If you are planning a trip to Barcelona and want to admire Gaudí’s architecture, take sightseeing tours, and visit some of Barcelona’s top attractions, you may be able to save money and time by purchasing the Barcelona Pass. The Barcelona Pass not only provides free admission to over 20 of the top attractions in Barcelona (e.g., Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, FC Barcelona Stadium Tour, walking tours), but it also allows you to skip the long entrance lines at several of these attractions and includes a 1-day free Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour ticket. In many cases, the Barcelona Pass is a good value and can save you money; however, in other cases, the Barcelona Pass may not be a good deal for you, depending on what you plan to see in the city. We’ll help provide all the information you need to know to decide if the Barcelona Pass is a good deal for you, decide on which pass to buy, and how to get the most value out of your pass. We’ll also share our own experiences using the Barcelona Pass and provide an honest breakdown of our own cost-savings.
What Is Included in the Barcelona Pass?
The Barcelona Pass includes free admission to a number of popular attractions in and around Barcelona, free 1 day use of the Hop-on Hop-Off sightseeing bus, and some additional discounts for local tours and restaurants. Pass holders can also add on the travelcard option for unlimited free public transportation in the city. The Barcelona Pass also comes with a free useful guidebook (make sure you get a copy!). Also if you have a question not answered by the guidebook or their website, you can contact the company during business hours or send them an email. You can find out more about the Barcelona Pass on their official website.
Attractions Included in the Barcelona Pass?
Barcelona Pass holders are currently granted free admission to over 20 museums, tours, and other attractions in and around Barcelona. These include some of the most popular Barcelona attractions such as:
- Casa Batlló
- L’Aquarium (Barcelona Aquarium)
- Casa Milá (La Pedrera)
- Futbol Club Barcelona Stadium Tour & Museum (Camp Nou Experience)
- Barcelona Walking Tour
- Las Golondrinas Barcelona Boat Tour
- Colònia Güell (includes Gaudí’s Crypt)
- Museum of Modernism (MMBcn)
- Recinte Modernista Sant Pau
- Barcelona Zoo
- Gaudí Exhibition Centre
- Poble Espanyol
You can check out the full up-to-date list of attractions here. For Gaudí fans, the Barcelona Pass currently offers free entrance to five Gaudí attractions (see our comprehensive guide to Gaudí sites in Barcelona for a list of the over 20 sites in the city). Fast track options are available at several attractions (including Casa Milá, L’Aquarium, and Poble Espanyol), allowing one to enter a faster entrance line designed for pass holders. Note that while the pass ensures general admission to the covered sites, the pass may not cover admission to special exhibits, audioguides, or special events. Also reservations are necessary for some of the attractions, but these are clearly noted in both the free Barcelona Pass guidebook that comes with the passes as well as on the website.
Note that there are several major attractions in Barcelona that are NOT currently included with the Barcelona Pass that you should take into consideration. These include Sagrada Família, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (Catalan National Art Museum), Park Güell, Museu Picasso, the Maritime Museum, Palau de la Música Catalana, and Fundació Joan Miró. For planning resources, the Barcelona Tourism website offer tons of helpful information for visitors. If your trip is taking you further afield in Spain the Spain Tourism website offers loads of useful information and we’d also recommend considering a trip to the nearby Spanish Pyrenees region.
Transportation Options Included with the Barcelona Pass?
All Barcelona Passes come with the option to collect a free all-day 1 day ticket for the Barcelona Bus Turístic sightseeing Hop-on, Hop-off bus. There are three different bus routes available (beach route not available in winter) and the buses stop every 5 to 25 minutes at each stop. The free ticket must be collected from the Barcelona Pass Redemption Centre at Palau Moja. You can get on and off the bus as many times as you like in a single day.
BARCELONA PASS SIGHTSEEING BUS TIP: Start using the bus in the morning to get the most out of your ticket. Note that there is more than one hop-on hop-off bus company in Barcelona, so look out for the Barcelona Bus Turístic logo so you get on the right buses included on your ticket.
