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In this Barcelona Pass review, we’ll see what the card includes, consider how much it costs, and uncover whether it’s worth it for you. Enjoy!
Barcelona is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. Ask any group of seasoned travelers where their favorite cities are, and Barcelona is sure to come up!
Nestled against the Mediterranean Sean, over 30 million visitors flock to the city each year. And why not? Barcelona is home to beautiful beaches, great food, and incredible architecture. This modern city is one of the most unique spots in all of Europe, and it’s one you should visit at least once during your lifetime.
Recently, our family visited Barcelona, and you can count us impressed. The city’s relaxed atmosphere and contemporary feel stand in contrast to many of the “older” feeling destinations we’ve visited in Europe.
For me, the biggest takeaway was absorbing Antoni Gaudi’s whimsical architecture scattered throughout the city. It’s something you won’t find anywhere else, and it gives Barcelona a decidedly different vibe from the rest of the continent.
As with many major cities, Barcelona offers a sightseeing pass that can help you save both time and money. I happen to love most city passes, but not all of them are right for every traveler. Today, we’ll take a look at the Barcelona Pass to see if it is the right fit for your travel plans.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!
What is the Barcelona Pass and How Does It Work?
The Barcelona Pass is city sightseeing card which offers free entry to over 20 of Barcelona’s top attractions, monuments, and museums. By packaging the entry fees into one convenient card, this city pass is designed to save users time and money during their trip to Barcelona.
Similar to a card like the Roma Pass, this pass acts as your ticket to each included attraction. Simply present it at the gate, and your entry is included. Additionally, the Barcelona card helps you save time by skipping the ticket lines at the busiest sites. Obviously, this can be super valuable, especially if you’ve planned a lot of sightseeing in Barcelona.
The Barcelona Pass works on a consecutive day basis, meaning that you can visit as many of the included attractions as you like, provided you do it within the alloted timeframe. The pass also offers a transportation option, which I love. For a small additional fee, you can add a Barcelona travelcard to your pass, allowing you to use the city’s public transportation for free during the time your card is activated. It’s a nice perk that can save you lots of steps plus some money on taxis.
Top Attractions on the Barcelona Pass
With the Barcelona Pass, you’ll get free entry to over 20 of Barcelona’s most popular attractions, including:
- Casa Batlló: €23.50 value
- Camp Nou (FC Barcelona Stadium Tour): €25 value
- L’Aquarium Barcelona: €20 value
- Casa Milá (La Pedrera): €22 value
- Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour: €28 value
- Barcelona Zoo: €19.90 value
- …and much more (find the full attractions list here)
(*Current as of December 2017)
Barcelona Pass Pricing
Now that we’ve seen what some of the attractions cost, let’s take a look at how they compare to the price of the Pass.
The Barcelona Pass is a consecutive day city pass which allows you to visit as many of the included attractions as you’d like, provided you do it within the timeframe specified. The card comes in either a 2-day or 3-day format. You also have the option of including a travelcard for an additional fee.
Pricing for the Barcelona Pass is as follows:
|Passes||Adult Price||Adult Price w/Travel||Child Price||Child Price w/Travel|
|(*Current as of Dec. 22nd, 2017)|
|2 Day Barcelona Pass||€109.00||€123.00||€69.00||€83.00|
|3 Day Barcelona Pass||€129.00||€149.00||€79.00||€99.00|
As you can see, the Barcelona Pass does offer some savings, provided you intend to visit several of the attractions that are included. To get a solid value from the card, you should plan on visiting at least 3 of the included attractions per day that your card is active. The more sites you visit, the better deal the pass becomes.
Is the Barcelona Pass a Good Deal?
Let’s take a look at some examples to determine if the Barcelona Pass is a good value for you.
If you visit 9 of the most expensive attractions on the card, regular admission to these sites costs about €190. With a 3-day Barcelona Pass priced at just €129, you’ll end up saving slightly more than €60 per person, which equals a savings of about 30%.
By visiting the six attractions listed previously, you’ll spend about €138 without the card. The 2-day Barcelona Pass costs just €109, a savings of about €29 or roughly 21%.
