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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.
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 Phase 1. That means exercise and walking are allowed during specific time frames based on your age group. We can meet up with friends and family up to groups of 10. Only restaurant terraces are open – and must have a maximum of 50% capacity. It’s still very strict. The majority comply. Other provinces in Spain are in advanced phases.
The Spanish government updates its lockdown measures every two weeks, depending on the progress in each region. If everything goes as planned, the whole of Spain will be in Phase 4 on June 22 in which Spain will enter “La Nueva Normalidad” (“The New Normality”). As of today, it has not been defined yet. But we can assume it comprises of social distancing, face masks, and limited capacity to spaces and events. Read more about the de-escalation plan on the Spanish Council of Minister’s website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a comprehensive guide about the exit strategy for Barcelona’s lockdown. It’s written by the Barcelona City Council. It explains what we activities we can do with plenty of FAQs.
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.
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!
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.
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)
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!
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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