Public transportation is, without question, the most common way to navigate and get around Barcelona. Students can expect to use public transport, especially the metro, on a daily basis, and sometimes, several times a day.
Commutes around 25-35 minutes and sometimes more are commonplace and expected--it is simply a part of everyday Barcelona life!
Aside from public transportation, many people walk and bike from one place to another. While the metro and public transit are convenient, the city is pedestrian/bike friendly and both a great way to see the city, avoid too many connections, and get some exercise. Walking, rain or shine, is the norm when you would typically only need to go two metro stops away. A twenty- or thirty-minute walk is not long for Barcelona residents, and quite efficient!
To learn more about the different ways to navigate Barcelona, please read the descriptions below.
You can buy tickets in the bus stations, subway booths, estancos, and the Cajas de Ahorro. You can find more information on the urban transportation web site at http://www.tmb.net/en_US/home.jsp and for tram transportation at http://www.trambcn.com/. This is the link for public transportation information in English. You can find prices, maps, etc. on this site. On average, students in Barcelona spend 50 to 75 euros per month on transportation within the city.
It may be more expensive than you think to travel by taxi on a daily basis. One taxi ride within the city center will typically cost 3 to 7 euros. Barcelona has excellent public transportation. If traveling by day and you're not in a hurry, it is definitely worth it to walk or take the bus or metro. When taking a taxi, make sure that the taxi has a meter inside that is working; this will alleviate any problems you may encounter. Taxis will always charge a surcharge for leaving the airport or train station. In Barcelona, taxi drivers are known to overcharge foreigners, sometimes charging 3 or 4 times the amount that they should. Do not tip taxi drivers. If there is a supplement, it will be added automatically. Ask your Resident Director or host family what you should be charged to go to certain places. Be on alert! Make sure the car displays the name of the company and that the car has an official meter.
Flights from Barcelona to destinations within Spain and throughout Europe are frequent and relatively inexpensive. ISA resident directors can offer students guidance and travel resources.
Rail Spain has an extensive railroad system with comfortable trains. The national network is known as RENFE (www.renfe.es). Most trains have first and second class, and their tariffs are reasonable. Watch out for huge differences in prices and make sure you are not quoted the most expensive price. In addition, Eurail and student rail passes are also valid for Spanish trains. Unfortunately, no youth rail passes are available for purchase in Spain (they must be purchased in the US). Information on these passes may be obtained through ISA.
Travelers planning to visit the Spanish islands may go from the mainland using the Compañía Transmediterránea. This national carrier has good connections from the following major coastal towns: Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Cádiz, Málaga, Almeria, and Algeciras.
Bus travel is often faster and cheaper than train travel, and the standard of comfort is quite high. Many times it is the only public transportation to isolated areas. There is no national bus line in Spain, but there are many private companies. You can obtain schedules and the prices at the bus station.
A great form of transportation is a bicycle-based, urban transportation solution, called Bicing. Bicing consists of a system of over one-thousand bicycles distributed at parking points throughout the city. At each parking point, there is a fleet of bicycles and a special rack. First you must become a registered user. Registration costs about forty dollars. When you register, you receive a magnetic card similar to a credit card. To use a bicycle, you swipe your card at a parking point, and a bicycle is automatically unlocked from the rack. The first thirty minutes are free. After thirty minutes, you pay about one dollar per hour. You may return the bicycle to any parking point around the city. The system seems to be very successful. Popular parking points often run out of bicycles! Check out the pictures of the Bicing system. Noteworthy details include the sleek wheel covers, the internal three-speed hubs, the integral front and rear lights activated by automatic light detectors, the chrome-plated front luggage racks which double as locks, the rack at the parking point, and the numbered bays for each bicycle. Come to Barcelona and go Bicing! www.bicing.com
Travel Card T-10
The T-10 card offers 10 full journeys using all means of transport (bus, metro, tram, short-distance train) according to the zones to cross (from 1 to 6 zones). It is a multi-person ticket with an hour time limit. For 1 Zone: 9.25€.
Travel Card T-Dia
The T-Dia card offers unlimited journeys, in the zones defined by the first validation, using all means of transport (bus, metro, tram, short-distance train) according to the zones to cross (from 1 to 6 zones). Validity: 1 day, from the first validation until the service closes down. Single person ticket. For 1 Zone: 6.95€
Travel Card T-Mes
The T-Mes card offers unlimited journeys, in the zones defined by the first validation, using all means of transport (bus, metro, tram, short-distance train) according to the zones to cross (from 1 to 6 zones). Validity: 30 consecutive days from the first validation. For 1 Zone: 50€
Travel Card T-50/30
The T-50/30 card offers 50 full journeys using all means of transport (bus, metro, tram, short-distance train) according to the zones to cross (from 1 to 6 zones). Validity: 30 consecutive days from the first validation. Single person ticket with an hour time limit. For 1 Zone: 37€
Travel Card T-Jove
The T-Jove card offers an unlimited number of journeys within 90 consecutive days from the first validation. This card is only for travelers under the age of 25, and they must provide proof of age by means of a vlid national ID document, foreign ID document (NIE) or passport. The number of the ID document must be printed on the travel card. For 1 Zone: 100€