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Visas and Transportation in Barcelona

Are you dreaming of moving to Barcelona? Well, you’re not alone! Many expats opt for a move to Barcelona, and not just because of the city’s close proximity to the sea. Read our guide on Barcelona and learn all about the city, visa requirements, and local transportation.

Not an EU National — What Are Your Options?

Some countries have entered into international treaties allowing their citizens to visit the Schengen area for a period of less than 90 days without needing a visa. For non-EU citizens whose country is not on this list and for those looking to stay for an extended period of time, the following visas are of interest:

  • Family reunification visa (visado de reagrupación familiar): expats married to a Spanish citizen or are related to one can apply for this visa.
  • Work visa (visado de residencia y trabajo por cuenta ajena): before applying for a work visa, you need to secure an employment contract, which you can later submit with your visa application.
  • Student visa (visado de estudiantes): you can apply for a student visa if you are studying at a school or university, or are part of an exchange program. With a student visa, you can also secure a visa for your spouse or children.
  • Tourist visa (visado de turismo): it is necessary to apply for a tourist visa if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen and if your country does not have a visa agreement with Spain, or for the Schengen area in general. A tourist visa is valid for up to 90 days.

For more information on visa restrictions and requirements, please contact a Spanish embassy or consulate near you. The Ministry of Foreign Relations is also a great place to find more information.

Taxis — Hail, Call, App, or Order Online

Taxis are available all over Barcelona and can be hailed on the street, booked over the phone, or you can use an app such as Hailo or MyTaxi. Keep in mind that calling a taxi will require a surcharge. Furthermore, you should be prepared to pay extra for big luggage, as well as trips to the airport. If you require a taxi between 21:00 and 07:00, the fare is higher. The basic fare is 2.10 EUR, with an additional 1.07 EUR for each kilometer.

There are many taxi companies which offer their services throughout Barcelona. Fono Taxi and Taxi Amic cater particularly to people with disabilities. Catalunyataxi and T033 Radio taxi service even allow you to book your taxi service online. Many companies allow you to pay with credit card. This is not always the case, though, and you should definitely not depend on it.

Public Transportation: Road and Rail

Buses are an important mode of transportation both in Barcelona proper and in much of the Pyrenees and along the Costa Brava as railroad services are incredibly limited there. In Barcelona, buses run every few minutes or so and are replaced by a Nitbus (night bus) network starting between 22:40 and 23:40 and ending at some point between 05:00 and 06:00. Barcelona’s bus network is operated by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona. The city’s suburbs are connected to the city via six tram lines, operated by Tram.

Barcelona also has a comprehensive metro system with eleven lines spreading all across the city. The different lines are color-coded, making it easy to find the right connection. The train network also connects Barcelona to other bigger Spanish cities like Valencia or Madrid, but travelling by train also makes sense if you are trying to reach smaller towns outside of Barcelona.

Bikes, Boats, and Barcelona

For athletic types, Barcelona is the place to be considering how easy it is to explore the city by bike. The large network of bike paths is constantly being extended. In addition, Barcelona’s city government started the “Bicing Service” in 2007 — a public bicycle system for residents which allows them to use the red-and-white bicycles at stations across the city for a monthly fee. Cyclists are, unfortunately, not allowed to travel on bus lanes and footpaths. So, when there is no bicycle lane for you, be careful when navigating Barcelona’s crowded traffic.

If you are looking for a quick get-away, you may also travel by boat or ferry. Acciona Trasmediterránea, among others, offers frequent connections from and to the Balearic Islands. You can choose between standard ferries and high-speed catamaran ferries. The latter are a lot more expensive. Other companies also offer connections to Italy and Morocco. It makes sense to shop around, however, as a plane ticket might end up being a lot cheaper.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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