Barcelona is a historical, artistic, gastronomic and sporting center with undeniable appeal. It is perfect for strolling along elegant boulevards in the Eixample, rubbing shoulders with street artists on La Rambla or cooling off on the beach.
So, is there Uber in Barcelona? Yes, Uber is available in Barcelona. This ride-sharing service is a convenient way to get around the city. The company offers various ride options, such as UberX, Uber Comfort, and UberVan, to cater to the diverse needs of travelers.
In the rest of the blog, I will guide you through an in-depth exploration of how Uber operates in Barcelona and highlight some key facts you should keep in mind when using Uber in this city.
Let’s get started!
Uber in Barcelona: The Real Deal
Yes, Uber does work in Barcelona, but it’s not as fully operational as you might be used to. On the brighter side, it now works much better in Spain than it did in previous years. You can apparently open the Uber app anywhere to check if it’s available in the city but be prepared for limited services.
Hold on, that’s not the end of the story. There’s a lot more to it. Let me walk you through it!
1. The Dramatic Entry of Uber in Barcelona
So, let me tell you about the time when Uber tried to make its way into Barcelona back in 2014. It was quite a dramatic entry, to say the least! The city’s taxi drivers and regulatory authorities were not exactly welcoming to the ride-hailing giant.
In fact, the taxi drivers claimed that Uber was operating illegally and that it was a threat to their livelihoods. They even went as far as staging violent protests and strikes. It was quite a scene!
2. Catalan Government’s Ban on Uber
In response, the Catalan government introduced strict regulations that essentially banned Uber from operating in the city. The rules required ride-hailing services to wait at least 15 minutes before picking up passengers, effectively making Uber’s business model unviable.
3. Refusal to Back Down
Despite facing regulations that were considered discriminatory and against EU law, the company refused to back down. To help their cause, they even launched a massive PR campaign, rallying their users to sign a petition in support of their operations in the city. Talk about dedication!
4. Legal Battles and a Landmark Ruling by the European Court of Justice
Back in 2015, a Spanish judge made a ruling that banned Uber from operating in the country. But guess what? Uber didn’t stop there, they kept on running, and the legal battle went on.
Then in 2016, the European Court of Justice weighed in and made a ruling that shook things up even more – they declared that Uber was a transport company, not just a digital platform, and should follow the same regulations as taxi services. It was a big deal!
5. New Regulations and Strict Safety Guidelines for Ride-Hailing Services
It wasn’t an easy ride, but Uber never gave up! In 2018, the Spanish government finally passed new regulations that allowed ride-hailing services like Uber to operate in the country.
Of course, there were some rules that had to be followed to ensure safety for everyone. Uber had to obtain licenses and stick to some pretty strict safety guidelines. But they took it all in stride and kept on fighting.
6. Uber’s Comeback in Barcelona
They were swift to get their license and meet all the requirements needed to operate again. In March 2019, Uber officially announced that they were back in business in Barcelona!
It was a massive win for Uber because they faced a lot of legal and regulatory issues in Spain. It’s great to see them back on the road again!
7. Uber’s Success in Spain as a Popular Alternative to Traditional Taxi
Today, Uber operates in several cities in Spain, including Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia. It has become a popular alternative to conventional cabs, especially among younger generations who value convenience and affordability.
While the controversy surrounding Uber’s entry into the Barcelona market may have been a bumpy road, the company’s determination and persistence ultimately paid off.
Things to Keep in Mind While Using Uber in Barcelona
You’ll be happy to know that the app works just as smoothly there as it does in other cities. So, no need to worry about any significant changes! Just a heads up, though, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Taxis vs. Uber
When it comes to getting around in Barcelona, taxis are pretty common and widespread. But there’s also Uber as an option. The thing is, there’s a bit of competition between the two, and local taxi companies have taken steps to limit Uber’s operations in the city.
So, you might find that Uber isn’t available at the airport, and there could be some restrictions on where drivers can pick up passengers. But don’t let that discourage you from using the service – it’s still a really convenient and affordable way to get around!
2. Language Barriers
When choosing between taking a taxi or an Uber in Barcelona, there’s something important to keep in mind: the language barrier. While Uber drivers are required to have some level of English proficiency, not all of them may speak the language fluently.
In order to avoid any confusion or miscommunication, it’s a good idea to have your destination address written down or ready to say in Spanish. That way, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free ride to your destination!
