The best ways to get to Barcelona for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix on May 7-9, plus how to get to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
April 17 UPDATE: The 2021 Spanish Grand Prix will be held behind closed doors, with no spectators’ present. More information.
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. Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is about 30km north east of the center and the best way to get there is to take the train.
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.
Flights from Europe
- 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.
- The New York – Barcelona route is popular and cheap, with return flights costing less than $1000 USD. Good deals on direct flights can be had with Finnair, US Airways, Air Europa and Air France. Other carriers include Lufthansa, United, American, Delta & BA.
- From Australia, return flights from Sydney and Melbourne cost upwards of $1500 AUD. Most trips involve more than one stop and a total travel time of 30+ hours. Emirates fly from Australia with a stop in Dubai; Other carriers with good availability and prices include Singapore Airlines & Lufthansa.
Barcelona Airport to the city
A taxi from BCN to the center of Barcelona will set you back around €30-40; make sure the driver uses the meter. Aerobus runs a slick service every 10-15 minutes during the day, dropping 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. The journey normally takes under 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. More information on getting to the center from the city’s other airports; Girona Airport (GRO) to Barcelona / Reus Airport (REU) to Barcelona
Driving & Trains to Barcelona
- 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 (3-day parking tickets cost around €20). Read more about parking in Trackside. You can also hire a car inexpensively in Spain. 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.
- Barcelona is well connected by train to many European capitals. 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.
How to get to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
- Take the train: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is next to the small town of Montmeló, approximately 30km north east of central Barcelona. 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 Barcelona-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.
- Take the bus: Sagales runs a regular bus service on Grand Prix weekend from Estació del Nord to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a drop-off point just 300 metres from the circuit entrance (as opposed to 2km for the train.) The journey takes around 45 minutes and costs approximately €15 return. The frequency of the buses increases over the course of the weekend. Sagales also runs buses to the circuit (only on Saturday & Sunday) from the largest towns on the Costa Brava, including Lloret de Mar and Blanes. More info here.
Barcelona Public Transport
- 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 €15, three-day tickets €22, four-day tickets €28.50 and five-day tickets €35. Click here to download a Barcelona metro map. REMEMBER: Metro tickets will not get you to the circuit by train. You need to purchase a separate ticket for the Renfe regional service to Montmeló .
- Barcelona also 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.
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.
Hop On Hop Off Buses
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.