By Regina Winkle-Bryan
You’ve just landed in Barcelona at T1 or T2 and you can’t wait to get into downtown and tuck into some tapas. You could take a public bus, or the RENFE train, or a cab, or the Aerobus from the airport to the city center. Which one is the best choice? This depends a bit on where you’re staying and how much time you have. As a local and frequent flyer I take the Aerobus. Here’s why:
Aerobus is a bus service that connects the airport with the center of Barcelona leaving every 5 minutes, every day of the year. That means no waiting 20 minutes for a train or a bus, or longer if it’s a holiday. I get to the airport, I get my bag, I get on the Aerobus…there is always one right about to leave.
Depending on traffic, the Aerobus takes about 35 minutes to get into town from either of the airport terminals. The route covers strategic points in the city, such as the Eixample and Pl.Catalunya. Aerobuses are adapted for people with mobility problems and have large areas for luggage (though you should always keep an eye on your bag, even on the Aerobus).
Taking RENFE or the public bus is cheaper than Aerobus, which is almost 6.00 euros for a one-way ticket. FYI: It’s less expensive to get a round-trip ticket on the Aerobus for 10.20 euros. Though more expensive, Aerobus is much less of a hassle. Unless you’re staying in the left side of the Eixample, taking RENFE almost guarantees a station change or a ride on the metro. No big deal, right? Well, keep in mind that many metro stations do not have elevators. Do you really want to haul your luggage up all those stairs? Do you really want to squeeze your bags into a crowded metro? Also, RENFE only leaves from T2, the old terminal. It isn’t connected to T1, which is the new terminal where most international flights land. If you’re coming in on RyanAir then RENFE may be a good option, but if you’re flying in on KLM, not so much.
If you catch the Aerobus from the airport to Barcelona, look for a host or hostess handing out Touristcheck coupon books. Inside you’ll find all sorts of deals and discounts. These coupons are free. Touristcheck hosts also sell a map of the city called The Curious Guide to Barcelona. This is not your average map but one featuring weird Catalan traditions and quirky sites like where to play a game of ping pong or where to have an excellent vermouth. My kind of map! It’s a local’s guide to the city, and a useful map, too.
Full disclosure: our good friend Gonzalo is one of the masterminds behind the map. But I was taking Aerobus long before Touristcheck came along, and will continue to take it in the future. We don’t get any commission or anything for mentioning his maps and Touristcheck, we just honestly love the project and think it’s a good value for you, dear reader.
One thing that is not a good value though, are the new HOLA BCN metro tickets, also sold on the bus. You’re better off just buying a normal T10 at the metro station.
So there you have it. Get the Aerobus, get the map, get into town fast, get the free coupon book, and get a smooth vermouth to start a perfect stay in the city!
How do you like to travel to and from the airport in Barcelona?