Navigating travel options can often feel like trying to solve a puzzle, especially when faced with choices like which Barcelona airport to land in. And that’s even more the case when you know the consequences of getting it wrong!
Think long travel times, extra costs – and even potentially missed flights if you mess up which one you should be going to!
So if you’re gearing up for a trip to Barcelona, you’re in the right place. Living in Spain and having spent a considerable amount of time in Catalan capital, I’ve been through these terminals more times than I’d like to admit.
With me as your guide, I promise to share all the insider knowledge and tips to make your Barcelona airport experience as smooth as can be!
Barcelona Airport El Prat de Llobregat
If you’re getting ready for a trip to Barcelona, let me tell you about the main airport you’ll likely land at: Barcelona Airport El Prat de Llobregat, more commonly referred to as Barcelona or Barcelona El Prat Airport.
Situated 13 kilometers (8 miles) south of Barcelona’s city center, this airport is found between the municipalities of Sant Boi, Viladecans, and El Prat de Llobregat, from which it gets part of its name. This also makes it the only airport actually located in Barcelona.
Barcelona El Prat is a major player in the aviation scene. It’s the second-largest airport in Spain, only trailing behind Madrid-Barajas International Airport.
However, in the Mediterranean coast and Catalonia, it holds the top position. With a whopping record of over 50.2 million passengers, it proudly stands at the 6th position in the EU in terms of footfall.
The airport consists of a 2-storey passenger terminal building. On the ground floor, you’ll find 33 check-in desks and 11 boarding gates catering to both domestic and international flights.
And if you’re looking to grab a bite or pick up some essentials, the departure area features several food outlets and shops.
- Code: BCN
- Terminals: Two – T1 and T2
- Elevation: 3.8 m
- Facilities: This includes a range of shops, VIP services, car hire options, and a decent selection of restaurants and cafeterias. If you’re on the lookout for nearby places to eat, you’ve got options like Alas by Hermanos Torres, Café Pans, and more.
A useful tip: airports globally are identified by a unique three-letter code assigned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). For Barcelona El Prat, it’s BCN. So, if you’re ever unsure about your airport, just check for the IATA code!
Wrapping it up, Barcelona El Prat Airport is conveniently located, well-connected, and usually the top choice for travelers heading to Barcelona.
How far is BCN from the city center?
Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is approximately 13 kilometers (about 8 miles) southwest of Barcelona’s city center. Travel time by car or taxi can range from 20 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. There are also buses and metro lines available for the journey.
Several transportation options are available for passengers heading to the city center. The Aerobús service, for instance, provides a direct bus link from the airport to Plaça de Catalunya, one of the main squares in the heart of Barcelona.
For me, it’s the best way to get to Barcelona city center from El Prat. Buses travel both ways about every five to 10 minutes and the journey only takes around half hour, making it incredibly convenient.
There’s also the option of using the local train service, the Rodalies R2 Nord, which connects the airport with various city stations (and if you’re going through Barcelona’s biggest stations and don’t want to haul all your stuff around, you can check out some of the best Barcelona luggage storage options right here). Additionally, taxis are readily available, offering a direct route to any destination in the city.
Pro tip: The Hola Barcelona Travel Card gives you free public transport in Barcelona, including to and from the airport – which in itself would normally cost around €10 for a return trip.
It’s great for getting around the city quickly, efficiently and cheaply.
How much is a taxi from Barcelona airport to the city center?
The cost of a taxi from Barcelona Airport (El Prat) to the city center typically ranges between €30 to €40. This fare can vary depending on the exact destination within the city, traffic conditions, and any surcharges that may apply during certain hours.
Taxi meters in Barcelona are regulated, ensuring you’re charged an official rate. While the fare might be higher compared to other modes of transportation, the comfort and convenience of a direct trip to your destination can be worth it.
Taking a taxi from the airport is a popular choice for many travelers, especially if they have heavy luggage or are in a hurry. Taxis are available 24/7 outside both T1 and T2, with dedicated taxi ranks.
