Taxi vs Uber in Barcelona: Which is Better and Cheaper?

taxi vs uber

As someone who frequently travels to Barcelona, I often find myself relying on taxis and ride-sharing services to get around the city.

At first, I was too engrossed in the beauty of the city to pay close attention to the differences between the two. But after several visits, I’ve started to recognize the benefits of choosing the right mode of transportation in Barcelona.

In this article, I’ll take you through the process of how the price of a taxi in Barcelona is calculated, as well as its advantages and disadvantages to Uber. Taxis vs. Uber in Barcelona: which is better? Let’s find out.

How the Price of a Taxi in Barcelona is Calculated

Price of a Taxi in Barcelona
Yep, that’s a taxi in Barcelona. You guessed it!

Before we get into an in-depth comparison between taking a local taxi vs. Uber in Barcelona, allow me to explain what goes into the pricing of taxis:

Base Fare

As with most taxi services, calculating the taxi fare begins with a base fare. This is the initial amount you pay as soon as you step into the taxi.

The base fare in Barcelona is €2.55.

Booking Fee

If you reserve a taxi over the phone, you’ll be charged a minimum booking fee of €7.

This fee ensures that the taxi is reserved for you at a specific time and place.


For example, if you’re taking a local taxi from Barcelona-El Prat Airport to the city center or vice versa, you’ll be charged an airport surcharge of €4.50.

Surcharges include:

Destination/Service Cost
Barcelona-El Prat Airport €4.50
Barcelona Gran Via L’Hospitalet Trade Fair €2.50
Sants Station €2.50
Moll Adossat cruise ship dock €4.50
Vehicles occupied by 5-8 passengers €4.50
Special events (Festival del día de San Juan, Christmas, New Year, etc.) €3.50

Price Per Kilometer

Barcelona’s taxis use a taximeter to calculate the distance traveled in kilometers. The rate per kilometer depends on the date and time of day.

The charges are as follows:

Daytime fare on weekdays (08:00 to 20:00) Weekday evenings, Saturdays, and public holidays (20:00 to 08:00)
Price per kilometer €1.23 per km €1.51 per km
Price per hour (waiting time) €24.68 per hr €24.68 per hr

The rates are added as soon as the taxi surpasses the initial kilometer.

Time Spent In Traffic

When the taxi is stationary or moving at a slow pace due to traffic, an additional charge is added to the fare. The price per minute falls between €0.33 to €0.34.

Overview of Existing Taxi Companies in Barcelona

Here are some of the most popular taxi companies in Barcelona:

Taxi Class

Taxi Class is one of the first taxi companies I booked when I was in Barcelona. The taxi service had it all: excellent reputation with over 15 years of experience, clean and high-end vehicles, and professional drivers.

The vehicle I requested arrived exactly on time and I was pleasantly surprised by how clean the interior is. It had mobile chargers and complimentary Wi-Fi, which made the trip less monotonous.

Taxi Class caters to different kinds of customers, whether it be business people, families, or travelers. Thanks to its mobile app, customers can easily track the route of the cab in real-time from the pickup point to the destination.

When booking a ride, you can choose among these vehicles:

  • Mercedes Benz E Class Sedan Tourism: Known for its luxurious and comfortable interior, it is an excellent choice for travelers seeking a premium taxi experience while exploring the city.
  • Mercedes Benz E-Class Estate Touring: For those with extra luggage or a preference for a more spacious ride, this ride provides ample cargo space.
  • Mercedes V Class Taxi: Ideal for larger groups or families. The Mercedes V Class Taxi can accommodate up to seven passengers.
  • Tesla Model S: An environmentally conscious option, offering a sustainable and high-performance ride. It’s perfect for travelers who want to get around Barcelona in an eco-friendly manner.
  • New Mercedes PMR adapted vehicle: The PMR adapted vehicle features modifications that allow passengers with wheelchairs to enter and exit the car with no issues. It’s equipped with a lift mechanism to facilitate entry.

Taxi Ecològic

When it comes to eco-friendly travel, Taxi Ecològic doesn’t disappoint. This taxi service takes a bold step towards sustainability by maintaining a fleet of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Ecològic’s eco-friendly cars produce fewer emissions and contribute to cleaner air in the city. Awarded with an ISO 14001 certification, the company’s commitment to eco-friendly travel aligns with Barcelona’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

Similar to other taxi services, Taxi Ecològic offers the convenience of advanced booking through various channels, including the phone, the website, and the mobile app.

When you step into the cab, you’ll find a clean, modern, and well-maintained interior. All Ecològic vehicles are sterilized by ionized air, ensuring that the interior space is free of bacteria and germs.

To take it a step further, Taxi Ecològic offers modern amenities that cater to passengers’ connectivity needs. It comes with free Wi-Fi to keep you connected throughout your journey, and a convenient docking station to charge your phones and electronics.

