Barcelona El-Prat Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe, with millions of passengers traveling each year. If you are on a layover in Barcelona, you can find many options to make the most of your time and experience some of the city’s highlights. Here you can find our tips on how to make the most of your layover in Barcelona El-Prat Airport.
How long of a layover do I need to see Barcelona?
The amount of time you need to see Barcelona during a layover depends on what you want to see and do.
If you want to see the city’s top attractions and landmarks, such as La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, or the Gothic Quarter, you will need a layover of at least 6-8 hours. This will give you enough time to travel to the city center, explore the attractions, and return to the airport in time for your connecting flight.
If you have a layover of 12 hours or more, you can see more of the city and visit some of the lesser-known attractions, such as the Picasso Museum, the Montjuic Castle, or the Barceloneta Beach. This will give you enough time to enjoy the local food and culture, and get a sense of the city’s unique atmosphere.
However, keep in mind that traveling to the city center and back can take time, especially during rush hour traffic, so it’s important to plan your time wisely and factor in enough time for security and immigration procedures at the airport. It’s always a good idea to check with your airline about any visa or transit requirements before you travel.
As a summary we can say that, the length of your layover will determine how much time you have to see Barcelona. Regardless of the length of your layover, plan ahead, research the city, and make the most of your time to have an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Before You Go: Layover Tips
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your layover in Barcelona:
- Check Your Luggage: If you have checked luggage, consider storing it at the airport to make your trip to the city center more comfortable. The airport has luggage storage services available for a fee.
- Explore the Airport: Even if you’re staying at the airport, there are plenty of things to do and see, such as shops, restaurants, and art exhibitions. Take some time to enjoy a meal or a drink, do some shopping, or take a stroll through the airport’s art displays.
- Connect to Free Wi-Fi: The airport offers free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal, so you can stay connected and productive during your layover. You can also charge your devices at one of the many charging stations located throughout the airport.
- Relax in a Lounge: If you’re looking for a comfortable and quiet place to relax during your layover, you can visit one of the airport’s lounges. The lounges offer a range of amenities, such as comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, and complimentary food and drinks.
- Take a Guided Tour: If you have a longer layover, you can consider taking a guided tour of the city. There are several tour companies that offer private or group tours of Barcelona, allowing you to see the city’s top attractions in a few hours.
- Visit the City Center: If you have a layover of at least 6-8 hours, you can visit the city center and explore some of the top attractions, such as the Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, or La Sagrada Familia. Barcelona’s efficient public transportation system makes it easy to get around the city.
- Enjoy Local Cuisine: Barcelona is famous for its food, and there are plenty of restaurants and tapas bars to explore. Try some of the local specialties like paella, patatas bravas, or cava.
- Plan Ahead: Before you arrive in Barcelona, research the airport and the city to get a sense of the layout, transportation options, and things to do. Make a list of the top attractions you want to see or the restaurants you want to visit, and have a backup plan in case of delays or changes to your itinerary.
Make sure to plan ahead and factor in the necessary time for transportation, security, and immigration procedures when you come back.
A Few Hours Layover / About 6-8 Hours
If you have a layover in Barcelona Airport of at least 6-8 hours, you have enough time to explore the city center and visit some of the top attractions. Here is a step-by-step guide to make the most of your time:
- Clear Immigration and Customs: After you arrive at Barcelona Airport, clear immigration and customs if you are traveling from an international location.
- Store Luggage: If you have checked luggage, you can store it at the airport to make your trip to the city center more comfortable. Most airlines offer luggage storage services for a fee.
- Decide on Transportation: Choose your preferred mode of transportation to get to the city center. Options include Aerobus, train, metro, taxi, or private transfer.
- Visit the City Center: Once you arrive in the city center, explore the top attractions, such as La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, or the Gothic Quarter. Visit some of the traditional markets or neighborhoods to get a taste of local life.
- Enjoy Local Cuisine: Barcelona is famous for its delicious food, and there are plenty of restaurants and tapas bars to explore. Try some of the traditional dishes like paella, seafood, or cava.
