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?

The pandemic is still raging here. For coronavirus data that changes quickly, check out this often-updated page of Spain coronavirus graphs and maps. See the current situation in Catalonia.

Residents and visitors must wear face masks in public (starting at 6 years of age). They must maintain 1.5 meters of social distancing, which people mostly do. This is a big one – smoking outside your home is also banned. Cultural activities are permitted but with strict hygiene measures, among other rules. In my opinion, locals are largely compliant.

Read about Barcelona’s current rules in English here.

Image by Mònica Moreno

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

Local attitudes towards hygiene and the pandemic

This is my personal experience. 99% of locals follow the rules of mask-wearing and are cooperative. I believe young adults have the hardest time sticking to the hygiene rules, given it’s an age of socializing and being with friends.

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 the Barcelona city center

Again, at the moment, leisure international travel to Spain and Barcelona is halted. Emergency situations are the exception. Check with your country’s embassy to see what the current status is to travel to Spain.

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 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). Keep a 2-meter (6.5 -feet) distance. Everyone is required to wear face masks but not gloves. Read the TMB official rules.

On the metro:  As I mentioned, masks are mandatory. Now that people are back to work, it can be difficult to maintain a 2-meter distance between others. They ask that you distribute yourself among the metro cars as best as possible. And also, you’ll see signs that it’s recommended to not speak! Buy your tickets at a machine.

On the bus: Bus drivers do not sell bus tickets. Buy your tickets at a machine at any metro station.

Where to Stay

Expect hotels to ramp up their hygiene efforts. 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. Also, check out my guide on what to wear in 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

Of course! Bring some extra just in case they break or you can’t wash your reusable face masks.

See prices for disposable face masks

Mask brackets

These work fantastically – to create a space between your mask and your face. My Asian nose does not create that space for me! I use my mask bracket occasionally when I have to wear a heavier mask (than the surgical one).

You can talk more clearly with it and you have more space to breathe.  My friend who’s a TV reporter swears by it when she’s on-air! Plus, supposedly, you can wear lipstick underneath.

 See prices for a mask bracket

A mask lanyard

A lanyard will come in handy if you plan to be eating and drinking often. It’s a pain to be putting away your mask while trying not to touch it, then taking it out again from your purse after. Plus, if you have to take care of several masks – like your kids’ – then can attach their own lanyard to their masks too. Also, how cute are these ones?

Check out this set of beaded mask lanyards!

Hand sanitizer

All businesses are required to provide sanitizer at the door. But bring extra to pop in your purse and daypack, with extra to spare!

Silicone squeeze containers

Alternatively, refill these soft silicone squeeze containers with a size that’s TSA-approved.

See prices for these silicone bottles

A face shield

Not many people are wearing these in Barcelona. But they might help if you want extra protection on top of your mask

See prices for a face shield

Visiting Barcelona’s attractions

At the moment, many Barcelona museums are closed, and some remain open. Check the website of each museum as schedules can change in a day. 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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