Tourist discount cards can provide great value and a major convenience. But, they can also create a major headache when trying to evaluate their value. Today, we turn to Barcelona…
The Barcelona Card
The city-run Barcelona Turisme office issues the Barcelona Card as a two-day pass (€25), three-day pass (€30), four-day pass (€34), and five-day pass (€40). Prices are 20% cheaper for children, and all passes booked in advance on the official website receive a 10% discount.
Benefits of the card are varied. Pass holders enjoy, among other things:
Is the card a good deal?
Well, it’s complicated. We fired up our old Commodore 64, tapped out some quick algebra equations and came to this conclusion: The card isn’t for us.
Quite simply, most of the museums offering free admission with the card are not on our list of “must visits,” or, if they are, they’re already pretty cheap. (For example, the Botanical Garden only costs €3.50 full-price.) Most of the museums that we’re certain to visit offer only discounts. (For example, the Picasso Museum is 50% off €9, the chocolate museum is 30% off €3.90, and three major art museums are only 20% off their admission charges of €6-8.50). Other non-museum discounts would just get lost in the shuffle (although we appreciated the 20% discount offered by the Michael Collins Irish Bar).
The transportation savings, however, could make the card a deal. If you were already going to purchase a three-day city transit pass for €13.70, you could upgrade to the Barcelona Card three-day pass for €30, which would include the transit pass. Is it worth the addition €16.30? Perhaps, if you take advantage of the 12 free museums. You decide.
After all the calculations, we had stressed ourselves out trying to make it work. That’s no way to spend a vacation.
A better option: The articketBCN
We prefer the cheaper (and less-stressful) articketBCN, which offers free admission to six major art museums in Barcelona for €20 and is valid for six months.
Museums include the Museu Picasso, Fundacio Caixa Catalunya, Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), CCCB, MNAC, and Fundacio Joan Miro. Tickets may be purchased at any of the museums or at the tourist information center. We’d combine our articket with a T-10 pass transit book of 10 rides on the Metro or bus for €6.90.
And then we’d chill out and enjoy some art!