I will say that taking the Aerobús is much cheaper and basically just as convenient, especially if you’re staying in the city center. That said, a taxi is going to be financially worthwhile if you’re a group of four or more, so you should always weigh up your options.
How much is the metro from El Prat to Barcelona?
A single ticket for the metro from El Prat Airport to Barcelona city center costs around €4.60. This line, L9 Sud, connects both airport terminals (T1 and T2) to the city’s metro network. The ticket price includes the special airport surcharge, which is why it’s more expensive than regular city metro tickets.
The metro is a budget-friendly option for those traveling to and from the airport, as Barcelona’s public transport tickets are pretty cheap – well, at least much more so than a taxi. It provides a reliable connection, especially during peak travel times.
And don’t forget what I mentioned above – the metro to and from the airport will be FREE if you get a Hola Barcelona Travel Card. If you plan to use public transport during your stay in Barcelona, this is a no-brainer.
When traveling from the airport, it’s important to note that you might need to change lines depending on your final destination in the city.
The L9 Sud line connects to other major metro lines, making transfers pretty straightforward. However, I will say that, during rush hours, the metro can get crowded, so be prepared, especially if you’re carrying a lot of luggage.
Which airlines fly to Barcelona-El Prat Airport?
If you’re considering flying into Barcelona El Prat, it’s handy to know which airlines operate at the two main terminals.
(That said, make sure you always double check your ticket to be certain about which terminal you’re flying out from, as there could have been a late change from an airline’s “standard” terminal, for some reason.)
Let me break it down for you:
Barcelona Airport Terminal 1 Airlines
Airlines operating at Terminal One include:
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Algerie
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air Europa
- Air France
- American Airlines
- Arkia Israeli Airlines
- Asiana Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- British Airways
- Brussels Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- ITA Airways
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Korean Air
- LATAM Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
Barcelona Airport Terminal 2 Airlines
If you’re flying with these airlines, you’ll be heading to Terminal Two:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Arabia Maroc
- Air Baltic
- Air Senegal
- Air Serbia
- Air Transat
- Atlantic Airways
- AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines
- Azores Airlines
- Blue Bird Airways
- Bulgaria Air
- EW Discover
- Norwegian Air
- Norwegian Air International
- Pegasus Airlines
- Smartwings Poland
- Transavia France
- Wizz Air
This list includes only the active airlines. By that I mean that if you check the list of airlines on the Barcelona airport page, you’ll see some are marked as “currently inactive”, meaning they don’t fly into this airport at the moment but have done so in the past.
Is Wizz Air at T1 or T2 in Barcelona?
Wizz Air normally operates out of Terminal 2 at Barcelona Airport. However, always double check this information with your specific booking or with the airline directly before traveling, just in case there’s been a last minute change to the other terminal for some reason.
Wizz Air, a low-cost airline that originated in Hungary, has expanded its operations across Europe, offering budget-friendly travel options to many destinations. Given its budget-friendly nature, it’s no surprise it operates out of Terminal 2, which primarily caters to many of the low-cost carriers that fly in and out of Barcelona.
When planning your trip with Wizz Air, be sure to allocate extra time for transportation if you need to switch between terminals or if you’re unfamiliar with the Barcelona Airport layout.
What terminal does Ryanair use in Barcelona airport?
Ryanair flights depart and arrive at Terminal 2 of Barcelona Airport. As one of the largest budget airlines in Europe, this terminal is a major hub for Ryanair operations in the region. However, always ensure you double check the terminal details in your specific booking or reach out to the airline for confirmation.
Barcelona’s Terminal 2 is structured to handle a large volume of passengers, particularly from budget airlines like Ryanair. With numerous shops, restaurants, and amenities, travelers can find most of what they need before their flight.
Considering Ryanair’s popularity and the number of flights they operate daily, it’s a good idea to arrive with ample time for check-in, security checks, and boarding.
Which terminal does Vueling use in Barcelona?
Vueling operates its flights from Terminal 1 at Barcelona Airport. Being one of the major airlines based in Spain, Vueling has an extensive network flying in and out of Barcelona. As always, though, double check with your specific booking or the airline directly to ensure accuracy.
