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Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona


Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the European cities you cannot miss visiting when in Spain. It is indeed a beautiful city, where history meets colourful architecture, delicious tapas and friendly Spanish people.


So let me tell you everything about Barcelona to make sure you will prepare for the perfect holiday, after learning so many of my Barcelona tips and hacks.



TABLE OF CONTENTS:


Tips: As soon as you book your next adventure, make sure to buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend or cancel your trip. I recommend SafetyWing. A great insurance company to cover everything about your travel.


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Time Zone barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Time Zone in Barcelona


Spain is in the Central European Time Zone, which is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +1).

During summer, Spain observes daylight-saving, where the time is moved forward by 1 hour, so it becomes 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2). In winter the time in Italy is moved back by 1 hour to Central European Time.

These changes always happen on the last Saturday of March and the last Saturday of October.


Currency Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Currency in Barcelona


The official currency of Spain is the euro, even though the country is still somewhat a cash-based economy. You won't be paying cash all of the time, as there are shops and merchants in Italy that are well equipped to accept card payments – Visa and Mastercard are more common than American Express. Check here the actual currency change.


Vaccinations Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Do I need Vaccinations to visit Barcelon?


You should ask your family doctor before travelling to Spain and ensure that you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations. Just make sure you’re up to date on recommended vaccinations for your home country and have a look at The Travel Vaccines and Advice here.


Voltage and Adaptors Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Voltage and Adaptors in Barcelona


The standard voltage is 220-240 volts. Most of the sockets are European plugs of the two round-pin varieties. I recommend you buy a universal travel adaptor.


You will need a voltage converter and plug adaptor in order to use other appliances.


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How to Reach Barcelona from the Airports Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to Reach Barcelona from the Airports?

I think it is always wise to check how to go from the airport to your accommodation. There are always many ways to choose from.


There are shuttle buses that go to the city centre, there are train lines, or you can book a private taxi in advance that will take you to your accommodation.


How to go from Barcelona El Prat Airport to Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to go from Barcelona El Prat Airport to Barcelona?

There are 2 Terminals in this Airport, Terminal 1 is T1, and Terminal 2 is T2 and in the T2, there are 3 buildings named T2A, T2B, and T2C.


How to reach Barcelona from El Prat Airport By Aerobus Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to reach Barcelona from El Prat Airport By Aerobus?

This is the Barcelona Airport express shuttle bus and it is the cheapest option that will take you from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 to the city centre in 35 minutes (bus stops are outside each terminal).

The main stops are in Placa de Catalunya and Placa de Espana.

You can buy bus tickets at a big blue tickets machine at the bus stop, but sometimes they are out of service so it is better to buy them online here.

How to go to Barcelona El Prat airport from Barcelona?

From Placa de Catalunya outside the Corte Ingles shop and look for the Aerobus A1 that goes to Terminal 1 and Aerobus A2 that goes to terminal 2.

From Placa de Espana the Aerobus stop is the second on the right side when you come from Avenida Paral.el. buy your ticket online here.


How to reach Barcelona from El Prat Airport by Train Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to reach Barcelona from El Prat Airport by Train?

There is the RENFE train service every 30 minutes and takes you to the city centre in 25 minutes.

To go back to the airport, catch the train at Clot, Passeig de Gracia, or Sans Estacio's direction airport. Check out prices and availability here.

From Terminal 2 just follow the indications to the train station ( 5 mins walk). From terminal 1, a shuttle bus will take you to the train station entrance.


How to reach Barcelona from El Prat Airport by Metro Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to reach Barcelona from El Prat Airport by Metro?

You can catch the metro L9 Sud to go to the city centre (just follow the Metro indication, it is very easy) and go back to the Airport and it has stops at both terminals.

Cost ticket: 5.15 euros.

It all depends on where you have to go, to choose which transport is better for you.


If you are planning to explore Barcelona by public transport, the best way to save money is by booking your Hola Barcelona Travel Card in advance.

