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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Barcelona

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Barcelona each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1 : New Year's Day (national holiday)

January 5 : Cavalcade of the Magi (celebrated nationwide)

For this tradition held on the eve of Epiphany, a procession of colourfully decorated floats is accompanied by boisterous music, through the streets of Barcelona, distributing sweets to children.

January 6: Epiphany (Día dels Reis) (national holiday)

This is an especially important day of the year for Spanish children, since it is on Epiphany (and not Christmas) that they receive their gifts. The holiday is celebrated quietly with family members.

One week before Easter: Holy Week (national holiday)

Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday and ends with the Easter Vigil, is an important time in Barcelona. Numerous celebrations and services include huge processions in the narrow streets of the old city before arriving at Barcelona's Gothic cathedral.

April 23 : Feast of Sant Jordi (regional event)

Similar to Valentine's Day, the feast day of Catalonia's patron saint sees men and boys offering single red roses to their wives, mothers and girlfriends. The latter offer books in return, in tribute to the great writer Cervantes, who died on this day in 1616. All of the city's main thoroughfares are filled with people, and flower and book stalls are spread out as far as the eye can see.

May 1 : Labour Day (national holiday)

August 15–21 : Festa Major de Gràcia (local event)

This annual festival in the old district of Gràcia is the biggest and most spectacular in Barcelona, with live music, dancing, traditional food and drinks, and “castells”, Catalonia's famous and awe-inspiring human towers.

September 18–24: La Mercè (local event)

For this annual festival in honour of Our Lady of Mercy, Barcelona's patron saint, the program includes parades of giants, demons and other fantastic creatures, stalls offering regional foods, fireworks set to music and Catalan folk dancing.

October 12: Spanish National Day (Día de la Hispanidad, national holiday)

Spain's national day commemorates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492. The anniversary is marked with a host of festivities, including street parties and a fireworks display over the Plaça de Catalunya.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Barcelona

Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate and enjoys a great deal of sunshine. Summers are hot, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C (86°F). Barcelona's weather is less dry than that of southern Spain. It rains rather frequently in September and October. Winters are mild, with occasional snowfall.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 4 12 41 Not the best period to go
February 5 13 29 Not the best period to go
March 6 15 41 Not the best period to go
April 8 16 49 Good period to go Good period to go
May 11 20 59 Good period to go Good period to go
June 15 23 40 Good period to go Good period to go
July 18 27 29 Not the best period to go
August 19 27 61 Not the best period to go
September 16 25 81 Good period to go Good period to go
October 12 21 91 Not the best period to go
November 7 16 62 Not the best period to go
December 5 13 49 Not the best period to go
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Barcelona El Prat International Airport

Barcelona's El Prat Airport is located about 12 kilometres (8 miles) south-west of the city centre.

  • Two terminals:
    • Terminal 1 (Air France)
    • Terminal 2

Getting from the airport to Barcelona and back:
  • By car
    • Accessible via the C-31 and the C-32B motorways.
    • Short- and long-term parking facilities are available in the Terminals T1, T2A, T2B and T2C.
    • Several car rental companies have counters outside baggage claim in Terminal 1 and in the main lobby of Terminal 2B.
  • By rail
    • Spanish train RENFE between the airport and the city centre. One train every 30 minutes. A one-way ticket costs EUR 5.00.
  • Shuttle 
    • Two express bus routes connect both terminals with the city centre. Buses leave every 15 minutes at peak times. The fare is EUR 5.90 each way.
  • Bus
    • TMB bus connects the airport to the city centre from 5 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. The fare is EUR 5.90 each way.
    • N17 Night bus runs from 9:55 p.m. to 4:45 a.m. The fare is EUR 2.15 each way.
  • By taxi
    • There are taxi ranks outside the arrivals hall at each terminal. The trip to the city centre takes about 25 minutes and costs around EUR 30.

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GETTING AROUND Barcelona

Barcelona offers excellent public transport options. The city's Metro system and buses can get you almost anywhere you need to go, and run late into the evening. If your destination is not served by the Metro or buses, taxis are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Subway

Barcelona's Metro is easy to use and serves all the city's major landmarks. The trains are also air-conditioned, which is especially nice in the summer. A one-way ticket costs EUR 2.15.

Useful tips: If you expect to use the system for more than five rides during your stay, the T-10 travel card is the best option. It is valid for 10 rides and costs EUR 9.25.

