Every day, hundreds of people choose this tour bus option to get to know the city better for its comfort and its smart organization of tours. Along with the relatively cheap ticket price and the chance to discover the major sites in the city complete with audio guides, Bus Turístic Barcelona explores several of the city’s key land routes. This article will discuss the routes and options and explain how to choose the best experience for you.
Bus Turístic Barcelona as one of the best ways to get to know the city
Over the last 30 years, the big red buses that can be seen constantly circulating the city center have hosted over two million people from all over the world on board for their excursion tours. It might seem unusual to some tourists, but first-time visitors to Barcelona are not the only visitors to take the bus; experienced Spanish tourists take these buses as well to fill in the gaps in their Barcelona experience and build a more complete picture of the city and its sites. For these reasons, it is no wonder that the multitude of online reviews about Barcelona’s Bus Turístic are highly positive.
The buses operated by Barcelona Bus Turístic are double-deckers with open tops, and every passenger seat is equipped with an audio guide. Passengers can choose from a variety of languages, such as Spanish, Catalan, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese. It should be mentioned that the tour buses that circulate the city belong to two companies: Barcelona City Tours, a private company that provides bus excursions, and Bus Turístic, a public organization that is subject to Barcelona’s tourism management statutes. There are minor differences between the companies’ respective bus routes. Barcelona City Tours features two routes with 35 bus stops on average, while Bus Turístic offers three routes and 44 bus stops. The duration of their respective tours are about 40-45 minutes different. The remainder of both companies’ features are nearly identical.
For the passengers’ convenience, Barcelona Bus Turístic routes vary by color:
- The red route (also called the southern route) is 2 hours long, without taking into account bus stops;
- The blue route (also called the northern route) is 2 hours long, without taking into account bus stops;
- The green route (route Fórum) is 40 minutes long, without taking into account bus stops.
Tourists can take the bus both for the purpose of getting to know the city and as a standard means of transportation. It is possible to enter and exit the bus at any stop along the route. However, keep in mind that sometimes it is not easy to find the desired stop because not all of the stops along the Barcelona Bus Turístic routes are signaled clearly. The bus ticket is valid for two days, and the stops along different routes overlap in specific areas. In case a passenger would like to enjoy one of the landmarks a little longer, it is possible to exit one of the buses at a stop and take another bus with the same route when you are ready, or even switch to a bus with another route.
As a rule, the bus begins its circulation from Plaza de Catalunya, although you can take a bus and start your tour from any of the stops along the route. The interval between routes is 5-20 minutes (as there is no strictly established schedule). December 25th and January 1st are the only days on which the buses do not circulate. On all other days, tour buses circulate from 9:00 until 19:00 in winter or 20:00 in the summer. Barcelona Bus Turístic offers a convenient schedule, allowing even tourists with the busiest schedules to engage in at least a brief tour of the city.
According to countless reviews of Barcelona Bus Turístic, one of many tourists’ favorite features of the company is the fact that every passenger receives a city map with the key landmarks underscored and single-use headphones for the multi-lingual audio guide along the way.
Barcelona Bus Turístic routes
The red (southern) route is the most popular. If you take this route, your tour starts on the main square of the city, Plaza de Catalunya, and finishes in the Gothic Quarter of the Old City. This route passes through Passeig de Gràcia, Plaza España, and the Spanish Village, and it passes by the major masterpieces of the famous Catalan architect, Antonio Gaudi. These sites include Casa Batlló (or “House of Bones”), and Casa Mila, which is also called “La Pedrera” and is the house constructed by Gaudi at the beginning of the XX century for the Mila family. Moreover, choose this tour and you will have a chance to see Castell de Montjuïc and Anella Olimpica (the Olympic Park) and visit the National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya). One of the stops of the Barcelona Bus Turístic on this route is the Barcelona Zoo, which is considered to be one of the largest zoos in the world. Overall, the red route features 28 stops and showcases the key landmarks of the southern part of the city.
The blue route has 18 stops planned, and the popular locations are linked with Gaudi’s name as well. Thus, on this route you will see Sagrada Familia, which has become a symbol of the city, and the breathtaking park ensemble, Parc Güell. Along this route, the bus stops at the highest point of the city, Tibidabo Mountain. True football lovers and FC Barcelona fans will be happy to visit Camp Nou, where they can take a guided tour of the football stadium and FC Barcelona’s club museum. Like the southern route, the northern route stops at Plaza de Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Batlló, Fundacio Tapies, and La Pedrera. The tour starts at Plaza de Catalunya and reaches its end in the Chinese quarter (MACBA & CCCB).
The green route (or Fórum route) is the shortest one, as the overview of all touristic sights is accomplished within 40 minutes. The green route imitates almost exactly the route of the yellow line of Barcelona’s metro system and is comprised of five stops. One of these, Anella Olimpica (or Olympic Park), overlaps with the red route. Additionally, the bus stops near the beaches, in particular, near Platja del Bogatell as well as next to the third largest park in the city and the largest in the north-eastern districts, Parc Diagonal Mar.
Barcelona Bus Turístic tickets
The tickets for Barcelona Bus Turístic tours are valid for use within one to two days. The prices of tickets vary as follows:
Ticket for 1 day
Ticket for 2 days
Children (4-12 years old)
Those with disabilities and elderly passengers (those over 65 years of age) receive a 33% discount.
Many visitors to Barcelona want to take advantage of Bus Turístic tours. For this reason, the best option is to purchase the tickets on the official company website. By doing so, you will receive a 10% discount applicable on any ticket. Additional significant advantages of buying a ticket via the official website is the possibility to pay for it in your national currency and the ability to set the website interface for your native language. Moreover, via the official website, it is possible to buy tickets to museums, galleries, and other places of interest that lie near the stops along your bus route. Upon making a purchase, you will receive these tickets by e-mail along with your bus tickets. The only thing left for you to do afterwards is print them. With each ticket, passengers get a booklet with discount coupons to various establishments and shops in Barcelona with a total value of 200 euros.
Sometimes, reviews of Barcelona Bus Turístic contain complaints pertaining to situations in which many of the passengers have not bought tickets in advance. As a result, huge lines can be formed in front of the bus made up of people purchasing tickets directly before boarding for the tour. Although this is far from the most convenient way to buy tickets, this option still exists. To make your purchase in this way, the best choice is to pay the ticket fee in exact change so as to keep the line moving and to avoid a situation in which change might not be available.
“INEEDSpain” service center provides a wide range of services for tourists, including the selection of tour bus routes, ticket booking and purchasing, and guidance on visiting all the sites that interest you on your trip.