Get 24, 48, 72, 96 and 120 hours of unlimited public transport with the airport train transfer included! The best way to move around Barcelona and save a lot of money.



How to reach Barcelona from El Prat Airport by Taxi Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to reach Barcelona from El Prat Airport by Taxi?

You can hire a taxi outside the Airport at each terminal, it is not expensive, it all depends on where you have to go. I highly recommend you book it in advance in case you are worried about the language barrier:

HolidayTaxis: it provides airport transfers by airport taxi, group minibus, shuttle, coach or limousine to over 21,000 destinations and resorts in over 150 countries around the world.

I Way: This is a chauffeur website where you can book a private driver to go wherever you want not only from the Airport to your accommodation.


Looking for Accommodation?

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How to get to Barcelona airport El Prat at night  Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to get to Barcelona airport El Prat at night?

keep in mind that there are no buses or trains working like during the day. There are the Barcelona Airport Night buses from Placa de Catalunya to the Airport:

the N16 (T2A, T2B, and T2C) is operated by MOHN that stops at Terminal 2, make sure to get off at Terminal 2 or the bus will keep going away from Barcelona.

There is also the N18 which stops at all terminals. The N17 goes to Terminal 1.

Costs: 2.40 euros. Remember: all these buses leave from Placa de Catalunya.


How to get to Barcelona from Girona Airport Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to get to Barcelona from Girona Airport?


The Girona Airport is situated 103 km/ 64 miles from Barcelona. It is very often the cheapest way to reach Barcelona.


In case your city is connected with both airports, I highly recommend you to check out also Girona Airport because most of the time, flying there is way cheaper than flying to El Prat Airport.


There are different options to get to Barcelona from Girona Airport.


go from girona airport to barcelona by bus Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

By Bus


This is the easiest and fastest way to get to Barcelona. I used it when I flew to Barcelona from my home town (flights to Girona were a lot cheaper than to El Prat).


These buses' departure coincides with the flights so you won't have to wait too long for the transport.


But always make sure to check if there is a bus at the time of your arrival (it's always better to double-check these things when travelling). Check out return ticket prices and availability here.


go to barcelona from girona airport by train Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

By Train


You can reach Barcelona from Girona city by train, but keep in mind that Girona Airport is not situated in Girona city centre so to reach the train station you have to hire a taxi or get a bus first.


To reach Girona train station (SIXT Alquiler de Coches Girona Renfe) from Girona Airport you have to catch the bus n.601 outside Girona Airport. It will take you there in around 20 minutes (you can purchase the bus ticket at the airport).


From Girona Train Station you can catch the train that will take you to Barcelona-Sants train station in 40 minutes. To check the train time schedule and prices, check the Omio website.


Go from Girona Airport to barcelona By Private Transport Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

By Private Transport


If you prefer to go straight to your accommodation and have a private driver, a good solution is to book a private airport transfer. You will reach Barcelona city centre in 1hour and 30 minutes.


My favourite websites to hire an airport transfer are HolidayTaxi and KiwiTaxi. My advice is to check out both websites and book the cheapest options you find.

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​How to explore outside Barcelona by Car Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona
Girona

​How to explore outside Barcelona by Car?

If you like driving like me and you are planning to explore what is outside Barcelona, you can always rent a car and in this case, I always have a look at my favourite rental car websites and I see where I find the best deals. Have a look at them here:

DiscoverCars: Discover is basically a Skyscanner, but for rental cars. And since you're comparing lots of different companies, you also get to choose from lots of different cars.

Rentalcars.com is an international car rental booking service that is present all over the world.

I always think it is better to book a private transfer from the airport to the hotel. So, you can start your holiday right upon arrival and save your time and energy.



Are tap water and food safe in Spain? Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Is tap water and food safe in Spain?

It’s safe to drink water in Spain from taps and also from drinking fountains that you will find, especially in the major cities and parks.

