Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city, in population, with around 3,200,000 people. This innovative, diverse city is located on the northeast coast of the peninsula along the Mediterranean Sea. Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonian region, as well as the province of Barcelona. Although Spanish is the official language in Spain, in the Catalonian region, Catalan is also recognized as the co-official language.
Barcelona is ranked just after Madrid as the country’s main source of economy. It is also home to one of the most major Mediterranean ports.
Barcelona was known for its manufacturing industry, and that is still prevalent today as some of the most important industries are textiles, chemistry, motor, and electronics. As for the server market, the leaders are logistics, publishing, and telecommunications.
Many tourists are drawn to the city because of its rich culture and it is very easy to find cheap flights to Barcelona from all bigger European cities and most capitals worldwide. There is also the draw that it is situated 160 km south of the Pyrenees and the French-Spanish border, plus, Barcelona revels in its 4.5 km of coastline, with seven beaches. It was the home to several impressive works done by the world-renowned architects, Antoni Gaud, and Lluis Domenech I Montaner. The city also has a wide range of parks, several walking streets in the old part of the city, and numerous attractions to visit.
Where do I fly into?
Barcelona International Airport
08820 El Prat de Llobregat
Phone: +34 902 404 704
The climate is typically Mediterranean, which means that the summers are hot and humid and the winters are mild. Most of the precipitations come during the spring and the autumn. Average annual temperature is 17.6º C. See chart below:
Barcelona is one of those cities you can visit at any time of the year. If you are looking to get a nice tan and have a swim in the Med you should go in June, July, August or September.
Passport and Visa Information
Visitors from other European Union member countries may enter Spain using either a passport or a national identity document.
Spain Visa and Passport Requirements
|Passport required||Return ticket required||Visa required|
On the other hand, people from other countries must have a valid passport and a visa if required.
A passport valid for three months beyond the length of stay and issued within the past 10 years is required by all nationals listed in the chart above except (1) EU nationals holding a passport or national ID card which is valid for the duration of stay.
If traveling from one border-free Schengen country to another, however, EU nationals are not required to show a passport or national ID card. It is still recommended that you travel with your passport or ID card to prove your identity if necessary though. Note that Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the UK are not part of the Schengen area, so a passport or ID card is required if traveling to/from these countries.
EU nationals are not required to possess a return ticket or show sufficient funds.
Visas for Spain are not required by nationals of EU countries regardless of the purpose and/or length of stay, and not required by nationals of other countries referred to in the chart above for stays of up to 90 days.
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Spain.
There are various types of visa available: tourist, business and transit visas. To check if you need these visas, contact your nearest Spanish Embassy.
Schengen visa: 90 days within a six-month period.
A transit visa will only allow entrance into the international transit area and not into Spain. You are not allowed to leave the airport.
Spain is part of the Schengen visa scheme.
Health and Safety
Barcelona is considered a safe city but you have to watch out for pickpockets. They operate everywhere in the city but especially nearby metro stations and the main tourist attractions.
Barcelona Currency Exchange
People in Barcelona have been using the Euro (€) since 2001. Money can be changed in any bank, and at most travel agencies, major hotels and airports.
Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
Generally Mon-Fri 0830-1400. Some branches open Saturdays too, from October to April.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard/Cirrus and Visa/Plus are accepted in nearly all ATMs, which are common throughout the country. There are usually at least one bank and ATM in each village.
The “dress code” in Barcelona is casual. Jeans and T-shirts are normal attire and you will be able to enter practically all but the very exclusive restaurants with casual wear. The only exception is “Sleeveless T’ shirts” which you will have a few problems getting into Bars and clubs. Some of the more expensive nightclubs insist on shoes (no trainers) and will also not allow Sleeveless T-shirts.
From June to August on the coastal areas, casual beach wear like flip flops, vests, loose-fitting clothing, and shorts will suffice. It can get unbearably hot in the city, so be prepared to brave the weather with plenty of water, a hat, and sunscreen.
In between high and low season (April-May; October-November) climate can be unpredictable in certain parts of the country– be sure to pack your umbrella, raincoat and a light jacket for the night.
Electricity supply is 220 volts throughout Spain with 2 pin wall sockets. For any European countries that utilize 240 volts e.g., UK and Ireland most electrical equipment will function adequately.
If you intend to use the UK electrical plugs then you will need an electrical plug adapter that will convert the standard 3 pin socket into a two pin socket. In the US where the electricity supply is 110 volts, a transformer would be required to step down the voltage to 110 volts. Damage to the electrical appliance can occur if you attempt to use a 110 volt rated electrical appliance with a 220 volt supply.
It’s recommended that you purchase your electrical plug adapter from the international airport that you are flying or at the airport even if it costs a few Pounds/Euros/Dollars more.
In Spain (Barcelona), at high-end hotels, you should tip. You can tip your concierge provides exceptional service, between 5 and 10 Euros. You can tip the housekeeper upfront or by leaving the tip on the bed between 2 and 5 Euros per day. Bellboys should be tipped 1 or 2 Euros per piece of luggage.
It’s common to tip around 10% in restaurants, for good service. This is in addition to any service charge that may appear on the bill. Tip in cash. In cafés, you can leave the small change behind. If the service was particularly good, leaving an extra euro or two is acceptable. Some restaurants may include a service charge, but it’s not common practice in Spain. If the service is bad, don’t tip. Leave the tip on the table in the tray your bill came in, or give it directly to the waiter.
In bars, tipping is not expected.
In Spain, for Taxi, it is common to tip 10% or to round-up the fare.
Barcelona drinking water is very unpalatable and it is highly recommended to drink bottled water whilst you are here. Although you can drink tap water safely it is much preferred to have bottled water. Bottled mineral water can be purchased very cheaply from local supermarkets.
The two languages spoken in Barcelona are Spanish and Catalan. Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya and therefore Catalan is widely spoken by the people of Barcelona. However, both Spanish and Catalan are widely spoken interchangeably.
In the tourist areas, you will have people who speak English as well as Spanish, however, more off the beaten track most people will only speak Spanish or Catalan.
Although Barcelona is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations you may find it hard sometimes to have a conversation in English.
What to pack for a trip to Barcelona
- I recommend traveling as light as possible without forgetting the items that are essential for your comfort, health, or enjoyment.
- Bring a nice outfit or two if you are planning an evening out at an elegant restaurant.
- A light jacket for cooler evenings and bring a warm coat if you are heading to Barcelona between October and February because winter temperatures average near 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the cooler months.
- Select t-shirts and shorts for the warm spring, summer and fall months
- Pack comfortable walking shoes and lightweight clothing that can be worn all day because Barcelona is a casual city.
- Sun Protection
- Swimsuits (summer and fall trip)
- Include an umbrella or poncho in your luggage to keep you dry during one of the city’s rainstorms
- Bring a European electrical outlet adapter if you are bringing any small electrical appliances because the standard 220-volt American plugs do not work in Barcelona.
Things to carry on with you
- A copy of your passport and driver’s license.
- Money If you are going to make a purchase or go out to dinner, take more and take a credit card as well. Use the card only if you don’t have enough cash.
- Your emergency telephone list of phone numbers from back home.
- A business card showing the phone and address of your hotel.
- Sunscreen if you plan to be out in the sun a lot.
- Cash cards only if you plan to go to the bank.
- Credit cards only if you plan to go to the bank, major shopping, or to a nice restaurant