The Barcelona Card: Tourist Discounts
Planning to do plenty of exploring during your time in the Catalan capital? Read on. The Barcelona Card is a city pass for tourists which entitles them to unlimited free public transport (including from the airport), free admission to many great museums, and decent discounts to pretty much all of the city's most popular attractions. It is available for both adults and children (4-12 years of age) and you can choose between cards which are valid for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days. All versions of the card come with a free city map, and a small guide book to help you navigate. (Hint: you might find our free Barcelona travel app for iPhone more handy!).
At the bottom of this article you'll find a comprehensive list of what's included with the Barcelona Card, but to help you consider the major pros and cons, let's start with the prices and what major attractions are included, either for free or with a discount.
Barcelona Card Prices
City Card 2 days adult - 29 euros
City Card 2 days child - 25 euros
City Card 3 days adult - 35 euros
City Card 3 days child - 30 euros
City Card 4 days adult - 40 euros
City Card 4 days child - 32 euros
City Card 5 days adult - 47 euros
City Card 5 days child - 37 euros
Click on the link to buy the Barcelona Card online via recognised vendor Bcn.travel, who handily offer a 10% discount, or head to the official website. German speakers can follow the link to read more in Deutsch and also buy the Barcelona Card online. When purchasing you'll need to specify a start/activation date, but bear in mind that if you arrive late in the day it could be worth specifying the day after your arrival as a start point (so you get maximum use of each day).
Barcelona Card: Main Benefits
One of the main benefits of buying a card is that they entitle you to free public transport all around Barcelona, including the metro, buses (day and night, FGC city and suburban train network, trams, train to the airport and Renfe trains zone 1. Of that the free metro is particularly handy, as several great sights, like Gaudi's Park Guell, are outside walking distance from the centre. Whilst your feet might also appreciate being able to get to La Sagrada Familia via the underground, and Montjuic mountain is best accessed from Placa Espanya metro station (for the Magic Fountain) and Paral-lel (for the cable car up to Montjuic Castle). To calculate the value of this, consider that a T-10 ticket card costs a bit over 8 euros for 10 journeys and a busy tourist might get through one such card every 2 days.
As you can also travel from Barcelona airport to the centre via public transport this is also included in the card. However you will firstly need to redeem your voucher (assuming you have bought your Barcelona Card online) at one of the airport's tourist offices (open until 9pm) and then, card in hand, make your way to Terminal 2, to board the train. (This journey would only cost 3.15 euros anyhow - or just 80 odd cents if you buy a T10 and use one of your 10 journeys instead!).
There are nearly twenty museums and attractions advertised as free with the Barcelona Card and, although they don't tend to be the most expensive "must see" sights that you've already heard of, there are certainly some gems. The National Museum of Catalan Art occupies one of the grandest buildings in Barcelona and enjoys a dramatic perch overlooking the Magic Fountain (so could to put these close together on your itinerary). Inside three floors of art take you from medieval Romanesque iconography up to the dazzling and brave paintings of the 20th century. Lesser known the Frederic Mares Museum and Chocolate Museum are editorial faves. Cheekily included on the list are some attractions that are free anyway, like the Caixa Forum (worth reading up on though as they have some great rotating exhibitions).
Everybody loves a discount, don't they? Well here's where things get exciting, but you may need a calculator to work out how much you're going to save. Definitely worthwhile are the 20% Barcelona Cardholders get off Gaudi's La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Picasso Museum, Poble Espanyol, Joan Miro Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Art and Tapies Foundation, whilst less impressive is 2 euros discount when entering La Sagrada Familia and the paltry 5% discount for the FC Barcelona Museum (...with Messi's wages they obviously can't afford to be too generous).
Finally, also included in the Barcelona Card are discounts for several other of cultural and leisure pursuits, such as 20% for most performances at the Liceu Theatre and Palau de la Musica, reductions on several popular flamenco shows, 20% off tickets to the Aquarium and Barcelona Zoo, and a range of discounts (10-30%) for a raft of decent quality places to eat, health and beauty spas and other tourist activities.
Barcelona Card: What's Included? (Full list)
Free full-colour guidebook and city map.
Free unlimited use of public transport.
Free entry to 18 of Barcelona's top visitor attractions
Discounts to many more, plus to activities, restaurants and shops.
Free Museums and Attractions
A list of all the museums and attractions you can enter for free with the Barcelona tourist discount card:
Barbier-Mueller Pre-Columbian Art Museum
Design Hub Museum
City History Museum
Frederic Mares Museum
Botanical Gardens Museum
Museum of the Pedralbes Monastery
MNAC (Catalonia's Art Museum)
List of Discounts
Archeological Museum (30% Off)
Gaudi House Museum (15% Off)
CCCB (20% Off)
Erotic Museum (20% Off)
Egyptian Museum (30% Off)
Francisco Godia Foundation (20% Off)
Mirķ Foundation (20% Off)
FC Barcelona Museum(5% Off)
Catalonia History Museum (30% Off)
MACBA (20% Off)
Picasso Museum (20% Off)
La Pedrera Museum (20% Off)
La Sagrada Familia Museum (2.00 Euro Off)
Wax Museum (20% Off)
Colonia Güell (20% Off + free audioguide)
Museum of Ideas & Inventions (20% Off)
European Museum of Modern Art (20% Off)
Tāpies Foundation (20% Off)
Suņol Foundation (25% Off)
Casa Batllo (20% Off)
Mies van der Rohe Pavilion (20% Off)
Poble Espanyol (20% off)
Gran Teatre del Liceu (20% Off)
Palau de la Musica Catalana (20% Off)
Free Leisure/Entertainment Activities
Mirador de Colom
Torre de Collserola
Circuit de Catalunya
List of Leisure/Entertainment Discounts
Cable Car (2.00 Euro Off)
Aquarium (20% Off)
Go Cars (10 Euros Off)
Casino (10% Off)
Imax (20% Off)
Parc d'Atraccions del Tibidabo (20% Off)
Poliesportiu Maritim Centre de Talassoterapia (20% Off)
Zoo de Barcelona (20% Off)
Illa Fantasia (20% Off)
Tour 3D RCD Espanyol (20% Off)
Port Aventura (20% Off)
Ice Bar Barcelona (20% Off)
Is It Worth It?
And now what you really wanted to know: is it worth buying a Barcelona card when visiting the city? Well that really depends! The free public transport is probably worth 3-5 euros a day, so provided you get to at least two or three attractions a day you should at least cut even. The longer the card's validity the better value for money - the 2 day card works out at nearly 15 euros a day, whilst the 5 day card is just over 9 euros a day. However remember that if you're in town on a longer holiday you might want to spend at least one afternoon/day on the beach recovering from a hangover. Which is free. A good alternative, if you just fancy focusing on some of the most prestigious of Barcelona's cultural attractions is the Art Ticket BCN (www.articketbcn.org/en). For that you get seven big-hitters, La Pedrera, Picasso Museum, CCCB, MACBA, MNAC, Joan Miro Foundation and Tapies Foundation for free with the 25 euro card (which is valid for 6 months).