Taxi Ecològic offers two types of vehicles: a classic cab and a minivan.

  • Classic cab: Commonly used for medium-distance trips within Barcelona. It can accommodate up to four passengers.
  • Minivan: Designed to accommodate more than four passengers, making it suitable for larger groups, families, and travelers with extra luggage.

I didn’t encounter any issues during my ride with Taxi Ecològic. The prices were reasonable and competitive with other taxi services in Barcelona. There weren’t any hidden fees or surprises in the end, adding to the overall satisfaction of the experience.

If I had to nitpick, I’d say the only problem I had with Taxi Ecològic was navigating the app. It didn’t accept non-Spanish cards, so I couldn’t pay directly through the app.

Moreover, its interface and overall function could benefit from some improvements.

When I first downloaded the app, it prompted me to provide a phone number. I entered my US number, but it kept giving me an error. I ended up registering with a prepaid Spanish number I had on hand.

I can’t say for sure if the error was caused by a specific incompatibility with non-Spanish numbers or if it was a temporary issue. Regardless, I found it inconvenient that I had to think of a workaround to use the app.

Taxi Barcelona 7 Plazas

Traveling in large groups? The Taxi Barcelona 7 Plazas should be at the top of your list. Though it’s called “7 Plazas” (7 Seats), the company offers vehicles with up to nine seats.

These larger taxis are a convenient and cost-effective option for groups of travelers, as they provide more than enough space for everyone to ride together comfortably.

Booking a ride with Taxi Barcelona 7 Plazas is as easy as can be. All you have to do is visit the website and enter your pick-up and drop locations, as well as the date and time you need the ride, the number of luggage you have, and the number of passengers.

Once you confirm your booking, you’ll receive a confirmation of the ride in less than 24 hours.

One of the best aspects of booking a ride with Taxi Barcelona 7 Plazas is that it offers a 10% discount on all services to or from the airport of Barcelona. 7 Plazas uses rates imposed by the  Barcelona Metropolitan Taxi Institute, so you’re guaranteed to get fair and consistent pricing.

As for the disadvantages, I could only think of one: the lack of an app. To book a ride, you must either make a reservation from the website or contact them directly.

Without a dedicated app, you don’t have access to real-time driver tracking, estimated arrival times, and seamless payment options.

This could be problematic for solo travelers in unfamiliar cities who rely on these features to enhance their safety, convenience, and overall travel experience

How Uber Operates in Barcelona + Pricing

Uber in Barcelona works much like Uber in any other country.

To use the service, you’ll need to download the Uber app on your smartphone and request a ride by entering your pickup and drop-off location.

The app will give you an estimated fare and allow you to choose from a range of vehicle options, including UberX, Uber Green, and Uber Comfort.

I must admit, I rarely use Uber in Barcelona. Not because I had issues with the service, but because it’s often more expensive than hailing a cab or booking from a local taxi company.

When I was in Barcelona at the beginning of the year, Uber cost at least 10% more than taxis. These charges add up over time if you’re keen to explore the city in a cab.

To give you an idea, a ride from Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) to Plaça de Catalunya, a square at the heart of Barcelona’s city center, costs the following:

  • UberX: €27.35
  • Uber Comfort: €33.70
  • Uber Van: €42

Taxis vs. Uber in Barcelona: Price Comparison

Below is a price comparison for traveling from Barcelona-El Prat Airport to various destinations using taxis and Uber.

Keep in mind that these are estimates, and pricing may vary based on factors like time of day, demand, and traffic conditions.

Destination Taxi  Uber 
City Center (Plaça de Catalunya) €19.20 to €22.10 €27.35 to €42
Sagrada Família €29.30 to €33.70 €30 to €44.94
Park Güell €30 to €34.70 €30.57 to €47
Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) €26.90 to €31.10 €29.48 to €45.68
Camp Nou Stadium of FC Barcelona €23.70 to €27.50 €25.12 to €33.95
Casa Battló €25.80 to €29.80 €30.55 to €37.62
Picasso Museum of Barcelona €27.90 to €32.20 €30 to €41.29
Casa Milà (La Pedrera) €26 to €30.90 €26.27 to €40.20
Parc de Montjuïc & Magic Fountain €25 to €29 €25.37 to €31.24
Moll Adossat cruise ship dock €39 €31 to €48

Comparing Taxi and Uber Services in Barcelona

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two transportation services in Barcelona:


In Barcelona, taxis have metered fares based on distance and time.

The initial fare is €2.55, and rates per kilometer fall between €1.23 to € 1.51. Rates increase during nighttime or peak hours.

Taxis accept both cash and credit but it’s always better to have cash on hand, as some taxi drivers may have issues with their credit card machines and foreign cards.

On the other hand, Uber offers upfront pricing, which means you get to see the estimated fare before booking. Prices are calculated based on factors like time, distance, and demand.

