If you are travelling to Barcelona, there are many different things that you need to consider. How will you get there? Where will you stay? What are you going to visit? The list of questions can seem endless and sometimes it can feel a bit of a headache, especially if you are planning it all yourself! Luckily for you, we are here to help with this article. Below we will share our top tips that will help you plan your dream trip to this wonderful city.
If you are planning to fly to Barcelona and will park at the airport, then make sure to arrange your airport parking in advance. It may not be at the top of your priority list, but if you book parking early, it could save you a lot of money for the fun things on your trip!
Plus, it is easy to find great parking deals by booking in advance, especially if you use a comparison website. Parkhero is a great example, if you are travelling from the UK, as it has an easy-to-use comparison tool that will find you some of the best prices in just seconds. Say you are looking for parking at London Gatwick, all you need to do is enter the airport, select your travel dates and hit ‘Search’. In just a few seconds you get a list of the available parking services ranked from the cheapest to the most expensive. You can add further filters if you are looking for a certain type of parking, such as shuttle or valet parking, and there are clear icons to show you in one glance the facilities at each car park. This website makes it simple to save both time and money for your trip and you can easily find a similar one for your country with a quick search online.
The secret to finding great value flights to Barcelona or anywhere else is being flexible. Most people want to travel at the weekend to minimize the number of days off they need to take. This means that you can find some good bargains by travelling during the week and at less convenient times of the day.
You should also consider flying to a less popular airport. While it may mean a slightly longer transfer to your destination, you can make great overall savings due to a cheaper flight. We will explore the airport options in more detail below, but instead of flying directly to Barcelona El Prat Airport, you can fly to nearby Girona or Reus Airports. This can also allow you to split your trip easily between Barcelona and the Costa Brava, as these airports are better situated for the coast.
Choosing your Airport
The nearest airport to Barcelona is El Prat, but Girona and Reus are just a transfer away and make great alternatives. Below we will explore your travel options for each.
El Prat de Llobregat Airport
Known as El Prat or Barcelona International Airport, this airport is just 13km to the south of the city and is well-connected by public transport to the city centre. As one of Spain’s biggest and busiest airports, you will have no difficulty in finding flights to and from El Prat with multiple flights per day to popular destinations. Some of the most popular airlines include Ryanair, Transavia, Wizz Air, Iberia, Vueling, Qatar Airways, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.
As it is so close to the city, there are fantastic public transport links to El Prat. Your options:
You have easy access the city centre on the L9 Sud line. While it doesn’t stop at Plaça de Catalunya, Estació Sants or Plaça España, you can easily take a connecting service on the route. The tickets cost around €5, runs every 7 minutes and takes around 45 minutes.
This is the fastest transfer to the city taking around 35 minutes. It is the best option if you want to get to Plaça de Catalunya or Plaça España. The cost of a ticket is around €5.90 and they can be bought online or at the machines located outside the airport terminals.
Taking a taxi is the best option for those with lots of luggage. However, this is the most expensive transfer option between €25 and €35.
Whether you are looking for cheaper flight options of plan to explore other areas of Catalonia before heading to Barcelona, Girona is a good choice. It is situated around 100km from Barcelona in the north and is a popular option for budget airlines. Girona itself is also a beautiful city that is worth exploring!
The main airlines serving this airport are Ryanair and Transavia with many of the transfer options aligning their departure times based on the flight schedule of these airlines.
Your transfer options:
To get to Barcelona you will first need to take a bus or taxi to Girona Train Station. From there either take a regional train taking 90 minutes for €8 or the AVE express train taking just 40 minutes for €17.40.
Line 602 will take you to Barcelona via Girona. It takes 75 minutes (runs every 20 to 25 minutes) and costs around €20.
There are fixed fares to Barcelona of €127 during the day and €140 during the night and at weekends. The journey takes about 80 minutes.
Reus is the furthest of the three airports from Barcelona at 120km to the south of the city. It is a popular choice for the Costa Brava, especially for resorts like Salou. The airport is a hub for Ryanair, easyJet, Transavia and Jet2.com.
For late-night flights, make sure to check that your preferred transfer option is available.
Your transfer options:
The bus timetable depends on the flight schedules, so you do not have to worry about there being one available for you. The journey to Barcelona takes around 120 minutes and costs just €3.
You will find taxis outside the terminal building, but for journeys to Barcelona they are not recommended. It takes around 80 minutes by car and costs about €185. It is much better value to take the bus!
When booking accommodation, you need to consider how much time you are going to spend in it. Accommodation in Barcelona is notoriously expensive and in high-demand, so you do not want to spend more than you need to.
Websites such as Booking.com and Trivago.com are a great way to find good value accommodation. They have simple to use filters that can help you find exactly what you are looking for. It is also worth making an account with these websites as they will often send you a discount code.
Top tip – if you find a hotel or rental you like the look of on one of the websites above, make sure you check out the prices with the accommodation directly. Sometimes it can be a lot cheaper, especially if you reach out to them.