Barcelona Airport is the second biggest airport in Spain—the main one for Catalonia. In 2016, 44 Million passengers used Barcelona Airport, however, as a busy and popular airport, it’s a well-organised travel point.
Barcelona Airport provides sufficient comfort to its visitors, regardless of their point of interest. Business travellers, parents with small children, and travellers that are in need of special care will find this Airport suitable to their needs. As a large airport—and seventh busiest airport in Europe—Barcelona Airport may not have everything you wish for, but for sure has everything you need—as a business or leisure traveller.
Barcelona-El Prat Airport is located 13 km from Barcelona city centre, meaning the drive will take about 30 minutes. The C-31 highway is the fastest route, despite the usual traffic. Closer to the city centre you’ll get, the heavier the traffic will get, but you’ll manage, since the drivers are not as aggressive as in some other cities—like Naples or Rome.
Majority of better hotels in the city centre hotel have an underground garage, but you can use the alternative as well. You can cross your fingers and try to find a parking spot at the Barcelona Bus terminal Estación de Nord, and then hail a taxi. Uber is forbidden in Barcelona, but there are a few taxi companies there with a similar concept. Easytaxi and Hailo are app-based taxi services that are user-friendly for those that prefer to have a silent drive with minimal conversation and helping with navigation.
If you’re not in a hurry and wish to drive closer to the coastline or have a reservation in one of the hotels near Barceloneta beach, you can turn right to Av. Del Paralelo. This is the best route if you wish to reach Playa de la Nova Icaria or Casino Barcelona as well. If you have a meeting scheduled at the Barcelona business centre, just pass the World Trade Center Barcelona and then turn right and follow the signs.
If you do not wish to drive on your own, you can take the train.
Barcelona—the city of Catalan magic
Regarding the popularity of Barcelona, no wonder that Barcelona Airport is as busy as it is. In 2016, Spain was the third most visited country in the world and Barcelona shares mother countries’ success. Nice beaches, amazing weather and vibrant cultural life are just a few of the main reasons why visit Barcelona or come back—for a day, a week or a month.
The average temperature in the summer fluctuates around 80°F / 27°C and winters are mild. Rain is rare and windy weather common, so for a majority of the year, the roads are dry and a pleasure to drive. If you’ll car hire at Barcelona Airport, you can expect a great start of your road trip.
Majority of our customer that decide to car hire at Barcelona Airport take the car because of the longer road trips they have planned. For exploring the Barcelona, they usually chose between bike rentals and public transport. However, having a car parked near your hotel may be beneficial for some of the longer distances in the city.
A walk from Barceloneta to Park Güel (which you just have to visit), may take you more than an hour, so a car is a nice-to-have. It will take a 20-minute drive from Barceloneta to the enchanted park, and if you’re there already you may as well proceed to Montserrat Mountain where you can admire the Montserrat Monastery. It will be a nice finish for your daily trip.
When navigating the streets of Barcelona keep in mind that Spaniards have four rush hours because of their siesta time during the day. Traffic will be heaviest early in the morning when Barcelonans drive to work, middle of the day when they're driving home for siesta, back to work, and home at the end of the day.
Regardless of the heavy traffic, you shouldn't have any problems, since the roads are well-maintained and drivers used to tourists.
If you want to know more about driving in Barcelona click here »
Barcelona public transport is really well organized. It’s all connected in one ATM-Autoritat del Transport Metropolità. You can use TMB Metro or Bus. You may also book the Shuttle bus which will take you from your accommodation to the airport when you’ll have to leave. If you don’t like car hire services or you would like to combine the freedom to explore that car hire gives you with the simplicity of public transport, Barcelona has your back.
A single ticket will cost you 2.15 € and will be valid for one ride—with TMB city bus or the metro. For the ride from the city centre to the airport you'll need to buy an extra ticket. This one will cost you 4.50 €, which is a bit pricey . . . You may as well add 10 euros and buy yourself a 2-day HOLA card that entitles you for unlimited rides with TMB metro or bus, and other local and regional public transport options in Barcelona and Catalunya.
HOLA ticket—which may last for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days—offers you unlimited transport using TMB, tram, Rodalies de Catalunya (which is a regional railway), FGC (urban railway) and Funicular de Montjuïc (funicular railway). It costs from 14.50 € to 33.70 €. In comparison, car hire in Barcelona for a day will cost you practically the same.
