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FAQ. Barcelona Frequently Asked Questions by tourists

Barcelona tourist FAQ 

Frequently Asked Questions by Tourists visiting Barcelona, Spain

Updated June 2024

On this page we have collected the most common FAQ question tourists have about planning a visit to Barcelona. At the bottom of the page you can see links to more Barcelona FAQ questions for tourists and visitors to Barcelona. If you don't find the answer to your Barcelona questions you are welcome to contact the Barcelonayellow team. We will do our best to help you.

Where is Barcelona?

Barcelona Google Maps
Maps Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia – (Catalunya in Catalan)  and an Autonomous Community in the Kingdom of Spain. Barcelona is a coastal city on is the Mediterranean Sea with 5 km of Barcelona beaches and a large natural park area 20 minutes from the city center called Collserola Park.

How many people live in Barcelona

There are approx 1,5 mill inhabitants in Barcelona and about 7 milliion inhabitants in all of the Catalonia regions. Catalans are known for being open and welcoming to visitors. The official languages in Barcelona are Catalan, Spanish (Castellano) and Aragonese (spoken in the Aran Vally.) 

Do they speak English in Barcelona

Most people in Barcelona are bilingual and speak Catalan, which is regarded as the native and first language language of Catalonia, and almost everyone speaks Spanish (Castellano). Many employees in the tourism business of Barcelona speak English. The younger generations speak some English but generally English is not spoken by the older generation of inhabitants. You will find that restaurants in tourist areas have menus in various languages.

What is the Catalan language

Catalan is a Romance language spoken in Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spainwhere Barcelona is. It's also spoken as in the Balearic Islands, Valencia, the eastern part of Aragon, the Roussillon region of France, the city of Alghero in Sardinia (Italy), and the Principality of Andorra. It is also recognized as an official language in Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands. Road signs and names in Barcelona are usually in the Catalan language.  Please note that all the street names on this website, BarcleonaYellow.com, are in Catalan, because Google maps also uses the Catalan street names.

What are Spanish international telephone codes?

Dailing code. How do I make telephone calles to a Spanish number. The telephone dialing country code for Spain - also called the International Dialling Code - for Spain is +34 and this is the same for making international calls to Barcelona. The city code for Barcelona is 93. All land line phone numbers in Barcelona start with 93 and have nine digits. Many visitors to Spain now use Skype or other internet based phone services for cheap long distance calls from internet cafes or hotels. Most top Barcelona hotels now offer WiFi (pronounced Wee-Fee) internet access. You can actually still buy telephone cards values of for example €5 or €10 from kiosks or 'locutorios). Locutorios are small internet cafes and phone shops, that offer long distance phone calls, money transfer services and PC's with internet access. Locutorios are in all Barcelona neighbourhoods and are still useful, for example, if you lose your phone or PC.

What is Barcelona's time zone?

Barcelona is located in the GMT+1 time zone
Information Barcelona time zone

How to get tourist visas for Spain?

Visitors from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein don’t need a visa – can enter Spain as a tourist without a visa. They just need to bring  their  National ID  or current passport.  For minors, the National ID must be accompanied by written parental permission.  Tourist visits can be valid for up to 90 days.

Visitors from Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, the Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, the Vatican, Singapore, Uruguay, or Venezuela do not need a tourist visa to visit Spain either, but can stay for up to 90 consecutive days with valid passport from their home country.

Visitors from all other coutries must apply for a visa from the Spanish Consulate in their home country. If a tourist visa (or other form of visa) is issued to you, then you can ten enter Spain with a visa and your passport. EU citizens have automatic right to live and work in Spain, but other countries must apply for long term student visa or employment and resident permits.

Find local Spanish Consulates

What is electrical current in Spain?

Spain uses 220-volt AC, 50Hz electrical current with a two-pin electrical plugs.  Visitors from the UK need adaptors and visitors from USA need adaptors and 110/125V transformers

What electric plugs are used in Barcelona?

Barcelona Spain uses electric plug type C & electric plug type F. More information

What is weather in Barcelona?

Barcelona has a typical 'Mediterranean  climate with warm spring weather s and hot summers with up to 12 hours of sunshine per day. Barcelona winters are mild.  
About Barcelona weather

5 day forecast Barcelona 

Where is Barcelona airport?

