Hola Barcelona Travel Card: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

metro in Barcelona waiting for someone to use the Hola Barcelona Travel Card for free transport
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So, you’re thinking about taking the plunge into the vibrant streets of Barcelona? Whether it’s the allure of Gaudí’s architectural marvels, the mouthwatering tapas, or the sun-soaked beaches that have you hooked, getting around the city can be a tad overwhelming. 

Enter the Hola Barcelona Travel Card – a secret weapon for seamless travel. But with so many options out there, is it really the golden ticket you’re hoping for? 

Well, given that I live in Spain and have roamed the lively streets of Barcelona more times than I can count (usually by public transport!), I’ve got all the info you need to know on what this card is – and, importantly, if it’s worth it for you. 

In summary, what’s the deal with this card?

  • Free access to all public transport – metro, buses, trams, regional and suburban trains, and the Montjuïc funicular
  • Free metro travel to and from the airport (which is normally €10.30 for a return trip)
  • Choose between two and five days validity – so you only pay for how long your trip to Barcelona is
  • Note that you have to collect the physical card once you get to Barcelona, even when buying it online – but don’t worry, I’ve got the pickup points below

Buy the Hola Barcelona Travel Card here (it’s cheaper than buying it in person!)

metro in Barcelona waiting for someone to use the Hola Barcelona Travel Card for free transport

What does the Hola Barcelona Travel Card cover?

If you’re thinking of making your way around Barcelona with ease, the Hola Barcelona Travel Card is a practical option. Essentially, it’s a multi-day pass that gives you free access to a range of public transport in the city. 

That is, with this card in your pocket, you have the flexibility to hop onto the city’s metro, TMB buses, tram, the light rail FGC within Zone 1, take a ride up with the Montjuïc funicular railway, and even use the regional or suburban railway (Rodalies de Catalunya, Zone 1). 

Basically, if you plan to use public transport during your trip (which you should, in my opinion), this is going to be one of the best passes for Barcelona based on your travel style.

Plus, if you’re traveling to or from the airport, the card covers the airport Metro line. It’s worth noting that without the Hola Barcelona card, you’d need a separate Airport Ticket for this route, setting you back about €10.30 for a return trip.

Grab your own Hola Barcelona Travel Card here.

You can opt for a Hola Barcelona card that’s valid for 48, 72, 96, or 120 hours. But remember, this starts ticking from the moment you first use it, not by the calendar day. So, if you start using a 48-hour card at 4 PM, it’ll be valid until 4 PM two days later.

Hola Barcelona Travel Card covers Barcelona tram on Trambaix system. One of advantage of Hola Barcelona travel card.

What are the benefits of the Hola Barcelona Travel Card?

Exploring Barcelona can be simpler and cost-effective with the Hola Barcelona Travel Card. With versions ranging from 48 to 120 hours of unlimited travel, you have ample time and convenience to discover what the city offers.

The beauty of Barcelona often lies in its neighborhoods, parks, and the seafront. And while walking is a great way to soak in the city, the metro and bus network are easily the best ways to get around Barcelona

The Hola Barcelona card lets you get around efficiently, granting you access to the extensive metro, tram, and bus systems. And again, if you’re coming in or heading out via the airport, this card covers that metro route. 

If you need to pick one up after landing (whether you choose to purchase it in-person or buy it at a discount online beforehand and then pick it up on arrival) or have queries, you can head to the tourist information offices located at both airport terminals.

Tram driving green trees at street of Barcelona. One of advantage of Hola Barcelona travel card.

What are the exceptions to the Hola Barcelona Travel Card?

While the Hola Barcelona Travel Card offers a lot, there are a few things it doesn’t cover. Specifically, you can’t use it for taxis or the NitBus service. It’s also not valid for the Aerobús, given that it’s operated by a privately owned company.

Despite these limitations, the card provides a comprehensive coverage of the city’s public transportation system. Just ensure you’re aware of what’s included and plan accordingly. Barcelona is an experience, and this card helps you navigate it better.

Is the airport bus included in the Hola Barcelona card?

No, the airport bus, also known as Aerobús, isn’t covered by the Hola Barcelona card. It’s operated privately and isn’t part of Barcelona’s city bus system. That said, with the HolaBCN card, you can hop onto the metro for free rides between the airport and city center.

While the Aerobus offers a direct route and certain conveniences, the metro remains one of the most reliable and cheapest ways to travel in Barcelona, including to the airport and especially if you’re using the Hola Barcelona card. Just remember to check the metro’s timings and routes, so you’re aligned with your flight schedules or city plans.

On the other hand, if you’d still rather have the convenience of the airport bus, you can buy a ticket for the Aerobús right here.

Aerobus airport shuttle buses parked at their terminal in Placa de Catalunya in a summer day. One of advantage of Hola Barcelona travel card.