Visitors also have the option to buy a Barcelona Pass + Travel package, which includes a Hola BCN! Travelcard. The Travelcard provides you with unlimited travel throughout the duration of your Barcelona Pass on all the city’s public transportation, including the metro, Montjuïc funicular, TMB buses, local trains (FGC, Zone 1), trams, and regional trains (Rodalies de Catalunya, Zone 1). This includes metro journeys to and from Barcelona–El Prat Airport (main Barcelona airport). Your Travelcard matches the number of days on your pass, so a 48 hour Travelcard comes with a 2 Day Barcelona Pass and a 72 hour Travelcard comes with a 3 Day Barcelona Pass. The Travelcard time starts once activated so if you have a 48 hour Travelcard, it will be good for 48 consecutive hours after first use.
To use the Travelcard, all you need to do is either scan your card to enter the mode of transport, or show it to the conductor. You will need to validate your ticket before starting your journey and for every transfer (except between metro lines). Your card will become activated upon first use on a mode of transport and will be valid for 48 or 72 consecutive hours thereafter. Check out the Barcelona Transport website for detailed information about the transportation networks, maps, and more info on the Travelcard.
BARCELONA PASS TRAVEL TIP: Travel to and from Barcelona Airport is included with the Travel package; however, note that once you use the Travelcard, the 48 or 72 hours start. So if you do not plan to use much public transportation on your first day in the city, you may want to wait to activate it until later in your trip. The use of your Travelcard does NOT activate your Barcelona Pass or vice versa.
Other Barcelona Pass Inclusions?
The pass includes fast-track access to several attractions (i.e., La Pedrera, Barcelona Aquarium, Barcelona FC Camp Nou, and Poble Espanyol) where you get to skip the lines although it does not allow you to skip security lines. The Barcelona Pass also enables visitors to take advantage of a limited number of discounts (often 10% to 20% off) on items such as food and drinks, flamenco shows, and tours which are noted in the Barcelona Pass Guidebook (you can also download the guidebook online before your trip).
Types of Barcelona Passes?
All the Barcelona Passes cover the same attractions. There are Adult passes (anyone 13 years or age or older) and Child passes (children age 4 to 12). Children under age 4 get free entrance to most attractions in Barcelona and ride for free on public transit with an adult with a valid Travelcard. The two decisions you have to make are 1) Length of the Pass? and 2) Whether or not to include the Travel option with the Hola! BCN Travelcard? In terms of length, the Barcelona Pass is currently sold as 2-day or 3-day passes. Passes are activated after your first usage and must be used on consecutive days. So if you purchase a 3-day pass with your first visit to an attraction on June 10th, it will be valid from June 10th through June 12th.
To decide if the Barcelona Pass + Travel option is a good value, decide how you are most likely going to be traveling around Barcelona. Many sights are central and it is possible to walk to and from many of them, but a few are quite far from each other and will require taking public transportation, biking, taking a taxi, train travel, or driving. Most visitors to Barcelona do a combination of walking and public transportation. If you are planning to use public transportation a lot in Barcelona, using a transport ticket will probably save you money versus buying single ticket journeys. In addition to the Hola! BCN Travelcard (can also be purchased separately, same price), there is also the T-10 card which is another transport ticket which gives you a total of 10 journeys on the metro, tram and buses in the city center (card can be shared by different people traveling together). I would recommend choosing one of these if you plan to use public transit more than 3 times in Barcelona, whether you purchase it with the Barcelona Pass or separately. If you plan to take 3 or fewer journeys, you probably are better off just buying single tickets.
Cost of the Barcelona Pass
You should check the website for the latest prices, but as of May 2017 here are the Barcelona Pass prices (excluding the Travelcard):
Adults (anyone 13 years of age or older):
€109 for a 2-day pass
€129 for a 3-day pass
Children (any child age 4 to 12 years of age):
€69 for a 2-day pass
€79 for a 3-day pass
How do I Decide if the Barcelona Pass Will Save Me Money?
