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Getting around Barcelona

Public transport

Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (tel: +34 902 075 027; www.tmb.cat) runs the city's metro and bus systems.

The metro is the most efficient means of transport serving most parts of the city. You can buy single tickets at any metro station and need to validate them before boarding. One-day and monthly passes are also available, along with 10-journey tickets. Trains run seven days a week, with an all-night service on Saturdays.

The city’s bus network is extensive and night buses serve many routes. You can buy tickets on the bus.

For the suburbs and surrounding areas, FGC (tel: 012, in Spain only; www.fgc.es) and RENFE (tel: +34 902 320 320; www.renfe.com) operate regional rail lines - the RENFE local network is known as Rodalies or Cercanías.

The Hola BCN! travelcard (www.tmb.cat/en/barcelona-travel-card) covers travel on all types of public transport within Barcelona and is valid for two, three, four or five days.

Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (http://mou-te.gencat.cat) provides a journey planner for the city and surrounding areas.

Taxis

You can book yellow-and-black registered cabs or hail them on the street. Radio-Taxi 033 (tel: +34 93 303 3033) and Servitaxi (tel: +34 93 330 0300) provide 24-hour daily services. Rates rise at night, on Sundays and holidays. Tipping is not expected, but if you do, give 5 to 10% of the fare.

Driving

Barcelona’s roads are excellent but can get extremely congested during rush hours. Blue markings with a meter signify pay to park for a limited period, while yellow markings signify no parking. There are numerous paid car parks in the city centre.

Car hire

The minimum age to hire a car in Spain is 21. A passport and a valid driving licence are required, as is a valid international insurance policy, which you can buy at the time of hire. Car hire companies include Avis (tel: +34 902 108 495; www.avis.es) and Hertz (tel: +34 902 011 959; www.hertz.es).

Bicycle hire

Barcelona is a cyclist-friendly city, with the public Bicing bicycle system (tel: +34 902 315 531; www.bicing.cat) proving an economical and convenient way to hire a bike. Sign up for a card online and swipe it at one of the bike stations to unlock a bike.

You can rent bikes from Al Punt de Trobada, Carrer Badajoz 28 (tel: +34 93 221 6367) and Biciclot, Passeig Marítim 33 (tel: +34 93 307 7475; www.biciclot.net).

 

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City Highlight: Barcelona

Ask anyone who has been to Barcelona about the city and you are likely to get a big smile and hear the so-clichéd-but-so-true words, “I love Barcelona!”

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Praktik Garden

With affordable rates and quality accommodation, Hotel Praktik Garden introduces a new concept midway between a budget hostel and a contemporary hotel. Decked out in white-washed walls, slick lines and retro furnishing, this Barcelona hotel provides the technology and comforts budget travellers look for. Housed in a historical building from the Modernist age, the hotel stands in a quiet area, five minutes away from the city centre by foot. Free Wi-Fi is provided in all rooms and public areas.

Hotel Peninsular

Located in a narrow street near the Liceu opera house and built on the site of a former convent, the Peninsular is one of the oldest hotels in Barcelona. Rooms are simple and clean, although not all have their own bathroom facilities. Full of interesting architectural detail, such as the dining room's Moorish-inspired arches, the real pièce de résistance is the wonderful interior balcony. Adorned with hanging plants and wicker tables and chairs, it has a serene, almost oriental atmosphere. Booking well in advance (approximately three months) is usually necessary.

El Jardí Hotel

This small-scale, 2-star hotel is a perennially popular budget option, full of character and original features. Located in the busy hub of Barcelona's old quarter, attractions are within short walking distance. Overlooking the shady, café-lined Plaça Sant Josep Oriols and the classic gothic architecture of the medieval church of Santa Maria del Pi, the Jardí is pretty much unbeatable in terms of price and location. All rooms are en-suite.

Oriente Atiram

Situated on the bustling thoroughfare of La Rambla, the 3-star Husa Oriente is one of Barcelona's original 'grand' hotels. Constructed on the site of a Franciscan monastery, in 1842, the 147-room hotel was once the haunt of illustrious guests such as Maria Callas, Arturo Toscanini and Errol Flynn among its illustrious guests. Although recent renovations are perhaps a tad characterless, the grand dining room and arched ballroom (now a lounge) are still potently redolent of its glorious heyday.

Hotel Arts Barcelona

The product of a hugely successful collaboration between New York design and Barcelona funds, the Hotel Arts Barcelona has won several awards. Featuring an attractive brass wave-like roof, the 44-storey high hotel pokes conspicuously into Barcelona’s skyline. Thanks to its beachfront location, all 483 rooms have spectacular Mediterranean views. Art works by leading Spanish artists adorn the public areas. Among the wide array of services and amenities is a luxury spa and four top-class restaurants, one of which, Enoteca Paco Pérez, has two Michelin stars.

Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I

Surrounded by major attractions like Camp Nou stadium and the Barcelona Polo Club, the 5-star Juan Carlos is simple yet comfortable. The 432 rooms, including 37 luxury suites, offer panoramic city and sea views. A tranquil patio restaurant, overlooking the hotel garden and pool, is just one of several dining areas and also features a wine lounge. Leisure facilities include a first-class health and fitness club and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.