Who is the Hola Barcelona Travel Card best for?

The Hola Barcelona Travel Card is a handy choice for travelers aiming to maximize their time in the city using public transportation. If you’re planning multiple trips or hopping between attractions, this card offers both convenience and cost-saving benefits. 

It’s especially useful for those staying in the city for more than a day and want hassle-free access to various transport modes.

For first-timers or those revisiting, Barcelona is packed with sites to see. The card eliminates the need to buy individual tickets, giving you more freedom to spontaneously decide your next stop. 

Moreover, if you’re traveling with family or a group, having the card can simplify the logistics of getting around. Simply put, if you’re all about exploring Barcelona’s nooks and crannies without transport worries, the Hola Barcelona card is a solid bet.

Where can you buy the Hola Barcelona Travel Card?

You have a couple of options when it comes to purchasing the Hola Barcelona card. You can buy it directly in Barcelona from a ticket machine, or you can grab it online before your trip kicks off. Remember that buying it online gives you a discount compared to getting one in person.

So if you want to lock in that discount, buy your Hola Barcelona Travel card online here.

However, there’s a slight catch. If you opt for the online purchase, you’ll need to collect the card once you’re in Barcelona. Don’t sweat it though, there are several collection points for your convenience:

  • Airport, Terminal T1: You can find a Tourist Information Office at the Barcelona Airport. They operate from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8:30pm, and over the weekend from 8:30am to 8:30pm.
  • Airport, Terminal T2: Again at the Barcelona Airport, but with slightly different hours. From Monday to Saturday, it’s 8am to 8:30pm, and on Sundays, it’s 8:30am to 8pm.
  • Plaça Catalunya: Located at Plaça Catalunya, 17-basement, this spot is open daily from 8:30am to 8:30pm. There’s also an information booth in front of El Corte Inglés department store that’s open every day from 8:30am to 2:30pm.
  • Plaça Espanya: Head to Plaça Espanya, s/n – Avinguda Maria Cristina, where they’re available daily from 8:30am to 2:30pm.
  • Sagrada Familia: A tourist information booth is ready for you daily from 8:30am to 8pm.
  • Mirador de Colom (Columbus Monument): Located at Plaça Portal de la Pau, s/n, this spot is open daily from 8:30am to 2:30pm, but do note it’s closed on 1/1 and 25/12.

So, choose what works best for you and get ready to navigate Barcelona with ease!

The public area at the Terminal T1 of El Prat-Barcelona airport. This airport was inaugurated in 1963. Airport is one of the biggest in Europe and one of the busiest in the world. People are walking. One of the many advantage when you have Hola Barcelona travel card.

How much does the Hola Barcelona Travel Card cost?

Here’s the price of the Hola Barcelona Travel Card based on the length of the validity period you choose:

  • 48 hours (two days): €16.40 (i.e. €8.20 per day)
  • 72 hours (three days): €23.80 (i.e. €7.93 per day)
  • 96 hours (four days): €31 (i.e. €7.75 per day)
  • 120 hours (five days): €38.20 (i.e. €7.64 per day)

Alternatives to the Hola Barcelona Travel Card

Barcelona is a city with a comprehensive transport network, and as such, it has a variety of passes and cards to offer. For instance, there’s the T-Casual card, ideal for someone making multiple trips over an undefined period. The Barcelona Card also offers free transport along with discounts to several attractions.

Then there’s the T-Dia, a one-day unlimited travel ticket without the perks of discounted entry to places. Depending on your itinerary, duration of stay, and preferences, it might be worth comparing these alternatives to the Hola Barcelona card to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

What’s the difference between the Hola Barcelona card and T-casual?

The Hola Barcelona card offers unlimited rides over a set number of consecutive days, making it a top pick for tourists looking to explore extensively in a short span. On the other hand, the T-casual provides 10 trips, not bound by consecutive days.

This makes it ideal for travelers with a more relaxed schedule or those not requiring daily transport.

Basically, the Hola Barcelona card and T-casual are both useful tools to navigate Barcelona’s public transport, but they cater to different needs. It’s worth considering your travel plans and choosing the best one for you accordingly.

Girl on tourist bus happy with sunglasses in vacation with ok gesture because she has Hola Barcelona travel card.

Is there a difference between “HolaBCN” and the “Hola Barcelona Travel Card”?

Names can be confusing, can’t they? Let’s clear the air. The card previously known as “HolaBCN!” Card underwent a little rebrand in 2019. Its new avatar? “Hola Barcelona” or “Hola Barcelona Travel Card”. 

But here’s the good news – the name might have got a facelift, but everything else remains the same! 

Since both names are rooted in traveler memory, I’ll be interchanging between the two in this guide. Just remember, they refer to the same trusty card!

Where is the Hola Barcelona Travel Card valid?

