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 Spanish tradition held on the eve of Epiphany, three local figures dress up as the Magi and lead a procession of colourfully decorated floats, accompanied by boisterous music, through the streets of Barcelona, distributing sweets to children.

January 6: Epiphany (Día dels Reis Mags/Día de los Reyes Magos, 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 (following the excitement of the parade the previous day).

March/April: Holy Week (national holiday)

Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday and ends with the Easter Vigil, is an important time in Barcelona. The numerous religious celebrations and services throughout the city include huge processions in the afternoon on Good Friday, two of which leave from the church of Sant Agusti in the El Raval area of the old city and wend their way through its narrow streets before arriving at La Seu, Barcelona's Gothic cathedral, nearly three hours later.

April 23 : Feast of Saint George (Sant Jordi, regional event)

To celebrate the feast day of Catalonia's patron saint, a dragon slayer who rescued a princess and thus became associated with the tradition of courtly love, men and boys give single red roses to their wives, mothers and girlfriends. The latter give 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)

One week beginning around August 15 : Festa Major de Gràcia (local event)

This annual festival in the old district of Gràcia is the biggest and most spectacular of its kind held during this same period throughout the city. Each of the district's streets vies with the others to celebrate in the most imaginative way, 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 city pulls out all the stops, with parades of giants, dragons, demons and other fantastic creatures, stalls offering regional foods, fireworks set to music and Catalan folk dancing, plus a wide-ranging programme of concerts and other cultural events.

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 and celebrates the cultural ties shared by Spanish-speaking countries. 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)

CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Barcelona

Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate and enjoys a great deal of sunshine compared to other cities in Europe. 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 Max. Average Temperature Average Rains Best Time to Travel
January 4/39 12/54 41/1.6 Not the best period to go
February 5/41 13/55 29/1.1 Not the best period to go
March 6/43 15/59 41/1.6 Not the best period to go
April 8/46 16/61 49/1.9 Good period to go Good period to go
May 11/52 20/68 59/2.3 Good period to go Good period to go
June 15/59 23/73 40/1.6 Good period to go Good period to go
July 18/64 27/81 29/1.1 Not the best period to go
August 19/66 27/81 61/2.4 Not the best period to go
September 16/61 25/77 81/3.2 Good period to go Good period to go
October 12/54 21/70 91/3.6 Not the best period to go
November 7/45 16/61 62/2.4 Not the best period to go
December 5/41 13/55 49/1.9 Not the best period to go

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-1 and the C-32B.
    • Short- and long-term parking facilities are available in the Terminal 1 and in all three sections of Terminal 2 (A, B and C). Rates range from EUR 0.05 per minute for shorter stays to EUR 14.00 for 1 day (with advance booking).
    • Several car rental companies have counters outside baggage claim in Terminal 1 and in the main lobby of Terminal 2 (section B).
  • By rail
    • Spanish train operator Renfe runs the R2 Norte line every 30 minutes between the airport and the city centre. A one-way ticket costs EUR 4.10.
  • By bus
    • Two express bus routes, operated by Aerobus, connect both terminals with the city centre between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. Buses leave every 5–10 minutes at peak times and take about 35 minutes to reach central Barcelona. The fare is EUR 5.90 each way.
    • Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) and Transport Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) operate several bus routes to other city destinations from 5 a.m. to 12:15 a.m., making more intermediate stops than the express bus routes. The fare is EUR 5.90 each way.
    • Two night buses (N16 and N17), running from 9:55 p.m. to 4:45 a.m., also connect both terminals with the city centre. 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.

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.

By rail

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 ticket valid for a single ride on a TMB bus, the Metro or the Montjuïc funicular (without transfers) 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 an interesting option. It is valid for 10 rides on all modes of transport (including transfers during a total travel time of 75 minutes within zone 1) and a single card may be used by more than one person. The price for a 1-zone card is EUR 9.95. T-Dia, a card offering unlimited travel on all modes of transport in a single day, valid from first use until closing, is also available (from EUR 7.60 for 1 zone to EUR 21.70 for 6 zones).

Barcelona Card

This 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 (Metro, buses, trams), plus free and fast-track entry to museums as well as discounts on guided tours, attractions, entertainment and at restaurants and shops, among other benefits. 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 100 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 with 17 routes from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., serving key destinations in Barcelona and near suburbs. Barcelona Bus Turístic offers a “hop-on, hop-off” service, with three different routes, that stops at all of the city's major landmarks and main attractions. If you wish to explore the surrounding region, Catalunya Bus Turístic offers half- and full-day trips from Barcelona to various points of interest.

By tram

Barcelona's two tram networks, Trambaix and Trambesós, with a combined total of six lines and 56 stops, provide 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, Sant Just Desvern, Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Sant Adrià de Besòs and Badalona).

A single ticket costs EUR 2.15 (including transfers between trams within a time limit of 30 minutes). The integrated T-10 and T-Dia cards mentioned above are also valid on the tram network.

Barcelona's trams operate from 5 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, Saturday and eves of public holidays.

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. Finding a place to park 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.

Visitor information

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

Turisme de Barcelona

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

Tourist information offices and kiosks

Apart from its main office at Plaça de Catalunya, 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 additional offices and kiosks are listed below.

  • Plaça San Jaume: Ciutat, 2 (Ajuntament de Barcelona)
  • Estació de Sants: (main train station): Plaça dels Països Catalans
  • El Prat Airport: in terminals T1 and T2n

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

Currency and Exchange Rates

SGD 1 = € 0,66

€ 1 = SGD 1,52

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

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.

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, need only 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

Essential phrases

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 (…)?

Good to know

00 34
+ phone number (calls to Barcelona)
-7 : 00
of time difference with
Singapore
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

And what about 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.