The international airport in Barcelona is 20 km from the city centre and is called Josep Tarradellas Barcelona – El Prat Airport.  The other international airports in Catalonia are Girona/Costa Brava and Reus. There is no direct metro connection from Barcelona airport to city denter. There is a train connection, an airport bus connection or take taxi or book private airport transfer.

Barcelona International Airport
Other airports near Barcelona
Best way Barcelona International Airport to city center
Airport parking Barcelona

How is Barcelona public transport?

Yes. Barcelona and Catalonia has a modern and well maintained public transport systems of trains, metro, buses, trams and city bikes.

Barcelona Metro opening times

Monday to Thursday: 5am to midnight
Fridays and the nights before public holidays: 5am until 2am.
Saturdays: metro runs all night.
Sundays and midweek public holidays: 5am to midnight
24 December: 5am to 11pm

Barcelona public transport 

Are Barcelona taxis safe?

Are Barcelonta Taxis safe? Yes.

Is Uber in Barcelona?

No. Not in the same way as other cities. More information

What colour are Barcelona taxis?

Taxis are black and yellow. The Barcelona taxi fleet is new modern and all taxi charge by taximeter. You will not be cheated and can pay by credit card. There are supplements for airport and port pickups and different fares for different times of day.
Barcelona taxi prices / companies 

Where is Barcelona's main Tourist Office?

There are several tourist information offices and booths around the city of Barcelona. The main Barcelona tourist office is on Plaza Catalunya and is underground in the bottom corner near the Corte Ingles Department store (big white concrete building)
Tourist office map Barcelona
Barcelonaturisme.com - official Barcelona tourist office

Medical care and health care

Visitors from the European Union must bring the blue EHIC card - European Health Insurance Card, which entitles them to free medical assistance in emergencies. The main emergency number is 112.  The number for medical emergencies is 061. To call the Spanish Medical Information Service for general  information on doctors, hospitals, pharmacies etc in Barcelona call  902 111 444 

Emergency numbers
CatSalut health service
EHIC card

Pharmacies and drugstores

Chemist shops/drugstores in Spain and Barcelona are called Farmacias. They generally have a big green flashing cross outside their shop. Prescription and non-prescription medicine can be bought from pharmacies during normal shopping hours on weekdays between 9.00 and 20.00. 24h chemist shops are also open in Barcelona. An extra charge is added to medicine purchased outside normal opening hours.

When are Spanish meal times?

Meal times. Traditionally Catalans and Spanish have have their meals later than in other European countries.

Breakfast (desayuno) This is usually from 09:00 and 11.00 in the morning and is  a light meal like 'cafe amb llet'  (in Catalan) or 'café con leche'  (in Spanish) which both mean 'coffee with milk.' With the coffee you might have a croissant or maybe a ' tostada' which is toast with butter and jam. Breakfast should be around 1.5 euros to 2-5 euros. Hotels often put on a lavish breakfast buffet that might or might not be included in the room price.

Lunch (almuerzo) is an important meal between and is usually around 2 hours, which can be taken generally from 14.00 and 16.00 but some shops and business close already at 13.00. Many restaurants offer a set lunch menu called 'Menu del Dia'  which can typically be from 10 euros to 20 euros and usually includes 3 courses and drinks.

Dinner (cena)  is generally  from 21.00 to 23.00 but you can often find people eating until midnight. Prices vary but generally Barcelona offers good value for money compared to other major European cities.

Barcelona restaurants

What are Spanish smoking laws?

Since 2011 anti-smoking laws in Spain prohibit smoking in all enclosed public spaces including restaurants and night clubs, and also some outdoor areas, such as parks and children's playgrounds. Smoking is also forbidden in and outside schools and hospitals and in stairways and entrances to apartment blocks. Smoking is not allowed on flights, buses, trains, metros and taxis. Hotels are, however, still allowed to allocate up to 30% smoking rooms. There are smoking areas at Barcelona airport.

What are Spanish business hours?

Working hours are usually begin at 08.00 or 09.00 in the morning and run until 19.00 or 20.00 in the evening with a one or two hour lunch break - and sometimes a half hour breakfast break in the morning around 10.00

What are Spanish shopping hours?