I always carry with me reusable bottles so I can fill them up anytime I have the chance.

If you are not sure, it’s always safe to ask locals or, in doubt, just drink bottled water.


food in barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

About food, honestly, Spain is one of my favourite countries when talking about food, it has so much to offer that the only problem you will have is that your stomach is not big enough to eat everything you wish.

That's why I always carry with me some Milk Thistle, just in case I overeat because, as my mom always says "I eat with my eyes and not with my mouth".

Unfortunately, bad luck happens everywhere, sometimes is not the food but just our stomach that needs to get used to the new cuisine (and let's be honest, we all eat and drink more than usual when on holiday) take some of these natural remedies below with you in case you will have stomach upset or food poisoning.


travel illness natural remedies while travelling Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

My favourite Natural remedies for stomach upset or food poisoning:

  • Milk Thistle: is a traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms associated with occasional over-indulgence in food and drink, such as indigestion and upset stomach. Milk Thistle is a great natural remedy to always have with you when you travel.

Obviously, ask your doctor first if you can take them in case they are not good for you.

  • Charcoal capsules: recent studies prove that charcoal can be a good help in case you eat something that was not good and it can prevent you from having diarrhoea.

  • Probiotics: These are a wonderful help while having food poisoning. Take as soon as you start to have symptoms and also after, for a couple of days at least. My doctor advises me to start taking them some days before my travel, as a prevention, in case I am going to visit a country where water and food can be easily contaminated.


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Eating and Drinking Out in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Eating and Drinking Out in Barcelona

In Barcelona, you will find a wide variety of food from meat to fish. You won't find only the typical Spanish cuisine because every city and region has different dishes to try and love.

Prices may vary from bar to restaurant also from where the place is located if near a famous and tourist spot or a bit further but these are the approximate prices for the most common foods and drinks in Spain:

In Supermarket

Bottle 1.5 L water: around 0.40-0.50 Euro

Imported Beer 0.33 L: approximately 1.50 Euro

Bottle of Wine: 5-10 Euro

At a Bar:

Coffee-latte: 1.50 Euro

A glass of 0.5 L Beer: around 1.50-2.00 Euro

A bottle of wine: 12-20 Euro

Coke in a Can: Around 2.00-2.50 Euro

A glass of Wine: Around 3.50-6.00 Euro


At a Restaurant:

A Restaurant on a budget: around 15 Euro per person. You can eat at a tapas bar for only 8 euros. It all depends on how many tapas you need to fill up your stomach.

Restaurant medium-range per person: Around 30-40 Euro

Fine dining Restaurant per person: From 80 Euro


Tipping Guide in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Tipping Guide in Barcelona


In Spanish restaurants a gratuity of 10-20% is often added to the bill, so check that you're not already paying the tip before you add more to your payment.

If not, a tip of 10-15% is encouraged, mostly in tourist places.


The tip should reflect the customer service that you received so it is really up to you to decide how much to give.



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Cost of Travelling in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Cost of Travelling

Spain is a very famous country, so if you are looking to save some money, I advise you to avoid it from June to August when it can be boiling, crowded and more expensive.

Flights can be very cheap from October to April (Once I went from my hometown Trieste to Barcelona and a return ticket cost me 60 euros) so have a look at my favourite flights' website to check flights to Spain:

Jetradar and Aviasale: are two travel search engines that allow users to compare airline prices and offers, specializing in low-cost airfare.

In Spain, you can find accommodations for every budget.

The website that I love the most to find amazing deals is always Booking.com which allows you to find the best deals for hotels and apartments.


Shopping and Souvenirs in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Shopping and Souvenirs

The options are limitless in Spain, from clothes like Mango, Zara, Bimba Y Lola, Manolo Blahnik and many more. High street brand clothes are all there waiting for you to take them home and create your next season outfits.

