The Barcelona bus system

The Barcelona bus system allows visitors and residents to enjoy first class travel around the city at reasonable prices – 24 hours a day. There are in excess of 80 lines making up the system and the stops are easily identifiable – red signs situated above brown benches and usually underneath a small roof structure.

The buses are one branch of the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona, forming an integrated network with the metro, the Rodalies train network, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat urban lines and the tram system; this really is a comprehensive operation.

If you buy a single ticket on a Barcelona bus then the cost will be €1.35 but much better deals can be had by buying the available Tourist and Leisure Cards. These allow access to all the various elements of the public transport system – not just the buses.

Cost of Barcelona Tourist and Leisure cards:

  • 2 day ticket: €10.70
  • 3 day ticket: €14.30
  • 5 day ticket: €23.10

Prices correct February 2009

These tickets are available at TMB Customer Service Centres, Barcelona Tourist Information Offices and Metro ticket offices. At these places, and tobacconists, you can also pick up detailed route maps of the various bus lines. Additionally, you might be fortunate enough to find one of these in your hotel. And, unlike in some European countries, you can buy a ticket on the bus itself – but try to have the correct change, if you can!

If you’re using one of the cards, there are machines on each bus that will read the card automatically and, again, they’re straightforward to operate. Residents can buy their own version of these cards that can cover monthly or termly periods and can even buy Family Cards. The excellent TMB website has all the details.

Disabled passengers will find that the vast majority of the buses in Barcelona have wheelchair access, with many having wheelchair lifts.

Barcelona also has a useful Nitbus service, which covers 16 of the major routes – 12 of which pass through Plaça Catalunya – and operates until 4.30 in the morning. These buses conveniently call at many of the most popular clubs in the city and some even go to the airport.

Once you have an idea of the geography of Barcelona, the bus can make for a convenient, and cheap, way of getting yourself around the city. It’s certainly more scenic than the metro!