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Barcelona is small enough that you can walk most places, but big enough that you will probably want to hop on the Metro or grab a ride at some point. Here’s the scoop on how to navigate Barcelona on a budget.
The Metro is the fastest way to get from point A to point B in the city. Buy a T-10 card for €7.70 (good for ten journeys on the Metro or bus) and you’re on your way (tickets and cards are sold in the Metro entrance; cash or credit card). The Metro is not dangerous unless you are going way out to the outskirts late at night. Open from 5 AM to 12 midnight Sunday through Thurs; 5 AM to 2 AM Fridays, and all night long Saturdays.
You might be intimidated by the bus system with its multicolored route maps. Never fear, it’s easier than it looks! It is much slower than the Metro but more scenic. You can use the same T-10 cards on the bus and the Metro. If you don’t have a card, you will have to buy a ticket—but be warned: the bus driver will only accept small change.
If you’re planning to travel outside of Barcelona, the train will be the obvious transportation choice. The trains that serve Catalonia are called the Cercanias (‘the close ones’) and the company is RENFE.
Here’s a tip: Don’t buy your RENFE tickets online. Go to the office. The RENFE website is a bit of a mess, although you can usually find the train departure times and locations on it with relatively little hassle. The main train stations are Passeig de Gracia and Sants Estacio.
Renting a bike for a day is not expensive (€7-15), and it’s a fabulous way to explore the city (just be prepared for riding in traffic!). A word to the wise: Do not leave your bike unattended. Check Bike Rental Barcelona, which offers bicycles rentals from €10.
Taxi fares are relatively reasonable, especially if you are a group of three of four people and can split the cost. Most rides across town will run you about €10. At night and on holidays, however, taxi prices are more expensive. Taxis to the airport will run about €25-30, and they will add a surcharge for your luggage.
Check out our Barcelona city guide for more Cheapo advice on planning your trip.