Imagine you are walking down an amber-coloured street and come across a magnificent building facade from the renowned architect Gaudí. A few blocks away, lies the imposing Picasso Museum. Everywhere you look, something interesting is happening. The atmosphere is lively and the sun is shining bright in the sky. You walk towards a local small restaurant around the corner and the delicious smell of fresh seafood being prepared is slowly involving your senses. After a delicious typical lunch, you spend the afternoon leisurely strolling through the shore, admiring the vast ocean, taking pictures of this beautiful scenario, filled with nature, children playing around, street performers, and much more. At night, a wide choice of restaurants, pubs, tapa bars and clubs are available at your disposal. If this seems like the perfect holiday, then Barcelona is the right destination for you!
Auto Europe is here to help you plan the trip of a lifetime to Barcelona. We are a leading company in the car hire industry, currently operating in over 20,000 locations in 180 countries. We offer you the flexibility of picking up your car hire in Barcelona at any of our locations in the city, including at the airport and railway stations. We also strive to provide our customers some of the lowest rates on the market, paired with outstanding customer service. Our partnership with international and local suppliers ensures our ability to provide a wide range of vehicles, including motorhomes and luxury cars. Don't wait any longer and take a look at our competitive offers right now!
Barcelona is a busy city, especially during summertime. However, the streets are easy to navigate and well signposted. It is a bit more difficult to drive in the Barrio Gótico area due to narrow streets and limited parking options. Beware that you must drive on the right side of the road, as well as pay attention to many motorbikes and scooters that often drive in between lanes. In case you want to drive to Spain's capital, Madrid, take the AP-2 and then south via A-2, as it's the fastest route (approximately 6 hours). In order to cross the border with France and reach Toulouse, simply drive north via C-16. This journey will take you a little over 4 hours. For even more helpful tips on driving in Spain, please take a look at our guide.
Although Barcelona is equipped with several parking facilities and on-street paid parking, these spaces fill up quickly due to the intense tourism in the city. Therefore, we advise you to look online for parking locator maps, which provide real-time feedback on the availability of parking spaces. Quarters such as Barrio Gótico, Eixample and Les Corts have most of the 140 car parks in town. Another good option for a 24-hour multi-storey car-park is the one attached to the supermarket across the plaza from Sants railway station. Indoor paid car parks are the safest option. The prices per hour or day vary considerably, often being more expensive when located closer to the city centre. Free car parks are located near the Vall d'Hebron and Zona Universitaria metro stations.
On the streets, the spaces where parking is allowed are normally marked in blue or green and the maximum parking period is usually two hours. In the city centre, paid parking is set every day from 8 am to 8 pm, including on public holidays. Parking rates vary from € 2,75 to € 4 per hour, depending on the zone.
Located about 7.5 miles southwest of the city centre, Barcelona-El Prat Airport is an international airport built in the neighbouring municipalities of El Prat de Llobregat, Sant Boi and Viladecans. It is the second busiest and largest airport in the entire country, handling over 44 million of passengers each year. This modern airport has two terminals. Terminal 1 is the fifth largest in the world with 258 check-in counters and 12,000 parking spaces. The second terminal, a bit older, is occupied by low-cost airlines and offers the same amount of parking spaces. There are two Tourist Information offices in the Airport, one in Terminal 1 and one in Terminal 2B.
Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN)
Address: Carretera del Prat de Llobregat, 08820 El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona
Official website: www.aena.es/en/barcelona-airport/index.html
Phone number: +34 902 40 47 04
Known for its exceptional art and architecture, Barcelona is a large cosmopolitan city, capital of the Catalonia region. It's not hard to imagine yourself spending a week here, full of unforgettable experiences. Everything from the city history museum MUHBA, the Roman archaeological sites, to the Sagrada Família Basilica and other modernist landmarks from Gaudí give Barcelona its distinctive charm. Our suggestion is to take your time strolling around and admiring the Parc de la Ciutadella, Parc de Joan Miró, the Montjuïc castle and the vibrant neighborhood of La Rambla. Visit Museu Picasso, Fundació Joan Miró and many other interesting museums dotting Barcelona. We did our best to compile a short list of absolute not-to-be-missed places that will take your breath away:
There is no other place in the world like Catalonia. This Spanish region is blessed with an absolute abundance of impressive landscapes, unique places to visit and things to do. Here you will come across an assortment of medieval villages, seaside towns, vineyards and endless nature. Nothing beats exploring the country on a road trip in Catalonia. Take advantage of your car hire in Barcelona and explore the surrounding area with one (or all!) of the following day trips:
Just two hours north of Barcelona lies the charming historic town of Begur, the perfect destination for those looking to unwind and have a relaxed time. The town is lined with gorgeous old houses and trees, and it's a delight to drive by its lanes. Here you can spend a lazy afternoon window-shopping through the small stores and boutiques along the way, and have a great meal at one of the local restaurants. Not to mention the best-kept secret of Begur: eight separate coves that form their own small beach, some with pebbles, and others with sand!
The picturesque city of Girona can be reached by driving north via AP7 for 1.5 hours. Don't be fooled by its colorful, narrow streets and sidewalks full of cafes and small shops. This ancient town has endured over 25 sieges throughout history! Nowadays, tourists can catch a glimpse of the area by walking around the imperious walls that surround parts of Girona. They were first built by the Romans and then enlarged again in the 14th century. Stroll along Onyar River to have a closer look at several Modernista mansions near the waterfront, visit Girona's Gothic cathedrals, and the many museums and art galleries.
A little over 21 miles south of Barcelona lies the coastal town of Sitges, embellishing the Costa Dorada with its 26 stunning beaches. After a nice morning sunbathing, you can stroll through the old town for a quick bite in one of the corner cafés and some shopping. Due to the high amount of foreigners living here, the cuisine is wonderfully diverse and there is something for everyone. We recommend checking out the official website of the city and look for their agenda, as Sitges celebrates many festivals throughout the year, such as Carneval and Festa Major.