Vueling is not just a regional carrier but has also expanded its reach to international destinations. Terminal 1, being a newer and more modern terminal compared to Terminal 2, offers a wide array of services, shops, lounges, and dining options.
If you’re flying with Vueling, arriving a bit earlier can give you some extra time to explore the amenities and services this terminal has to offer.
Why is Barcelona Airport called El Prat?
Barcelona Airport is commonly referred to as El Prat, Barcelona-El Prat, or even just Barcelona. The official name of the airport is “Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport”. This designation pays homage to Josep Tarradellas, the first president of Catalonia in the democratic era that emerged after the death of General Franco in the 1970s.
In 2018, a decision by the Spanish Government led to the renaming of Barcelona–El Prat Airport to incorporate Tarradellas’ name. This decision stirred some controversy, particularly given the complex political history of Catalonia.
Nevertheless, avoiding the intricate politics surrounding this decision, travelers should primarily be aware that the airport can be referred to by its multiple names for clarity. In local languages, it might appear as Aeroport Barcelona–El Prat in Catalan or Aeropuerto Barcelona–El Prat in Spanish.
Is Barcelona-El Prat the same as BCN?
Yes, Barcelona-El Prat and BCN refer to the same airport. BCN is the IATA airport code for Barcelona-El Prat Airport, and it is widely used in airline ticketing, flight schedules, and other travel-related contexts.
IATA codes are three-letter codes that are assigned to airports around the world for quick identification. These codes are useful for travelers, airlines, and travel agencies alike.
In the case of Barcelona, whenever you see “BCN” on your boarding pass, luggage tag, or flight itinerary, it denotes Barcelona-El Prat Airport. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with such codes, especially if you’re traveling to multiple destinations, as they can help ensure you are heading to the correct location.
What is the difference between T1 and T2 Barcelona Airport?
T1 at Barcelona Airport is the newer and larger of the two terminals, and it handles a significant portion of the airport’s traffic, including many international flights. T2, on the other hand, is the older terminal and is split into three sections: T2A, T2B, and T2C.
Barcelona Airport is divided into two main terminals: Terminal 1 (T1) and Terminal 2 (T2). T1, being the more modern terminal, boasts a sleek design and offers a plethora of services, restaurants, shops, and lounges.
It was inaugurated in 2009 as a response to the growing air traffic demands in Barcelona. T2, though older, carries its own historical significance and has been renovated over the years to cater to evolving passenger needs.
If you’re flying in or out of Barcelona, it’s essential to know which terminal your airline operates from to ensure a smooth travel experience. Always double-check your flight details ahead of time, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the airport.
How to get from Barcelona T2 to T1
If you need to transfer between T2 and T1 at Barcelona Airport, there’s a free shuttle bus service that facilitates this transfer. The buses run 24/7, ensuring convenience for passengers at all times. Typically, the journey between the two terminals takes around 10-15 minutes.
When arriving at either terminal, follow the signs for the shuttle bus. They’re well-marked and easy to locate.
During peak travel times, the frequency of the shuttle buses is usually higher, ensuring minimal wait times. Nonetheless, if you’re transferring between terminals to catch a connecting flight, always allocate ample time to account for potential delays and the security checks at the next terminal.
Can you walk from T2 to T1?
No. While T1 and T2 are part of the same airport complex, they’re located a considerable distance apart. It’s not practical or recommended to walk between the two terminals. The designed infrastructure prioritizes the shuttle bus service as the primary mode of transfer between T1 and T2.
Keep in mind that there aren’t designated pedestrian paths connecting the terminals. This makes the walk potentially hazardous due to vehicular traffic.
For safety and convenience, it’s best to simply utilize the free shuttle bus service when transferring between terminals.
How long does it take to get from T2 to T1?
Transferring from T2 to T1 at Barcelona Airport via the shuttle bus typically takes around 10-15 minutes. This duration can vary based on the time of day and traffic conditions. However, it’s important to always factor in a buffer time, especially if you have a connecting flight.
