The Barcelona tourist bus – an ideal way to see the city

The Barcelona Tourist Bus run by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) will readily confirm the opinion of those people who consider that there are few better ways of acquainting yourself with a new city. These ‘hop on, hop off’ buses give you the ideal opportunity of getting your first glimpse of all the major tourist attractions, familiarising yourself with the layout of the city and perhaps bringing your attention to somewhere you hadn’t previously considered exploring.

The tourist bus in Barcelona, the Bus Turistic, is undoubtedly one of the best of its kind in Spain as it offers so much more than just a sightseeing trip.

Barcelona’s tourist bus actually has two different routes for visitors to take. In fact, there is a third route, the Green Route, during the summer – of which more later. The two major routes, however, are the Red and Blue Routes, which both begin at the Plaça de Catalunya.

The Red Route, which is the Northern Barcelona route, takes visitors past iconic landmarks such as the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s amazing Parc Güell and the modern Art Museum of Barcelona, MACBA. It also goes to Barcelona Football Club, thus allowing visitors to go to Barcelona’s busiest Museum!

The Blue, or Southern, Route goes up to Montjuic and the Olympic Stadium and Montjuic castle, as well as to the World Trade Centre, Museu Marítim, the Zoo, Port Olímpic and the edge of the Gothic Quarter.

Both of the routes, stopping at 42 sole-purpose stops, will take you two hours – providing you don’t decide to get off and wander around. Personally, I like to take the whole trip and then decide which places I want to re-visit and spend time at. The first buses leave Plaça Catalunya at 9 in the morning and they keep departing until 8 in the evening in the summer or 7 pm during the winter. At busy times, they might run as frequently as every five minutes or so, whereas out of season it’s more likely to be about every 25 minutes.

Prices for 2009 are €21 for adults and €13 for children between 4 and 12. If you want to be more leisurely, though, you can buy a 2 day ticket for either €27 or €17, respectively. Please bear in mind, however, that the 2 days must be taken consecutively.

With your ticket, you can jump on and off the buses as many times as you want and, with some stops common to both of the routes, it is a straightforward matter to change between the two. When you get your ticket you’ll be given a good route map, which will prove to be useful during the whole of your stay, and the bus itself has a guide giving information as you travel along.

Also worth getting are the numerous discount vouchers that you’ll be able to use at many of the places you’ll want to visit during your stay in Barcelona.

The third route mentioned earlier, the Green Route, operates from March to September and takes visitors from Port Olímpic out to the Forum and the City Centre.

I can say, without fear of contradiction, that a journey on the tourist bus in Barcelona is the perfect introduction to this compelling and vibrant city.