If you’re visiting Barcelona for the first time and want to visit all the main sites as well (son, not taking only rides), think about Barcelona Card. BCN5 lasts for five days, BCN3 for three and BCN4 for four. It will cost you from 45 € to 60 € but will unlock more than 70 discounted admissions for museums, aquarium and zoo. The best feature of this card is you may skip the line in some cases—mostly most popular attractions.
Want to know more about public transport in Barcelona? Click here »
Regardless if you're visiting Barcelona for the first or fifth time, you'll never get bored with it. Not only that this magnificent city has a lot to offer, but it is also incredibly varied as well. Before you hop in a taxi, take a bus shuttle or pickup your vehicle at chosen car hire supplier at the Barcelona Airport, see which neighbourhood of Barcelona suits you best.
There are endless accommodation options there—if you're choosing a hotel, apartment or room.
Neighbourhoods in Barcelona
There are several neighbourhoods in Barcelona—every one of them with its own charm. The Gothic district, for example, has fresh, vibrant vibe to it—despite the old, potent buildings in it. It's a home of many hipster bars, artistry stalls, souvenir shops, and charming markets where different concerts and street performances take place.
The Gothic quarter is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Barcelona—also because it stretches along the Rambla, which is the busiest and the most touristy street in Barcelona.
For those that want to take their trip to Barcelona up a notch and experience the crazy nightlife, visit all of the elegant dining places and shop until they drop, El Born may as well be it—the neighbourhood that they need. It’s a great place for your accommodation if you want to explore Barcelonan museums and galleries as well, since El Born is the heart of artistic beat of Barcelona. One of the most famous ones is El Born’s Museu Picasso, and the tastiest is Museum de la Xocolata. If this stylish district is your first destination after you'll manage your car hire at Barcelona airport, it will take you 20 minutes. With public transport, you’ll need 50 minutes.
El Born is chic and hip, full of elegant restaurants, big-brand stores, and charming streets—hidden among medieval buildings with meticulous elements. It’s a go-to neighbourhood for your evening drink, club-hopping or late-night eats.
El Poblenou is a neighbourhood that experienced a significant uplift in 1992 when Barcelona was chosen to host the Olympic Games. It’s a coastal district, which kept its industrial vibe but gained a fresh, urban energy. El Poblenou is your best match if you’re looking for a peaceful stay, love graphite, have an eye for photography and like strolling along the coastline.
Surfers, you’re going to love the Nova Icaria Beach that is the heart of El Poblenou. Runners, BMX-ers and artistic souls with an appreciation of peace and quiet will share your feeling for this district. However, as much as sporty locals and active tourists love this place, it's just as popular among those that are looking for a nice sunny place for a refreshing mojito or a savoury bite.
For all that like to listen to the poem of waves but prefer a bit more touristy zing to their stay, La Barceloneta is the right match. It’s located near the most famous beach in Barcelona, is the best place for a beer and some tapas on the sun, and has great transfer connections to the rest of the city.
La Barceloneta is just at the doorstep of the Gothic quarter, so this district is a great stay for those that love the coastline but wish to experience the best of hipster part of the Barcelona. Have your breakfast looking into the big blue yonder, cure your hangover laying on the fine pebbles of Barceloneta Beach, enjoy savoury paella at the coastline, and just before the sun sets, head to the narrow streets of the Gothic district for a drink or a few.
If surfing is your passion, Barceloneta won't be your favourite beach, think about the alternative; Nova Icaria Beach in El Poblenou area may be your best choice. It's a go-to among the young—at age and at heart.
Businesspeople usually seek for a hotel in the Les Corts—the business district of Barcelona. You will find numerous hotels and Airbnb apartments near El Corte Inglés—the business and commercial centre. But the most important thing about this part of Barcelona is the connectivity. Public transport is its strongest feature, and N-340 (a major highway runs from Barcelona to Murcia) at your doorstep.
If you’ll stumble on this part of Barcelona visiting Museo del Fútbol Club Barcelona—which, as a football fan you should—you’ll immediately notice the difference between the rest of Barcelona. It's posher than El Poblenou, and it's completely lacking the loose, flip-flop vibe of the coastal part of the city.
North of the Gothic quarter, just before the El Born, around Par de la Ciutadella, it's a charming district—when birds are chirping in the crowns of palm trees, yogis doing their aero yoga and foodies stimulating their taste buds. From El Prat to Sant Pere you have a 20-minute drive, 40 if you take public transit.