First, you should make a list of all the attractions you want to visit during your time in Barcelona and specifically note the ones that are included on the Barcelona Pass. Try to come up with a realistic list based on the amount of time you’ll be in Barcelona as you don’t want to spend your entire trip going from attraction to attraction. Next, check the entrance fee cost for each online or using a recent guidebook. Add up the costs to come up with a total. Note the example below.
Example: Let’s say from the Barcelona Pass sites I want to visit Casa Batlló (€23.50), L’Aquarium (€20.00), Casa Milá (€20.50), Jamón Experience + tasting (€19.00), Barcelona FC Camp Nou Experience (€23.00), Las Golondrinas Barcelona Boat Tour (€15.00), Gaudí Exhibition Centre (€15.00), and do a do a Best of Barcelona Bike Tour (€24). I also want to take advantage of the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour (€28) to connect some of these sights on one of my days of sightseeing. The grand total of normal adult entry fees for all these attractions would be €188.00.
Next, you’ll need to decide how many days it will likely take you to visit all the attractions you want to visit. Remember it can be easy to be too ambitious and think you’ll take in two museums, an aquarium, a bike tour, and a boat tour in one day, but that will simply leave you exhausted and overwhelmed. Try to be realistic.
Example: I want to do the first day of travel using the Hop-on Hop-off bus and want to use it to visit some sites not included on my pass (Sagrada Familia and Park Guell) in the morning and then visit the Barcelona FC Camp Nou Experience in the afternoon and then do the Jamon Experience in the evening. On my second day I want to do the Best of Barcelona Bike Tour and visit the Gaudí Exhibition Centre in the morning/early afternoon and then after lunch visit Casa Batlló and Casa Milá. On my third day I want to walk along La Rambla and visit L’Aquarium in the morning/early afternoon and then do a late afternoon Las Golondrinas Barcelona Boat Tour and relax at the beach before heading to airport for my flight that evening. This means I would need 3 days.
Now, compare the price of the needed Pass (2 or 3 days) with your entrance fee total. Current prices (as of May 2017) for adults are €109 for a 2-day pass or €129 for a 3 day pass. Typically, you’ll find that you’ll save money if you plan to visit more than four or five attractions with the pass and the longer the pass duration, the better the cost savings. However, it depends on which attractions you want to visit so use the tips above to figure out if it is worth it for you.
Example: OK, so it would cost me €188 as an adult to visit all the places on my list and I think I need 3 full days. If I visit all the listed attractions in the 3-day period, I’ll have a cost savings of €59 and it should also keep me from waiting in ticket lines at a couple of the attractions. It also provides me with the sightseeing bus that I am using to also visit a couple of other attractions not included on the pass.
Finally, you’ll need to decide if you want to include the Travel option to include the Hola! BCN Travelcard with your Barcelona Pass. Honestly, the value here is the convenience of getting the Travelcard along with your Barcelona Pass as it doesn’t actually save you any actual money as you can buy the Travelcard yourself, but it keeps you from buying it separately yourself. However, if you are in Barcelona for much longer than your Barcelona Pass duration, you may want to purchase the Travelcard separately (e.g., a 120 hour pass if you are going to be there for 5 days).
Example: For instance I estimate that during my 3 days in Barcelona I will use the metro to get to and from the airport, take the metro 4 times within the city, and take the bus once during my trip. Airport metro rides cost €4.50 each way and metro single journey tickets and bus rides both cost €2.15, so my estimated public transportation costs = €19.75. The cost of the 3-day Barcelona Pass + Travel is €149, which is an extra €20. In this case I break even in terms of my public transit costs and actually lose €0.25. So in this case the Travelcard would save you time but not money. For many visitors this would probably be worth it as it is convenient and gives you the convenience to use it if you end up using public transit more than expected. If you plan to use public transportation more often (e.g., your hotel is well outside the center) then you’d probably save money on the Travelcard. You can also consider the T-10 travel card mentioned earlier as another option.
How to Buy the Barcelona Pass?
