Barcelona Airport, with its full name of Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport, is the largest airport that serves the Spanish city of Barcelona. The airport plays a significant part in European aviation as the sixth busiest in the continent and the second busiest in Spain. Before you fly to or from Barcelona Aiport, make sure to read our complete guide!
Although the naming of airports makes it appear that Barcelona has three airports, Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat airport is the only airport in Barcelona. Barcelona Reus and Barcelona Girona airports are each approximately 100km away from Barcelona itself. In contrast, Barcelona-El Prat is just 12km southwest of the city centre. The Reus and Girona airports are popular with budget airlines and may be beneficial for cost-saving, or to travel to Mediterranean resorts. However, to travel to Barcelona, El Prat is by far the most convenient.
The airport’s initial name was Barcelona-El Prat, but in 2019 the Josep Tarradellas was prefixed to honour the former Generalitat of Catalonia of the same name. The full Spanish name is Aeropuerto Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat. Low-cost carrier airlines Vueling and Level utilise Barcelona as a hub. The most popular routes from El Prat are within Europe, but there are many transatlantic and long-haul options too, in particular with Iberia, meaning we regularly see great discounts and deals from Barcelona!
Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport At-a-glance
Official Website: http://www.aena.es/en/barcelona-airport/
Airport Code: BCN
Address: Aeropuerto de Barcelona,
El Prat de Llobregat,
Gate Checker: N/A. However, a departure board is available at http://www.aena.es/csee/Satellite/infovuelos/en/
Terminal Checker: http://www.aena.es/en/barcelona-airport/airlines.html
Contact Number: +34 913 211 000
Timezone: GMT+1 October-March, GMT+2 March-October
Lost Property Contact: There are several contacts for lost luggage, depending on the airline or terminal listed at the below website:
WiFi: Free WiFi is available throughout the airport. The network name is ‘AIRPORT FREE WIFI AENA’.
Barcelona-El Prat Airport Facilities
Barcelona Airport isn’t going to be the highlight of any trip for passengers flying to or from it, but the airport is functional for almost all elements of travel. Travellers will find water fountains, currency conversion, ATM’s, free Wifi, bars, cafes, restaurants (with some 24-hour offerings), lounges, free luggage trolleys, duty-free shopping, bag wrapping, luggage storage, children’s areas, mobile device charging, multi-faith prayer rooms, hair salons, and an in-airport hotel.
Spain is a popular destination for a holiday and Barcelona Airport serves those travelling as a family well. Some luggage trolleys include baby carriers to allow parents with very young children some additional flexibility when navigating the airport. When passing through security, there are also preferential queues for families so travellers with children can have more time making their way into the departures area.
There are two terminals at the airport with Terminal 1 being the newer of these with its 2009 construction. Terminal 2 was the sole terminal before this, and although it has undergone expansion (mainly for the 1992 Olympics), the terminal is now almost exclusively used by low-cost carriers. As such, travellers will find that there are more outlets and facilities are in T1 rather than T2.
Sleeping at the airport is possible with Terminal 1’s ‘Sleep & Fly’ hotel. The in-airport hotel has rest units available for day-use or overnights depending on the time of arrival. If staying between 10 AM and 6 PM then a 3 or 6-hour slot is possible for day use. If a stay goes out of these hours, then a full nights stay is chargeable. Further information is available here.
Aside from this, there are several hotels a short distance from the airport with free shuttle buses that run at regular intervals. The closest is the TRYP hotel which is five minutes away from the airport. However, all nearby hotels can have prices checked by passengers for the best rate by looking at Booking.com and entering the desired dates.
Shower facilities are possible at Barcelona Airport, but for a fee. Travellers looking to freshen up may do so in one of the several airport lounges, if they have access to them, or will need to pay to access the showers in Terminal 1. The Sleep & Fly in-airport hotel has shower services available for €20 for a 30-minute shower. The price does include all toiletries, which will help with the price. If staying for a more extended layover or an early airport arrival, using the shower facilities in one of the pay-at-the-door lounges could be a better deal with the inclusive food and drinks too.
Luggage storage services are available at both terminals, but only Terminal 1 has a 24-hour operation. Rates scale from up to 2 hours, then straight up to a 24hr fee per item. For a standard item of luggage it is €6 for 2 hours, and then €10 per item per 24 hours. Discounts starting at 25% off are possible when storing four or more items. A 50% large item surcharge applies if keeping an oversized item that is larger than 210cm when adding length, width and height together.
For even longer periods, additional discounts apply for large items. It is €10.50 per day for every day past eight days, and €6.50 per day when storing items for over fifteen days.
Barcelona El Prat Airport Terminal Layout
Barcelona El Prat Airport has its facilities split into two terminals. Terminal 1, which is the newer of the two, is home to most of the traditional full-service airlines. Vueling and Level, who use Barcelona as their base airport, also fly from Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is some 4km away from Terminal 1 and is where travellers will find the operations of the low-cost carriers. One of Barcelona Airport’s three runways separate the terminals, and as such, all transportation between the two is via road with free bus services.
The terminal layout of T1 is of three arms extending from a central area. Two reach out from either side parallel to each other in a south-westerly direction with the third sited centrally on the opposite side. The central location is home to most of the food and drink offerings, as well as retail duty-free shopping. The gates have logical ordering depending on the route.
A gates are on level 1, to the left when entering through security. Flights from here depart to Madrid on the Barcelona-Madrid air bridge route.
B gates are on level 1, in the concourse that extends centrally, opposite of the security area. The flights departing here are to Schengen destinations.
Flights with Air Nostrom, the Iberia franchisee, depart from C gates. These are also on level 1 and are on the right when entering through security.