3. Surge Pricing
Like any other popular transportation service, prices can surge during busy times or events. So, it’s always a good idea to check the fare estimate before booking a ride. That way, you can be prepared to pay a little more during peak hours. Don’t worry, though! It’s still a convenient and reliable way to get around.
How To Get Around Barcelona Without Uber?
Barcelona and its metropolitan have a broad spectrum of transportation and sightseeing transportation options. There are many different ways of commuting around this city, let us tell you a few of them.
Alternative Ride Sharing (Grab/Lyft) in Barcelona
Unfortunately, Barcelona also doesn’t have other ride-sharing options like Grab or Lyft. But don’t think that this will make your Barcelona experience worse; there are plenty of different ways to get around.
Taxi in Barcelona
Barcelona has 11 000 taxi cars at your service, so don’t worry, you won’t have to wait for a long time to get one. Flagging one down on the street would probably be your best option. And there is even a red or green light on the taxi sign, so you will know if the taxi is occupied.
But if you have any special requests for your taxi ride, we recommend you call their taxi service phone number and arranging a ride for yourself.
The estimated price to get from Barcelona’s airport to the center of the city would be around 19-20€, a pretty fair price.
Metro in Barcelona
Yes, Barcelona has a metro, and it currently has eight lines. They can be detected by their color and number of the line, they also cover most of the city, so if you wanted to explore the city with Barcelona’s metro, you could.
There are many different options to choose from when it comes to buying a ticket for a metro in Barcelona; you could get a ticket for one ride, a day pass, or a ticket for ten rides, and it is called a T-casual card.
The price for a ride is 2.40$, and the T-casual card costs 11.35$.
Trams in Barcelona
Getting a tram is another available option when it comes to commuting around Barcelona. Trams in Barcelona have two available lines, and the prices and the rules for it are the same as for getting a metro.
Bus in Barcelona
Yes, getting a Bus in Barcelona is another available option. Barcelona has over 1000 buses commuting around town, covering all the areas and districts of the city. It is one of the easiest ways of commuting around Barcelona, and you can be sure that with a bus, you can get to any location that you need.
The ticket prices and rules are the same as for getting a metro or getting a tram.
Walking in Barcelona
Walking around Barcelona may be a pretty hectic experience if you are there for the first time. Barcelona is a big city, with so many small streets that you could get lost in.
But this would be a great option if you have someone with you that knows its way around town. Meeting the Spanish culture can be one hell of a fun experience. There are a lot of places to visit and see.
Many people choose to combine public transportation and walking, and I think that is a very good way of getting around.
Bike in Barcelona
There are bike trails around the whole city of Barcelona, so exploring the city in this way can be a unique and fun experience. Biking around Barcelona is a trendy way of getting around, and because of that, there are dozens of bike rental shops to choose from
The prices for renting a bike can differ from shop to shop and bike type. But we can tell you that they are very inexpensive.
The prices will also differ depending on how much time you want to ride the bike, so there are options like 4-5 hours and even for a whole week. You can choose from vintage looking bikes to mountain bikes, and the prices for renting a bike for 24h will go from 18€ to 50€.
But if you wanted to rent it for a whole week, the price would be a bit higher. It would go from 50€ all the way up to 150€. But it is worth it, because walking around town can be a bit hard, and if you don’t like riding in taxis, metros, and buses, this is a fantastic option for you.
They also have the option of renting an electric scooter, which is an excellent option on days when we are feeling lazy. The price for a day pass is 30€, and if you want to rent it for a few hours, the cost would, of course, be lower.
Rent a Car in Barcelona
Renting a car in Barcelona is a fantastic option for those who like driving. Their prices are very affordable, and you get a superb vehicle for a small amount of money.
To rent a car in Barcelona, you would have to be 18 or older and have had your driving license for at least a year.
And it is an excellent option if you wanted to save up some time and get to all the tourist attractions as fast as possible. Let’s talk about the prices now.
Renting an economy car in Barcelona can sometimes be cheaper than taking a taxi around town to visit all the tourist attractions. It would cost you from 13€ to 20€, which is nothing when renting a car.
But if you wanted something more luxurious, the price will fluctuate around the price of 40-45€. And an SUV’s price can also be a bit higher, around 50€. And there are many other options to choose from, like convertibles, van, station wagons, etc.