Barcelona-El Prat – Airport Guide
Barcelona-El Prat Airport is the second-largest airport in Spain and the international door to the metropolis of Barcelona. In this airport guide, you will find helpful information and tips for visitors to the city of Barcelona (updated 2023).
#1 Transfer: Airport ↔ Barcelona city center and surroundings
El Prat Airport is located just 14 km southwest of downtown Barcelona and is well connected to Barcelona’s public transport network. You can quickly reach the city center, e.g. by metro or shuttle bus (Aerobús).
In this Airport Guide you will find helpful information on how to get from the airport to the city center quickly and easily. Our tips on buying tickets can save you time and money.
By metro to the city center
Since 2016, the airport has been directly connected to Barcelona’s metro network. The metro offers a fast and cheap connection to the city center.
By Aerobús to the city center
The Aerobús is an express bus. It offers a direct bus connection between El Prat Airport and Barcelona city centre. Downtown stops are at Plaça Catalunya and Plaça Espanya.
#2 Terminals at Barcelona-El Prat Airport (+ Map)
The airport offers a total of 2 terminals for passengers. The modern Terminal T1, opened in 2009, and the older Terminal T2. There is a free shuttle bus between the two terminals.
Terminal 1 at Barcelona-El Prat Airport
Terminal 1 (T1) is impressive with an area of approx. 550,000 m². There are 258 check-in counters, a total of 15 luggage belts, countless shops, restaurants, …. With its own metro station and an Aerobús station, the T1 is very well-connected to local transport.
Terminal 2 at Barcelona-El Prat Airport
Terminal 2 (T2) is the older and smaller terminal. It is mainly used by low-cost airlines. This terminal is also well-connected to Barcelona’s public transport system. You will find an Aerobús stop in front of the terminal and a metro stop for the L9 Sud line below the building.
Map: El Prat Airport – Barcelona City Centre
#3 Beware of confusion! There are several airports in the Barcelona region
In addition to Barcelona-El Prat Airport, there are two other, smaller airports that are also known as Barcelona Airport. Girona Airport is around 75 kilometers from the city center. Reus Airport is about 90 kilometers away.
El Prat Airport is the closest airport to Barcelona city center. This is clearly shown by the times and prices for the airport → city center transfer.
How to avoid confusion
To prevent confusion, there are standardized abbreviations for every airport in international air traffic. Barcelona-El Prat Airport has the abbreviations BCN (IATA Standard) and LEBL (ICAO Standard). You can use these abbreviations to search for flights on the internet, for example.
#4 Facts and figures about Barcelona-El Prat Airport
Barcelona-El Prat International Airport is Spain’s second-busiest airport, handling nearly 19 million passengers a year, and is one of the leading airports in the Mediterranean region. Its complete spanish name is Aeropuerto de Barcelona-El Prat. In Catalan, it is called Aeroport Josep Tarradellas Barcelona – El Prat.
History, development, enormous growth
In 1918, the airport started operations at the current location. 1 million passengers were handled for the first time in 1963. Due to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the airport was extensively expanded and modernized. In 2009, the multiple award-winning Terminal 1 was completed with an area of approx. 500,000 m². Up to 90 flights per hour can be handled at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, with a total of 3 runways. Passenger numbers have increased from just under 12 million in 1995 to around 53 million passengers in 2019. Due to the Corona pandemic in 2020/2021 and the associated travel restrictions, there was a reduction to now 19 million passengers in 2022.
#5 Frequently asked questions – FAQ
Is there a metro station at Barcelona-El Prat Airport?
Since 2016, El Prat Airport is connected to the Barcelona metro network. There is a stop on the metro line “L9 Sud” in Terminal 1 (inside the building) and in Terminal 2 (outside the building). Both stops are well signposted in the airport.
How far is El Prat Airport from Barcelona city center?
El Prat Airport is just 14 km southwest of downtown Barcelona. It is well-connected to Barcelona’s public transport system. You can get to the city center quickly, e.g. by metro or shuttle bus (Aerobús).
Which airport in the Barcelona region is the best?
There are three international airports in the Barcelona region. Girona and Reus airports are between 75 and 90 kilometers from the center. El Prat Airport, on the other hand, is only 14 km from the city center and is even connected to the metro network. Therefore, it is the most suitable for visiting Barcelona.