The Barcelona Pass can currently only be purchased online. After purchasing it, you have the option to then collect it in person once in Barcelona or have it mailed to you before your trip. You can NOT purchase it in person from the Redemption Desk in Barcelona so be sure to order it online before you arrive.
Purchase Online with Home Delivery: You can purchase the Barcelona Pass online and have it delivered before your trip to your home. However, you will have to pay shipping costs (currently €3.95 – €9.95 for standard delivery) that will decrease the cost savings of the pass. The shipping cost is the same whether you buy 1 pass or 6 passes. An advantage is that you won’t have to pick up the pass in Barcelona, will have the printed guidebook ahead of time, and can start using your Travelcard (if you purchased the Travel option) right away.
Purchase Online with In-Person Pick-up: To avoid shipping costs, you can order the Barcelona Pass online and then collect your order free of charge from the Barcelona Pass Redemption Centre Desk located in central Barcelona, just off La Rambla at Palau Moja, Carrer de la Portaferrissa, 1, 08002 Barcelona. Just be sure to print the ticket confirmation email and also bring along your ID and credit card used for the order to collect the passes.
Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Barcelona Pass
- Plan ahead before coming to Barcelona. Do a little research and figure out which attractions are included with the Pass and which ones you plan to visit so you can make an informed choice of whether or not the pass makes sense for you or not. Use the information and example above. This 3-day suggested Barcelona itinerary may also be useful.
- The Barcelona Pass is going to be of the most value for those coming for longer stays as the longer the Pass duration, the greater the potential value. So a 3-day pass will likely lead to great cost savings than a 2 day pass. Similarly, the value multiplies by the number of travelers in your group so even if each person only saves €20, that is a savings of €80 for a family of 4!
- There are often special discounted offers on Barcelona Passes advertised on the official website. If you have some time before your visit, you may want to see if you can catch one of these promotions as they often have time-limited deals online for 5% to 15% off passes. Even more savings for you!
- The Passes are valid for 12 months after purchase so you can purchase them up to a year before you plan to activate them.
- Prioritize attractions you want to visit with high entry fees if your pass does not cover your full trip to Barcelona. Use your Barcelona Pass to get you into those places you want to visit that are more costly (and have skip the line access) such as Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, Barcelona Bike Tour, the FC Barcelona Stadium Tour, and L’Aquarium to get the most value of your pass. If you don’t have time to visit lower cost places with your pass, then you can always visit them at your own expense later in your trip.
- When planning your time in Barcelona, be sure to consider attractions you want to visit that are not covered by the Barcelona Pass, such as the Sagrada Família, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona Cathedral (free entry), Park Güell, and Museu Picasso. Don’t forget to factor in things like wandering around the Gothic Quarter, lying on the beach, shopping, and visiting some of the city’s parks. Plan your days so that you can maximize your Barcelona Pass days and visit the rest of the attractions on your list on other days that do not take away from getting the most out of your Pass. Unfortunately Barcelona does not have many free museums or attractions, but be sure to note any free days for places you want to visit as several Barcelona museums offer free admission days once a week or once a month (generally on Sundays).
- Note for Antoni Gaudí lovers, this pass covers five of the city’s many Gaudí sites (Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, Colònia Güell, Gaudí Exhibtiion Centre, and Gaudí Experiència 4D). If you purchase a 2 day Barcelona Pass and only visit the Gaudí sites and use the HOHO sightseeing bus ticket, you’ll essentially break even in terms of cost (€104 individual tickets vs. €109 pass), but you also get skip the line access at Casa Milá which can save you time. However, you’ll save money if you visit any additional attractions or take any of the tours included on the Pass.
- Be sure to pick up the free Barcelona Pass Guidebook or use their online website. You can also download the guidebook (as well as the metro map and sightseeing bus routes) before your trip. In addition to the information provided about all the covered attractions, the guidebook also includes information about using public transportation, a metro map, suggested things to do, and useful area contact information.