It’s a perfect mix of tourist-friendly neighbourhood and every-day vibe of Catalonia. Booking an accommodation in Sant Pere will reveal how life Barcelona feels. It oozes joy of life, the stores are well-stocked but small, the streets are narrow and urban, but they find their match in vibrant, lush gardens.
The mash of bohemian culinary places, endless temptations of food market of El Mercat, and several nightclubs and pubs makes this district ideal for a late-afternoon visit that may last late into the night, or you may take advantage of it during brunch time, if you leave nearby.
After your brunch, you just have to visit the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Zoo, located at the end of the park. Maybe it's all the trees and lost pauraque in the tree crowns, perhaps it's the people, seating on the vibrant grass in the middle of the park, or maybe it's flamingos in the Zoo . . . But this place will urge you to come back.
No city in the world was made by only one man, but with Barcelona, you sometimes have the feeling that exactly this happened here. The city itself was designed by Ildefons Cerdà i Sunyer, but the most prominent touch on this Catalan Capital left no other than Antoni Gaudi. You can spend your whole day visiting and admiring only his creations that are scattered all over the Barcelona.
If you wonder which architectural masterpiece of Gaudi should you see and which ones you may skip, you’re missing the point already. You don’t visit the Gaudi’s site, you go deep into the rabbit hole and never come back out. Because of the king of eccentric architecture, Barcelona is a dreamland, it's a Mad Hatter's tea party, and Gaudi's work is the table around which the whole gathering is seated.
One of the easiest ways to inhaling all of the beauty and extravagance Gaudi’s creations have to offer is to book a tour. With your guide, you will spend the whole day of sightseeing, visiting masterpieces like Sagrada Familia, Plaça de Catalunya, Park Güell and others.
Even though Sagrada Familia is still under construction, it's still one of the most visited buildings in Barcelona. It's a Roman Catholic church, that looks like an enchanted castle from a fairy tale. It was fully designed by Gaudi, and he was fully involved in its construction for the first years, but he died not ever seeing his idea come to life. Sagrada Familia was only not even half finished when he died at age 73. After his death, the church is slowly progressing and some say that it should be done by 2026.
You can see the video of its construction and a projection of its final look here:
If you have time, be sure to enter the church and visit the Sagrada Familia Museum and New Sagrada Familia travelling exhibition.
Parking tip: If you opted for car hire at Barcelona Airport, you can immediately after your flight visit this majesty of churches. It's a half an hour drive. Just take the C-32 highway and then take B-20 to reach it. Look for parking in Parking Mercat or Sagrada Familia garage, which is open until 1 AM every day.
This important work of Gaudi is an area—full of Gaudi's buildings and elements, including lambs and pavements. To some extent, Park Güell looks like a gingerbread village, but it's decorated in Gaudi's classic style—full of mosaic tiles, strong colours and enchanting patterns.
It’s one of the most popular attractions among photographers since is super intriguing with its strong colours and crazy shapes. If you’re into photography, be sure to visit this site, just pick a sunny day, because it’s in the dance of sun rays that Güell truly shines.
Parking tip: Park your car ar Carrer Maignon 57 Street and take a 10-minute walk to reach your destination.
Casa Batlló is a great example that a true artist never sees common things commonly. It's a classic multi-apartment building in the centre, redesigned into a home for dreams. Only windows left their shape, everything else it looks like it moves, glides and breaths.
It has a strong Art Nouveau style, with an unmistakable Gaudi's mark. The arched roof looks like a back of a giant chameleon, the facade is decorated with a colourful mosaic, and the balconies look like masks looking into the city.
Parking tip: The closest garage is Saba parking which is open 24/7.
This building is located in the Gràcia neighbourhood of Barcelona, which stretches from La Sagrada Familia, over the Park Güell and over B-20 road. It's a trendy, bohemian part of the city, ideal for fashionistas that are planing their shopping spree in Barcelona and cherish great transit options.
Combine this sightseeing with a lookout for great cafés and patisseries. Nice weather is essential for this day of exploring Barcelona, because the whole Gràcia is well-worth of a tranquil stroll, store-hopping and visiting food markets to stop that belly rumble.
Parking tip: Visit the car hire office at Barcelona Airport of your choice and take the C-31 highway. It will take you 27 minutes to the Casa Vicens if there is no traffic. Garage Pàrquing Breton S.L. is just a few meters away from the building it's worth the visit.