Metered rides are available, but the website and app don’t tell you the exact pricing per kilometer.

Uber operates on a cashless payment system, with payments made through the app.


There are over 10,000 licensed taxis in Barcelona. They can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi stands throughout the city. They’re readily available and don’t require advanced booking. Unlike Uber, you’ll wait no more than a few minutes to catch a taxi in the city.

Uber offers the convenience of booking rides through the app. But unlike local taxis, the availability is a hit or miss, especially during peak hours or in areas with lower driver density.

I’ve once had to wait a full 10 minutes before my Uber arrived, and within that 10 minutes, I’ve passed up at least five taxis.

Cleanliness and Comfort

In general, the taxis in Barcelona are clean and well-maintained. However, the interior condition may vary from one taxi to another. I’ve had the displeasure of occasionally encountering taxis with less-than-pristine interiors, which made the experience unpleasant.

While it hadn’t deterred me from using taxis when needed, it made me more selective in choosing the taxi I ride in.

Meanwhile, I’ve never had an issue with cleanliness when taking an Uber. After all, Uber vehicles are expected to meet certain cleanliness and comfort standards.

If you value cleanliness more than anything else and don’t mind waiting a bit during peak hours, you’ll find Uber to be a preferable choice.

Customer Service

Taxis in Barcelona are managed by the Barcelona Metropolitan Taxi Institute (IMET).

I haven’t encountered a taxi issue that required calling the IMET customer service, so I can’t tell you first-hand how the experience went.

However, I’ve read reviews of people online stating that their issues are more or less resolved by the company in a timely manner.

Passengers who have accidentally forgotten their phones or other belongings were able to easily get in touch with the Barcelona Taxi Lost Property Helpline and retrieve their items.

Conversely, I’ve had my fair share of dealing with Uber-related issues, ranging from technical glitches to driver cancellations.

The Uber customer service team is responsive and helpful in addressing various issues, but there have been instances where it took multiple attempts and a few calls to get a resolution.

Ultimately, though, the Uber customer service isn’t that much different from other taxi services.


Most taxis in Barcelona come in a single category without variations in vehicle type or size. They’re painted black and yellow, so they’re easy to distinguish from regular vehicles.

Meanwhile, Uber offers the flexibility to choose from different vehicle categories based on your preferences and needs. The vehicle options provided by Uber are as follows:

  • UberX: the standard and most common vehicle option. It’s one of the cheaper Uber ride options.
  • Uber Comfort: Vehicles with extra legroom and enhanced comfort features, like a more upscale interior, phone charging, temperature control, and the like.
  • Uber Van: Designed for big families and groups who require more seating capacity. These vehicles provide ample interior and cargo space, making them suitable for group outings and airport transfers.

Here’s a comparison table of the various taxi services in Barcelona vs. Uber:

Taxi Class Taxi Ecològic  Taxi Barcelona  Uber
Booking Website, app, phone Website, app, phone Website, phone Website, app
Hybrids/ electric cars Hybrids Hybrids and electric cars Hybrids UberGreen
Access for handicapped people Yes No No No
On-board wifi connection Yes Yes Yes No
Airport or train station personalized pick-up Yes Yes Yes Yes
English-speaking driver option Yes Yes Yes Yes
Availability Available during rush hours Must be booked 24 hours before Available during rush hours Not many during rush hours. Waiting time for bookings can exceed 5 minutes

Other Ride-Sharing Platforms in Barcelona

In addition to Uber, here are some other ride-sharing platforms available in Barcelona:

📱 Cabify

Cabify is a ride-sharing company that primarily operates in Spain and Latin America. It was established in 2011 and is currently one of the most popular ride-sharing companies in Barcelona.

Cabify works exactly like Uber, allowing you to choose from a range of vehicle categories. Its prices are comparable to local taxis, if not cheaper. However, due to its popular demand, passengers often need to wait more than five minutes to book a ride.

📱 Free Now

Free Now, previously known as MyTaxi, is a taxi-hailing app that allows you to connect with licensed taxi drivers in Barcelona. You can pay your fare through the app.

📱 NTaxi

If you need a taxi during rush hour or late at night, turn to NTaxi. You can either share a cab with other users to save a bit of cash or request a private ride.

Similar to other ride-sharing platforms, you can book a ride directly through the NTaxi app. The app includes features like tracking your driver’s location and cashless payment.

Final Thoughts

Uber is more costly than taxi services, but it offers the convenience of advanced booking through the app and the transparency of upfront pricing.

If you prioritize these aspects, Uber might be the right choice for you. But keep in mind that Uber’s availability can vary, especially during peak hours.

On the other hand, taxis in Barcelona are more cost-effective and provide immediate accessibility. Interior quality may vary, but Barcelona’s taxi drivers are typically knowledgeable and reliable guides through the city.

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