake up a bit earlier or go some time after 9 and you will have a much more pleasant journey.
In the morning in peak hours as well as in the afternoon for weekdays, the metro runs faster, a train every minute and a half or so. At the weekends and during the day in non-rush hours, it can take from 2 minutes something up to 7 minutes or more if it is late at night close to the closing hours.
You will hear all the time in the metro announcements that there are pickpockets all around you and you should keep your belongings safe and pay attention, don't ignore the message. Barcelona is a very safe city but it is a sweet for pickpockets, being one of the most touristy cities in Europe and they are getting cleverer every time. Watch out, keep your bags with you all the time and follow my local tips to avoid being robbed in Barcelona and what to do in the event that you get robbed.
Disclaimer: metro bcn drawing by Alex Raventós