The shuttle buses run continuously, 24/7, and the frequency of service increases during peak travel times. So, even if you just missed a bus, another one will be on its way shortly.
If you’re on a tight schedule, always ensure you leave ample time for this transfer. Additionally, consider the time it may take to go through security checks or any other procedures in the new terminal.
Is there a Skytrain from T2 to T1?
No, Barcelona Airport does not have a Skytrain system connecting T2 to T1. Instead, passengers can utilize the free shuttle bus service that operates 24/7 to transfer between the two terminals.
The shuttle bus system has been designed for efficiency and convenience, ensuring passengers have a smooth transfer experience. Buses are equipped to handle luggage and have frequent runs, particularly during busier travel periods.
Signage at both terminals clearly indicates the location of the shuttle bus stops, making it easy for passengers to find their way.
How early do you need to get to Barcelona Airport?
I recommend arriving at least 1.5 to 2 hours before departure for both domestic flights within Spain and for international flights from Barcelona Airport. However, peak travel times may require even earlier arrival to account for longer queues and potential delays, especially when checking in luggage or accounting for passport control.
Barcelona Airport, being one of the busiest in Spain, can have long security and check-in lines, especially during the holiday season or summer months. Besides the standard procedures, unpredictable factors like strikes, enhanced security measures, or high passenger volume can increase wait times.
To ensure a smooth travel experience, always check-in online if possible, keep your travel documents organized, and monitor the airport’s official website or your airline’s updates for any potential changes or requirements.
Is El Prat the only airport in Barcelona?
No, El Prat is not the only airport in the Barcelona area. While Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is the main international airport serving Barcelona, there are other nearby airports like Girona-Costa Brava Airport and Reus Airport that also service the region.
These airports, particularly Girona, are often used by budget airlines and can be a viable alternative depending on your travel plans.
While Barcelona-El Prat sees the majority of international and domestic flights for the region, the other airports offer unique advantages. For instance, Girona-Costa Brava Airport is closer to the Costa Brava region and might be a better option for tourists aiming for that destination.
Girona-Costa Brava Airport
Girona-Costa Brava Airport, situated approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Barcelona, is the second most significant airport in the Barcelona vicinity. This airport is located 13 km (8 miles) from the heart of Girona, a city known for its rich history and picturesque landscapes.
With its inception in 1965, Girona Airport has grown over the years, especially with the introduction of flights by the Irish airline, Ryanair.
However, it’s crucial for travelers to note that Girona Airport isn’t within walking distance from Girona city center. If your aim is to get to Barcelona, a brief bus trip is necessary to reach the city center.
From there, you can opt for either a bus or train ride to Barcelona. For added convenience, there are also direct coach services from Girona Airport to Barcelona’s heart, which are timed to match Ryanair’s flight schedules.
Handling over 1.9 million passengers in 2017 alone, the airport offers connections to various global destinations, such as Cagliari, Bratislava, Hahn, Krakow, and more. The airport’s IATA code is GRO, and it plays a pivotal role in serving the province of Girona.
- Code: GRO
- Terminals: One principal terminal, with ground and first-floor levels.
- Elevation: 143 m / 469 ft
- Facilities: The airport is equipped with shops, duty-free zones, car hire services, restaurants, cafeterias, and public transport links.
- Nearby Hotels: Notable accommodations include Hotel Vilobí, Hotel Eden Park, and Hotel Sallés Aeroport Girona.
Located just over an hour’s drive northeast of Barcelona, Girona Airport is ideal for those targeting destinations on the Costa Brava or in northern Catalonia. During the winter months, flight options might be limited, but come summer, a plethora of direct services to various European cities become available.
Major airlines, including Ryanair, Easyjet, and Jet2, operate frequent routes to and from Girona Airport. Known locally as Aeroport de Girona-Costa Brava in Catalan and Aeropuerto de Gerona-Costa Brava in Spanish, it stands as a testament to the region’s bustling tourism and connectivity.
