Getting Around

Walking, biking, mass transit – you’ll find tips and info here

BARCELONA

WALKING

PEDESTRIAN AREAS

The old town, Ciutat Vella, with its narrow streets is comprised of MOSTLY pedestrian areas. Much like a deep maze it would seem easy to get lost. Just keep walking until you find another group of wide-eyed tourists to follow out to the main streets. It helps to have your phone’s map app to tell you where you are, then input where you want to go and hit the direction symbol for “step by step” navigation.

Other modes of transport may cross or even use pedestrian designated areas and paths. In fact it is our experience that you are less likely to be hit by a car than by a cyclist – motorized or not. (And don’t get me started with all the people using skateboards and scooters-electric or not, on the sidewalks.)

Motor scooters are very common, more so than motorcycles, and are allowed to park on the sidewalks when there is not enough street parking, which is all the time.  So they WILL be driving on the sidewalk to get to/from the street, often via the crosswalk (with ramps for wheelchair accessibility.)

There will be people on bikes EVERYWHERE, including on the sidewalks and other pedestrian areas. And that is when they are NOT riding in the many bike lanes that are provided. These exist in many forms and locations. They may be IN the street, BETWEEN major thoroughfares, and ON pedestrian areas, including ones next to the street. Some are particularly treacherous as you have to cross 2 access roads – one on each side, 2 pedestrian zones – one on each side each WITH bike lanes, and 5 traffic lanes down the middle. So PLEASE BE CAREFUL, especially when running across a wide avenue with the green man on the signal blinking “run faster – you’re running out of time.”  There may be someone in the bike lane right when you are “safely” out of the street.

CROSSWALKS

Look both ways no matter what. Vehicles and cyclists may not stop even when YOU have the right-of-way. Their light may be yellow instead of red, despite your light being green. To be fair traffic is often not heavy enough and tempt you to JAYWALK as many locals do, so be even more careful then.

IDENTIFYING STREETS

The names of streets are up on the side of the closest building to the intersection, like many European cities. In Eixample their “open” intersections with the corners cut off makes finding the street name more interesting. And of course you have to walk farther to cross the intersection (for you math whizzes it’s like walking the two equal sides of an isosceles right triangle.)

If you are lucky there might be a traditional sign showing the name of the street you are crossing. And sometimes there is neither. So again…keep you map app handy.