If you’ve taken a ride on the Barcelona Metro, you have probably already noticed that it follows a funny number scheme. First there’s lines L1 (red line), L2 (purple line), L3 (green line), L4 (yellow line) and L5 (blue line), so far so good. But suddenly it makes a jump to L9 (orange line), L10 (light blue) and finally L11 (light green). Where did the others lines go? They belong to the catalan urban and metropolitan rail lines, or FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat) and you’ll recognize iy by this logo:
Even though they are operated by a different entities, the FGC railway it’s integrated with the underground Metro network. L6-Reina Elisenda (purple), L7-Av. Tibidabo (brown) and L8-Espanya (pink). The lines with the prefix L are all urban lines within the Barcelona limits. Those under the prefix S, stand for Suburban lines (heading to Sant Cugat, Sabadell, Terrassa and Universitat Autonoma.
Finally the prefixed lines R stand for Interurban lines, that head to the suburbs, going as far as Manresa and Igualada. In addition, FGC operates other mountain railway lines: The Montserrat Rack Railway, going to the mountain top of the Montserrat Monastery and the Vall de Núria Rack Railway in Nuria’s Valley Retreat.
Last but not least, the FGC systems also operate several funicular railways, two of them by Montserrat (Santa Cova and Sant Joan) and the Vallvidrera Funicular, reaching the top of the Tibidabo.
First stop is getting yourself a map to get acquainted in order to plan your trip. On the Barcelona Transportation System Website (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona), you can download the map on PDF format. This is the better option to get the current map, as it will have additions in the future, so you might as well avoid getting it somewhere else as you can end up with an old one.
You can also get a free map on most stations, however now it’s possible to have the Barcelona Metro Map on your smartphone for free downloading the Apps specially designed for Iphone and Android.
Buying the right ticket
The Barcelona transport system has a wide variety of tickets to suit everyone’s needs. Tickets can be bought directly in every station through automatic vending machines, all accepting cash, credit and debit cards.
Some venues outside the Metro stations like tobacco stores (estancos) or kiosks sell some specific tickets that can come in handy for taking the bus and you wish to avoid entering the Metro or paying the Bus driver for a single ticket that will cost more than your regular T-10 or special Day Ticket. All Metro tickets are integrated and can also be used for Buses, Tram, FGC Railway and the Funicular of Montjuïc.
- Bicycles are accepted but only on the first and last carriages, or otherwise indicated. Still, bicycles on the Metro are not exactly welcomed with good eyes by other users, especially at rush hour.
- Children under 4 years old can travel for free.
- Travelling without a valid ticket (and getting caught) can report penalties up to 600€, but if you pay right away the penalty can be much less than that but it depends on each individual case.
- Travelling with a suitcase (even of large proportions) is widely accepted. The Metro carriages are big enough to transport them easily.
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