City Pass

This Barcelona Card is the city's official visitor card, designed to save you time and money during your stay. The card offers unlimited travel on public transport (subway, buses, trams), plus free and fast-track entry to museums and art galleries. A 3-day card costs EUR 45 (EUR 21 for children aged 4 to 12).

By bus

Barcelona's bus network offers extensive coverage of the city, with more than 80 routes. Most of these buses run every few minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and even on Sunday. NitBus operates a night bus service. Two other tourist bus companies complete the network and cover various famous points of interest.

By tram

Barcelona's tram network combines a total of six lines and 56 stops, and provides easy and fast access to parts of the city underserved by the Metro. The lines extend into several nearby municipalities (L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Esplugues de Llobregat, Cornellà de Llobregat, Sant Joan Despí...). A single ticket costs EUR 2.15 (including transfers between trams within a time limit of 30 minutes). Books of 10 tickets cost from EUR 10 (1 zone) to EUR 40 (6 zones), and daily passes from EUR 7.60 to EUR 21.70 (valid until end of service). Barcelona's trams operate:

  • Monday to Wednesday from 5 a.m. to midnight
  • Friday, Saturday and eves of public holidays from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Sunday from 5 a.m. to midnight

By taxi

Barcelona's official taxis are plentiful throughout the city. Their black-and-yellow livery makes them easy to spot.

By car

Although the city's road infrastructure is excellent, getting around Barcelona by car is not a good idea. Parking can quickly become a nightmare. It is true that there are many garages in the city, but they are often full or have only a limited number of spaces available.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Barcelona, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organise your stay.

Turisme de Barcelona

Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

Tourist information offices and kiosks

Turisme de Barcelona operates a number of other offices and kiosks throughout the city, offering information and recommendations for visiting Barcelona and its surrounding area. The main addresses for these offices are listed below:

  • Plaça San Jaume:Ciutat, 2 (Ajuntament de Barcelona),  Barcelona
  • Cabina Rambla:  Ramblas dels Estudis, 115 (Las Ramblas)
  • Mirador de Colom: Plaça Portal de la Pau s/n

Further information available online for visitors to Spain

The website maintained by Instituto de Turismo de España (Turespaña), Spain's official destination marketing authority, provides a wealth of information on Barcelona.

Website: http://www.spain.info

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Currency and Exchange Rates

Spanish currency is the Euro (EUR).

HKD 1 = EUR 0.11

EUR 1 = HKD 9.09

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Spain.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Barcelona.

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Administrative formalities

For stays of less than three months, travellers from the Schengen area, as well as those from the countries of the European Union not included in the area, only need to be in possession of a national identity card or a passport valid for the duration of their stay. As a general rule, travellers from all other countries are subject to visa requirements, although foreign nationals from certain countries may enter Spain for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. For further information, visit the website of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Portal/en/ServiciosAlCiudadano/InformacionParaExtranjeros/Paginas/Inicio.aspx

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Spanish phrases that will make your stay in Barcelona a little easier:

Good day / Good morning: ¡Buenos días!

Good afternoon / Good evening: ¡Buenas tardes!

Good night: ¡Buenas noches!

Good-bye: Adiós

See you (later): ¡Hasta luego!

Yes:

No: No

No, thank you: No, gracias

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias

I don't understand: No entiendo.

Could you repeat that: ¿Puede repetir?

Please: Por favor

What time is it: ¿Que hora es?

Excuse me: Disculpe (to say sorry) / Con permiso (to get past) / ¡Por favor! (to get attention).

Airport: Aeropuerto

Train station: Estación de trenes

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hotel

Hospital: Hospital

Bank: Banco

Telephone: Teléfono

I'm (…): Yo soy (…).

I'm looking for (…): Estoy buscando (…).

How much is it?: ¿Cuánto es?

Do you have (…)?: ¿Tiene (…)?

Where can I find (…)?: ¿Dónde puedo encontrar (…)?

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Good to know

+34
+ phone number (calls to Barcelona)
-6 : 00
of time difference with
Hong Kong
Start of daylight saving time> last Sunday in March

End of daylight saving time> last Sunday in October

Banks
Usually open Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Government Offices
Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

Tipping
As is the case elsewhere in Spain, tipping is not expected in Barcelona. In principle, the service charge is included in the bill. But if you are particularly pleased with the service, you may certainly round up the bill or leave a few extra euros on the table.