Adding the travel card neither saves nor costs you more than purchasing it separately. The cost of either the 2 or 3-day Barcelona travelcard is simply added to the price of your pass. If you’re planning to use public transportation, you may as well add it to your card for the sake of convenience.
Top Reasons to Get the Barcelona Pass
Guided Tour Options
One of my favorite things about the Barcelona Pass is that it offers a number of different guided tour options. In addition to the FC Barcelona stadium tour (BTW, it’s the largest soccer stadium in Europe), you can also take a tour of the Liceu Opera House. A bike tour of the city is also included. Additionally, you can select a walking tour where you’ll enjoy learning about Barcelona’s “old town,” or you cn choose to ramble past some of Gaudi’s most famous buildings instead. These tours all offer professional guides who can help you understand the history and meaning of each site more thoroughly. (Important note: Some tours require advanced reservations, so be sure to read the directions carefully.)
When Holly and I took our kids to Barcelona, one of our favorite stops was L’Aquarium Barcelona. This family friendly attraction boasts Europe’s only “oceanarium,” a 4 million liter glass tank filled with sharks, rays, sunfish, and more. There are also 14 themed aquariums holding over 450 different species of sea life. Of course, the kids also loved some of the “hands on” exhibits. This place is really a blast, and I highly recommend checking it out.
Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Bus tours are a great way to see any big city, but it’s exceptionally nice in a city like this. Many of the most important places in Barcelona are really spread out, making it tough to see them all on foot. The 1-day HOHO bus tour drives you by some of the city’s most important sites and monuments, allowing you to jump off at any stop you please. When you’re ready, simply catch the next bus and move on to the next stop. There are 3 different lines for this particular tour, and buses run every 5 to 25 minutes. Audio commentary is also included in 16 different languages. (Important note: You must pick up a HOHO bus tour ticket at the Plaza Catalunya prior to boarding.)
Other Benefits of the Barcelona Pass
- Fast-Track Entry: Who wants to waste their valuable sightseeing time waiting in line? Not me. With the Barcelona Pass, you can skip the ticket lines at several of the city’s busiest attractions.
- Optional Travelcard: Like it’s sister card the London Pass, this sightseeing card also offers a transportation option for an additional fee. Save yourself some steps and loads of taxi fares by using the city’s network of buses and trains.
- Free Guidebook: With your purchase of the Barcelona Pass, you’ll also receive a free guidebook to help you get around the city. The guidebook lists opening and closing times for all the attractions on the card, and it also includes a map of the city to help you find your way.
- Money Back Guarantee: Should you decide not to use or activate your Barcelona Pass, you can receive a full refund within 30 days of purchase.
Where the Barcelona Pass Falls Short
While the Barcelona Pass provides a good value for some, I think it’s important to mention a few glaring omissions from the card. For me, the biggest downside is that the pass does not provide entry to two of the most popular sites in town: the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.
As you walk around the city, you’ll see architect Antoni Gaudi’s mark everywhere. Although entry is included to several other Gaudi attractions, it goes without saying that you’ll want to visit his most important work – the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. This is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world, and you really shouldn’t come to Barcelona and skip this site. Love it or hate it, this place is a must see.
Park Güell is another interesting site to put on your Barcelona sightseeing list. Designed by Gaudi, this place is actually a failed housing development. Now, it’s a park… and it’s having much more success. You don’t need to spend a ton of time here, but it’s also a spot you probably want to hit.
Fans of Picasso will also note that entry to the Picasso Museum is not included on the Barcelona Pass. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty on the card for art lovers to like. You just may need to see this spot on your own time.
Who Should Get the Barcelona Pass?
The Barcelona Pass is a good fit for some tourists, but not everybody will benefit from buying the card. I recommend the pass if you fall into one of the following categories:
- First-time Visitors – If this is your first time visiting Barcelona, this pass could be for you. This Barcelona card gives you access to 20 of the most popular attractions in the city, helping you to plan your trip and save you money.
