Hola Barcelona, should I get one?

Hola Barcelona is TMB’s travel card targeted to tourists who want unlimited travel for a fixed period of time. Everything you need is pretty much included in the Hola Barcelona travel card:

From the 1st of September until the end of 2022, there is a temporary reduction of 30% to 50% in the price of T-Casual, T-Usual and T-Jove. Read more information here. Prices shown on this page do not reflect the discount, which should be applied on top of it.

You can get different travel cards depending on how long you wish to stay in Barcelona. Its price, obviously, will depend on this.

The time-period will start running after the first validation. For example, if you buy a 2-day Hola Barcelona ticket and you validate it for the first time at 14:35 May 5, it will stop working at 14:35 May 7.

Hola Barcelona travel cardPrice (€)
2 days (48 h)16.30
3 days (72 h)23.70
4 days (96 h)30.80
5 days (120 h)38.00
2020 prices for the Hola Barcelona travel card.

These tickets only grant you unlimited travel within Zone 1, which covers the city of Barcelona and the airport. However, in case you are planning to visit neighbouring cities, you won’t be able to do so with Hola Barcelona tickets; you will need separate tickets for that. Hola Barcelona tickets can be bought in TMB’s official website. You get 10% discount if you buy online.

Is Hola Barcelona a good deal?

example of a 2-dya Hola Barcelona travel card

Only if you plan to use public transport in a very intensive way for short periods of time. Its main drawback is that most users won’t use public transport so much. For example, think about the Hola Barcelona 2-day ticket: it costs 16.30 € and gives you unlimited trips during 48 hours, but a 10-trip T-casual is cheaper (11.35 €). The question is: will you need more than 10 trips during 48 hours?

It really depends on the type of tourist you are. If you like spending hours in a given museum or landmark, taking time to enjoy a coffe or having a walk before moving somewhere else, you will probably only use 3-5 trips a day, and therefore a T-casual is better value for money. However, if you like to move fast, take a quick glance at things and then move on somewhere else, you will probably use 5-7 trips a day, and then a 2-day Hola Barcelona ticket will be better for you.

2 days16.40 €T-casual (10 trips)11.35 €
3 days23.80 €2 x T-casual (20 trips)22.70 €
4 days31.00 €2 x T-casual (20 trips)22.70 €
5 days38.20 €T-usual (unlimited 1-month)40.00 €

In my opinion, the 3-day Hola Barcelona ticket is a better deal, because 1 T-casual (10 trips) is likely to be too little for a 3-day period, but 2 T-casuals cost nearly as much as the 3-day Hola Barcelona, which gives you unlimited travel.

I still think that, for most users, two T-casual tickets are better value than a 4-day Hola Barcelona card. Finally, do not get a 5-day Hola Barcelona ticket. If you are going to spend 38 € for 5 days of unlimited travel, then simply buy a T-usual, which gives you a whole month for just 2 extra euros.

Important! T-casual does not include trips to the airport via public transport, whereas Hola Barcelona and T-usual tickets do. If you know for sure that you will travel to/from the airport using integrated public transport (and not using other services like Aerobús or Taxi), then that’s an argument to buy Hola Barcelona tickets instead of T-casual.

Getting a refund for a T-Jove

If you are a student, you live in Barcelona or its surroundings and you are a frequent user of public transport, you are very likely to use a T-Jove ticket, which is only available if you are under 26. As you know, university students stopped attending their face-to-face lessons due to the COVID pandemic, and all university teaching is now delivered remotely. You might be wondering, after all, whether a refund is possible.

If your T-Jove was first validated before 16 October, you can apply for a replacement!

You cannot get a money refund on your T-Jove ticket, but you can apply for a free replacement, provided that:

  • You are enrolled in a university course in the Barcelona region.
  • You validated your T-Jove for the first time before 16 October 2020 (in other words, it expires no later than 12 January 2021; the expiration date is written on the back).

Requests can only be made to the ATM (the Metropolitan Transport Authority) using their online form (only available in ES/CA). You have to fill in your details, provide two pictures of your T-Jove and upload your university enrolment document. They will check all this data and they will work out how many days of compensation you are entitled to. Afterwards, they will make a brand-new T-Jove for you (called T-compensació) and you will be able to collect it the nearest collection point.

Your new ticket is supposed to work exactly as the previous one did (but the amount of days may vary, depending on how many days you had left when the face-to-face lessons were cancelled). Even if your T-Jove is still valid and hasn’t expired yet, you can already claim your T-compensació. You will get a non-validated ticket, and only after you validate it for the first time, time will start to run.

You can apply for a replacement of your T-Jove until 31 January 2021. After this time, replacements will not be granted.

How to avoid pickpockets

Quite understandably, pickpockets are one of tourists’ major concerns. Barcelona has the unfortunate fame of being Europe’s pickpocketing capital, and estimations suggest that there are more than 6,000 thefts around the city every day.

However, Barcelona is safe. Violent crime is extremely rare and recent rankings have placed Barcelona as one of the safest cities in the world.

So, you shouldn’t be worried about your own personal safety. However, no one wants to get back home and realise that their phone is gone, so you need to take some caution.

I took this picture on December 2020. The old França station offers an interesting contrast: it’s full of trains, but there are almost no travellers, due to the most recent Sants station, wich was built in the 70s and acts as Barcelona’s central station. Since then, França station serves as a train parking and as a way to descongest Barcelona’s busy railway system.

Stay alert

This is the first and fundamental rule. It’s not like you have to be extremely suspicious of everyone around you or you need to act like a cop, but force yourself to keep some situational awareness of your surroundings. If you’re in a group, try not to be distracted and keep a look around the other members, and ask them to keep a look around you as well. If you’re alone, keep your hands in your pockets. Relax, take a seat, but don’t fall asleep.

Try not to act like a tourist

Here is the truth: most locals use public transport every single day , during rush hours, and are never pickpocketed. I myself am a daily user of public transport and have never been robbed.

This is not a coincidence. Pickpockets target tourists specifically, because they tend to be having fun, are usually distracted and carry some money in their wallets.

Whenever you use public transport, try to see and mimic how locals act.

Keep your stuff under control

Don’t put your phone inside your back pocket. Keep your objects next to your hands, and grab your bags at all times. Do not leave handbags on the floor or unattended, even if they’re next to you. When it’s busy, it’s hard to keep visual contact with your belongings, even if you left them closeby.

What to do if you’re robbed

For your own safety, don’t try to look for or run after the person you’re suspicious of. Pickpockets may operate in groups. The first thing you should do is report it to the police and make an official statement. It is unlikely that you’re belongings are retrieved, but if you have any travel insurance, a police report will be a requirement for you to make a claim.

You can attend any police station, namely:

  • Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police.
  • Guàrdia Urbana, Barcelona local police.
  • Policia Nacional, Spanish Nacional Police
  • Guardia Civil, Spanish Gendarmerie

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