- Relax and Recharge: After a busy day of exploring, you may want to relax and recharge before heading back to the airport. Visit one of the city’s many parks or squares, or enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine at a local café.
- Return to the Airport: Make sure to factor in enough time to return to the airport, check in for your flight, and clear security and immigration procedures. Remember that airport security procedures may take longer than expected, so give yourself enough time to arrive at the gate before boarding.
A Longer Layover / More Than 12 Hours
If you have a layover in Barcelona Airport of 12 hours or more, you have enough time to explore the city center in more depth and see some of the lesser-known attractions. Here is a step-by-step guide to make the most of your time:
- Clear Immigration and Customs
- Store Luggage
- Decide on Transportation
- Visit the Top Attractions: Once you arrive in the city center, visit the top attractions, such as La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, the Gothic Quarter, or Casa Batlló. Take your time exploring each attraction and soak up the local culture.
- Discover Lesser-Known Attractions: If you have already visited the top attractions, take some time to explore some of the lesser-known areas, such as the El Raval neighborhood, the Poble Sec area, or the Montjuic Castle. These areas offer a glimpse into local life and culture.
- Indulge in Local Cuisine: Barcelona is known for its food, and there are plenty of restaurants and tapas bars to explore. Try some of the local specialties like fideuà, escalivada, or crema catalana.
- Relax and Recharge
- Take a Guided Tour: If you want to see more of the city or learn about its history and culture, consider taking a guided tour. There are several tour companies that offer walking tours, food tours, and night tours.
- Return to the Airport
Getting from Barcelona El-Prat Airport to City Center
There are several transportation options available to get from Barcelona Airport to the city center:
- Aerobus: The Aerobus is an express bus service that runs between Barcelona Airport and the city center. The bus departs every 5-10 minutes from both terminals and makes several stops in the city, including Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Espanya. The journey takes about 35-40 minutes and costs around €5.90 one-way or €10.20 round-trip.
- Train: The RENFE train service runs from Terminal 2 of Barcelona Airport to the city center, with stops at Sants Station, Passeig de Gracia, and Estació de França. The journey takes about 25 minutes and costs around €4.20 one-way. If you arrive at Terminal 1, you can take a free shuttle bus to Terminal 2 to catch the train.
- Metro: The Barcelona Metro system offers a direct connection between the airport and the city center. The L9 Sud line runs from both terminals to Zona Universitària, where you can transfer to other metro lines. The journey takes about 30 minutes and costs around €4.60 one-way.
- Taxi: Taxis are readily available at both terminals of Barcelona Airport. The journey to the city center takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic, and costs around €30-40.
- Private Transfer: You can book a private transfer service in advance to take you from the airport to your hotel or destination in the city. This option offers convenience and comfort, but can be more expensive than other options.
An Overnight Layover
If you have an overnight layover in Barcelona El-Prat Airport, you have several options to make the most of your time and rest up for your next flight. Here are some tips for an overnight layover in Barcelona El-Prat Airport:
- Book an Airport Hotel: If you plan to stay overnight at the airport, book a hotel near the airport. There are several options to choose from, including the Sleep&Fly hotel, which is located inside the airport, and several hotels located within a short distance from the airport.
- Relax in a Lounge: If you do not want to book a hotel, you can relax in one of the airport lounges. There are several lounges available, including the Sala VIP Pau Casals lounge and the Sala VIP Joan Miro lounge. These lounges offer comfortable seating, food and drink, and other amenities to make your stay more enjoyable.
- Enjoy a Meal: Barcelona Airport has several restaurants and cafes to choose from. You can enjoy a meal at one of the airport’s many eateries or grab a quick snack at a café.
- Shop or Browse: If you have some time to spare, explore the airport’s many shops and boutiques. Barcelona Airport has a variety of stores, including luxury brands, souvenir shops, and duty-free stores.
- Get Some Rest: If you are tired, take a nap in one of the airport’s quiet zones or rest areas. These areas offer a peaceful space to catch some sleep and recharge before your next flight.
- Return to Your Departure Terminal