A couple years ago, we were not sure if the Barcelona Card really packed enough bang for the buck. In fact, our conclusion was simple: the Barcelona Card? Not for us. This year, we’ve changed out minds a bit, and offer you another look at this discount card.
What to consider before buying
The Barcelona Card is about €28 for a two-day pass, and this includes a paper guidebook that comes with the card. You really need to ask yourself: How much of an effort am I going to make to use this card?
If you make a point to go to the museums, restaurants, bars, and shows discounted through the card, then yes, you are going to save yourself some dinero. If you simply use it a few times and then lose it or forget about it, then you would be better off just sticking with the Articket (or nothing at all).
Many of Barcelona’s museums are free with the card—however, some of them that the card lists, like CaixaForum, are free anyway!
You’ll find some good museums on the Barcelona Card’s free-entry list (Museu de Ceramica, Museu Chocolate, Cosmo Caixa), but none of them are must-see museums. Rather, they are more specialty museums that will appeal to travelers with more time on their hands in Barcelona, or with a certain enthusiasm for say, Spanish and ceramics.
The big dogs of Barcelona museums (El Palau de la Musica and Casa Batllo) are only 20% off with the Barcelona Card, and many other must-see monuments, such as the Sagrada Familia, aren’t covered by the card at all.
Transportation and other perks
One perk that the card does offer is free public transportation around the city and to and from the airport. This part of the card I appreciate.
For ten trips on the Metro in Barcelona, you will pay €8 (if you buy the T-10). A ride to the airport on the airport bus? That’s another €5, one way. So you are looking at €15-20 in transport (depending how long you are in the city and how much you want to walk, of course), which you could deduct from the Barcelona Card price.
The card also offers some nice discounts on the zoo, IMAX theater, and aquarium, so if you have kids it might pay off. I am not impressed by the discounts the card offers at local restaurants or shops, but I do like the 10% off at bars Dry Martini and Gimlet.
Again, it comes down to whether or not you will remember to use the card after two dirty vodka martinis…
The bottom line
To conclude, as a local here in Barcelona, I am neither for nor against the Barcelona Card. It is not something I will insist that my friends buy when they come to the city for a visit, as I do with the Articket. However, if you are going to spend a week in the city, then this card could save you some cash. And, with the dollar taking a serious beating from the euro, that might be a really good thing.