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Getting There & Around – Spanish Grand Prix

Filed in Spanish F1 Travel Guide by on 11 Comments

Advice on flights to Barcelona for the Spanish F1 Grand Prix, getting around in the city and information on how to get to Circuit de Catalunya.

The great thing about the Spanish Grand Prix is that you can easily combine your F1 trip with a city break in Barcelona, which is really well served by a range of flight routes  (both short and long-haul) and airlines, including lots of discount carriers.

Barcelona Airports

Barcelona International Airport (BCN) is located in El Prat de Llobregat, 10km south west of the city centre. Long-haul and flag carrier airlines all fly into BCN, and this is the best airport to fly into if you have the choice. If you are on a budget and looking to save, budget carriers fly into the regional airports in either Reus (REU) or Girona-Costa Brava (GRO), both of which are actually located approximately 100km from Barcelona. If you want to couple your trip to the Spanish Grand Prix with a beach holiday, your best bet is to fly into Girona (GRO) near the Costa Brava.

European flights

  • There’s a huge selection of flights from the UK to Barcelona. Ryanair flies to BCN, REU and GIR whilst easyJet flies to just BCN, as does British Airways, Jet2, Iberia and Monarch. Expect to pay around £100-200 for return flights.
  • As an international hub, Barcelona receives flights from all over Europe on a daily basis. Among flag carriers, Aer Lingus, Alitalia, Swiss Air, KLM all fly into BCN. Many budget airlines in addition to the aforementioned Ryanair and easyJet also operate from European cities into Barcelona.

Long-haul flights

  • There’s plenty of good deals on the New York – Barcelona route, with the cheapest return flights costing less than $1000 USD. Among the airlines flying this route direct, good deals can be had with Finnair, US Airways, Air Europa and Air France. Other well-priced carriers include Lufthansa, United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta & BA.
  • From Australia, return flights cost upwards of $1500 AUD from large hubs such as Sydney and Melbourne. Most trips involve more than one stop and a total travel time in excess of 30 hours. Emirates fly from Australia with only one stop in Dubai;  Other carriers with good availability and prices on routes from Australia include Singapore Airlines & Lufthansa.

Trains to Barcelona

Barcelona is well connected by train to many major European centres. The high-speed train network in Spain is Europe’s second largest. If you are coming from London, you can book the Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord, and then a high speed train all the way to Barcelona for as little as £120 and a travelling time of 6 hours. More information on Seat 61.

Drive yourself

Driving to Spain can be a good option if you want to keep costs down. The drive from London, for example, could take as little as fourteen hours, though it would be safer to break up the journey  somewhere in France, like Dijon or Orleans. Having your car in Barcelona also means that you can drive to and from the circuit each day – there is ample parking (26000 spaces) at the Circuit de Catalunya. Affordable 3-day parking tickets cost between €15-20. There are five parking zones (A, B, C, D, F) – check in advance which zone is closest to your grandstand. Read more about parking in Trackside.

You can also hire a car inexpensively while you stay in Spain –  the most convenient way to do this is to pick up and drop off at the airport. For a small three door vehicle, you can expect to pay under €120 for one week’s hire. If you decide to stay near the beach on the Costa Brava, hiring a car is the best way to get to the circuit each day.

Taking Barcelona’s Metro

Barcelona has a world-class metro system and trains tend to be clean, punctual and cheap. Consider buying a T10 card for up to ten single journeys on the metro, trains, buses and trams in the city centre. A ticket costs €10, more than halving what you’d pay for buying individual singles each time you travel. One T10 ticket is valid for any journey up to 75 minutes in duration, but doesn’t include airport transfers or travel to the circuit. Validate your T10 ticket every time you enter the metro station – the machine will stamp and return it each time.

Alternatively, you can buy a Hola BCN!  travel card, which gives you unlimited travel on Barcelona public transport for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days with a single ticket. Two-day tickets cost €14.50, three-day tickets €20.50, four-day tickets €26.50 and five-day tickets €32. Click here to download a Barcelona metro map.

How to get to the circuit

The Circuit de Catalunya is approximately 30km north east of central Barelona. It’s located between two major highways, making it easy to get to if you are driving. There are regular bus and train services from the city to the circuit on race weekend as well.

