Few vacation locales have the sheer abundance of activities Barcelona offers. If you’re a beach-goer, there’s plenty of sand and surf. If you want to go museum-hopping, the Picasso Museum and La Pedrera are tough to beat. And if you just prefer to stroll the city, shopping in boutiques and sampling from food stalls — well, there’s all that, too, and in spades.
Barcelona combines the best of a coastal Mediterranean town with the trappings of big-city life to give you countless ways to spend a week. Each trip you make to the city can be different from the last. So really, the only tough part about visiting Barça is picking an itinerary.
What language is spoken in Barcelona?
Catalan and Castilian Spanish are the two official languages in Catalonia, and in Barcelona, both are widely spoken (though the former is more prevalent). You will rarely find a taxi driver who speaks English, and if you ask for directions from someone in the street, it’s not likely that he will be fluent in English.
The language barrier can be daunting, but if you speak some basic Spanish, you’ll be able to navigate the city just fine. If you want to get more immersed in the Catalan culture, we’d suggest learning a few key words before your arrival.
Public transportation in Barcelona
Public transportation (bus, metro and Ferrocarrils, or rail) is good, not expensive and safe. Don’t hesitate to use it. For more information, you can check the official website, where you can find routes, schedules and which mode of transportation to use. We suggest downloading the apps, too, which are really useful.
Buy a 10-ride card, called T10, and you can see most of Barcelona in Zone 1. With your T10 card, you can change from bus to metro, so long as your ride is under 1.5 hours. It’s worth it.
For comfortable transportation from the airport, try booking a Mercedes from Taxi Class.
Renting a car in Barcelona
Since public transportation is solid, there’s no need to rent a car and battle the congested streets. The only time you may want a rental is for day trips.
Tipping in Barcelona
As is the case in most European cities, tipping is not expected in Barcelona. At most, locals leave some extra coins for the waitstaff. Plus, many times gratuity is included, so be sure to look at your check carefully before paying.
But if you experience exemplary service or enjoy a meal at a fine-dining restaurant, feel free to add 10 percent to your bill. Of course, it’s always appreciated. This also applies to other service workers, including taxi drivers and tour guides.
Weather in Barcelona
A Mediterranean climate makes this city a year-round travel destination. However, it can get humid in the summer, and tourists flood Barcelona in August, so you may want to time a visit for another season.
Temperature wise, early summer and fall are the most pleasant and lend themselves to days full of strolling the cobblestone streets.