Barcelona Life and Travel Tips
(Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)
The city of Barcelona is one of the world's great cities and the local Spaniards are cheerful, friendly and generally very helpful. Good manners in Barcelona are welcome everywhere and expected by most people.
Barcelona is undeniably a major-league cultural and historic city and worth a visit, whatever the time of year.
Spanish is the third most widely spoken language in the world, after Chinese and English. Although Spanish is the language of the land, English, French and German are generally understood at most attractions, museums, hotels and restaurants that cater for visitors. Castilian Spanish is the official language but in the regions, Basque, Catalan and Galician are spoken. In smaller towns and villages a phrase book is a useful item to carry.
Tipping is quite discretionary, with taxi drivers usually being given a 5 to 10% gratuity or thereabouts, although this is by no means obligatory. Restaurants always include service charges by law, and these should be clearly stated on the menus, although a small tip will still be expected and very much appreciated. Hotel staff, such as luggage handlers, happily accept a small tip. Generally, no other public service workers expect tips. You should always pay tips in cash, as this way you can be sure that the person it is intended for receives it fully.
Places of Worship
The national religion of Spain is Roman Catholic, although many other faiths and major religions are also represented. There are an enormous number of churches that welcome visitors and these have a fairly formal dress code, i.e. no shorts.
In many buildings and public transport, rules restrict smoking and this is usually indicated by no-smoking symbols in prominent places. Spanish legislation makes it illegal to smoke in many public places and the rights of non-smokers tend to prevail over the right to smoke, although most pubs and bars welcome customers who wish to relax with a drink and smoke.
It is always worth exercising discretion and sensitivity when selecting a place in which to smoke. The best advice would be not to smoke unless others around you do so.
Tips for Using the Euro
The Euro is made up of eight coins and seven paper notes and was introduced on January 1, 2002. The 12 original members of the European Union - Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal
, and Spain - planned the event for more than a decade, determining a conversion rate for each country's national currency. The colourful Euro bills, which include holograms and shades of green, yellow, blue, mauve, and orange, are identical across the Euro area. Coins have one common and one national side, but they can be used in any of the member countries, regardless of the country of issue. Old currencies are no longer accepted, although they can still be converted to Euros in central banks.
Tourism and Tourist Information (Oficinas de Turismo)
There are several tourism and tourist information offices in Barcelona, providing the latest information for both the tourist and business traveller in the city. There is also a tourist information office located in Barcelona airport, in the international arrivals hall.
The Oficina d'Informacio de Turisme de Barcelona
Address: Plaça de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 (0)93 367 9730
Located in the Plaça de Catalunya, this tourism and tourist information office in Barcelona is a useful for place to visit for the latest tourist information, including details about attractions, museums, restaurants, Barcelona travel and general Barcelona tourism information.
Open hours: daily 09:00 to 21:00
Plaça de Sant Jaume Tourist Information
Address: Plaça de Sant Jaume, Barcelona, Spain
There is also another Barcelona tourist information office located in the town hall (Aduntament), on Plaça de Sant Jaume .
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 20:00, Saturday - 10:00 to 20:00, Sunday - 10:00 to 14:00
Regional Tourist Office
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona, Spain
Situated in the late 19th-century Neo-classical building, this tourist information office includes a bookshop and audio visual equipment.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 19:00, Sunday - 10:00 to 14:00
Telephones and Emergency Numbers
- Emergencies - for police dial 091 (national) or 092 (local)
- For fire emergencies dial 080 or 085 and for an ambulance dial 409 5530
- To call from one city code to another, dial the city code of 93, complete with initial 0, and then dial the number
- Telephone country codes: United States and Canada is 1, Australia 61, New Zealand 64 and for the United Kingdom 44 (the international prefix from Ireland is 00)
The biggest threat in Barcelona is by bag snatchers and pickpockets. Thieves are very skilled, so be particularly careful with hand baggage. Wear a bag or camera across your body, or even use a concealed money belt.
VAT (IVA) is always included in the price and refunds are unusual in Spain. Tourists from countries outside of the EU may claim a refund on this tax if the item was purchased for personal use and cost more than a certain amount. Ask the shopkeeper for details.