Taking the train is a popular way to get to and from the Circuit de Catalunya each day. The closest station to the circuit is Montmelo, which is on the regional train network, not the metro. This means you need to purchase a separate ticket, which costs around 4 EUR return (you can also purchase for multiple days). Take the Renfe R2 (dark green) or R2 Nord (light green) train from either Sants Estacio, Passeig de Gracia or El Clot in the direction of Granollers or Saint Celoni.

The train itself takes around 20-30 minutes, but allow yourself a further 30-45 minutes or so to walk from the Montmelo station to the circuit. There’s also a shuttle bus from Montmelo to the circuit (tickets cost around 2 EUR each way) but it leaves from the center of the town, about 10 minutes walk from the train station in the direction of the circuit. It will drop you off near turn 1, around 10 minutes walk from entrance gate 5.

The bus from the city centre to the Catalunya circuit takes around 45 minutes and costs €12 return. The service is operated by Sagales from Estació del Nord and drops you off just 300 metres from the circuit entrance (as opposed to 2km for the train). The frequency of the buses increases over the course of the weekend (from every 30 mins on Friday, to every 15 mins on Saturday and every 10 mins on Sunday. Click here to find out more about buses to the circuit and to purchase advance tickets.

Barcelona Taxis

Official Barcelona taxis, which are black and yellow with a green light on their bonnets, are an affordable way to get about. Always insist on the meter being used and expect to pay around €10 per fifteen minute journey. You may have to pay a surcharge for luggage, but tipping is not expected. Bear in mind that the metro can be a better choice. in the pedestrianized city center.

Barcelona Buses

Barcelona has a massive bus network and a night bus operation too. The popular T10 card can be used on buses, too. You can grab a bus to the metro station and travel across the city by metro, then jump on a bus at the other end – all for the cost of one ticket if the journey takes less than 75 minutes.

Bus Tours

Buying a day pass for one of Barcelona’s hop-on hop-off bus tours is an easy way to see a lot of the city’s attractions in a short period of time. You can also sit upstairs and watch the world go by if the weather is good!  There are two services to choose from in Barcelona: City Tour Barcelona or Barcelona Bus Turistic. They both have several routes covering the city and adult tickets starting at around 28 per day, less if you buy online in advance.

From El Prat (BCN) Airport to the city

  • You’ll not struggle to find a taxi at the airport. Expect to pay €30-40 for travel into the city centre, and make sure the fare is metered. Knowing a little bit of Spanish will help here.
  • Aerobus runs a slick service every ten to fifteen minutes during the day and drops passengers off at Plaza Catalunya for around €6 each way.
  • Aeropuerto station is a five minute walk from the terminals, and trains run into the city every thirty minutes. Less frequent than buses, but the journey can take as little as eighteen minutes and costs €3 each way. The train from the airport stops at Sants, Passeig de Gracia and Clot stations, and you can transfer onto the Metro at any of these. You can also travel from the airport on the same line (R2 or R2 Nord) all the way to the circuit at Montmelo.
  • If you’re travelling in a group or simply want to take the stress out of arriving, private transfers and minibuses can be booked in advance online. You’ll get an English-speaking driver and a door-to-door service for a little more than you’d pay a regular airport taxi. Opt for a shared transfer to save even more money – it can cost as little as €8 each. Click here to book.
  • Click here for information on getting from Girona airport (GRO) to Barcelona

  • Click here for information on getting from Reus airport (REU) to Barcelona

February 19, 2017

Race Facts – Spanish Grand Prix

History, facts and background of the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona.

February 18, 2017

Travel Basics – Spanish Grand Prix

Useful travel information to help you plan your trip to the Spanish F1 Grand Prix in Barcelona.

February 18, 2017

Budget Planner – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Read our budget planner to help plan the cost of your trip to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona

February 9, 2017

Trackside – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Useful information to help you get the most out of your experience at Circuit de Catalunya during the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix.

December 21, 2016

Getting There & Around – Spanish Grand Prix

Advice on flights to Barcelona for the Spanish F1 Grand Prix, getting around in the city and information on how to get to Circuit de Catalunya.

December 20, 2016

Accommodation – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

A selection of the best-rated accommodation in Barcelona for F1 fans going to the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya.

November 12, 2016

Off-Track Activities – Spanish Grand Prix

Barcelona boasts world class art and cultural attractions, great shopping, buzzing nightlife and enough dining options to please every budget and palate.

