Barcelona’s Ferrocarril: half metro, half suburban train
The ferrocarril is a public transport service which will get you around Barcelona and its immediate surroundings. Read on to find out more!
Do you want to visit the areas around Barcelona, or do you simply need to get to and from somewhere in the suburbs? The Ferrocaril, run by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government Railways) is an excellent option!
The ferrocarril: a useful addition to the metro
There are two types of ferrocarril lines:
- those which are part of the urban metro network: lines L6 (Pl.Catalunya-Sarrià), L12 (Sarrià-Reina Elisenda), L7 (Pl.Catalunya-Av.Tibidabo) and L8 (Pl.Espanya-Molí Nou) are fully integrated with the metro lines. If you’re taking one of these lines, a 1-zone ticket will suffice.
- those in the netwrok connecting central Barcelona to the suburbs.
The Barcelona-Vallès network: for the universities, Sabadell and Terrassa
The Barcelona-Vallès network includes different ferrocarril lines which will take you to the other side of the mountains. The starting point for all lines in this network is Plaça Catalunya. Lines L6, L7 and L12 are also part of the network.
There are 5 suburban lines in the network:
- S1 (Barcelona-Terrassa)
- S2 (Barcelona-Sabadell)
- S5 (Barcelona-Sant Cugat)
- S6 (Barcelona-Universitat Autònoma).
- S7 (Barcelona-Rubí)
You’ll need a 1, 2 or 3-zone ticket for the Barcelona-Vallès network. See the FGC tariff zones on the official Ferrocarril website to find out what zone you’ll need, depending on your start and end points.
This network serves the different university campuses, including the UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and the UPC (Universidad Politècnica de Catalunya) amongst others. It also goes to Terrassa and Sabadell, two major towns near Barcelona.
The map below shows the different lines and stations included in the Barcelona-Vallès network. Click to enlarge.
The Llobregat-Anoia line: for Montserrat, Colònia Güell and Manresa
The Llobregat-Anoia network connects Barcelona with the Baix Llobregat, Anoia and Bages regions. It includes line L8, the Baix Llobregat metro, alongside the following suburban lines:
- S3 (Pl.Espanya-Can Ros)
- S4 (Pl.Espanya-Olesa de Montserrat)
- S8 (Pl.Espanya-Martorell Enllaç)
- S9 (Pl.Espanya-Quatre Camins)
All 4 lines ( S3, S4, S8, S9) serve Gaudí’s Colònia Güell.
- These suburban lines run alongside standard train lines (“Rodalies”) including the R6 and R60 toward Igualada or the R5 and R50 which will take you to Manresa.
- If you’re planning a trip to the Montserrat mountains, you’ll need to take the R5, R50 or S4.
Tickets for the Llobregat-Anoia network go from 1 to 6 zones.
The image below shows the lines and stops in the Llobregat-Anoia network. Click to enlarge.
Useful information on the ferrocarril
Ferrocarril times vary depending on the line you’re taking and your period of travel (times are different during the month of August and on weekdays/weekends) – so it wouldn’t be practical to give a full timetable here.
We recommend using the tool on the FGC homepage (in English) which gives train times based on your start and end points and selected travel times.
- You can take your bike on the ferrocarril. There’s often a special access point for bikes, pushchairs, etc. You’ll need to go to the dedicated area at the front of the train.
- Ferrocarril stations are generally accessible (95% of the stations have lifts, including all of the stations on the Llobregat-Anoia line).
What’s not allowed
- Smoking in the train or stations
- Cycling, rollerskating or skateboarding in the station
Tips for using the ferrocarril
- Keep an eye out to see which train is coming next. Unlike the metro, several ferrocarril lines may use the same platform at different times. You could end up taking the L7 instead of the S2, for example, which creates a lot of stress for nothing.
- If you use the ferrocarril a lot, look into the various subscriptions which are available – you could save a lot of money in the long run.
- Don’t use a 2, 3 or 4 zone card to get around Barcelona (1 zone) – it works out more expensive.
- Don’t try to be clever and use a 1 zone ticket for longer journeys. Tickets must be validated (stamped) at the beginning and end of your trip to prevent this type of fraud. Make sure you hang onto your ticket until you leave the station!
- Don’t try to get in without a ticket. Stations are under constant surveillance, and you may be hit with a €100 fine.
For more information on public transport, see our article on metro, bus and tram transport in Barcelona.
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About the author
Rémi is a student who has lived in Barcelona from early childhood. Always on the lookout for new discoveries, he is always enthusiastic and ready to talk to anyone. His favourite thing to do in Barcelona? Going out with friends, and enjoying a spot of "time travel" in the historic surroundings of the Gothic Quarter.