1992 Olympic Stadium in Barcelona
credit Espana Tourism
BARCELONA FACTS & TRAVEL TIPS
Official Languages: Spanish and Catalan.
Time Zone: Central European Time (6 Hours ahead of EST)
Population: 3,160,000 metro area
Barcelona is a Mediteranean port city and city of art dominated by Antonio Gaudi. First built by Romans, it has evolved to the capital of an autonomous district within Spain called "Catalonia." It is the second largest city in Spain in both size and population. Aside from a lively downtown and extensive Metro subway system, Barcelona has several major attractions to visit:
• Sagrada Familia designed by Antonio Gaudi
• Guell Park also designed by Antonio Gaudi
• Port Vell
• Olympic Village
Currency is the Euro with major credit cards accepted by most establishments. Time in Barcelona is six hours ahead of New York City. Spanish is the official language and some English is spoken by locals. Hotels have the most expensive rates on phone calls, so purchase a phone card for your international calls. Post office hours are 8:15am-7pm (Monday-Saturday).
Banks are open from 8:30am-2:00pm Monday-Friday and 8:30am-1pm Saturday. ATMs are plentiful and the most convenient way to get Euros. Passports are necessary for U.S. citizens. Most large stores are open 4pm-7:30pm (Monday), 10am-1pm and 4pm-7:30pm (Tuesday-Saturday).
Now the AVE high-speed train travels between Madrid and Barcelona in 2 hours 40 minutes. In a couple years, AVE from Barcelona will connect with France's TGV high-speed train.
Most museums open 9:30am-2:00pm and 4pm-7pm and are closed one day a week, usually Monday, but opening hours vary widely. So check before you go.
Store hours are from 10am-1:30pm and 5pm-8pm. Most shops close at midday, except for the big department store chain, El Corte Inglés. Most shops are closed Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, except for El Corte Inglés.
Electricity is different than the U.S., so bring an adapter to re-charge your digital camera.
The major holidays in Barcelona are Dos de Mayo (2nd of May), San Isidro (15th of May), Fiesta of the Virgin of La Paloma (15th of August), and Christmas. For specific dates, go to the Espana Tourism website.
Since the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona is a major tourist destination, so visitors should use common sense when out and about.