Barcelona-El Prat airport is the largest of three airports in the Barcelona area (the others are Girona and Reus) and serves most international flights. It lies 13km south-west of Barcelona city.
There are two terminals, 4km apart.
The train station is in Terminal 2. Be aware that you need to budget extra time to get to there if you arrive at Terminal 1.
How to get between terminals
There's a free, green shuttle bus running between the terminals every 6-7 minutes, 24 hours a day.
Traffic in Barcelona is notoriously heavy, so the train is your best option into the city.
The RENFE R2 train runs from the airport every 30 minutes to the central stations of Estacio Sants (for trains to many other parts of Spain), Passeig de Gràcia and El Clot stations from 05:42-23:38. Journey time is 20-25 minutes.
When returning from Barcelona, make sure you take the 'R2 Nord' train, as the R2 doesn't go to the airport.
If you're travelling with a lot of luggage, a taxi may be a better option for you, as trains can be full and there's limited space for bags.
Cost: EUR 4.10 one-way (buy a 4-zone ticket)
Tip: Buy a T10 ticket for EUR 9.95 and get 10 journeys on Barcelona's metro, bus and tram systems, as well as the RENFE train (unfortunately not valid for the airport)
Buying tickets: There are ticket machines, displaying several languages, on the right-hand-side as you enter the station. Be sure to buy the T10 from the machine marked ATM (Autoritat del Transport Metropolità) and not the RENFE machine
Location: Terminal 2, Area B, take the same set of escalators that lead to departures and cross a covered bridge across the main road (if you arrive in Terminal 1, take the free shuttle bus to Terminal 2, taking 10-15 minutes)
The journey into Barcelona takes 20-40 minutes, depending on traffic. Make sure to queue at a taxi rank, waiting until you are offered a taxi by a person in a hi-vis jacket. Flagging down taxis is not allowed. You may find yourself having to pay supplementary fees for things like large luggage, more than four people in a seven-seater, and drop-off or pick-up at Estacio Sants.
Cost: Around EUR 30 to central Barcelona, fixed fee of EUR 39 to port area (minimum fare of EUR 20, so beware if you're staying near the airport)
Location: Taxi ranks outside Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 (at Areas A, B and C)
Aerobus (with free Wi-Fi) is also a good option and can drop you off at key locations throughout the city, including Plaza Catalunya, Gran Via-Urgell, Plaza Universidad and Plaza España. Buses leave every five to 10 minutes from 05:35 to 01:00. Journey time is around 35 minutes.
Cost: EUR 5.90 single, EUR 10.20 return (within 15 days)
Buying tickets: On the bus (cash), at ticket vending machines inside the terminal (Visa or MasterCard) or online (www.aerobusbcn.com/en/buy-tickets)
Location: One stop outside Terminals 1 and three stops outside Terminal 2 (Areas A, B and C)
For a cheap and cheerful route in to the city or surrounding areas, you can take lines 46, L77, L99, PR1, PR2 and PR3 and the nightbuses, N16 and N17. Check the Barcelona airport site (www.aeropuertobarcelona-elprat.com) for times and routes.
All of the car rental companies sit together in a row in each terminal, so they're easy to find. As Barcelona Airport is relatively small, the companies have cars that can be picked up within walking distance of the office.
Go to Terminal 1, Floor 1 (ground floor), arrivals hall, before security, and you can choose from:
Note: car rental companies describe airports as 'Premium Pick Up Points', and so add a surcharge for picking your rental car up from the airport. On arrival at the airport, if you head to the Tourist Information Desk they'll provide you with a list of car rental companies in Barcelona itself.
If you feel the need to relax before heading into the city or in between flights, we recommend a stop at the Aqua Urban spa in the M3-M4 promenade.
The spa offers a variety of treatments including massage, facials, body treatments, hydrotherapy, manicures and even hairdressing. If you’re pressed for time, take advantage of their Wellness Express menu which includes quick treatments that last between 10 and 25 minutes.
