Practical information
 
Everything you need to know about holidaying in Barcelona. In this section:
 
When to visit Getting around Useful and emergency numbers
 
 
When to visit
 

Barcelona has a fantastic climate that rarely gets down freezing or up to uncomfortably hot.  Temperature- wise, the year can be split down like this:

June, July, September – The best time to come for the sun worshipers.  The city is basking in up to 30˚ heat and everyone is lively and happy.  Beaches are packed to the rafters.

August – Traditionally the time when people head off for the mountains to escape the heat, so the city becomes much quieter – some restaurants even close for the whole month.  Weather is hot and the second half of August is known for spectacularly torrential, if pretty short, rain spells.

April, May, October, November – Still comfortably warm enough to at and drink outside at night, the slightly cooler months are popular with those who prefer to stay away from the top temperatures.  Don’t be fooled though – its still hot enough to strip off down at the beach.

December, January, February, March – The coolest months of the year, for most of these months you are going to need a coat or at least a scarf.  The sun is still warm, so if you can find a good spot then al fresco lunches are still an option, but chilly in the shadows and at night.

Thanks to www.accuweather.com for this feed of the current Barcelona weather:

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Getting around
 

Barcelona is not a big sprawling city and getting around is fast, cheap and easy.  Most of the central areas are best explored on foot – walking from the eastern end of Born, through the Barri Gotic to the far side of Raval is an easy 20 minute stroll, assuming you don’t get waylaid by the myriad of cafés, restaurants, bars and shops along the way.  Barceloneta’s beaches are also an easy walk from the centre.

For the further afield places, in Eixample, Gracia and beaches at Port Olimpic, the public transport is reliable and incredibly cheap and, for those of you who just want to get there fast, the yellow taxis are also good value.

Unless you are staying outside or on the outskirts of Barcelona, we’d recommend against a hire car – parking can be expensive and difficult to find and for the price, you could ride around in a cab pretty much all day anyway!

The Barcelona Update guide to getting the city starts here …

To and from the airport

Your first challenge on arriving in Barcelona is to get into the city.  The airport is around 10 miles outside the city and you have three options to get yourself into the centre.

Taxi

Follow the signs to the hundreds of cabs lining up outside the airport to ferry people to the centre.  Don’t worry about the queues – unless you are arriving very late at night or early morning then they’ll go down quickly.

Cost into the centre is around €20-25 and takes around 20 minutes.

Train

The train station is a very short 5 minute walk from the airport, over an adjoining bridge at Terminal B.  The trains run every 15 minutes and takes just 20-25 minutes into the centre.  It connects the airport with the main central stations:  Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gracia and Estacion Franca.

Incredibly, the airport is considered in Zone 1 and so you can travel for as little as 67 cents each with a T-10 ticket.  See the Public Transport section below for more detail.

If you are staying somewhere close to the stations it stops at, or are on a budget, the train really can’t be beaten.

Aerobus

The Aerobus also picks up from directly outside the airport terminals and stops at Plaza Espana and Plaza Catalunya as well as a couple of other places in between.

It costs €3.90 one-way or €6.70 return.  It runs every 15 minutes and takes 30 minutes to get to Plaza Catalunya, depending on the traffic.  

Check out the council’s Aerobus web page for more details.

One watch out – it has been known for luggage to go missing from unsuspecting and lingering tourists from the Aerobus bus at Plaza Catalunya – take care!

Getting around in Barcelona

Walking and maps

The centre of Barcelona is relatively small and the delights of the Gothic area are easily (and most enjoyably) covered on foot.  Unlike the surrounding Eixample area, the shape of the centre has grown organically over the past 2,000 years and as such is made up of tall, winding streets which can be intimidating to navigate at first.

If you have the budget and equipment, an online map on your phone or PDA (check out google maps for phones and pdas) is a fantastic way to find your way around and all of the Barcelona Update points of interest are available for members to access this way.  For the rest of us mortals, we’d recommend a good open-out laminated map like the Fleximap which is detailed, but easy to follow and has all of the main attractions marked on it.

If you’re already there and haven’t got a map, the tourist offices give basic ones out for free (the main one is underground at Plaza Catalunya), or all of the tourist shops will sell them cheaply – try the stalls on La Rambla.

Public transport

The Public Transport system in Barcelona is fast, easy and cheap.  It’s made up of Metro, Train and Bus, along with some new fangled (or maybe old fashioned?) trams.

If you are going to use the public transport system, we’d strongly recommend you buy a T-10 ticket from any Metro or Train station.  The T-10 is an absolute steal at €6.70.  It gives you 10 trips on any of Metro, Train or Bus and can be used by more than one person each trip – so even if you are just going to use it for the trip to the Airport and back for two people (a total of 4 trips) it’s still well worth it.

In many stations, there are staff on hand to help out with the automated machines (although in truth, all you need to do is press the “T-10” button on screen and put in your money or card!).

The T-10 is restricted to Zone 1 only, but in practice, this goes out a very long way, so unless you’re off to Monserrat or Sitges outside of Barcelona, you’ll be covered.  The card even allows you to switch from Metro to Bus or vice versa on the same trip, as long as this is done within 30 minutes of first use.

As with most public transport systems it might be worth steering clear of the rush hours which can get a bit packed – usually 8.30 to 9am and 6 – 7pm.

Metro

Metros are fast and clean and go pretty much anywhere you need to in Barcelona. 

A handy downloadable Metro map can be found on the Barcelona council’s site and all of the stations are market on Google maps.

Bus

The bus network in Barcelona is extensive, but can be difficult to follow and find your best stops.  The maps on bus stops will help and there are some online resources at the council site.  However, we’d say if you can get there by Metro, do.

Train

In most cases the train is mostly used for longer trips outside of Barcelona, but can be useful for fast trips from Sants, Passeig de Gracia and Franca stations and, of course, to and from the airport.

 

Taxis

Taxis in Barcelona are very much part of the way of life.  There are thousands of taxis operating in the city and are used by the locals for even the shortest of trips.

Taxis are yellow with a light on top – green for free or a number in white to show which tariff they are operating when occupied.  Stick your hand out in the usual way to flag any of them down – they are plentiful and usually easy to find on the main streets.  Your hotel or restaurant can order you one, but the can will often charge for this and any wait he has.

Costs are calculated by the kilometre, as you would expect and are more expensive at night and at weekends than the daytime.  You would usually expect to pay between €5 and €10 to be shipped across town, although if you are further out of the centre, this may go up a bit.

Like restaurants, cabs do not usually expect a tip and will give you exact change.

Bicycles

Barcelona has miles of cycle tracks and, as you might expect with such a great climate, bicycles are very commonplace with the locals.

There are two options for bike hire:  Daily hire from a private place, or the local council Bicing scheme by the half hour.

Private hire

There are several places to hire bikes for days or half days in Barcelona:

Bike Rental Barcelona - a wide range of bikes available, these guys even drop off and pick up from your hotel.

Un Menys Barcelona - also offer bicycle tours

Bicing

Bicing is the council-run scheme to get people in the city out of their cars and public transport and onto a bike – you’ll see the stands and people cycling around on the red and white bikes all over the city.

Unfortunately at the moment it is for residents only – you will need a Barcelona address and an NIE or DNI (equivalent to the UK National Insurance Number) to register.  If anything changes on that front, we’ll keep the site up to date.

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Useful and emergency numbers
 

For emergencies, the number to dial is 112.

The British Consulate is at (+ 34) 933 666 200. You can visit it at Avda Diagonal 477 - 13, 08036, Barcelona.

For other useful numbers, visit the Barcelona City Council site.

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