Barcelona. You have a wonderful metro system. Even as a traveler that does not speak the languages that are common here, I have found that your metro system was easy to navigate and not at all intimidating. We tried driving and after some time we got the hang of it, however I found taking the metro to be a MUCH more pleasant experience. We were able to easily get from the Gothic Quarter to Sagrada Familia to the Magic Fountains! I enjoy seeing the people and how quick it is to get from point A to point B and I definitely love that it is pretty cheap to do it!
A multi-person travel card valid for 10 trips from 1 to 6 zones. For travel within zone 1 you have 75 minutes between first and last validation when going between types of transportation (ie. metro to bus). If you are going beyond zone 1 you have an additional 15 minutes per zone. The T-10 card worked perfectly for us as all of our travels were within zone 1 and we were able to share the card.
To use the card for two people you simply insert the card into the validation reader, the card receives a validation stamp and comes out of the machine. Lay the card on top of the machine and the first traveler can now go thru the gate. The second traveler takes the card and runs it thru the machine just like the first traveler did and the ticket gets a second validation stamp. Now they can carry the ticket thru the gate to the other side.
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MAKING TRAVEL EASIER
One of the first things that I noticed about the metro stations was that even without knowing the language I was able to very easily figure out where I needed to go and which trains I needed to take. Here are a few of the things to make getting around a breeze.
ON THE TRAIN PLATFORM
- When you get to the platform you can look on the walls and see the entire list of metro stations and that the portion of the line that you will be traveling to is colored to match the train line that you are riding. The remainder of the stations in the opposite direction are still listed, but they will not be colored in.
- There is a board above the platform that shows the current time, next train scheduled to arrive and the direction that the train is going. The direction will be whatever the last station is in the direction you will be traveling. In my case, I was only going to station Vallcarca but the train direction that got me there is Cornella Centre.
INSIDE THE TRAIN
- Inside the train above the door, you will see the metro line map and as you reach the stations they will light up making it very easy to tell where you are in case you are not able to hear or understand the announcement made over the speaker.
- In the center picture below there are two things I want to point out. The first is on the left side of the picture near the ceiling there is a small screen showing the direction you will be exiting the train. The other thing I wanted to point out is on the door there is a green button (some older trains will have a black lever that will need to be turned). When you are at your stop and the train is no longer moving, you will need to press this button to open the door. It will not open automatically
IT’S NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES
It would not be responsible of me to not issue a few warnings. I don’t mean to scare anyone or try to sway you from traveling, just be careful out there. People are not always as friendly or well meaning as they may seem, but also don’t avoid people out of fear or being taken advantage of. Just be cautious and aware of what is around you. Don’t be completely enchanted by a view that makes you not see what is right under your nose.
WATCH OUT FOR PICKPOCKETING!
You need to be extremely mindful of your personal space and your belongings. Especially in the metro where things can be happening quickly with lots of people moving to where they need to go. Personally, I have a very special bag made by Travelon to help prevent pickpocketing. It has a strap that I can remove to physically attach my bag to my chair so it can’t be grabbed and the person takes off running. There is a steel cable so the strap cannot be cut and there is a small latch on the zipper so wandering hands cannot easily make their way inside my bag when in close quarters.
On top of all these measures, I still watch people and carry my bag so the locked zippers are closest to the front of my body. I will also have my hand holding the strap when we get into close contact with others. It might seem a bit overkill, but losing all your money or passport would be way more unfortunate.
DON’T BUY YOUR TICKETS FROM A STRANGER!
While we were stepping up to the ticket machine we were approached by a (very insistent) man that was offering to sell us his partially used T-10 card for a huge discount. He showed us the back had only been validated twice and he wanted 5 euros for the card. We declined and he persisted for a few minutes until eventually we just stared him down and he finally left. A little bit later he bumped into me quite hard when he was chasing someone else down…I am sure the hard bump was quite on purpose.
Don’t take a chance with a bogus card and buy your tickets from the machine or from the ticket counter.
BE EXTRA VIGILANT WHEN YOU ARE VULNERABLE
This one will cover a large amount of the time while you are traveling, but this would be anytime you are in a crowded area. Also, when you are standing near train exit door. I have heard of people having their bags grabbed while standing near the door. The thief will run out of the train right as the door closes. Leaving you with no option other than to watch them run off with your stuff. This would be when you are at a restaurant and don’t want to have your bag right against your person. Really just be extra aware of what is going on around you and don’t leave yourself like a sitting duck.
NAVIGATING THE BARCELONA METRO LIKE A PRO
Go to the Barcelona Transportation page below and save the metro map to your phone. It is best to know ahead of time which line you are taking. Wifi will be spotty in the stations. Nothing screams tourist like standing there trying to figure out a metro map!