D and E gates are on level 3 and fly to non-Schengen destinations. Flights from D gates depart to European cities which are not Schengen, with E gates handling all other international flights.
Terminal 2 at Barcelona El Prat Airport has mainly low-cost carriers operating from it. The terminal has three areas; Terminal 2A, Terminal 2B, and Terminal 2C. 2B is the original terminal of the entire airport with 2A and 2C constructed to assist with capacity for the 1992 summer Olympics that Barcelona held. Passengers will find T2 much quieter than T1 with only 30% or so of traffic occurring at this older terminal. The terminal is so relatively quiet that at the time of writing, terminal 2A has no departures leaving from it.
When arriving at Terminal 2 from the road, Terminal 2A is to the right, 2B is in the middle, and Terminal 2C is to the left. The three are distinct from one another, and there is no indoor foot access between each when landside (i.e. before security). When in the boarding area, however, travellers can move freely between each of the sub-terminals.
Easyjet has exclusive use of Terminal 2C so passengers flying with them should head to the left when exiting security to find their gates. All other airlines operate from 2B. The gate naming goes from M gates, which are at the far left for Easyjet flights, and go through to Y gates at the far right.
Barcelona El Prat Airport Connections
Barcelona El Prat Airport is very well connected by all means of transport to the city of Barcelona, as well as to other Spanish destinations. Public transport systems are all part of the ‘Integrated Fare System‘ to make getting around simple, so any journey within the city can utilise train, metro, and bus all on one ticket.
Bus: The Aerobus is a popular method of getting to and from the airport. The bus travels to Plaça de Catalunya in the heart of the city, as well as stops at Sepúlveda-Urgell and Plaça d’Espanya. The buses are easy to recognise with their light blue paint job. But passengers must check which terminal the bus is travelling to when travelling to the airport, as there are two separate routes. Travelling to T1 will take approximately 35 minutes, and it’s about 50 minutes to T2. Regardless of the terminal that passengers travel to/from, it is €5.90 for a single ticket or €10.20 for a return. Buses depart every 15 minutes.
Metro: T1 and T2 are both now connected to the metro service of Barcelona. Since 2016 the airport has been part of the L9 Sud line that connects to the broader metro network. The L9 (orange) line runs to Zona Universitaria but does not get travellers to the city centre. A change of line will be necessary. Passengers can do this at either Torrassa or Collblanc, depending on their final destination. Of course, there are many routes to each destination and consulting with the metro map is recommended. The fare to reach the city centre will be €4.50 for a one-way trip.
Train: Trains depart from Terminal 2 only, but Terminal 1 is to have a rail connection of its own soon. Presently, however, passengers at T1 looking to make use of the train system must use the bus shuttle service to Terminal 2 first. It will take around 25 minutes to reach the city centre from Terminal 2, with the train stopping at Estació Sants, Passeig de Gràcia, and El Clot. Tickets cost €4.60 for a one-way journey.
Car: Many car rental companies operate from Barcelona Airport with offices in the arrivals halls of both terminals. Travellers can expect to see familiar names such as Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, Avis, and Sixt, as well as Europcar-owned Goldcar amongst other smaller companies. The airport is next to the C-31 highway which allows road users quick access to Barcelona city centre, or elsewhere in Spain.
Taxi: Taxis will line up outside the arrivals hall of either terminal ready to take passengers to their destination. It will cost €25-€35 for a taxi to most locations in the city centre, though this may fluctuate depending on traffic conditions. It will take around 20 minutes at quickest to reach the city centre, but this can be much longer if traffic conditions are poor.
For anyone who has a connecting flight at Barcelona El Prat Airport, and is worrying about their connection time, there is no need if tickets were purchased directly with the airline or travel agency. The airline will factor in the minimum connection time for indirect flights. All checked luggage will transfer to the second flight without any collection required. If a flight delay occurs and there is a missed connection, then the airline will find alternative transport to get their passengers to their destination city.
However, if a traveller is flying on two separate tickets, then they would perform a ‘self-transfer’ when arriving at Barcelona Airport. Any checked luggage does not automatically transfer to their next flight if they are travelling with any. This means luggage will need to be collected, and the passenger will need to clear security, both exiting into Barcelona, and then again after checking in. If the second flight departs from a different terminal, this will add further delays.
There is no minimum connection time published by the airport. Many factors must be considered, such as whether the traveller has checked luggage, are changing terminals, and whether they need to clear immigration either inbound, outbound, or both (i.e. if the origin/departure is not Schengen). We would recommend at least 2.5 hours between flights for any connections Longer if travelling with luggage and needing to change terminal.
Barcelona El Prat Airport Lounges
Despite Barcelona playing a large part in European flying, there is a surprising lack of lounges at Barcelona El Prat Airport. With no traditional airlines using the airport as a base of operations, there are no airline affiliated lounges available. Iberia has their hub at Madrid leaving Barcelona with fewer choices. Terminal 1 has four lounges available, while Terminal 2 has just one. Showers are available, but they are not always complimentary. See below for further information.
Terminal 1 Lounges
Sala VIP Miro Lounge (this lounge has paid for shower facilities)
Past security, towards D gates, for non-Schengen flights only
Sala VIP Colomer Lounge
In A gates area for flights to Madrid
Premium VIP Lounge (this lounge has paid for shower facilities)
Landside (i.e. before security). Follow signs for the Business Centre
Sala VIP Pau Casals Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Down the stairs after security, follow signs for VIP. Schengen/domestic flights only
Terminal 2 Lounges
Sala VIP Canudas Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located near the U gates