Language – There are two official languages spoken in Barcelona: Castilian (Spanish) and Catalan. Most people in Barcelona speak both languages fluently, but as you venture farther from the city into the country, Catalan becomes the dominant language.
Travelling - European Union citizens will need only their national identity cards to travel. For international travelers, a valid passport will be necessary. In some cases, a tourist visa will also be necessary. Check with the Spanish Embassy in your country for more information.
Airports - The Barcelona International Airport (El Prat – BCN) is 12 km. from the center of Barcelona, and from the apartments. International flights arrive at Terminal 1. European flights arrive at Terminal 2. You can catch a taxi from either terminal (25€-30€ to Barcelona center), or you can take the AIRBUS from Terminal 1 and 2 to Plaza Catalunya, a ten- minute walk from the apartments.
Money - The currency used in Spain is the Euro (€). You can change currency (bills only) at any bank, or you can also pull money out of the many ATM cash-machines. Exchange rates at the cash-machines are very fair, but they do charge a 1.50€ commission to withdraw cash.
Electricity - The electrical voltage in Spain is 220V/60H. Before using any of your appliances, please check to see that they are compatible. If they are not, you will need a transformer. Wall sockets are round and two-pronged in Spain. We have universal adaptors for your convenience in the apartments. Please remember to return them before you leave!
Business Hours - Office hours are Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 pm. in the morning, and then again 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Stores are open Monday afternoon to Saturday morning, from 10 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with a midday stop from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Larger stores and shopping centers remain open during lunch, and all Saturday. Everything is closed on Sundays, except for theaters and restaurants. Restaurant hours are typically from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for lunch, and 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. for dinner/supper.
Public Transportation - We recommend the subway/metro and bus system to move around the city. You can purchase 2 and 3 day tickets (11.20€ and 15.90€) at the metro stations, and are valid for use within the city with all subways, bus and tramways. Of course, some parts of the city are not accessible through public transportation, and we recommend walking, or taking a taxi: Gothic Quarter, El Born, Barceloneta
SAFETY - Barcelona is a safe city, both during the day and at night. However, please use common sense when walking around: avoid dark alleys, take only official taxis (yellow and black). At night, study your map before heading out. ABOVE ALL: Watch your bags/purses/cellphones. The most common petty crime against tourists and locals alike is pickpocketing. This is true mostly in the following areas: Las Ramblas, Boqueria market, Plaza Catalunya, Restaurant terraces, Buses and Subways. Do not leave wallet in back pocket. Do not leave wallet or cellphones on your restaurant table. If you are going to carry your credit cards, passport and large sums of money with you, use a money-belt, or a neck pouch to store them, never your wallet or backpack.