If you are planning your first-time ever vacation to Spain Barcelona, there are a few things you should know. I can tell you from experience that the city is amazing, and the locals are extremely interesting, but make sure to pay attention at the things I listed below. They may save your vacation from embarrassing moments!
There are a Lot of Tourists
Barcelona is one of the most-visited cities in Europe, so during the summer, it gets really, really crowded. Sometimes it gets so bad, that some of the locals required the authorities to find ways to restrict tourists’ access to the city.
Also, the summer months are hot and humid, which makes it a lot more difficult to visit all those great attractions you planned in your itinerary.
The best time to visit Barcelona is in May and June (at the beginning). The weather is a bit chilly during these months, but the sky is blue, the sun is up and it’s perfect for walking or driving.
There are Guided Tours
You can make your own tour or you can take one of the best Barcelona Exclusive Private Tours in the city. I tend to lean more towards guided tours, especially during the first visits, because I have more time to enjoy the city and its attractions. Otherwise, I would have to do research and pay attention to orientation, organize trips, and so on.
So, if you want a care-free vacation, a guided tour is the way to do it!
Choose a Hotel in the Center
In Barcelona, it’s best to choose a hotel that’s closer to the centre because you’ll have access to all the cool stuff. Also, the metro is a bit expensive, so if you stay at the outskirts, you may end up paying more on transportation.
Also, make sure to not get accommodation around the famous Las Ramblas. This area is overcrowded almost throughout the year and the chance of petty theft is greater here.
Catalans are not Spanish
This essential knowledge for anyone who wants to get along with the locals! Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, one of the several regions that make the country of Spain.
The Catalans don’t see themselves as Spanish people and don’t like being called so. They are very open-minded about many things, but this is something they won’t let you get away with, so be careful if you don’t want to insult them.
Also, the Catalans are proud, traditionalistic people who know their history and understand their role in the Spanish economy. Even more, most locals speak both Spanish and Catalan, and most of the signs and building names are in both languages.
There’s no Tipping
This is mostly aimed at westerners, who are used to tip a percentage of the bill. In Barcelona, people don’t do this, but they will leave a few coins as a sign of appreciation towards the waiter.
Speaking of tipping, lunch and dinner are later than in most countries (lunch at 2 pm and dinner around 9 or 10 pm), so make sure to learn about the appropriate eating hours. If you go earlier, most restaurants will be closed.
Also, (most of) the Catalans don’t open their stores on Sundays, so don’t leave your shopping for the last day!