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Local train line of RENFE Rodalies/Cercanias is the cheapest way from BCN airport into town. 'Aeropuerto' terminus is a 10-15 minute walk from Terminal 2B through an overhead walkway (the entrance - moving stairs - is indicated in part B). There is a Free Airport Shuttle to the airport train station from Terminal 1. The one-way fare into town is about 4 euros (renfe ticket is red+grey) - or you can buy (white+green) T-10 travelcard: [ 10 rides for 9.85* euros (0.98 euros per trip/person!) , multipersonal , useful also for all local metros, buses, tramways, trains in Barcelona city and whole TMB zone 1 including the airport !! - you can change to metro or/and bus within 1hour 15minutes time after the first validation ]. There are also 1-2-3-4-5 days passes and other cards ** available.
[Added. J.Crook, Aug 30 '13] Always opt for the T-10 or other multi-trip/multi-person ticket. If you ask a machine, or ticket office, for a single to or from the airport you WILL pay 4 Euros [modified by KnollEdge, Jan '16] or more and that is wrong. With the T-10 et al it is still less than a euro
You can buy the tickets at the machines in the station - euro cash or credit cards.
Trains run every 30 minutes from approximately 6 am to 23:30. Once started, travel takes normally about 25 minutes.
NEW (October 2013): direct link (in English) to the schedule of trains from the city centre to the airport:
just select your departure station (e.g. Barcelona-Sants) and your destination (Aeroport), then select date and time.
once at the airport, one can walk to one terminal (i think T2) but there is also a shuttle bus to the other terminals.
Seating and Luggage Space:
Seating is often limited, and there is no designated place for luggage, so you must keep bags at your feet or in the aisle.
The train stops in the city at :
- Barcelona Sants EStacio (the main railway station) - where youcan change to other trains or to Metro - but the stationitself is not very central and will not be the closest for most people.The exception may be those travelling on business as this is theclosest to the Fair - Fira de Barcelona and the main business districts.
- and B. Passeig de Gracia - smaller and more central station, just 10-15 minutes walk from Plaça Catalunya. Perfect for anyone staying in Eixample district , bit less good for those staying in the Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas. However, if you are in the upper part of these areas you could walk to there - or change to green Metro Line 3 or before, in Sants , to another train line that goes via eg B.Catalunya.
- for those who are heading for El Born or Barceloneta, Estació de França (Francia) is ideal, but you need to change ^ , best in Passeig de Gracia (at the same platform). For others staying in the lower end of the Gothic quarter it is probably the best point to exit as well. Estació de França is very close to beaches, too!
*Prices for 2010 - ca 5% rise may be expected every (new) year.
Mind that Renfe and TMB are different companies and so are their zones, here the maps: Barcelona Renfe network again (as seen here - the line isn't direct to ^E.Francia - situation planned for 2009-2010 )
On the way to the 'Aeroport' allow much time, in 2006/7 there were many delays
As anywhere , be aware of possible thieves and scams in the trains and the stations.
! Before 2006 the line from the airport used to go to Blanes/Maresme-CostaBrava Coast. Now , it has been some time the line from the Aeroport does not go directly through Catalunya stop (under the square of this name) - in 2006-08 Renfe put in service their new connection stopping en-route at Sants and Passeig de Gràcia, that used to finish at ^ Estació de França (Francia, France) , now the trains go via B. ElClot-Arago and further away to Granollers etc.
in case you needed to take regional or inter-city trains, here national railway website for timetables partly in English (or look for the EU flag at the lower part of the homepage)
but Spanish version -if you manage with the language- may give more results : http://www.renfe.com
For other means of transport , please see the Arriving-Departing article
EG there is also Aerobus which is very handy if you want to go to Plaza Catalunya. This is what you will want if you are going to Las Ramblas, the old part of downtown. If you are arriving from an international flight, walk outside the terminal and look for a sign for the bus (easily deciphered even if you speak no Spanish at all) Buses come about every 10 minutes. Look for the sign on the front that says "Plaza Catalunya". You can pay cash (euros) as you get on the bus. It takes about half an hour to get there, and Plaza Catalunya is the last stop. It's very safe to walk around even hauling your luggage. You'll find metro, taxis, and everything you need including a department store right across the street from the bus stop. The locals use this bus and it seems to operate without a hitch. Much better than a taxi because it's cheaper.