Driving through a city can be a bit complicated if you do not know its urban design, the size and the length of its streets, or the areas where car park is permitted. Even more if the traffic in this city is chaotic and complex. Fortunately, a previous reading of some general car travel tips can improve our experience, as well as specific recommendations for the particular city we are visiting.
In the specific case of Barcelona, the car traffic has a substantial impact on the city like some other big capitals in Europe. However, in the last decades driving around the city has improved considerably, especially since the Olympic Games in 1992. Simultaneously the public transport has increased its popularity in the last years, and the number of its users has grown. If you are planning a car trip to Barcelona, here you can read some tips that can make your car circulation easier.
- City planning
With the objective of reducing the several traffic problems in the city centre (and opening an effective transportation system between the sports areas during the Olympic Games), Barcelona has some rings roads. The most important ones are Ronda de Dalt (Upper Ring Road) and Ronda Litoral (Seaside Ring Road). The last one connects some of the most busiest areas of the city: beaches, port, Zona Franca (the industrial and logistics area), etc.
In addition to Rondes, Barcelona has some crosstown traffic arteries that you should know before travelling through it. Avinguda Diagonal cuts the city in two, diagonally, from west to east, from Les Corts to Sant Martí. It is one of the broadest avenues in Barcelona, together with Carrer d’Aragó and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, both cutting the heart of the city, from left to right. Passeig de Gràcia, Balmes, Muntaner, Aribau and some of the main streets of Eixample are the main up-and-down streets: they connect the upper parts of the city with the lower ones. Avinguda Meridiana is the other main street you should know: it connects the eastern and north-eastern neighbourhoods of the city and joins them with some important motorways. Thee of these city’s most important thoroughfares meet at a large square: Plaça de les Glòries.
- Maximum speed
The maximum speed in all these roads can change and vary depending on the zone. Take a look at the traffic signs and do not be overconfident: some speed cameras are distributed along throughout the city.
- Other vehicles
Motorbikes abound in Barcelona: they are the main motorized mean of transport in the city. In fact, Barcelona has one of the highest numbers of motorbikes and scooters per capita in Europe! If you travel by car, be careful with them and drive attentively. Bikes are gaining ground, too; it is recommendable to respect them in order to prevent accidents.
- Car park
Parking the park near the Barcelona city centre can be an adventure. Although the city centre does have parking facilities, finding a car park space on the streets can be difficult sometimes: we recommend looking at an underground car park near the place you are going to just in case.
Remember: parking in a non-designated car parking area is penalised. If you do not want to receive a fine or have your car towed away, pay attention to traffic signs. Some areas are restricted for parking only few minutes, and recover them can cost more than 100-150€. In conclusion, park your car in authorised areas.