Most shops in Barcelona open at 09:30 to 10.00 in the morning. The shopping malls in Barcelona generally open at 10.00. Big shopping brand chains and malls do not shut for lunch, but smaller shops and shops outside the city centre often close for two hours during lunch. They set their own hours for the lunch break sometimes not opening until 17.00 in the afternoon. Many brand shops and malls are open on Saturday afternoons, while almost all shops close Sundays, except for certain special shopping days on some Sundays and public holiday during the year. There is one shopping centre, MareMagnum in the port marina area of Barcelona is always open that is open on Sundays. Les Arenas shopping mall opens on Sundays in July and August.

Shopping malls Barcelona
Shopping guide Barcelona

What is currency in Spain?

The currency is Spain was pesetasbefore the Euro. Spain switched to Euros on January 1st, 2002.  The euro bank notes come in denominations of € 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and a whopping 500 euro notes, the latter being a small fortune.   Euros coins are in denominations of: €1, €2, 1¢, 2¢, 5¢,10¢, 20¢ and 50¢ (¢ = cents) Generally anything above 50 euro notes can be difficult to change, so try and make sure you have some smaller notes when you arrive or change them at the airport banks.
Online currency converter

Where can I change money in Barcelona?

In theory you can exchange money from most major currencies at all banks (Bancos) or savings banks (Cajas) But banks don't like to change money these days. They will refer you to their ATMs. Banks are usually open daily from around 8.30 or 09.00 till 14.00 on weekdays. 08.30 or 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays in the winter – Closed on Saturdays in the summer.

The Cajas, Savings Banks are generally open daily from around 8.30 or 09.00 till 14.00 on weekdays except Thursdays when they open an hour later and stay open until around 20.00. 08.30 or 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays in the winter.

On Sundays there is a Caixa Catalunya savings bank office open in the Tourist Office on Plaza Catalunya, which is under the plaza. Opening times 09.00 to 21.00 Monday to Saturday and Sunday 09.00 to 14.00

There are also many currency exchange offices in major tourist locations. They are considered to be trustworthy and have the advantage of longer hours than banks, but offer lower exchange rates. Ask how much the commissions will be before you change money in these offices. 

Travellers’ cheques are very rare these days and mucher harder to exchange. Most banks don’t offer this service anymore, but the currency exchange shops will usually take them. All major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and Amex are usually accepted in the many ATM’s around Barcelona and can be used in shops and hotels.  It is perfectly safe to take out money in ATM machine but follow the usual precautions of protecting your pincode.

Diners Club card is not widely accepted in Barcelona. If your card is lost, stolen in Barcelona or eaten by an ATM, do not panic , but as soon as possible you should you can free phone the numbers below to blcok the ciredit cards. Your bank or credit card issuer will immediately block your card and organise a replacement Most services to report stolen or lost credit cards are available 24 hours a day all year. Typically they will take your lost or stolen card report, and often arrange for a replacement and organise an emergency cash delivery if that is necessary.

Amex American Express 902375637
Visa Spain  900991124
Master Card Spain  900971231
Diners Club Spain 901101011

How much is sales tax - VAT

Sales tax, or VAT Value-added tax is called IVA in Spain.  It means 'impuesto sobre el valor añadido.' The IVA tax usually included but some restaurants add it to your bill. The IVA on hotel accommodation and restaurants is 10%. On general shopping items and retail goods the IVA is 21% and is always included in the price. Some goods have reduced IVA tax of 10% and super reduced rate of 4%. IVA sales on property sales is 10%.

Is there Tax Free shopping in Barcelona?

Many shops in the tourist areas of Barcelona offer tax-free shopping. Only if you live outside the EU can you you can enjoy tax-free shopping. Tax-free shopping means that you pay the 21% IVA when you make the purchase, but then you can claim back the tax, if they purchased goods are of a value greater than EUR 90.16. Look for stores with a Global Blue Tax Free Shopping sign in their windows or at the till. Ask the staff whether they offer Global Blue services. Remember to ask for the Tax Free Form at the time of purchase. When you leave Barcelona or Spain you must arrive early at the airpot and present the tax refund form at the customs booth to get your Tax Free Form stamped. Make sure the goods are unused. Have your passport and ticket with you. You must get your tax refund before your check your luggage in so customs can to inspect the goods that you have bought. The customs office will approve the purchases and you then go to a bank at the airport to get your money. It is a smooth process but can take time, so don’t leave it too late. If you don’t have time at the airport get your refund then the Global Blue Tax Free Cheque is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.