- Heavy Sightseers – It’s not a guarantee, but visitors who hit at least 3 of the included attractions each day will almost certainly get their money’s worth from the card, provided you don’t choose all of the least expensive options. Run the math to determine if it’s a good value for you.
- Architecture Lovers – Even though La Segrada Familia and Park Güell are noticeably absent from the attractions list, there is still a lot in the Barcelona Pass for architecture lovers. If you’re a giant Gaudi fan, even better. The card hits many of the top Gaudi sites in the city, includes the option of a Gaudi walking tour and entry to his gravesite.
Who Should Avoid the Barcelona Pass?
- Light Sightseers – If you won’t visit at least 3 of the included attractions each day, skip the pass and purchase your tickets at the door.
- Those With No Interest in Going “Inside” – Many of the card’s included attractions are entry fees to Gaudi’s architectural sites. If you’re somebody who simply wants to walk by and see the outside, save your money and do it for free.
- Visitors Not Using the HOHO Bus Tour – The HOHO bus tour is the highest priced item on the Barcelona Pass. While you can still get value out of the pass if you don’t ride the HOHO bus, the biggest savings obviously comes when you visit the highest priced attractions.
Tips for Using the Barcelona Pass
Do you think the Barcelona Pass is right for you? Here are some tips to make the most of this sightseeing card!
- Visit as many attractions as possible. – The more attractions you visit, the more value you’ll get out of card. I recommend visiting no less than 3 attractions each day that the card is in use.
- Start early. – When sightseeing in Barcelona, get an early start each day. That way, you can pack as many attractions in as possible. In general, starting early in the morning also helps you avoid the crowds.
- Don’t activate your card in the afternoon. – One of the biggest mistakes you can make is activating your Barcelona card late in the day. Keep in mind that your pass is activated the first time you use it. Because the card works on a consecutive day basis, you don’t want to use up your first day by activating it at 4 P.M.
- Save non-included attractions for another day. – When in Barcelona, you’ll definitely want to visit the Basilica de la Segrada Familia. You may also be interested in some of the city’s other attractions that are not included on your card. Save those sites for after your pass has expired, or visit them before you activate the card.
- Take the HOHO bus tour and/or the FC Barcelona Stadium Tour. – Again, the most expensive items on the Barcelona Pass are the HOHO bus tour and the FC Barcelona Stadium Tour. To get the most value, be sure to use one (or both) of these options.
How to Get the Barcelona Pass
Purchasing your pass is super simple. Just follow this link to buy your Barcelona Pass now!
To retrieve your pass, you can select from a couple of options. First, you can have the pass shipped to you for a small fee. Standard worldwide shipping starts at €9.95 with a delivery time of about 15 business days. (That’s basically a full 3 weeks, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time!!!) Express shipping ranges between about €25 and €40, with delivery expected between 4 to 6 business days.
You can also pick up your pass in person, which is completely free. Simply bring a copy of the redemption voucher you receive via email, and retrieve your pass at the redemption center located in Barcelona’s Palau Moja. It’s basically right on La Rambla, so it’s simple to find. Here’s the address and a map to help you out:
Palau Moja, C/ Portaferrissa, 1, 08002 Barcelona
Barcelona Pass Review: The Verdict
If you’re traveling to Barcelona, the Barcelona Pass is certainly worth consideration. With entry included to over 20 of the most popular attractions in Barcelona, the pass could certainly save you time and money.
With that said, if you don’t have a huge interest in entering the city’s many architectural attractions, you may wish to skip the pass. Likewise, if you won’t visit 3 attractions per day, you will probably be better off paying for tickets individually. Remember, also, that you’ll definitely want to visit La Segrada Familia (and possibly Park Güell) while you’re there. Those tickets will also need to be purchased separately.
However, for those who love sightseeing and want to visit all of Barcelona’s most popular spots, this city pass could help you hit most of Barcelona’s highlights. Better yet, it can help you save money while doing it.
Thanks so much for reading! Enjoy your trip to Barcelona, and – until next time – happy traveling!
Have you ever been to Barcelona? Did you use the Barcelona Pass? What did you think?