Even though I have lived in Barcelona for over one month now, I can’t say I fully know my way around. But hey, this city is quite big (a lot bigger than Pittsburgh anyway). I can say though, that I have proudly weened myself off of Google Maps a bit!
Despite its size, Barcelona is actually quite walkable depending on where you live and where you’re trying to go. Unfortunately for me, most places that I want to go are too far to walk unless I’m in the mood for a nice stroll through the city on a nice day, which is actually one of my favorite things to do. However, I’m not about to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to walk to my 8 a.m. Finance class. Therefore, my main method of transportation is the metro.
The metro runs every single day from 5 a.m. until midnight, and then on Saturdays it’s open for 24 hours. It’s definitely the fastest way to get around the city, with lines running to every corner of the city. It takes me about 20-30 minutes to get to my campus with the metro, rather than having at least an hour walk. At Pitt it only takes me about 15-20 minutes to get to campus, and that’s actually considered far for many of my other fellow Pitt students.
If I’m out past midnight (which in Barcelona is quite common), I still don’t have to worry because there are over 20 night busses that usually run just as frequently as the metro would. And, because I have a special public transportation pass called the “T-Joven,” I can use it for the metro, busses, and even the trams, but I have never had to ride one of those yet. I definitely recommend getting the T-Joven pass because although it costs 90 euros, you can use it an unlimited amount of times for 90 days. One metro/bus/tram ride costs 2.20 euros, so it’s definitely worth the money especially if you are here for a long period of time because you will want to explore every inch of this city!
For travel outside of Barcelona, it really just depends on where you to want go which method of transportation to use. For example, if you want to travel to the small town of Sitges, you can get a train ride there for just 4 euros. To get to Madrid, flying costs just as much or actually sometimes a little bit less than the high speed train, but I recommend taking an overnight bus there. This is the cheapest option and then you also save money on a hostel for a night. Most places outside of Spain you would probably want to fly, but it possible to travel by train and bus to various cities in other countries as well.
Like I mentioned above, Barcelona is quite a lot bigger than Pittsburgh, but I think I have adjusted to this change very well, thanks to Google Maps and my T-Joven pass. Although it takes more planning to get places, I really enjoy being able to explore new parts of the city all the time!