Practical Advice for Visiting Barcelona
By Ismael González Serrano, Journalist
Barcelona is one of the greatest cities in the world. Home to sublime and amazing architecture, vibrant nightlife, and is a truly wonderful coastal location. It has great accommodation options from budget to luxury hotels and Barcelona holiday apartments are plentiful.
Choosing Where to Stay
Depending on your purpose of visit will to some degree influence where you are going to stay. If you are on business you will want to stay close to where you will be conducting business. You will probably want to see some of the city if you have time, however, as it is truly beautiful.
If you are on vacation then you may be tempted to stay in the center of Barcelona. There are good reasons to do this. The city offers plenty of good beach locations to stay as well so don't overlook places such as Lugaris which has a laid back vibe and gorgeous beaches. You may want to check Lugaris.com for hotels and apartments. You could get a good deal.
No matter where you stay getting around Barcelona is straightforward thanks to its transport options.
Transport in Barcelona
Barcelona has an excellent bus transit system that can get you from place to place. Most of the city is served by the bus network and is fine for getting to and from the city center. Taxi firms are plentiful and this is an ideal business option. You don't have to worry about finding your way and you can focus on doing business in the great city.
Hire cars are also an option and you can find good deals on hire cars which sometimes you can combine with flights and hotels from various websites. It is worth shopping around to get the best deal.
Use a Debit Card and Cash
Not everywhere in Barcelona accepts credit cards so it is wise to take a debit card and cash. These are accepted in most places and saves a lot of headaches and embarrassment when you're told your card is not accepted.
Some places do accept credit cards but unless you know the place which is unlikely it pays to be safe rather than sorry and use cash or a debit card. If you are visiting on business you may want to raise this point with your line manager.
Book Attractions Online where Possible
It pays to book attractions online. Barcelona receives millions of tourists a year and as such queues for various attractions can be long. Booking online not only gets you ahead of the queues but you can plan day to day a lot easier.
It is Rare to Tip in Barcelona
Other than restaurants and taxis it is rare to leave a tip. In terms of eating out around 10% of the bill is acceptable and for travel rounding up is good practice.
Learn a Few Phrases in Catalan
Barcelona has two languages, Spanish and Catalan. Everyone speaks Spanish but as a courtesy, you may want to learn a few basics in Catalan to make your visit easier. Most locals tend to use Catalan so learning how to say hello and thank you and how to ask for things will see your visit flow smoothly.
Dinner is Served
In Spain, locals tend to eat lunch between 1 pm and 4 pm while dinner is taken between 8 pm and 10 pm. You may want to factor this in when conducting business as the people you are seeing will probably want to eat around these times.
From a tourist perspective, eating earlier will probably involve paying more for a substandard meal. If you can eat when locals eat for a smoother trip.
Haggling is a thing in Barcelona so you may want to brush up on your skills. If you're not comfortable with the idea of haggling simply swoon over an item until the salesperson approaches. Ask the price and once told, state it is too expensive. They will probably make you an offer.
If you want to be cheeky you can say that you do not want it and walk out of the store. Often, they will run after you and make you a better offer.
Barcelona has every type of nightlife you could want. There are live bands, clubs, wine bars, conventional bars, you name it the city has it. You may want to head to some of the beaches as the more popular ones hold beach parties.
If you are staying near a beach even on business this can help you wind down and get ready for the new day.
Barcelona is a great city and with this advice, you should avoid awkward moments and be able to blend in. This is essential for any traveler whether on business or vacation.
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