Barcelona Tourist and Expat Guide – I'mMovingToBarcelona



The cycling infrastructure of Barcelona is based on two elements: well-designed network of bikeways and city bike system called Bicing. I love riding a bike in the city, so as soon as I arrived in Barcelona, I decided to get the Bicing pass. I wanted to use it right away as a great means to get to know the city. However, to my surprise I found out that…

Bicing is designed to be used EXCLUSIVELY by the residents of Barcelona. It’s not available for tourists.

In order to register for Barcelona City Bike Bicing you need to have a DNI or NIE number and BCN address.

Over 400 Bicing stations all over the city and I can’t use them?

That’s right. The authorities of Barcelona intentionally limit its access. I imagine it is the only way to keep the system in working condition. Otherwise we would have too many lost, stolen, devastated or creatively ‘misused’ bikes. Anyway, the goal of Bicing is to decrease the car and motorcycle traffic in the city and this way the pollution. You can read more on BICING elèctric here.

So, what does a tourist do?

There are many privately held bike rental companies. You’ll find one on every corner, especially close to BCN main attractions.


  1. NIE number
  2. Spanish address
  3. Online registration or a visit to BICING office on Plaza Carles Pi y Sunyer, 8-10 (Mon-Fri 8.30h to 17.30h)
  4. Annual fee of around 50€ for regular BICING and 14€ for BICING ELECTRIC
  5. After up to 2 weeks the pass will be delivered to your home address
  6. Now you can download the APP and learn the tricks here.

How do I register for BICING?

First of all, you’ll need to have Barcelona address and your NIE (ID number for foreigners) – here you’ll find out how to get it. The BICING pass, of the size of a credit card, will be send on the given address within some 10 days. Yep, they are playing hard to get.

Registration online

The easiest way to get it is to subscribe online, fill in the form and pay the annual fee of around 50 €. The pass will arrive at your home address by traditional post within some 10 days. By the way, the website is only in Catalan & Spanish but you probably already got used to this small inconvenience.

Paying a visit

If you prefer to do it in person, you can visit the office on Plaza Carles Pi y Sunyer, 8-10, de Barcelona (Mon-Fri 8.30h to 17.30h). You might get the false idea, just as I did, that if you make it in person you will get the card directly on the spot. Not so fast! If you drag yourself to the Bicing office you’ll need to stand in the queue and just as all the rest, wait for your card to arrive at your home address.

How does it work?

An infinite series of 30 minutes rides are included in the annual fee. Within 30 minutes you return the bike to one of the stations and after 10 minutes you can take another one for free. If you keep the bike over this time you’ll pay 0,74€ for each half an hour more, up to 2 hours.

Barcelona is a relatively small city and it is pretty easy to make most of your itineraries within those 30 minutes.

They are pretty straight forward about the goal of this service. It is one of the means of transport in BCN, not a sight-seeing service. This is why according to its Terms you shouldn’t use one bicycle for more than 2 hours. If, in spite of all the warnings, you do so, you’ll pay a penalty of 4,45€.

Remember that you can also get banned!

If you fail to use it in the right way you can get your pass deactivated for up to 4 months. Moreover, after 3 warnings for having passed the 2 hour ride, you will get banned from the service. What then? I have sincerely no idea.

One more thing, if you forget to give back a bike for 24 hours, you will get a fine of 150€.

As for me the process seems a bit too complicated. Especially, the fact that you need to wait 2 weeks to receive your pass and the phone client attention, the only way to solve your problems, speaks no English. Well, I got used to the fact that in Spain getting done apparently simple tasks require more time and patience than one would imagine. But it’s worth your while in order to get access to Barcelona City Bikes.



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5 Discussions on
  • Hey Sofia,

    I am moving to Barcelona at the end of this month and I love to travel by bike just like you. I want to get this card as soon as possible. I got the place to live and I already got the NIE number but I don’t have Spanish bank account yet, do we really need Spanish bank account or is credit card sufficient to get the bicing card? If we don’t need a bank account I am planning to pay the annual fee 7 or 8 days before my arrival date. Do you think it will work? 🙂
    Thank you.

    • Hi Berk,
      I sure think this is possible. In my opinion, you have all you need: NIE and a Spanish address, (not sure about the mobile number, though). If I remember correctly, at the beginning we used our foreign credit card to pay for the service, so if nothing’s changed, you are free to do that. I think this is a great idea because you will be able to ride a bike from the very beginning. Good luck!

      • First of all thank you very much for your interest and thank you very much for this webpage, you are very helpful for a students like me .
        I am just concerned for the Spanish mobile number since I don’t have it 🙂 I am planning to use one of my friend’s number (which is not using anymore) but I don’t know what would I do if they send any SMS or make a call to that number.

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