- Try to start using your Barcelona Pass on the morning of the first day you want to start using it so you can the get the most of it! Remember that once you first use the pass, the time begins and it is only valid for the next XX consecutive days. So if you have a 3 day pass and start using it on Monday (whether it is 8am or 8pm), it will be good for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday only.
- If you plan to use the Barcelona Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus, remember to have your ticket with you (you need to pick it up at the Barcelona Pass Redemption Center) and begin using it in the morning to get the most out of it as it is only good for one day. You can get on and off as much as you want and ride any of the available routes which include narrated commentary. Note that even if you have your Passes mailed to you, you do still need to drop into the Center to get your sightseeing bus ticket.
- If you purchase the Barcelona Pass + Travel and use your Travelcard to get into the city from the airport, note that this will activate the Travelcard. Plan your usage carefully as once the Travelcard is activated your 48 hours or 72 hour period starts.
- The time usage on the Barcelona Pass and the Hola! BCN Travelcard work differently and this can be a bit confusing. The Barcelona Pass is valid for consecutive days (e.g., 3 day pass activated on a Monday is valid on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday) while the Travelcard is good for consecutive hours (72 hour pass valid from first use at 4:00pm on Monday to 4:00pm on Thursday). Also note that activating one does NOT activate the other so you can activate them on separate days if needed.
- For some of the attractions you do need to book ahead. These currently include both the walking tours and bike tours where you should email ahead to reserve a spot at least 24 hours in advance. Note that since the tours are not every day, you’ll want to plan these in advance. It also includes the FC Barcelona Stadium Tour & Museum. Those who want to visit need to follow the instruction in the guidebook, and then an electronic ticket will be sent to you that you can download (you can either present an electronic ticket on your phone/tablet or take printed one at the stadium for entry). I would organize these tours as soon you know when you plan to visit to ensure you get a spot on your desired date.
- Most of the attractions in Barcelona are centrally located but a few are not. To maximize your time, try to group together attractions that are near each other or are well connected by public transit lines to get the most of your time. The Barcelona Pass Guidebook provides a quick reference map and lists the nearest public transit stops or train stops to help you with planning.
- Children under 4 travel for free on the transport network if accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket or Travelcard.
- If you plan to visit Colònia Güell, note that it is located outside of Barcelona and requires taking a local Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) train or driving to reach it. If you have the Travelcard, travel to and from Colonia Güell is included via railway. If not, you can just buy the ticket separately. The stop is called Colonia Güell and can be reach via FGC train lines S4, S8 and S33 and is a 20-25 minute ride from central Barcelona.
- Many of the attractions are open daily (especially in summer) but some can close or change hours without much notice. It is always a good idea to check their website or call ahead before setting out.
- Be sure to allow enough time to visit the attractions you are most interested in exploring. You can only visit each attraction once with your Barcelona Pass. So be sure you have enough time to visit a place before going inside. For instance, you cannot spend 30 minutes in a museum and then come back tomorrow (unless you want to pay full entrance price), as you only get one free entry per Barcelona Pass.
- Check ahead in the Guidebook or on the Barcelona Pass website to see which attractions you plan to visit provide Skip the Line access to pass holders. If you get to one of these attractions and are not sure if you are in the correct line for pass holders, ask a security guard or museum personnel so you can be sure to save time. Note that the Pass does not allow you to fast-track security lines.
- Note that the Pass may not offer as much savings for those who are eligible for concessions (e.g., seniors, students, young children) as they may get reduced entrance fees at some attractions and some sites grant free admission to younger children. So if you are traveling with those who qualify for reduced entry fees, check out the prices before buying a Barcelona Pass.
- Don’t try to see all the included attractions in one visit! Some people get their Barcelona Passes and go down the list visiting as many as they can squeeze into their trip. We certainly know the feeling of wanting to see everything, but if you do this, you are going to be exhausted. Barcelona has so much to offer that is not on the Barcelona Pass list and you’ll want to take time to slow down and soak up the city whether it is lingering over a plate of pixtos or tapas, sitting in a city park, searching for Barcelona’s street art, lying on the beach, watching the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc at night, going to the opera, or dancing the night away at club. Hopefully you’ll be back again in the future to catch those attractions you miss, but don’t go through Barcelona as if it is one big checklist of famous attractions.
