In a privileged position on the northeastern coast of the Iberian peninsula and the shores of the Mediterranean, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain in both size and population. It is also the capital of Catalonia, 1 of the 17 Autonomous Communities that make up Spain.
The city of Barcelona has a population of 1.510.000, but this number spirals to more than 4.000.000 if the outlying areas are also included.
The capital of Catalonia is unequivocally a Mediterranean city, not only because of its geographic location but also and above all because of its history, tradition and cultural influences. The documented history of the city dates back to the founding of a Roman colony on its soil in the second century B.C. Modern Barcelona experienced spectacular growth and economic revival at the onset of industrialization during the second half of the 19th century. The 1888 World's Fair became a symbol of the capacity for hard work and the international outlook projected by the city. Culture and the arts flourished in Barcelona and in all of Catalonia; the splendor achieved by Catalonian modernism is one of the most patent displays.
For further information see the web site www.bcn.cat/en/
Barcelona International Airport (also known as El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto or Aeroport de Barcelona) is situated 13 KM South West of the city centre. The airport abbreviation is (BCN). This abbreviation is often referred to by online flight reservations services and will be most likely printed on your airline ticket. The second largest in Spain behind Madrid-Barajas Airport and the largest in Catalonia.
Barcelona airport is the nearest and busiest airport to Barcelona city centre and receives more than 30 million visitors each year. Has 2 terminals: Terminal 1 (abbreviated to T1) and Terminal 2 which has 3 separate buildings called T2A, T2B and T2C.
City buses run daily from 5.30am to 11.30pm. Buses that feature a red band always stop at a central square; those with blue bands are night buses. The bus network is extensive and almost all services travel to Plaça de Catalunya, Plaça Urquinaona and Plaça de la Universitat. Travel tickets/passes must be validated in vending machines before boarding. There are 16 night routes leaving every 30-40 minutes, from 11pm to 4am, which require separate tickets.
Barcelona provides quick, inexpensive and reliable public transport. ‘Abonos’ (passes) can be purchased for the metro, urban lines of the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) commuter trains and the Nitbus, and is especially beneficial if the public transportation system is used frequently. Barcelona boasts a clean and punctual metro system that travels to most of the major sites in the city
Black and yellow cabs show a green light when free. Just wave your hand to call them. The meter (it is compulsory to use them) will indicate the price to pay, but an extra fee is charged when taking it at the airport or when you carry luggage with you, etc. Prices are shown on a sticker inside the cab.
Barcelona enjoys a warm, welcoming climate and pleasant temperatures all year round, since it is located on the shores of the Mediterranean. Similar to other European regions, Barcelona has well defined seasons in which the temperatures and general weather are fairly predictable. Since it is on the seacoast, Barcelona has a relatively high humidity level of about 70%. June and August are the warmest months, with the mercury higher than 30 degrees (Celsius), perfect for relaxing, walking through the city wearing light clothing, or just relaxing and having a cold drink at the various terraces available in the city.
Business Offices: 09:00-14:00, Monday to Friday
Banks: 09:00-14:00, 15:00-16:00, Monday to Friday, 08:30 to 13:00 on Saturday.
Post Offices: 09:00 to 14:00 from Monday to Friday
Department Stores and Shops: varies depending on store and area
Museums: check individual museums for opening times
Most government offices in Spain are open weekdays from 09:00 to 14:00 only. Businesses will operate longer hours, with some closing for a couple of hours in the afternoon. This varies from company to company. Banks are generally open weekdays from 09:00 to 14:00 and Saturday from 08:30 to 13:00. In the summer, most banks close at 13:00 on weekdays and stay closed on Saturday.
The Euro is the official currency in Spain and is available in seven different bills and eight separate coins. The bills are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 denominations. The coins are available in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.
Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 14:00 and currency exchange booths can be found throughout the city, the airports and the main train station, but banks generally offer a better rate.
Although most businesses in Barcelona accept credit cards and bank debit cards, it is still advised that you keep some cash on hand in order to do business with the local vendors and shop owners.
220V, all plugs are two-pin type
Foreign visitors can bring along most items for personal use duty-free, including two hand cameras with 10 rolls of film, and 400 cigarettes or a quantity of cigars or pipe tobacco not exceeding 500 grams (1.1 lb.). Do note that when travelling between EU member countries it is not possible to buy duty-free. There are no restrictions on the amount of local currency you can bring into Spain, although you should declare the amount.
GMT plus one hour (plus twohours from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October)
Main Barcelona tourist office is in Placa Catalunya Square
Address: Pl. de Catalunya 17; Open: 09:00 to 21:00 Tel: (0034) 93 285 3834
Metro Catalunya (Green Line, L3) and (Red Line, L1).
Visitor visas are not necessary for citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan or Australia who are staying less than 90 days. Visitors from other countries, consult your local embassy for visa information.