The Barcelona airport El Prat, located 10 km from the city, inaugurated in 2016 the L9 subway line, which offers a direct link from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 to the Barcelona city center.
The first step is to follow signs from the baggage claim area that indicate the letter M in red and white. The subway line 9 goes directly from terminals 1 and 2 to the university area of the city, passing through the congress area named Fira, where there are a few luxury hotels and a big shopping mall. The 4.50 Euro fare gives access to the entire subway system, and there are direct connections to Lines 1, 3, 5, 8 and 10.
The second step is buying the metro ticket. The automated ticket machines take cash and cards, however if paying by cash make sure you have new bills as older bills are often rejected.
With your ticket in hand it is time to enter the station. Take the escalators to the the train area downstairs. Everything is clearly marked and while I was there very calm and empty. On the contrary, the bus that goes from the airport to Plaza Catalunia had long lines and a certain air of chaos when I passed by during the summer vacation in July 2016.
The subway ride takes less than 30 minutes to the Fira area, where I chose to stay. Having been to Barcelona several times in the past I chose to stay in this area because it is a calm section of town with good hotels with reasonable rates and big a shopping mall.
During the ride there are several monitors giving out information about the arrival times and connections to other lines. Everything is efficient, safe, clean and modern. At arrival stations there are always escalators and elevators to help going up with luggage. Therefore using the L9 is a good way to save money and arrive safely and efficiently at your Barcelona center city destination.
Gus Dantas, publisher gusdantaslife, traveled to Barcelona in July 2016. Upon his return to the airport he opted for a taxi ride, which with all the luggage supplements and night time fare, ended costing him 30 Euros.