Visiting Barcelona After the Coronavirus Lockdown (Covid-19)

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Visiting Barcelona after the  lockdown

As we pray to the Coronavirus Vaccine gods for a vaccine, you might still be dreaming of Barcelona. Maybe you missed a trip because of the pandemic. But, Barcelona is still in the stars for you. Go with it, I say.

Spain has lived through one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. Living under such a rigid quarantine with my family was grueling, at best. As the Catalan government has eased restrictions, what’s the New Normal like in Barcelona now? And what will it look like soon? We’re on the mend now, friends.

I’ve created this resource page of official, authoritative sources for Barcelona travel after the lockdown. We don’t want to spread misinformation!

I’m also sharing is on-the-ground experience about the New Normal Barcelona. We know that coronavirus news happens rapidly, so I’ll try to update this page as much as possible.

Sagrada Familia after the coronavirus lockdown

A quiet Sagrada Familia during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Is it safe to visit Barcelona after the coronavirus lockdown?

Not yet. The Spanish government implemented a “de-escalation plan” after our full lockdown, which started on April 28, 2020. The plan restricts guidelines in different phases: Phases 0, 1, 2, and 3. Each region of Spain has to fulfill specific epidemiological criteria to move on to the next phase.

Barcelona is currently in the New Normal phase. This means that we must wear face masks in public (starting at 6 years of age), maintaining 1.5 meters of social distancing, cultural activities are permitted but with strict hygiene measures, among other rules. Read about Barcelona’s current rules in English here.

For coronavirus data, check out this often-updated page of Spain coronavirus graphs and maps. See the current situation in Catalonia.

Image by Mònica Moreno

Shopping at the Sant Antoni food market. Image by Mònica Moreno

When can we travel to Barcelona again?

Like in most international destinations, we don’t know. Nothing has been declared. Endless moving parts dictate our fate: government decisions, airline decisions, how well people comply with social distancing and hygiene practices.

When you plan to travel, follow suggestions by official sources like the State Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization. Also, check with your own country’s embassy website.

Arriving from the Airport to Barcelona

Again, at the moment, leisure international travel to Spain and Barcelona is halted. Emergency situations are the exception. Once the borders are open again, check out updates by the Barcelona airport (Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport) and AENA for the latest airport safety and hygiene regulations. 

Here are some  ways to get from the airport (located just outside Barcelona) to the city center:

Welcome Pickups is an English-speaking car service that expressly adheres to the guidelines the of World Health Organization (WHO). Read about what they’re doing to keep you protected. Book a pickup here.

Welcome Pickups Cleaning Protocol

Hygiene first! Image courtesy of Welcome Pickups.

The Aerobus runs every 25-30 minutes and on a limited schedule. They are permitting a 50% capacity. They only take payment by credit card and paying online. You cannot buy your ticket from the driver. It is mandatory to wear a face mask. Buy your Aerobus tickets here

You can still use public transportation to arrive from the airport, but schedules are limited.  From both T1 and T2 terminals, take is the L9 Sud (meaning L9 south). It connects to Barcelona metro stops L1, L3, and L5 lines.

Local hygiene rules

The Spanish Health Ministry, the official national health agency suggestions about how to protect yourself, which more are less, universal. Wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands, and cover your sneeze with your elbow. It’s compulsory to wear a face mask in public for those 6 years of age and older.

Again, here is the comprehensive guide about Barcelona’s New Normal rules, written by the Barcelona City Council. It explains what we activities we can do with plenty of FAQs.

Public transportation

Public transportation in Barcelona includes the bus, metro, and tram, run by the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). As of now, transportation has few travelers, so crowding usually isn’t an issue. Keep a 2-meter (6.5 -feet) distance. Everyone is required to wear face masks but not gloves. Read the official rules.

On the metro:  As I mentioned, masks are mandatory and gloves are not. Buy your tickets at a machine.

On the bus: Bus drivers cannot attend to passengers, therefore you must have a bus ticket in advance. Buy your tickets at a machine at any metro station. You also have to enter through the doors at the middle of the bus.

Barcelona bus driver cannot attend passengers coronavirus

The New Normal: Barcelona bus drivers cannot attend to passengers.

Where to Stay

Expect hotels to ramp up their hygiene efforts as they open. Currently, all hotels are closed. To get an idea of current hotel prices, check out this map.

See my post on the best places to stay in Barcelona!

Get travel insurance

In any travel situation, it’s smart to get travel insurance for peace of mind – not just for Covid-19 but for lost luggage or accidents. World Nomads is a reliable travel insurance company. Currently, they are not covering international travel, but I’ll be updating this website as changes happen! Check out World Nomads travel insurance here.

What to wear and bring to Barcelona

If you plan on coming to Barcelona soon, check out my comprehensive guide on what to wear in Barcelona and Spain (if you’re traveling to other cities). Read about the weather and how locals dress, then get your packing list in order!

Of course, you’ll want to include hygiene products:

face masks, and extra just in case
hand sanitizer and travel-sized bottles to fill
– disposable gloves, in case needed
a face shield, if you want to really protect yourself (I’ve seen older people here wearing these)

Visiting Barcelona’s attractions

At the moment, Barcelona museums remain closed. They have not released any statements. We can assume they will have limited capacity, so it’s best to buy any tickets ahead of time.  In the meantime, check out my post on the must-see sites in Barcelona to add to your list!

As we deal with this pandemic, let’s all be responsible so we can travel more safely tomorrow. Any questions? Let me know in the comments. Stay safe!


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About the Author Justine Ancheta

California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).

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