Which airlines fly to Girona-Costa Brava Airport?
Several airlines offer routes to and from Girona-Costa Brava Airport. Here is a list of airlines that frequently operate flights to this destination:
- Air Horizont Ltd
- Enter Air
- Ryanair (RYR)
- Ryanair UK (RUK)
- Smartwings Hungary
- Transavia (TRA)
- TUI Airways
- TUI Fly Belgium
When considering a trip, always check with individual airlines for the most up-to-date flight schedules and offerings.
Reus International Airport
Reus International Airport is the furthest of the three major airports from Barcelona, located approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the south. Situated closer to the coast than Girona Airport, it’s an often-favored airport for beach enthusiasts headed to Cambrils and Salou.
One important thing to note, however, is that Reus Airport is not within a walkable distance from Reus city center. Furthermore, there is no direct coach service connecting the airport to Barcelona city center, making a transfer via Reus city center a necessity.
Reus International Airport primarily serves the city of Reus and the scenic coastal region of Costa Daurada. Positioned near the shores of Costa Daurada, it’s conveniently located just 8 km (5 miles) from the city center of Tarragona.
Moreover, it’s in close proximity to renowned attractions like PortAventura World and the picturesque Mountains of Prades and Mediterranean forests. While the airport is located 3 km (1.8 miles) from the Reus city center, it’s roughly 88 km (55 miles) from Barcelona.
As for the airport’s infrastructure, the departure area includes a boarding section with gates numbered from 7 to 12. To access gates 1 to 6, passengers must navigate through a connector.
The arrivals section, on the other hand, spans two levels. The lower level is dedicated to arrivals, baggage claim, and features three baggage carousels.
In contrast, the upper level is bustling with retail stores, food and drink concessions, and tour operators.
- Code: REU
- Terminals: One primary passenger terminal with 12 boarding gates.
- Elevation: 234 m
- Facilities: Encompassing a range of services like currency exchange, car rental offices, duty-free shopping, ATMs, meeting rooms, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a variety of restaurants and cafes.
- Nearby Hotels: Popular choices include La Boella, Hotel NH Ciutat de Reus, Mas Passamaner, and Hotel Sercotel Reus Park.
Flight availability to Reus fluctuates with the seasons. Wintertime sees fewer flights, but come summer, carriers like Jet2 and Ryanair offer regular flights connecting several European cities and the UK to Reus. Always ensure to check with individual airlines for the most recent flight schedules and services.
Which airlines fly to Reus International Airport?
The following airlines operate flights to and from Reus International Airport:
- Ryanair UK
- Sunwing Airlines
- TUI Airways
- TUI fly Belgium
Make sure to verify flight schedules and available services directly with the airline or through the official website of Reus International Airport.
What is the main airport in Barcelona?
The main airport in Barcelona is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport. Commonly referred to as Barcelona-El Prat or simply El Prat, it’s the second-largest airport in Spain after Madrid Airport. Located just 12 km (7.5 miles) southwest of Barcelona city center, it’s the primary international gateway to the city.
Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport serves as a major hub for several airlines and is known for its modern infrastructure and efficient services. With two terminals, T1 and T2, it handles a large volume of both domestic and international flights.
If you’re looking to visit Barcelona or its neighboring regions, this airport is likely the most convenient and accessible option, especially for long-haul international flights. The airport’s close proximity to the city center makes transfers quick and straightforward.
Which airport is best for flying into Barcelona?
The best airport for flying into Barcelona in terms of proximity and connectivity is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport. Being the main international gateway to the city, it offers the most frequent flight options, both domestically and internationally.
Its location just a short distance from Barcelona’s city center also provides travelers with quick and varied transport links to their final destinations.
However, the “best” airport can vary based on individual needs. If you’re targeting specific budget airlines or destinations, or perhaps visiting other parts of Catalonia, Girona-Costa Brava Airport or Reus International Airport might be more suitable.
Both these airports are served by several low-cost airlines and could offer cost-effective flight options, especially for European travelers. But, always factor in the additional time and cost required to reach Barcelona from these further-flung airports.
