There are two major Metro lines in Barcelona: The TMB and the FCG. This will make absolutely no difference to your journey or ticketing – it is simply a way to denote the operators on different lines and a way to code the routes. In total, there are eight Metro lines, all well-connected and easy to navigate. You can download a map of the Metro network from the TMB website. http://www.tmb.net/img/genplano.pdf
At every Metro station there are wall maps to help you plan your trip, or you can ask the attendant at the ticket booth for a ´mapa´ (free of charge). For those who like to plan things before they leave home, the TMB website has a trip planner http://www.tmb.cat/en_US/home.jsp in English. You can choose your destination and departure points and have your journey laid out for you.
The Metro runs from 5am until midnight on all days (including Sundays) except Fridays, when it runs until 2am. On Saturdays the Metro runs all night. If there is a public holiday or “fiesta” normally the metro will operate throughout the night on the eve of the public holiday but it is recommended to check before you travel.
You can buy tickets for individual journeys for the Metro at 1.40 Euros per ticket from any Metro station, or online at http://www.tmb.cat/en_US/home.jsp. Buying tickets one at a time is not recommended unless you are only in Barcelona for a day. The best option is the the T10 ticket.
The T10 ticket costs only 7.95 Euros for ten trips within Zone 1. You can buy T10 tickets for other zones as well, but most of the districts in Barcelona are covered by Zone 1. A T10 is valid indefinitely within a calendar year (however the card will expire one month after the new tariffs are released in January each year) and you can share the trips on your card with other people travelling with you at the same time. It is valid on the Metro, buses, trams and trains within the nominated zone.
A tip for using the T10: If your journey is less than 1.25 hours, you can use a single trip for all the forms of transport you take. For instance, you can change trains at Metro stops (as long as you don´t leave the underground), then leave the metro and jump on a bus to finish your journey or vice versa as long as the total length of the journey is less than 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Except for Sundays, when the timetable is lighter and you may have to wait twenty minutes between trains, you will not have to wait long in the Barcelona Metro system.
To estimate your journey time, allow about two minutes per stop. Some stops are quicker and some slightly longer but over all this rule of thumb works well. If you need to change metro lines then add an extra 10 minutess for the change. You will only need to wait 5 minutes between trains at the very most.
Apart from letting older people on first (age is a big respect-earner in Spain), as well as pregnant women, there really is no specific etiquette when using the Spanish Metro. In fact, in peak times it´s every man, woman and child for themselves. This is not rudeness, just the Spanish habit of not looking around before they stop suddenly, swerve or begin walking backwards.