Park de la Ciutadella, Salvador Dali Museum and Tibidabo Amusement Park are for sure the sites you shouldn't miss when you're visiting Barcelona. All of them are easily reached by public transfer; only Tibidabo is a little bit dislocated. It offers 25 rides, and it's a super fun place to take your kids to. This is one of the most visited locations of our car hire customers that booked a car at the Barcelona Airport. It's a half an hour drive from the Airport, and you can park on site.
All foodies should also visit La Boqueria, which is a famous public market with a great gastronomic offer. Shop around for your dinner or go for brunch there. You should definitely visit this place hungry, let’s just leave it at that.
Want to show your family the Amazon forest? CosmoCaixa Barcelona is a science museum and one of the most famous science museums in Europe. The vas place shows numerous modern science projects, but one of the most popular parts of the museum is the Amazon forest museum where you can admire flora and fauna of this habitat. When there, visit the Planetarium as well. It's one of the best you'll ever see.
There are a lot of reasons to visit Barcelona, and the purpose of your trip definitely influences your decision regarding the accommodation. If you're travelling for leisure, checking out the neighbourhoods is the best strategy to book a hotel or apartment in a district you'll love.
However, we all know, that for business purposes or in transit, sometimes you just need a good offer for a hotel that is close to the airport. See the first four hotel recommendations if that’s the story with you.
If you’re just on the lookout for a hotel that on its own is a good reason to visit Barcelona see our second four of recommendations.
If nothing screams “you”, visit our Barcelona section to see, which hotels are most popular in Barcelona in general. Click here »
Hotel ibis budget Aeropuerto Barcelona Viladecans
Hotel ibis budget Aeropuerto Barcelona Viladecans is definitely the cheapest hotel in a close range around the airport.
Customers like this one predominantly because of its bright and clean rooms, and a friendly and professional staff. However, free parking, free Wi-Fi, and location can all be added to a list of pros when choosing a hotel for your business trip.
Barcelona Airport Hotel
A stay in Barcelona Airport will cost you a little bit extra, but considering the benefits you'll get with staying at this hotel, it's pretty much worth it.
It's practically at the doorstep of the airport, it has an outdoor pool, fitness centre, restaurant, room service, laundry service, air-conditioned rooms and free Wi-Fi, so it's a great choice for businesspeople and their spouses or family if you're taking them along.
Car hire for this one would be unnecessary, since taxi will cost you the same as a cocktail in a nightclub would. But just in case—they offer free parking at the site.
B&B Hotel Viladecans
This is a bargain if you manage to book it. For a very reasonable price, you'll get a bed in a nice, clean hotel, which is ideal if you're travelling for work. It's nothing fancy, but it has free Wi-Fi, professional staff, breakfast buffet and good coffee.
You can get coffee or tea any time of the day—free of charge, which might come handy for all the entrepreneurs that land late at night.
It's a 10-minute drive from the Airport. If car hire at Barcelona Airport is out of the question for you, a taxi won't cost you much since this is a 6-km drive.
Ibis Barcelona Cornella
The 9-km drive from Barcelona Airport with free parking, air conditioning, laundry service, and free Wi-Fi this hotel is ideal for your business trip. It's priced very reasonably, and always well-rated.
One of the most appreciated features is well-stocked breakfast buffet with classic continental breakfast options—especially if you're considering that's a 2-star hotel.
Grand Hotel La Florida
This is a definition of the best value for your price. For a 5-star luxury hotel and top-rated accommodation that is looking over Barcelona, you could spend much more.
Rooms are big and nicely furnished, lobby and restaurant elegant, and indoor and outdoor pools big and long—perfect for your before-bed-swims.
We also love the vibrant patio with nice comfy sofas, smartly positioned in the shade, is a cute place for a morning coffee or reading your summer book.
Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona
You are going to love this hotel if you wish to stay in a strict centre of Barcelona. It's located in Eixample which is a trendy yet elegant district, with great transit and dining options.
Its rooftop terrace with a lovely pool and lounge area is looking straight into Sagrada Familia, the rooms are very big and very elegantly furnished, but a hotel’s spa is its pride and joy of this hotel.
No less impressive is their restaurant with an endless buffet that offers you everything your heart desires—for breakfast or dinner.
There are hotel chains that are designed to make you feel like at home anywhere in the world, and there are hotels that elevate your stay in the city you’re right now.
This classy hotel is surely one of the latter. The rooftop lounge and pool area are intimate and clean, each room and suit is unique, but all of them are furnished only with a top-level class.