Location: Terminal 1, after security, Departures, Floor 1, opposite Pau Casals and Joan Miró lounages
All foreigners and Spanish citizens residing outside of the European Union are entitled to a Value Added Tax refund at the end of their trip in Spain. We recommend keeping your receipts from any purchases over EUR 90.15 made while in the city so you can receive your VAT refund.
You must fill out a form declaring the objects purchased and be prepared to show the Guardia Civil all of the items declared. After visiting the Guardia Civil you may bring your stamped invoice to the VAT refund locations.
Locations are: to La Caixa (open 7:30 to 22:00), Global Blue (Floor 1 office open 6:00 to 21:30 for Schengen departures; Floor 3 open 7:00 to 12:00 for international departures) or Global Exchange (open 24 hours) to receive the refund.
Be aware that you may only exchange Global Blue invoices in those offices.
The BAH is located just a few kilometres away from El-Prat airport, and is a modern, convenient and comfortable hotel. You'll find up-to-the-minute flight information displayed in the lobby and amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, free wi-fi and a 12,000 square-metre garden. They also provide a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport.
We recommend relaxing with cocktails and tapas at Alabastro Bar, which features a virtual pianist.
Location: Plaça la Volateria 3, 08820, El Prat de Llobregat (north of the airport on the C31 road)
Cost: From EUR 71.50
Access to VIP-Lounges except Business Center: Holders of associated airline business class tickets and club cards or admission charge: Adults EUR 25.50 / Children EUR 13.
Barcelona is one of the pickpocketing capitals of the world. Many travellers have reported having items stolen when going to and from the airport. This also applies to the trains connecting to airport transports.
Be vigilant and never leave your bag unattended.
Lounges: The VIP-Lounges offer plenty of power outlets. Check out our section on 'Lounges'.
In public spaces: There are 12 mobile phone charging 'vending machine' type units distributed throughout the two terminals. They have six boxes with four types of connectors to charge different electronic devices. There are nine in Terminal 1 and three in Terminal 2.
Terminal 1, Sky Centre
Terminal 1, Boarding Area B
Terminal 2B, Floor 1/M3
Terminal 2C, Floor 1/M1
Of the nine stations installed in Terminal 1, seven are located near the food court and two at the beginning of the ‘sword’ (enclosed glass terminal). The Terminal 2 stations are distributed between modules 1 and 3.
Showers are available in the Lounges Pau Casals, Joan Miró and Business centre (for more information view the benefit "Lounges") and in the air rooms of the airport hotel, Terminal 1, floor 1.
Terminal 1 is a shopper’s paradise, offering plenty of shops if you need to do some last minute shopping. We recommend Thinking Barcelona for unique Catalan products that represent the culture of Barcelona and the province of Catalunya.
For wonderful textiles, check out La Mallorquina for locally crafted quilts, towels, and the like.
For a professional place to work or teleconference with a client, head to the well-equipped business centre. The centre offers waiting rooms, lounges with workstations, and internet. There are also meeting rooms and company offices. You will also have access to a restaurant, wellness centre, and VIP accommodation rooms.
Location: Terminal 2
Opening hours: 24-hr
If you have a layover with enough time to visit the city, you don’t want to be weighed down by your bags. Use the airport's luggage storage facilities, managed by Excess Baggage, to keep your items safe. Unfortunately there are no longer self-service lockers at the airport.
Cost: EUR 6 per item for the first two hours and EUR 10 per item every 24 hours thereafter (reduced rates for 7+ or 14+ days, and extra charge for bulky luggage)
Terminal 1, before security, Floor 0, lowest level of Plaza Hall (open 24hrs)
Terminal 2, before security, Floor 0, Area B, check-in area (open 06:00-22:00)
for access to departure times, security waiting times, Airport Wi-Fis, lounge access and more Barcelona International Airport (T1)