The vibrant city of Barcelona is home to many iconic landmarks and is well known for its art and strong, unique architecture from past and present. That said, it’s certainly not a surprise that Barcelona is one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe. Perhaps you’re heading to Barcelona on holiday, for a city break, on a business trip, or even to relocate, whatever your reason for travelling to Barcelona, there are a few things you should know before jetting off. Guest writer Stuart Cooke has put together a Newbie’s Guide To Barcelona, so you can plan your first trip to this vibrant Catalan city.
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Getting around Barcelona
Heading to Barcelona is exciting, and there will inevitably be so much that you’ll want to see and do, but one thing you’ll need to consider is how you’ll get from one place to another. Barcelona has a small city vibe to it, but venturing further afield can be tricky, and many visitors end up spending a lot more money than they actually need to spend on travel.
One of the cheapest and fastest ways of travelling around Barcelona is by metro. You’ll never have to wait more than five minutes for one, meaning less time waiting around and more time enjoying the city. The metro is a cheap, service and has a number of handy routes which cover all of the key locations that would be of interest to most travellers.
Another way of getting from A to B in Barcelona is hiring a Vespa. Doing so gives you total freedom to head absolutely anywhere you want to explore and provides you with flexibility. You can hire a Vespa for as little as €25 for a day. If Vespas aren’t your thing, you could opt for a taxi. The taxis in Barcelona are easily identified with their black and yellow colouring. They operate with a meter system and you’ll only get charged what’s on it. Although generally a more expensive way of travelling within a city, taxis in Barcelona are actually said to be amongst the cheapest in Europe, so hopping in one won’t leave you out of pocket.
Transporting luggage in Barcelona
Travelling can be stressful, even at the best of times. Even the most experienced travellers aren’t completely immune to bouts of travel stress. There’s the packing, the booking and making sure there are no mistakes, and of course, the travelling itself. For some, one of the most tedious parts of the travel experience is hauling luggage through taxis, train stations and airports, all whilst making sure your luggage doesn’t exceed your airline’s weight allowance. Thankfully, there are ways in which you can eliminate this stress, and one of them is by shipping your luggage ahead to your destination in Barcelona. There are numerous luggage shipping companies that offer this type of service, and it means that you can arrive in Barcelona and your luggage will already be there waiting for you.
Languages of Barcelona
The region of Catalonia has two official languages. Spanish and Catalan, of which are both spoken. In offices and schools, however, Catalan is the dominant language. Learning even some basic phrases in Spanish or Catalan so that you can communicate effectively will go a long way. “No hablo Español, lo siento” translates to, “I don’t speak Spanish, I’m sorry” and will show that, although you’re not a great Spanish speaker, you have actually made some semblance of an effort to communicate. That said, there are plenty of apps out there that you can download ahead of your trip that can help you to grasp basic Spanish phrases quickly. Apps such as Duolingo make learning languages fun.
Seasons in Barcelona
Barcelona is a city with a Mediterranean climate. Summer months from May to August are a busy time for Barcelona as the weather tends to be favourably hot. Not only that, but the days are longer, which gives more time to explore what the city has to offer in the daylight. So, it really goes without saying that Barcelona is a hotspot for tourists in the summertime. During the winter months, the city tends to be a little quieter. The sun still shines, but the temperature is mild.
This certainly shouldn’t put you off visiting the city at this time of the year, however, as there’s still an abundance of benefits of heading there during the colder months. For one, there are fewer crowds, making somewhat of a more relaxing and enjoyable city break. And, although the temperature remains around 12 degrees Celsius, that certainly doesn’t stop people heading for a swim and enjoying drinks by the pool.
What do you think about Stuart’s ‘Newbie’s Guide To Barcelona’? What else should be added to this list?
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Written by Stuart Cooke, blog writer at UniBaggage.com.