Are you planning a trip to Barcelona? Before you go, make sure you inform yourself! After all, if you want to give yourself the best experience possible, you’ll need to do some planning (and learning a phrase or two in Spanish or Catalan won’t hurt either).
If you want to know all of the insider Barcelona travel tips, you’re in the right place. Keep reading for 5 things you need to know before you leave on a jet plane.
There are Two Official Languages in Barcelona
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, one of 17 autonomous regions of Spain. Catalonia has customs that differ from much of the rest of Spain and many residents of Catalonia believe that it should be independent.
As such, Barcelona has two official languages: Spanish and Catalan. It is a language that is similar to Spanish, and has the same roots, but does have many differences. Most Catalonians are bilingual, so if you speak one or the other, you should be good.
Be Strategic About When You Visit
You should be strategic about when you visit Barcelona so you can see the city without millions of other tourists. Early spring (prior to Holy Week or Semana Santa) and early fall (September and October) are some of the best times to visit. Late summer is probably the worst time, as many locals head on their own vacations and it’s the hottest time of the year.
Book Tours in Advance
Barcelona is a huge tourist attraction (nearly 20 million people visited last year!), so it’s important to plan ahead if there are tours or other attractions you want to experience while you are there.
Whether you want to tour Barcelona with a tour guide or on your own, you’ll want to plan ahead for major attractions, like the Sagrada Familia or the Picasso Museum.
Be Aware of the Schedule
The schedule in Barcelona is very different from other places in Europe and much different than what Americans are used to. Lunch is in the late afternoon (think after 2:30) and dinner is rarely before 9:00 p.m. Show up at a restaurant at what you think is a regular dinner time of 7:00 p.m. and you may just find it closed!
Many shops close after lunch and before dinner as well, so be aware of that. You might find places closed from 5 to 8 p.m.
This is all part of the extremely laid-back environment in Barcelona. No one is in a hurry, so don’t expect fast service in bars and restaurants. Instead, slow down, take it all in, and enjoy the more relaxed pace of the city!
Stay Off Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is basically the Times Square of Barcelona. Overcrowded, extremely touristy, and full of the same old street vendors and tourist traps. If you can stand it, avoid Las Ramblas, as this isn’t the real Barcelona. Not to mention, you’ll also be at risk of being pickpocketed, especially if you give off the tourist vibe.
If you must, take a stroll or two just to say you’ve seen it, but save your meals, drinks, and other experiences for some of the other, more authentic areas of Barcelona.
Barcelona Travel Tips to Make It a Trip to Remember
If you fancy yourself a world traveler, Barcelona is a must-see destination. Use these Barcelona travel tips to go at the right time and make sure you know what to expect when you get there!
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