Which airport is better for Barcelona: Girona or Reus?
For travelers specifically aiming to visit Barcelona, El Prat Airport is the most convenient choice. However, when choosing between Girona or Reus Airports, Girona may be better given that there are direct coach services from there to Barcelona city center, aligned with Ryanair flight schedules, making the transfer relatively straightforward.
That said, when comparing Girona and Reus, the better option often depends on your travel preferences and itinerary. Both Girona-Costa Brava Airport and Reus International Airport are located over 100 km (62 miles) from Barcelona, with Girona to the north and Reus to the south.
Girona Airport might be a preferable option if you’re also planning to visit the northern parts of Catalonia or the Costa Brava. On the other hand, Reus Airport is closer to the coastal resorts of Cambrils and Salou, as well as the theme park PortAventura World.
If your trip includes these destinations, flying into Reus could be more advantageous. However, reaching Barcelona from Reus might be a tad more complicated, given the absence of a direct coach service.
When choosing between Girona and Reus, consider the overall convenience, flight schedules, transfer options, and your travel itinerary in the region.
Are there two airports in Barcelona?
No, there is only one airport located directly in Barcelona, which is the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport. However, the Barcelona metropolitan area is served by two other airports: Girona-Costa Brava Airport and Reus International Airport.
Both of these airports are situated over 100 km away (62 miles) from Barcelona and are sometimes used by travelers as alternatives due to specific airlines or routes.
While Barcelona-El Prat is the primary and closest airport to the city center, Girona and Reus are considered secondary airports. They can be more suitable for those traveling to or from certain destinations, or for those who might find more cost-effective flight options.
As mentioned, though, it’s essential to take into account the additional time and potential expense needed to travel to Barcelona from Girona or Reus.
Which airport in Barcelona does Ryanair use?
Ryanair primarily uses Girona-Costa Brava Airport and Reus International Airport for its flights to and from the Barcelona region. While the airline does operate some routes from Barcelona–El Prat Airport, a significant portion of its flights, especially budget routes, utilize the secondary airports of Girona and Reus.
For travelers using Ryanair to reach Barcelona, you need to be aware of which airport you’ll be landing in or departing from, as this can impact your travel plans, especially regarding transfer times and methods to and from the city.
How many international airports are there in Barcelona?
There are three international airports serving the Barcelona metropolitan area: Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport, Girona-Costa Brava Airport, and Reus International Airport. Of these, Barcelona-El Prat is the largest and busiest, directly serving the city of Barcelona.
While all three airports handle international flights, their size, facilities, and the volume of international traffic vary. Barcelona-El Prat primarily handles the bulk of international and domestic flights, making it the primary gateway for travelers heading to Barcelona and its surrounding areas.
On the other hand, Girona and Reus have carved out niches in serving certain destinations and airlines, especially low-cost carriers.
If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona or its surrounding regions, make sure you check flight options to all three airports, considering convenience, cost, and the final destination in the region.
What is the closest airport to the center of Barcelona?
The closest airport to the center of Barcelona is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport. It’s located approximately 13 kilometers (8 miles) southwest of the city center, making it the most convenient airport for travelers heading directly to Barcelona.
This airport is the primary and largest airport serving the city, catering to both domestic and international flights.
As the main gateway to Barcelona, this airport is well connected by various modes of transport, including buses, taxis, and a metro system. Given its proximity, travelers can reach the heart of the city in under 30 minutes in ideal traffic conditions.
However, always account for potential delays, especially during peak travel times.
Which Barcelona airport does EasyJet use?
EasyJet primarily operates from Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport for its flights to and from Barcelona. Being a major low-cost carrier in Europe, EasyJet has a significant presence at this airport, providing numerous routes connecting Barcelona to other European cities.
For those flying with EasyJet, this means the convenience of landing in the primary airport closest to the city.
Even with that though, when planning a journey, it’s always a good idea to check the specific terminal and details of your flight, as Barcelona-El Prat consists of multiple terminals which can have different airlines and destinations allocated to them.