Getting from GRO to Barcelona city centre
By Duncan Rhodes
Just over an hour’s bus journey north of Barcelona, Girona’s airport is a good alternative if you can’t find a flight into El Prat. If you need some info on getting the bus or booking an airport transfer, you’re in the right place…
Built in 1965, Girona Airport was originally used as a transport node to service sun-seekers on their way to the nearby Costa Brava, and today many holiday makers still land here en route to the likes of Lloret de Mar, l’Estartit, Cadaques, Calella and Tossa de Mar. However things changed dramatically for Girona’s sleepy runways way back in 2003 when Ryanair chose the airport as one of its main European hubs, mainly to deliver hordes of wild weekenders and city breakers into the stylish, bar-filled streets of Barcelona.
In fact Ryanair now fly to Barcelona’s El Prat Airport as well, not to mention Reus, but there are still plenty of flights landing here in Girona and the 92km journey into Barcelona’s city centre is in fact all but painless. (More details on transfers below!).
If you are coming to BCN via Girona airport and do have the time we’d definitely recommend spending a night in Girona itself (also known by the Catalan spelling ‘Gerona’). Whilst this inland city can’t boast any beaches, its Old Town overlooking the river is one of the most beautiful in Spain, and makes for a great romantic stop off. You can also make your way North, instead of South, and explore the Pyrenees and Andorra – a tract followed by skiers and snowboarders every winter.
Practicalities-wise, the airport is very small, and relatively quiet with around 5 million passengers flying through a year, which does at least making getting through security relatively painless. However, as you might expect, there are a couple of decent cafes, several ATMs and most of the very basic facilities you’d hope to find in any airport.
The easiest way to get to and from Girona airport and Barcelona city centre is by bus. Sagales are a private company which time their buses to co-incide with Ryanair flights and generally speaking the service is excellent. For the journey into BCN simply swing a right out of the terminal building in Girona and you’ll see a kiosk selling tickets – and hopefully a nice coach waiting for you. The bus will drop you off in Barcelona’s central Estacion du Nord (North Station) in about 1 hour and 20 mins. On the way back rock up to the same Estacion du Nord 15 minutes before your bus is scheduled to depart, head into the station building and upstairs. At the far end of the 1st floor (that’s 2nd floor to Americans!) you’ll find an isolated ticket booth. Un billete al aeropuerto de Girona por favor and you’re on your way. A one way ticket costs 12 euros. To prevent being in the right place, but at the wrong time, we strongly recommend you check the bus timetable on Sagales’ website.
The most convenient and naturally the most expensive option for getting into Barcelona is via taxi. Expect to pay around 120-150 euros – not too bad if you’re sharing. Unlike most airports there aren’t guaranteed to be a host of cabs out front waiting for you, so might be best to book your airport transfer ahead with a private company…. see below.
If you’re not loaded enough to go around flagging down taxis whenever you touch down in foreign climes, but far too rich to put up with the plebs on the bus then the private airport transfer strikes a happy medium between comfort and cost. It’s kind of like having your own chauffeur but instead of a stretched limo you get a slightly battered looking minivan. They work the same though. (We’re researching a reliable company for you to call right now!)
If you’re determined to make life difficult for yourself you could get a local bus into Girona city centre and then take a train to Barcelona’s Sants Station. Journey time 1 hour and 10 mins, tickets around 8 euros. The only time this is worth it would be if you want to spend the night in Girona, in which case you can travel easily to Barcelona the following day by rail.
About the Author
Duncan established Barcelona Life in 2009, whilst freelancing for the likes of Conde Nast, The Guardian, Easyjet Magazine, CNN Traveller and many more. From interviews with Ferran Adria to revealing the secrets of the city’s poetry brothels, he knows the city inside out… and shares all his best tips right here.