Spain offers many choices of food to buy as souvenirs, from olive oil, liquors like Sherry, Ronmiel from the Canary Islands, Chinchon from Madrid Cava wine, Allioli, cheese from different regions, cured meat like the famous Hamon Iberico, or spices to recreate the dishes you ate on holiday, at home for your loved ones.

Also handmade ceramic and paintings are a great souvenir idea.

Check my article about what to buy in Spain to have a better idea about the typical things that are worth buying.



Is Spain safe for a solo woman traveller?

Barcelona is pretty safe. During the day with tourists and locals around the streets, the only thing you will have to worry about are pickpockets that unfortunately can be present in every tourist city.

So I advise having with you an antitheft purse or an antitheft backpack. Prudence is never enough when you are far from home even in the safest place in the world.​

Overnight I advise a solo woman traveller to avoid the El Barrio Gotico neighbourhood, it is not safe at night so keep your eyes open wherever you are because bad things can happen anywhere, anytime to anybody so please safety first.

I had my first solo travel in the south of Spain, 22 amazing days visiting many towns and meeting locals I contacted them on travel Facebook groups and I have been lucky to meet people that took me around and show me their city so I was feeling pretty safe to be out late in the evening because I wasn't alone.


Duty-Free Allowance from Spain Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Duty-Free Allowance from Spain

If you are travelling from an EU country, there are no limits on the amount or value of goods you want to take home with you if your goods are for personal consumption.

Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:

  • 800 cigarettes or 1kg of tobacco

  • 10L of spirits over 22% volume, 20L of alcoholic beverages less than 22% volume, 90L of wine (no more than 60L of sparkling wine) and 110L of beer

If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Spain by travellers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:

  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

  • 4L of wine (excluding sparkling wine) and 16L of beer and 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22% volume

  • Other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers and €300 for other travellers

You are not allowed to import meat or dairy products into Spain from outside the EU.


Where to book a train and a bus ticket or rent a car Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Where to book a train and a bus ticket or rent a car

When I plan a trip, I always make sure to have a well-planned trip.

I am not talking about planning where to be at what time of the day because travelling is pleasant to be spontaneous but not too much if you know what I mean.


I like to book everything a lot in advance like accommodation, flight, airport shuttle, and train tickets because I have learned during my travels that the sooner, the better in these cases.


I save a lot of money and time by booking things in advance. If you research when the train or bus is due to the departure, you will make sure not to end up without a train to reach your next destination and wait till the day after.

So here are some links that will help you to plan at least the essentials.

For buses and trains, I always check Omio to find every bus that connects cities and little towns.


How to Move Around Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

How to Move Around Barcelona

Walking:

In my opinion, this is the best way to explore Barcelona. If you book your accommodation close to the city centre, you are going to be able to walk and explore without the need to always use public transport.


My advice is to get a Barcelona map, divide the map by the number of days you are gonna stay and every day see a different area. In this way, you are gonna have to use public transport only to get there and to go back to your accommodation. You are gonna save time and money.


If you are looking to save money but still want to learn more about Barcelona, a great way to do it is with the We Go Trip Audio Guide!

A great and cheap way to explore the city and learn everything about it!

Move by bus in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Buses:

Buses are cheaper than the Metro for sure but not so fast, so it all depends on how much time you have and what is your budget. Sometimes if there is not a train there is a bus so there is always a way to get where you want.

You can also opt for the Hop on Hop Off Barcelona if you don't have so much time to walk around or you cannot walk too much. It is a very good way to explore the city.


Move by metro in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Metro:

Barcelona metro is the best way to travel around the city if you have to reach very distant places or you cannot walk too much.

It is composed of 8 lines managed by TMB and 4 lines belonging to the FGC.

You can travel on all these 12 lines with a standard ticket because all Metro stations are inside zone 1.

My advice is to ask for a free paper map at the airport tourist office or at any Metro station.

It is also the best way in case you are in town for only a couple of days and want to see as much as you can, or at least the most famous spots.

