The Aerobus: Barcelona's Airport Bus Service
There are several ways of getting from Barcelona's El Prat airport into town, but probably the best one in terms of being affordable, quick and easy is the Aerobus. The bus runs 365 days a year, starting at 5:30am until 1am at night and the journey takes just 25 to 35 minutes, leaving you right in the heart of the city in Plaça Catalunya, although you can also alight at Placa Espanya (another of the city's major landmarks). Bonus: they also offer free wi-fi on board, so you can tweet your arrival before you've even gotten to the city centre!
Read on for more details on the bus schedule, route, ticket prices and info, or head to the official website if you're ready to buy tickets already...
Above: Catch the A1, or A2, from the central Placa Catalunya
Aerobus Route: Where Can I Catch The Bus?
If you're arriving at El Prat (this is the ONLY airport in the city... some budget carriers do also fly to nearby Reus and Girona airports), you can catch the Aerobus at either Terminal 1 (T1) or Terminal 2 (T2). There are clearly marked signs outside the arrivals gate at both terminals. Once you get outside, it's easy to spot the bus stand - just look for the big blue bus with "Aerobus" splashed across the side.
The bus has four stops on the way to the city centre - Plaça Espanya, Gran Via-Urgell, Plaça Universitat and Plaça Catalunya.
If you're catching a departing flight, you can get on the bus at any one of three stops - Plaça Catalunya (right in front the Corte Ingles store), Sepulveda-Urgell and Plaça Espanya. If in doubt we advise going to Placa Catalunya where the stops are easiest to find! There's nearly always a big blue bus parked and getting ready to go.
Make sure to check which terminal you're flying out of, as there are separate buses for T1 and T2. The Terminal 1 bus is marked "A1" and the Terminal 2 bus is "A2." If you're in doubt, just ask the bus driver to be sure.
If you mistakenly catch the wrong Aerobus, you can transfer between the two terminals at the airport, but it will take about 20 minutes.
Which Terminal Am I Flying From?
The El Prat airport website has a list of airlines sorted alphabetically, along with information about which terminal they fly from. An airline will only fly in and out of one terminal at El Prat, no matter whether it's a long or short distance flight. Ryanair, for instance, always flies to and from Terminal 2.
Here's the terminal information for a few of the most popular airlines:
Terminal 1: British Airways, Delta, Iberia, United, US Airways, Vueling
Terminal 2: Easyjet, Jet2, Ryanair
The Airport Bus Schedule
The Aerobus runs between every 5 to 20 minutes all year round, depending on the time of day. Both lines have the same schedule every day, even if it's a Sunday or a holiday. Travel from Plaça Catalunya to the airport takes about 25-35 minutes, but it's wise to factor in a bit of extra time just in case there's a lot of traffic that day.
El Prat to City Centre Timetable
For the A1/Terminal 1 line coming from the airport, buses start running at 5:35 a.m. and finish at 1:05 a.m. Between 7:30 a.m. and 10:20 p.m, buses run every 5 minutes. Before and after, they leave every 10 minutes.
The A2/Terminal 2 line is slightly less frequent. For the A2 line coming from the airport, the line runs between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. Buses leave every 10 minutes between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., and every 20 minute before and after.
City Centre to El Prat Timetable
For the A1/Terminal 1 line going to the airport, buses run from 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Between 6:50 a.m. and 9:45 p.m., there are buses every 5 minutes. Before and after, they depart every 10 minutes.
For the A2/Terminal 2 line going to the airport, buses run from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Between 7:05 a.m. and 10:25 p.m., they leave every 10 minutes. Before and after, they depart every 20 minutes.
Tickets Prices & Payment Options
Whilst it's possible to buy your tickets on the day from the driver, you will need the correct change as they don't accept big bills (which can be a problem if you've only just arrived!). More importantly, as the bus is a popular transport option, there's normally a queue to get on... however those who already have tickets are normally fast-tracked straight on board the back of the bus, so it's a good idea to buy in advance! Once you've purchased your tickets via the Aerobus website you can simply print them off and take with you. They're valid for up to 90 days.
Tickets cost €5.90 for a single or €10.20 for a return. The return tickets are valid within 15 days of taking your outbound trip. Children under 4 years of age travel for free.
You can buy your tickets online in advance via this link.
Please note, for the return journey, if you've bought a metro or bus travel ticket (like a T-10 or the Hola BCN card), this is NOT valid on the Aerobus.
More Useful Info
All of the Aerobus stops have easy access to the metro, so it's easy to continue your journey.
The Aerobus is suitable for people with reduced mobility.
The buses have lots of space designated for luggage storage. There is also an area for things like pushchairs, wheelchairs, bikes, and oversized luggage.
During the trip, the bus has a TV channel filled with information about Barcelona.
Did we mention free wi-fi?
Other Airport Transport Options
If your flight arrives or leaves outside of the Aerobus's operating hours, you will need to arrange another type of transportation. The night bus line N16 will take you to T2, and the night bus N17 takes you to T1. Both stop at Ronda Universitat-Plaça Catalunya.
You can also take a taxi to/from the airport, which will cost you about €25-€35 to/from the city centre. There may be extra charges for late night trips or for holidays. The taxi journey takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
More info on taxis and alternative transport options on this page.