This is perhaps one of the most popular day trip destinations from Barcelona, and a great way to explore the Spanish countryside with your car rental in Barcelona. The mountain, accessible by a scenic cable car or a funicular, is part of many jagged rock formations, involved by pristine nature. Apart from an invigorating hike and gorgeous landscape, here you will also see the Santa Maria del Montserrat monastery, which dates back to 10th century. Surprisingly, it is still functioning, housing over 150 monks.
Why not dedicate one day to visit another country? This tiny nation, hidden between Spain and France, is located just 3 hours from Barcelona, in the Pyrenees Mountains. Here you will also enjoy many miles of trails for trekking, as well as striking landscapes, such as mountainside vineyards. Consider staying a few days at Europe's largest spa, the INUU/Caldea compound. During the winter, enjoy a hot cup of tea in front of a fireplace and an afternoon skiing on the slopes.
Bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is situated on the north coast of the Iberian Peninsula. This Spanish metropolis was built on a plain terrain of approximately 3 miles and it is surrounded by the mountain range of Collserola, the Llobregat River and the Besòs River to the north. The climate here is mild all year round, perfect for a short break at any time - with the possible exception of October, which is the wettest month. With an average temperature of 24°C, August is the hottest month, while the coldest one is January at 10°C. If you visit the city in July, you will be pleasantly surprised with 10 hours of daily sunshine.
The excellent weather conditions attracted Phoenicians and Carthaginians centuries ago, eventually culminating in the foundation of Barcelona. The original name of the city was Barcino, most likely named after the Carthaginian ruler Hamilcar Barca. This territory was since then occupied by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors and the Frankish Carolingian. In 795, the Spanish Reconquest (La Marca Hispánica) was incited, dividing the region into counties, the most important being the County of Barcelona. He gave origin to the Catalan nation by establishing a hereditary system of succession.
Decades later, Catalonia became part of the Crown of Aragon, but Barcelona began to lose its importance and power, raising conflicts between the city and Madrid. The tense relations between counties led Catalonia to war with Spain in the 17th century, declaring its independence with the support of France. Due to this war, Spain lost the region of the Roussillon and other parts of Catalonia which are French territories to this day. Barcelona regained its importance during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, once again inspiring Catalonia's nationalist pretensions. The region consolidated its cultural identity and traditions, also demanding political freedom.
The next two centuries were marked by attempts of independence, all of which were denied by the Spanish government. Nevertheless, Barcelona remained one of the most important and attractive cities in Spain, with a distinct language and unique cultural traits. The city hosted the Olympic Games of 1992 with great international success. And in 1999, Barcelona received a Royal Gold Medal for architecture - the first and only city to be given this award. Even though political tensions are still high, Barcelona is an incredible destination, a crucial player in Spain's economy, rich in art, culture and history and home to friendly and welcoming people.
Barcelona's public transport is highly integrated, with bus lines, tram, train and metro lines. Please continue reading for more information on each.
Spanish trains connect major cities to the countryside and to other countries in over 2.000 stations. Barcelona has one of the main stations in the country, named Sants. This station is served by regional trains, Renfe and AVE, Spain's high-speed trains AVE. A trip to Madrid with the latter takes a little over two hours. In addition, Barcelona has a second station, which is underground and more centrally located. Passeig de Gràcia offers regional connections to other Spanish cities, such Valencia.
Trams in Barcelona are operated by TRAM, and consist of 6 lines and 56 stops throughout the city. Line names are a combination of the letter T and a subsequent number. Trams run from 5 am until midnight during the week, although they close at 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, trams operate until midnight. Passengers can use single tickets, valid only for the TRAM system, or integrated travel cards. The first option costs €3.15 and is valid for 30 minutes. Integrated one-day card costs start at €8.40, as the price depends on the destination zone. Tickets can be purchased on TRAM vending machines, at tobacco stores, newsstands and La Caixa branches.
Barcelona benefits from approximately 200 metro stations and 8 metro lines, which are currently being expanded. Each line can be identified by a number following the letter L and a specific colour. From the airport, the recently opened line L9s (orange) passes through the city and goes to Zona Universitaria. TBM, the company responsible for bus and metro operations, offers fares for single tickets, cards, multi-journey tickets and multi-day travel cards. A single ticket costs €2.15, while Barcelona travel cards (Hola BCN!) cost €14.50 for 48h and €21.20 for 72h. For more options, please check their official website. Tickets can be purchased on TBM vending machines and online. The metro opens daily at 5 am, until midnight. On Fridays, it closes at 2 am and on Saturdays, it runs all night.
The TBM bus network is also very robust in Barcelona, operating all day from Monday to Sunday. Most lines operate during the day, while others make nightly runs to areas not covered by the metro system. For detailed information on each line, please access the company's official website. Bus fares have the same costs as metro fares, detailed in the section above.
Taxis are abundant in Barcelona and at the airport. Official licenced taxis are painted black and yellow and metered. Different tariffs apply to different dates and time, and there is a range of extra fees and supplements that can be added. Generally, starting prices are € 2.10, but the initial fare can be higher. Keep in mind that there is an airport and cruise terminal fee of € 3.10 and the entire ride until Barcelona's centre cost about € 35.
Now that you know a little bit more about Barcelona and the incredible places surrounding it, it's time to start planning your Catalonia adventure. Auto Europe offers a comfortable and affordable way to do so, not to mention that you can plan your own journey according to your preferences! We offer a varied selection of motorhomes, catering to your every need. Contact us today to find out more about campervan hire in Barcelona - the best way to uncover Spain's hidden gems!