October 27, 2016

Tickets – 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Your comprehensive guide on buying tickets and where to watch the action at the 2017 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Frank Lavery says:

    Hi there will be traveling to Spain for the Grand Prix in mayb, could you please advise on transport and times times that would take me from the circuit back to el prat airport . Thank you .

    • Editor says:

      Hi Frank, thank for your enquiry. Do you need to get to El Prat Airport after the race on Sunday? If yes, I would leave as much time as possible and not book a flight that leaves before at least 9pm. It takes a while to get out of the circuit and there is lots of traffic. Your best bet would be to get back to the centre of Barcelona (via train or bus) then a train again to the airport. Have a great weekend!

  2. Martin Barron says:

    Hi,

    I am going to my first f1 grand prix (spanish) – I have tickets for the Friday and Saturday. Any tips re travel (going from Sants train station) and also what I should bring with me to the track? Will Friday and Saturday be very busy and how long will it take me to get back to Sants after practice on Friday and qualifying on Saturday? All advice welcomed.
    Martin

    • Editor says:

      Hi Martin. There are direct trains every 30 minutes from Sants train station to Montmelo; take the R2N in the direction of Sant Celóni. There is a bit of a walk from the train station in Montmelo to the track, but you can’t get lost. Just follow the other fans! It won’t be super busy on either day – but there will be a lot more fans on Saturday than Friday. Door to door it will probably be about 90 minutes to get back from the track to Sants. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly (e.g. wet weather gear if rain is forecast). In general, you should always take a hat and sunscreen and bottled water. Don’t forget that Spain has a ‘free Friday’ policy, which means you can sit in pretty much any grandstand you want. That means a lot of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Enjoy your weekend in Spain!

  3. George says:

    Attending Barcelona F1 in May 17. Any advice on hotels? Also is it easy to get from Mataro to the circuit?

    • Editor says:

      Hi George, personally we would recommend staying somewhere centrally in Barcelona (e.g. close to La Rambla) so you can get the most out of the city. If you are going to stay on the Costa Brava in Mataro, I would recommend hiring a car to get to the circuit.

  4. Jeff says:

    Hi,

    Thinking of going to the Barcelona GP in May but doing a day return.
    Seen flights from Manchester that land in Barcelona at 9:45AM, and leave that night at 22:05PM. Do you think this is allowing enough time? If so any advice on best way to get from airport to track and back?

    Cheers

    • Editor says:

      Hi Jeff, which airport? If you are talking about BCN (El Prat, the main airport), then there are direct trains from there to Montmelo (head in direction of Sant Celoni). The train will take 1 hour and then you have a 30 minute walk (or a short bus ride) to get from Montmelo to the circuit. Sounds doable!

    • ashley_cowley@sky.com says:

      HI Jeff,

      I have booked this :) have you booked too?

  5. Mick says:

    Hi,
    My brother and I are heading to our first F1 in May and have a 3 day ticket. We are staying in Barcelona City and getting the train to Montemelo and then walking to the circuit. I’ve a couple of questions:

    1. Is the circuit well signposted and is there a general entrance area?
    2. Are you allowed to bring water(non alcoholic) and sandwiches into the circuit in a rucksack?
    3. Where is the best place in Barcelona or Montemelo to chill with a beer with other F1 fans after the day?
    4. Are you allowed a DSLR camera (135mm) for private use?

    Thanks in advance.
    Mick.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Mick, good decision. The Spanish GP is one of our favorites.
      1. It takes around 30-40 minutes to walk to the circuit from the train station. There are signs along the way, or you could just follow the crowd. Everyone is going in the same direction. You will first walk through the town, and there are shops and places to eat. The closest entrance is Gate 6 for General Admission (there’s also a big bar and grill there next to the entranc). Gate 7 behind the main grandstand is the next closest gate.
      2. Water in a plastic bottle should be fine, but they could take your bottle lid. (Bring a spare one or two lids in case). No problem with your sandwiches in the rucksack.
      3. There’s a few bars in Montmelo town with outdoor seating, along the way from train station to circuit. Also a few bars next to other gates at the circuit (gate 3, gate 6). As there is no alcohol sold inside the circuit, you can easily step outside for a beer and then return. In the center, we stayed in the Gothic District. This is good for interesting bars and restaurants, and also close to La Rambla, as well as Barcelonetta Beach and the marina area. All good places for chilling at the end of the day.
      4. Yes 135mm lens should be fine.

      Enjoy the weekend!

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