Millions of tourists fly into the main airport, Barcelona International (BCN) - also known as Barcelona El Prat Airport - every year. Located only 12 kilometers from the city center and with more than 103 airlines flying to and from Barcelona, finding a cheap flight is easier than you might think. Choose to go in the off season, and cheap flights to Barcelona are even more plentiful. Which season will you choose for big savings on flights to Barcelona?
Barcelona is a vibrant and culturally rich city to visit any time of year. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, you will find delicious food, inspiring art and architecture, and a very happening night life. If you chose your travel time wisely, you can save a bundle. Think about what your interests are and build a trip around them.
Peak travel time is summer, and you'll definitely see that reflected in the prices of airfare, hotels, and more. For the best savings on flights, travel in late September through December, or January through April. May and June are beautiful spring months to consider and it's just before the crowds arrive, but prices will be a little higher than they are in late fall and winter.
Your departure city is largely going to decide what you'll pay for a ticket to Barcelona. If your flight originates in Europe, you're obviously already in a great place to save big. A one-way ticket from London to Barcelona can be yours for as little as $50 on budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet. Flights from London originate at Gatwick airport. The London to Barcelona route is the busiest international route, followed by Amsterdam.
Flying on the largest carriers like American Airlines, Delta, and United for longer-haul flights will cost more, but there are still plenty of deals. Try flying out of major hubs like New York's JFK International Airport. Delta operates the most flights from JFK to Barcelona, followed by United and American.
Barcelona is a hub for Vueling, Iberia, and Ryanair, but there are many more options to choose from. Serving more than 35 million passengers in 2013, you will not have a problem finding a flight deal into Barcelona International Airport.
There are two terminals at Barcelona's El Prat International, T1 and T2. If you are traveling internationally you will arrive in the newest terminal, T1. Which terminal you arrive in depends on which carrier you are flying. Larger airlines like American will be found in terminal T1.
The smaller local and regional flights arrive and depart from T2. There is a shuttle connecting the two terminals. The shuttle leaves about every five minutes, 24 hours a day.
Another feature of travel to Barcelona that makes it super easy and affordable is the proximity of the main airport to the city center, coupled with availability to reliable and cheap transportation. The main methods of transport are by car or bus, also called the Aerobus. Note that the Aerobus 1 arrives and departs from terminal T1 and Aerobus 2 from terminal T2. Again, you can catch a shuttle between the two terminals if you accidentally end up on the wrong bus.
The Aerobus from the airport to the city center stops at Plaza Catalunya. It will take about 30 to 45 minutes to travel either direction and the cost is only about six euros, roughly nine U.S. dollars. This is a great deal. Be aware that most people chose to leave from Plaza Catalunya for the airport, so allow yourself extra time as buses may be crowded during peak hours and high season. Once you arrive at Plaza Catalunya, you can catch a taxi or the Metro to your hotel or other destinations.
Alternatively, travelers can take the RENFE R2 (Nord) suburban train line, which runs every half-hour. The train stops at Barcelona Sants (Sants Estacio), Passeig de Gràcia, and El Clot in the city center. A train ticket will only cost about four euros.
If you rent a car you just follow the signs. Since there is only one road leading you out of the airport, you really can't get lost.
Finally, you can hire a private car or taxi to take you from the airport to Barcelona, but it's not a budget-friendly option. A taxi will set you back about 20 euros as of this writing. You'll want to check approximate prices before you go if you have a lot of luggage and just can't manage the bus or train on your own.
Barcelona is known for festivals and there's something going on almost year round. Traveling for specific festivals can add a feeling of being immersed in the local lifestyle and culture. Besides that, they're lots of fun.
The winter holiday travel season is a great time to experience Barcelona's, and Spain's, biggest celebration day, El Dia de Tres Reyes, or Three Kings Day. The three kings are of course the Magi who followed the star to Bethlehem, bearing gifts for baby Jesus. The Tres Reyes parade lasts for three hours and follows a route that is five kilometers long. It's a very colorful and festive parade that will give you an insider's view of what life in Barcelona might be like. Don't forget to buy a king's cake at one of the local bakeries.
If you're in Barcelona over the Christmas holiday, you must visit at least one Christmas market. These markets have an authentic flavor are an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in local color. They aren't necessarily cheap places to shop, but they are a great way to get in the spirit the Catalan way. Shop for Christmas trees, ornaments, regional arts, food and wine. Two of the best markets to visit are: Fira de Santa Llucia and Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Familia. Both markets are located in the city center, the latter being held in the gardens at La Sagrada Familia.
The Easter holiday season is another big festival season, and with a little advance planning you can easily find an economy-rate flight, not to mention the weather will be more mild.
Mid-October through November is the Barcelona Jazz Festival. This is a popular event booking some of the top names in jazz. Once you've decided this is the event for you, don't hesitate to book your airline and hotel fares for the best availability.
No matter what time of year you decide to travel to Barcelona, put these must-see attractions on your itinerary.
If you only go to one monument in Barcelona, most people would agree it has to be La Sagrada Familia, the unfinished masterpiece of architect Antonia Gaudi. Often described as "art nouveau run wild," construction of La Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and was incomplete at the time of Gaudi's death in 1926. As is the case with most famous monuments, go early or prepare to wait in line for a long time.
Although it's a very touristy thing to do, you must take a stroll down La Ramblas, as it really does give you a feel for the city. La Ramblas is a beautiful promenade where you will find street entertainers, musicians, and just about anything you can think of.
The Bocqueria is Barcelona's a huge open-air market, and one of the best in the world. Marvel at the incredible selection of fresh fish, astounding choice of produce, and every other food item imaginable. Go for a coffee in the morning and watch the day's shipments arrive.
To get a bird's-eye view of the city, take the Port Cable Car, or Transbordador Aeri del Port. As the name implies, you'll catch this port side. It's a seven-minute ride that takes you across to Montjuic, the sight of the 1992 Olympic games. It takes a bit of courage, but you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Barcelona.
Don't miss Barcelona's gothic quarter, El Barri Gotic or Gothic Quarter. It's not only an attraction, but also a wonderful medieval neighborhood, parts of which have survived from the Middle Ages. The narrow streets are a treasure trove of important churches and museums. The church of La Merce', Our Lady of Mercy, is the church of the patron saint of Barcelona, and a festival is held there in late September.
Whenever you visit Barcelona, you are guaranteed a memorable time. Whether it's history or nightlife you enjoy, this is a city that truly has it all.
© 2015 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.
© 2015 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.