With the Hola Barcelona Travel Card in hand, Barcelona’s public transport is your oyster. It paves your way for unlimited rides on the metro (Metro), city buses (TMB), trams (Tram), light rail (FGC, Zone 1), the Montjuïc Funicular, and Rodalies regional trains within Zone 1.

Why is Zone 1 a big deal? Simple. Most of the iconic sights that have made Barcelona world-famous are nestled right here. 

Plus, it conveniently includes El Prat Airport, ensuring your city-airport-city commute is sorted.

Diving a little deeper: Rodalies trains, locally known as Catalan trains, act as a link between Barcelona and its outskirts. These trains reach destinations situated over 50 km from the city’s heart, but with your HolaBCN card, it’s Zone 1 where you’ll enjoy unrestricted access.

If buses are more your speed, you’re in for a treat. The card gives you a ticket to hop on any of the 100+ city bus lines operated by the city’s TMB company. However, do keep in mind that certain specialized bus routes, especially those managed by private entities like the Aerobús (airport shuttle) or NitBus, don’t accept the HolaBCN! Card. 

Always good to double-check before boarding!

Beautiful tram in Barcelona can be used when you have Hola Barcelona travel card.

Is it worth getting a travel card in Barcelona?

In Barcelona, having a travel card can simplify your mobility and potentially save you money. However, if you’re planning to stay in Barcelona for an extended period, say, more than a week, a monthly ticket might prove more economical. This ticket gives you flexibility and cost benefits over longer durations.

Unsurprisingly, the answer on whether it’s worth getting a travel card while you’re in Barcelona depends on your travel plans and intentions in the city. 

One other example is for those not arriving by plane and anticipating minimal use of the local transport. In those cases, buying individual tickets or opting for the 10-trip T-Casual card might be more sensible. It offers versatility without tying you down to unlimited rides.

Lastly, for the passionate sightseer, the Barcelona Card could be a game-changer. This card not only encompasses all the transport benefits of the HolaBCN card but also throws in either free or reduced admissions to a host of city attractions.

Can I buy a Hola Barcelona Travel Card from the airport?

Absolutely! The Hola Barcelona Travel Card can be purchased directly from the Barcelona Airport, making it convenient for travelers to acquire one right after landing.

(Although you can also buy the Hola Barcelona Travel Card online for a cheaper price than getting it in-person and then simply collect it at the airport once you get there!)

Where to buy a Hola Barcelona card in the airport?

For travelers keen on securing the Hola Barcelona Travel Card from the airport, keep an eye out for the Tourist Information Offices. Here’s where you can find them:

  • Airport, Terminal T1: Barcelona Airport operates from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8:30pm, and over the weekend, from 8:30am to 8:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Airport, Terminal T2: This location is open from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8:30pm, and on Sundays from 8:30am to 8pm.

Remember, if you’ve made an online purchase of the Hola Barcelona Travel Card, these offices are also where you’ll collect it. 

Bonus tip: Purchasing the card online offers a 5% discount, which is a neat saving for just a little pre-planning!

The public check-in area of Terminal T1 of El Prat-Barcelona airport. This airport was inaugurated in 1963. Airport is one of the biggest in Europe and one of the busiest in the world. People are walking to check-in. One of the many advantage when you have Hola Barcelona travel card.

How do you use the Hola Barcelona Travel Card on the bus?

Using the Hola Barcelona Travel Card on the city’s bus system is straightforward and user-friendly. Upon boarding a bus, you’ll find card validation machines. Simply place your Hola Barcelona card against the reader until you hear a beep or see a validation signal.

As you board any of Barcelona’s buses, look out for the card validation machines, typically near the entrances. Approach the machine and tap or place your card close to the reader. 

You’ll know the card is recognized when you hear an audible beep or when the machine’s display confirms the validation. This process ensures your card is active and valid for the journey. 

And remember, even though the card offers unlimited rides, you should always validate it every time you board.

Touristic bus on the street. Barcelona City Tour is a new official touristic bus service that shows the city with an audio guide. One of the many advantage when you have Hola Barcelona travel card.

Does Hola Barcelona include the Aerobus?

The Hola Barcelona Travel Card does not cover rides on the Aerobus. The reason behind this is that the Aerobus operates as a private service and isn’t integrated with the city’s regular bus system. 

However, there’s a silver lining for HolaBCN card holders traveling to and from the airport. While the Aerobus remains outside the purview of the Hola Barcelona card (and you can always buy a ticket for the airport bus separately here if you prefer the convenience it offers), cardholders are not entirely without airport connectivity. 

The city’s metro system, which is covered by the card, offers efficient connections to both the airport and the city center. This provides travelers with a convenient alternative, ensuring they can transition between the airport and their Barcelona destinations without incurring additional transport expenses. 

So, even if the Aerobus isn’t an option, your HolaBCN card still makes sure you’ll have a seamless airport commute.

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