Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in Spain; it's one of the best European travel destinations for everyone from foodies to beach bums and jet setters alike. I recently went back with my husband for a week and took detailed notes and did major research, including meeting with locals, to provide you with the best possible recommendations for planning your next trip. Check out my Full Guide to Barcelona for a list of my top Type A picks for what to do when you're not taking a siesta!
See My Full Guide to Barcelona - Click Here
Here's a summary of my top Type A tips to know before you go:
- The airport is a good 25 minutes away from the city center and is a pricey taxi ride. Instead, consider taking the Aerobus which takes you to and from the airport for about 5 euro one way, stopping at a few major points around the city. We were able to walk or take a cheap taxi to our hotel from the convenient drop off points. Be sure to know which terminal you are going to because they are very far apart and if you get dropped off at the wrong one it could take you about 30 minutes to get to the correct one (something we learned the hard way!). There are free buses that run between the terminals frequently, but if you are there early in the morning or late at night they will be hard to find. It costs a minimum of 20 euro to take a taxi between terminals and we only had 17 euro on us and a 10 dollar bill and we had to pay it to get a ride, otherwise we would have missed our flight. It was a nightmare!
- Tipping in Spain varies, but 10% is a reasonable tip at any restaurant.
- Like most of Europe, you need to request the check when you're ready to go. Just say, "La Cuenta, Por Favor" or signal your server by writing into the air and you'll be on your way in no time.
- In Barcelona, Catalan is the local language, not Spanish (a conversion of Spanish and French). So if you're using a translator app (which you should!), you will need to swap between Spanish and Catalan depending on what you're looking at. Even if you don't speak the language, you want to know how to say Thank You at the least. It's best to say it in Catalan instead of Spanish and although it is very similar, it's not the same. Thank you = Grathias NOT Gracias. Got it?
- There is free wifi all over the city. Wifi hotspots are at every metro stop so you can always connect if you're lost, are in a bind or just need to check my blog for where to go next.
- There's so much to see spread across the city, so I definitely suggest buying a metro pass so that you're not limited to one area. The metro is very easy to navigate, comes often and there are convenient stops near all the major attractions. To make it easy, get a 10euro pass that covers 10 single uses, which can also be shared between multiple people. The pass is also transferrable to the bus system and if you get off of metro, you can use that same pass on the bus within 2 hours without having to swipe again.
- Uber and other "taxi" like services are outlawed in Barcelona, but Taxis are pretty prevalent and safe - just keep in mind that most of them are cash only so stop by an ATM.
- Each time you use an ATM you are usually charged a fee by your bank and by the ATM, so get a good amount out each time. Banks usually limit you to around $150-200 each transaction, but you can call them and request a higher cash withdrawal limit so that you can avoid all those unnecessary charges.
- Most places have stopped using swipe only credit cards, so it's better if you have one of the cards with a chip in it. Also note that European credit cards often have pins and will ask you for one when you are charged. You can either add a pin to your card by calling your bank or just press the green button when asked for a pin and hope it doesn't stop you (we were fine doing that 90% of the time).
- Hostals (opposed to hostels) are smaller hotel accommodations, many similar to boutique hotels. They vary in price and in rating, just like anything else, but are worth checking out because I found them to be much more intimate than the larger hotels in the city.