Barcelona Travel Infos
Different countries have different customs – When are national holidays? Are tips in restaurants obligatory? Which number to call in case of emergency? Take a look at our carefully selected travel information in order to make your stay in Barcelona as pleasant as possible and find out more about the Catalonian capital!
The climate in Barcelona is a temperate Mediterranean climate that makes it a round-the-year destination. Cool and warm breezes from the sea temper the scorching summers and the cold winters so that summers are manageable and dry, while winters are humid and mild. Barcelona has well demarcated seasons. The weather in Barcelona does not throw up any major surprises. The period between May and July is the best time to visit Barcelona but you will be equally comfortable the rest of the year.
Summer can be quite hot and the barometer could climb to 35 °C. But the average Barcelona temperature stays around 29 °C. Humidity levels touch almost 70 % and there are occasional showers. August is the hottest month when most Barcelonans escape to cooler heights and many shops, bars and restaurants down their shutters. Use light clothing and carry your sunshades.
For nationals of the EU and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland a visa is not necessary to enter to Spain. They require only a passport or a valid identity card.
Nationals of other countries including Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the USA do not require visas for tourist visits of up to 90 days.
Nationals of all other countries please check with the a Spanish embassy in your country: Find a Spanish embassy in your country
Money and Tipping
In Spain, since 2002, the official currency is the Euro (€). Major credit cards such as Visa and Master Card and to some extent American Express are accepted all over Spain. You can also use them to withdraw money from a cash machine and pay in restaurants, shops and hotels.
In case of thefts or losing your card please immediately call your provider to lock it:
• VisaCard: 900 991 124
• MasterCard: 900 971 231
• American Express: 902 375 637
In Spain, restaurants are required by law to include service charges in their prices, but most people leave small change if they are happy with the service. Commonly, you also tip hotel porters and taxi drivers.
Health and Safety
In touristic places pick pockets can be an annoyance. Please watch your belongings at touristic sights, on the metro and in crowded areas.
Traffic in Spain is more hectically in comparison to other European countries so you have to pay attention on the streets.
This especially accounts for traffic lights: if the green light for pedestrians starts flashing get off the road right away since cars and motorbikes will start within a few seconds.
In case of a any emergencies please call the EU standard emergency number 112. If you got sick you should ask your hotel reception for the nearest medical center. As an EU citizen you can use your European Health Insurance Card for free treatment. Visitors from other countries should have a travel insurance, otherwise you might have to pay on the spot. There are also many pharmacies where you can go if you have minor aches and pains. Some of them are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
The Catalan people are known in Spain for their motivation and commitment to work. They separate their professional life and their personal relationships, so they can be perceived as reserved and serious but don´t interpret this as unfriendliness. The Catalan people are Spanish in their zest for life and they always put social and family life first.
Catalonia has two official languages, Spanish and Catalan. Catalan is an indispensable part of the identity and culture. Many families exclusively speak Catalan in their home and also in schools it is often used. Furthermore, the streets, towns and city names are always in Catalan. Nevertheless Spanish is widely used in Barcelona and everybody can speak it, so you will have absolutely no problem with the communication.
Business Hours and Public Holidays
Banks are normally open from Monday to Friday from 08.30 am to 14.00 hours. You can also change money there. The opening hours for museums vary considerably between 10.00 am to 18.00 hours.
Shops outside the touristic centers are open from 09.00 am to 14.00 hours. Then they close for the so-called “siesta” and open again at 16.00 – 17.00 hours until 20.00 – 21.00 hours.
In touristic places and on the major shopping streets in the cities shops do not close for siesta anymore. They open the whole day from Monday to Saturday. Some also have stay on Sundays or public holidays. During August many shops and restaurants are closed the whole month for vacations.
Spanish people have different mealtimes than other Europeans, because they tend to eat later. Normally they have a light breakfast between 09.00 and 11.00 am and lunch between 14.00 and 15.00 hours. Thus dinner is considerably later between 21.00 and 22.00 hours and in many restaurants the kitchen does not close before midnight.
If you would like to send postcards, please check the opening hours from the Correos. Correos is Spain´s national postal service where you can send postcards, letters and documents. You can buy “sellos” (stamps) at most tobacco shops and a postcard up to 20g costs 0,75€ from Spain to other European countries and 0,90€ to the rest of the world.
Spain has public and religious holidays. Some of them are celebrated nationwide and others only in specific regions:
01. January: New Year´s Day
06. January: Epiphany
March-April: Good Friday
March-April: Easter Monday
01. May: Labour Day
May: Pentecost Monday
24. June Feast Day of St. John
11. September: Catalan National Day
24. September: Mercé Festival
12. October: Spanish National Day
01. November: All Saint´s Day
06. December: Constitution Day
08. December: Immaculate Conception
25. December Christmas Day
26 December: Feast Day of St. Stephen