In that case, I highly recommend you buy the Hola Barcelona Transport Card or the Barcelona Transport Pass which will allow you unlimited journeys by Metro, Tram and Bus for 48 hours.

Have a look at the prices and offers of the Hola Transport Metro Card here.

Barcelona Metro runs Monday to Thursday from 5 am to midnight, Friday till 2 am, and Saturday runs all night till Sunday midnight.


Barcelona Metro Tickets Prices Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Barcelona Metro Tickets Prices

  • A Metro ticket is valid for Metro, Bus, tram and Ferrocarril ( trains that run in Barcelona), and costs 2.40 euros. It is valid for 75 minutes during which time you can take as many Metro lines as you want (without leaving the Metro).

  • You can purchase a T-casual card with 10 tickets if you know you are gonna need more than a couple (trust me you will) and costs 11.35 euros.

  • Remember that these tickets ARE NOT valid to go to and from the airport. You need an airport metro ticket for that which costs 5.15 euros.


  • Children up to 3 years old travel for free.

  • If planning to see a football/soccer match at Camp Nou Stadium, the ticket for the bus to reach the stadium costs 3.10 euros.

Book your Hola Barcelona Travel Card in advance.


Get 24, 48, 72, 96 and 120 hours of unlimited public transport with the airport train transfer included! The best way to move around Barcelona and save a lot of money.


​​If you will land at Girona Airport, I suggest you purchase the Barcelona Transport Pass because you will have to buy a separate airport transport to get into Barcelona (the airport transport included in the Hola Barcelona Travel Card is only valid from El Prat Airport).


Download the app Citymapper to check the best way to get where you want, with which transport and also be able to see the cost. Citymapper also has a detailed Metro Map so you can check it anytime on your phone.


move by taxi in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

By Taxi:

I Way: This is a chauffeur website where you can book a private driver to go wherever you want not only from the airport to your accommodation.


Rent a Car in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Rent a Car:


If you like driving like me and want to explore places outside Barcelona, you can always rent a car, and in this case, I always have a look at my favourite rental car websites and see where I find the best deals. Have a look at them here:

Discover is a Skyscanner, but for rental cars. And since you're comparing lots of different companies, you also get to choose from many other vehicles.

Rentalcars.com is an international car rental booking service that is present all over the world.

There is also another way to travel that not everybody thing about it and it is by Renting a Scooter or a Bicycle. If the weather is nice, why not enjoy the beauty of Italy driving a nice Scooter or a Bicycle without the issue to find a car park?

If this is an option you may consider, I have a fantastic website to advise you to check:

BikesBooking: You will be able to choose between any kind of scooter, motorbike, quad and bicycle.


Book Tours and Activity in Barcelona Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona


Where to Book Tours and Activity in Barcelona?


If you want to check what attractions or museum tickets to buy to visit a Spanish city, have a look at my article about what to see in that specific city.

For museums or other activities, I always check two different websites.

The first one is Tiqets where you can buy every kind of ticket in advance.

If you are looking for a guided tour or for a day trip outside to go exploring what this amazing country has to offer I advise you to check out Tour Scanner, a website like Skyscanner where you can find every kind of tour or boo for an activity or museum in Italy.

If you want to have a minimum of three days of tours and explore beautiful Italy, the best option is Tour Scanner, where you can find so many tours option will wish to have a whole year to them all.


​Is it easy to find wifi in Spain? Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

​Is it easy to find wifi in Spain?

You won't have any problems finding wifi here, it is available and pretty fast in all hotels and most restaurants or bars.


Important Telephone Numbers Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Barcelona

Important Telephone Numbers in Barcelona

European Emergency Number 112 (they will direct you to the number you need)

Spanish Police (Policia Nacional) 091

Local Police 092

Police in English 902 102 112

Medical Emergency 061

National Police Force (Guardia Civil) 062

Fire Brigade 080

Coast Guard 900 202 202

Road Assistance 112

Information and Processing 010


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