Our Experience Using the Barcelona Pass & Our Cost Savings
Laurence and I often use city passes and museum passes in cities to save money and time and although we had visited Barcelona before, we hadn’t been to a number of the attractions offered by the Barcelona Pass. We also wanted to revisit a couple of places that have fairly high entry fees (e.g., Casa Batlló and Casa Milá). The Barcelona Pass had just launched and we purchased two 2 Day Barcelona Passes online before our trip and then picked them up at the Barcelona Pass Redemption Centre Desk. It is located within a larger cultural and tourism center just off of La Rambla within central Barcelona and within a short walk from where we were staying. We had no problem picking up our passes, sightseeing bus tickets, and the free Barcelona Pass guidebook, which we found very useful in deciding what attractions we wanted to see and when. You’ll also want to get a leaflet for the sightseeing bus that includes a list of the routes and stops. We did not get the Travel option as we had purchased a T-10 ticket when we arrived.
We were in Barcelona for 4 days total and so we used our Barcelona Pass for two of those days. During our 2-day Barcelona Pass period, we ended up visiting 8 attractions covered by the Pass and also used the Hop-on Hop-off bus! This sounds like a lot and it is as we tend to try to cram a lot in as our trips are almost always part work, part pleasure and this trip was not different. So we got up each morning and often visited sites until 5:00 or 6:00 each evening. However, we didn’t do quick in-and-out visits and did the full tours at almost all the sites we chose to visit. While we spent a lot of time in some of the attractions we visited (Museu d’Història de Catalunya), we spent much less time at several of the other attractions either because we’d already visited them before (Casa Milá) or they are smaller sites. It was nice also to have the option of a lot of tours with the Barcelona Pass and we used the Hop-on Hop-Off sightseeing bus on one day as well as did both a boat cruise and a walking tour of the Old Town. Our two days was a nice mix of Gaudí sites (Casa Batlló, Casa Milá and Gaudí Exhibtiion Centre), museums, tours, and even a food tasting (Jamón Experience).
Two of the attractions we visited (Casa Milá and the Barcelona FC Camp Nou Experience) allowed Pass holders to skip the lines with the Fast Track Entry privilege. However, we visited in January during fairly quiet times for both of these attractions where there were no long lines so this didn’t help save us too much time. But I imagine at busier times of the year and day this would have been very useful at both of these sites. Barcelona is a very busy city, especially in the summer, and lines can be long at all the popular tourist attractions.
As far as cost-savings, here is how things worked out for us:
**Note the Museu d’Història de Catalunya is no longer included on the Barcelona Pass.
So as you can see we ended up with a savings of €50.50 each for a total of €101.00. This is definitely a considerable cost savings for two days of sightseeing! Even if we had visited fewer sites or visited the same number with a 3-day Barcelona Pass, we would have still saved money.
We would highly recommend that all visitors to Barcelona consider purchasing the Barcelona Pass. Unlike the more comprehensive London Pass offered by the same company which covers over 60 attractions, this pass isn’t a no-brainer since it covers many fewer attractions. However, if several of these attractions are on your list and you plan to spend more than 1 day in Barcelona, it can save you a lot of money. For the average first time visitor who plans to spend more than 1 day sightseeing and wants to visit at least 5 of the attractions on this list, it will probably end up being a good value. However, the Barcelona Pass is not a good fit for all visitors, and travelers on a tight budget or those primarily interested in visiting attractions not covered by the Pass will likely not find much benefit. Check it out and see if the Barcelona Pass is a good fit for your next trip to Barcelona.
We hope this information is helpful to anyone planning a trip to Barcelona. Feel free to leave us any questions you have about the Barcelona Pass below and we are happy to try to answer them! Have you used the Barcelona Pass? We’d love to hear from others who have also used the passes.