The staff is with no exception lovely and professional, the restaurant bright and elegant, the menu is delicious, and it’s close to all of the popular sites.
A charming boutique hotel, in the excellent location of the old, historic part of the city centre where style, fine dining and great shopping experience awaits.
A Michelin-star-rated restaurant won't seise to amaze you and your tasting buds, but you can burn all calories in a premium fitness centre.
If you're too tired from site seeing, stay in and relax in Lobby or Sky Bar, where they will spoil you with all the lux spirits your heart desires.
Barcelona is a great starting point for a road-trip around Spain. If you may, stay a few days in this charming and colourful city, and then head south to Grenada, where you can head back and head North to visit all of the notorious Spanish villages like Seville and Cordoba, visit the capital of Spain and in the end, leave your car at the airport. You have several options to hire a car at Barcelona Airport, the rates are great, and car hire providers well-trusted, so there's no reason not to seize this opportunity. You'll have the time of your life.
One day trip to Mataró
Mataró is just a 40-min drive from Barcelona—a lovely coastal city North of Barcelona with beautiful golden sandy beach, and great gastronomic offer. So, Mataró is ideal for a summer day trip—to avoid Barcelona crowd, enjoy some sun on a fantastic beach, and in then enjoy a fabulous dinner.
Sangonovese is a classic fine dining restaurant with an excellent Mediterranean cuisine—led by a well-respected chef Pepi Sanchez. According to Trip Advisor and Google ratings is the No.1 fine dining restaurant in Mataró. If you'd prefer something simpler but still yummy, maybe even with vegan and vegetarian options, La Marineta is the right one for you. It's located at the Plaça de Cuba—a cute tiny place with big flavours.
ONE DAY TRIP TO MONTSERRAT
Visiting Montserrat is a must when in Barcelona, because it's just amazing. Take A-2 highway and head into the mainland. To Montserrat, it's only an hour of drive, yet this trip is super rewarding.
At Montserrat mountain—which is fascinating by itself, and quite an important place for Barcelonans—is an immense monastery with beautiful Basilica where you can listen to a boy choir every day—free of charge. After that, you can visit Montserrat Museum, dedicated to outstanding archaeological and artistic heritage of Montserrat Monastery.
Before you leave, take a stroll along the Montserrat Cathedral and breath in the amazing view of the valley that lays at the foot of the mountain. The legend says that every Barcelonans should reach the top of Montserrat Mountain before the dawn at least once in a lifetime.
Five-day trip to Málaga
You can’t plan a nicer road-trip that following the Eastern coastline of Spain to Málaga. You can see Valencia, Benidorm, Toledo and Alicante on the way and decide on your own where to spend the night and get some rest for the days ahead. Car hire at Barcelona Airport and head South.
Málaga is a charming port town, with great beaches, lovely squares and promenades and famous La Rosaleda Stadium—home of Málaga football since 1941. Playa de la Caleta, Plaga de la Malagueta and Las Acacias are the most popular beaches in Málaga. The latter—Las Acacias or Playa de Pedregalejo—is set in the most happening neighbourhoods, so it’s ideal for your final destination. Nearby you’ll find countless bars, restaurants and shops, and when the sun sets, Málaga's nightlife will happily take you in. Keep in mind that Monday is the day to go out if you're up for a little fun, since this is the ladies' night, that's why it's the time when clubs are busiest.
When you’ll rejuvenate yourself after a few sunny days and crazy nights, head North for a little cultural exploring. Seville and Cordoba are two of the loveliest villages of Southern Spain—with impressive cultural heritage.
If you're in transit and hate airport food or you want to grab a quick meal after you finished your car hire at Barcelona Airport and head South for your road-trip, you have quite a lot of option.
A lovely restaurant with quite impressive seafood menu and offer for tender meat lovers.
Distance from the airport: Via C-31 it will take you 9 minutes to reach the destination with your car.
Restaurant la Masia Sánchez-Casal
This is the closest restaurant to the airport and its open until 10 PM.
Closer—actually in the area of the airport—is only PortaGaig, but according to Google ratings, this is not your best option.
Alegria bar i restaurant
This restaurant is open until 6 PM, but it's a great find of those that are looking a restaurant near the airport and want a decent meal.
Nou Blau Restaurant
Want some burger and fries—a quick bite before you hit the road? Nou Blau is quite a popular restaurant, has excellent burgers, and it's only 0.1 mile away from the airport.
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