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Barcelona: General info, Useful info

Demography, Geography

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid. It is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. Its area is 100 square kilometer and the population is around 1,650,000 people. Including the people of the suburbs around, Barcelona population is around 4,800,000 people.
The city is located between the Besos river in the north, the Mediterranean sea in the east and the Llobregat river and Tibidabo mountains in the west.
The area of Barcelona metropolitan is 500 square kilometer.
The city is divided into several neighborhoods:

  • Montjuic
  • Gracia

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Neighborhood and Areas in Barcelona

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Barcelona map and other maps

You can get a map of Barcelona for free in the airport and in each reception office in each hotel. Looking at the Barcelona Map it can be seen that the city center is relativly small and very comfortable for walking and that by using the efficient metro, which is well spread all over the city, you can reach everywhere pretty easily.
Here are few useful maps of Barcelona and the area:

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Language

The language spoken by the people of Barcelona is Catalan which is totally different from the Spanish language, and it is closer to French. Obviously, all the locals know also Spanish, but they prefer to speak in their language in order to preserve it and in order to strengthen their identity.

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History

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Currency

The official currency in Barcelona is Euro (EUR). If you arrived with currency that is not Euro, it is possible to exchange it in the banks or in the exchange offices that are scattered in the city. The exchange rates are not homogenous and there are differences from one place to another (and also in commission are differences). You should better check before exchange.

Banks

Banks are open Monday-Friday between 08:30-14:00 and are closed on weekends.
ATM machines can be found everywhere in the city.

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Visa

Prices and Costs

You can find everything in Barcelona but it is not a place for people who are looking for bargains and the prices are not cheap. In the markets you can find cheap merchandises, but the quality is accordingly.
End of the year sales are taking place twich a year:
The winter sales around 10th January, and summer sales around 5th July. In those periods it is possible to shop profitably. The price level in the city is tend to be stabile and mot changing according to the season of the year because Barcelona is tend to be full with tourist all year.

Stores Open Hours

Most of the stores in Barcelona are open from 09:30 till 13:30 (or from 10:00 till 14:00) and then from 16:30 till 20:30 (or from 17:00 till 21:00). Big stores and the shopping centers are open all day continuously. On Saturday most of the stores are open only afternoon. On Sunday everything is close except from the very big stores.
More on stores open hours can be read at Shopping in Barcelona page.

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Tax and Tax Refund

Will be updated soon.

Electricity

The electricity main in Barcelona is 220V, 50Hz
Round two-pin plugs are used: Type C or Type F.

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Embassy

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Time Zone

1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Phones and Communication

Barcelona's area code is 93 and Spain area code is 34.
In order to make an international call outside Barcelona you should first dial 00, than the country code, than city code and finally the phone number itself.
The most convenient way to make a call from public phone is by using dial cards. Those are being sold in stores named Tabac or in newspapers stands around the city.

Tourists Info

For every issue while you are visiting Barcelona as a tourist: papers lost, crime report, medical help etc. you should turn directly to the following address:
Ramblas 43 or by phone: 7016 317 [93] 34

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Weather

Barcelonas climate is a typical Mediterranean climate. The seasons and temperatures are pretty much predictable without any radical surprises. The weather in Barcelona is considered to be pretty much convenient along all the year, except a month and a half to two months during the summer in which the heat is very heavy due to the closeness to the sea. Because of the closeness to the sea, the humidity in Barcelona is quite high and it adds, especially in the summer, to the heat load.
Year Seasons:
Spring:
During April and May. This is the best season (along with September) to visit Barcelona.
Summer:
During June, July and August. Very hot (especially in the second half of July and all August). August is the most un-recommended month to visit Barcelona.
Autumn:
During September and October. Lovely Weather, starts to be a bit chilly but not cold. September is a great period to tour in although there are showers from time to time.
Winter:
During November, December, January, February and March. Most of the winter is cold but it is tolerable. The winter peak is in January, while December and February are cold too. December and March are less cold and with appropriate dressing they are absolutely suitable for touring. In Barcelona it is rarely snowing.

In the table bellow you can see the weather and average settlings per year in Barcelona, but if you are planning a trip or vacation and want to know whether to take a sweater, coat, umbrella or swimsuit you better check and update with up to date Barcelona's wheatear forecast for the coming days.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
13 14 16 18 21 25 28 28 25 21 16 13
6 7 9 11 14 18 21 21 19 15 11 8
5 5 8 9 8 6 4 6 7 9 6 6
Click for Barcelona, Spain Forecast

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Holidays

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Events

Along the year different events are taking place in Barcelona.
Except for event that are taking place each year, Barcelona is also hosting some international events.
Please check an up to date events scheduale at one of the websites that are concentraing those events in Barcelona.

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Driving Licence

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Tips (gratuity)

In restaurant:
In restaurants in Barcelona the prices are already include the VAT and tip. Only in cases that in the menu it is written explicity that VAT is not included it will be added to the final bill. Due to the fact that tip money is already included in the bitt, tip is not a must, although it is accepted to reward the people who give you a service if they were nice and kind. 5%-10% can be an appropriate tip.
In Taxi:
Taxi drivers are usually expecting a little tip, rounding up the payment or 5% from the total payment, but again - it is not a must.

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