Facilities for disabled in Barcelona

Barcelona has many programmes and initiatives disabled visitors. Two Spanish authors have written a guide for visitors, the aim of which is to make a visit to the city easier for people with reduced mobility or communication.
Disabled visitors Barcelona info

Barcelona Emergency numbers

112 is the main emergency number for police, fire, or ambulance services in an emergency. Emergency medical care will be supplied by the municipal authorities. Emergency treatment at Spanish public hospitals is free. Other treatment can be paid in cash or via medical insurance. Barcelona is considered to be a very safe city in terms of low rates of violent crimes. Attacks on tourists are virtually unheard of . However Barcelona has had a big problem with pickpockets and bag-snatchers for many years, mostly in the popular tourist areas and in particular on Las Ramblas. For citizens advice and information dial the 010 citizen advice service (Spanish and Catalan)
Full list emergency numbers Barcelona 
Pickpockets Barcelona

Does Barcelona have city cards?

Yes. Barcelona has a number of city cards for tourists and travel cards for public transport and tourist attractions. The most popular is the Barcelona Card
Barcelona Card / city pass cards

What are prices in Barcelona?

Bottle of beer in a local bar: €2-3 euros
Drink in popular night club € 10-14 euros
Entrance fee popular night club € 10 – 15 euros which usually includes a drink
Coffee in a local bar: €1.60
Soft drink in a local bar: €1.75
Sandwich in a local bar or cafe: €2.50 - €4
Lunch in local bar 'Menu del dia' – 3 course set menu including drink €10-15
Good dinner in nice restaurant €20 to €60, but can be done cheaper. Cinema ticket at Original Version cinemas: €7,50
Single bus or metro ticket: €2.15
10-trip bus or metro card : €10.20

How much do I tip in Barcelona?

Read our guide to tipping in Spain. Service charges are automatically added to the hotel and restaurant bills, and in shops and taxis in Spain, so no further tipping is required. Of course you can always give someone a tip for excellent service, but is not expected. You generally do not tip tour guides or tour bus drivers either. Catalans and Spaniards rarely tip and if they do it is usually under 5% of the total amount of bill. But the general rule is don’t tip or tip very little. No-one will be offended

What are hotel prices Barcelona?

Generally the standard of hotels of all ranges in Barcelona is high. A good quality 3 star mid range double hotel room in Barcelona will cost from €70 to €250. Find hotels Barcelona. For cheaper accommodation try apartments in Barcelona and hostels and 1 star hotels, which should bring the price per person down to as low as €25 a night.

Free WiFi Internet Barcelona 

WIFI and Internet connections are now widely available in most hotels in the city of Barcelona. Most WiFI is free at hotels but connection speed can vary. Check hotel reviews to see if Wi-fi is free, available in rooms or just public areas and what the speed. Internet cafes in Barcelona no longer exist, but there are many small local 'locutorios' who offer long distance phone calls and internet access. 

Postal services - Post offices 

Normal post office opening hours are from Monday to Friday from 08.30 to 20.30 and on Saturdays between 09.30 and 13.30.  Sundays closed.
Spanish Post Office website and central post office Barcelona

Religious Services

Barcelona churches 
International church services

FAQ - Nudity and Semi-nudity Laws

A law was passed in 2011 banning nudity and semi-nudity on the streets of Barcelona. This means that you can be fined 300 to 500 euros for being naked in public places in Barcelona and an also for wearing a bathing suits or similar items of clothing unless you are in the vicinity of swimming pools or beaches.. Nudism on beaches in Barcelona should only be on Barcelona's Mar Bella nudist beach . The reason for this new law is that Barcelona is a city and wants to avoid having an image as a seaside resort. Another reason is to address issues of hygiene and respect for those members of the general public who prefer not to see semi-nude people on the streets.

FAQ - Sustainable Tourism

Congratulations to Barcelona. In June 2011 Barcelona became the first city in the world to receive the certification Biosphere World Class Destination certification awarded by the Responsible Tourism Institute (ITR), a UNESCO and World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) affiliated body and a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) under the auspices of the United Nations Foundation. This certification is for responsible tourist management and creating a sustainable tourist destination.

More FAQ's about Barcelona

If you have suggestions or corrections to the information on this page then please contact us

Thank you for visiting Barcelona and we hope you enjoy your stay very much.

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Last Updated on Friday, 31 May 2024 17:33