Things to know before coming to Barcelona – thank us later!
You’re probably here because you’ll soon be travelling to the charming city of Barcelona. How exciting! Will you be staying there for the purpose of an Erasmus or are you just going on a little city trip with your friends? It doesn’t really matter, this piece will help you get prepared before you set foot on Catalan ground. We can only assume that you have lots of questions during these exciting times. This blog provides a clear overview on all things to know before coming to Barcelona.
Barna is not your stereotypical Spain
Did you think we misspelled Barcelona’s name for a second? Well-observed! However, it is actually correct. ‘Barna’ is the only and widely accepted short name for Barcelona. Fun fact huh? But let’s get to business now. Contrary to what you’ve always seen and read about Spain, the streets of Barcelona won’t be filled with bulls on the loose or flamenco women dancing in colourful dresses. If you want to experience that stereotypical image, Madrid or Seville will probably appeal to you more. Although, this doesn’t mean you can’t soak up that sort of atmosphere in Barcelona. You can definitely attend a flamenco night. However, bullfighting is banned in Catalonia so for that you’ll have to head south anyways.
The Spanish schedule is quite different
The timetable on which Spain operates, is unlike any other place in Europe. Are you an Erasmus student coming to Barcelona? You’ll be weirded out with, not only their party times, but especially their mealtimes. Lunch is the main meal and usually takes place around 2:30 pm and dinner no earlier than 9 pm. Parties don’t start until at least 1 or 2 am. Coming earlier? The chances of running into an empty club are high. Being punctual also isn’t priority number one so don’t rely too much on opening hours (stores, scheduled transport, etc.).
Now that you know all this, you probably realize all too well that adjusting to the Catalan schedule will probably take a while and a lot of effort. The best way to deal with this? Slow down and enjoy it! Try adjusting at home if you’re planning on staying in the city for a while. Get your meals in later than normal to get on that unique Spanish schedule. These are a few don’ts:
- Showing up at a restaurant before 8 pm. Most restaurants are not even open until at least 7:30 pm.
- Do you want to go clubbing? Don’t leave the house until 1am.
Enjoy free museums on the first Sunday of every month
Especially people who temporarily live in Barcelona, will get the most out of this. Be sure to circle every first Sunday of the month on your calendar to not miss a single, free day at the museum. This is the perfect way to enjoy the city on a budget while still visiting its stunning museums. So put yourself to work and start planning which museums you definitely want to visit on which Sunday. It will be totally worth it! Not sure where to begin? Take a look at these fun, unusual museums in Barcelona.
Avoid paying expensive transport
Tickets for public transportation in Barcelona can be rather expensive. Certainly for international Erasmus students, it can be money-consuming in the long run. That’s why we suggest to rent a room or other accommodation, in the city centre. Your legs will become your means of transportation. Healthy and cheap! However, we are not ignorant either. Sometimes you’ll have to use public transport. And if so, you probably wonder what the best formula is. For € 10.20 you can get a 10 trip travel card called T10. With this card, you’ll have access to metro, tram and bus.
Don’t get trapped by advertising that seems promising. Reality is, you’re better off buying a T10 than going for these good-looking deals targeting unknowing tourists.
Another, and probably even better way to get around the city, is Bicing. It’s a sustainable bike sharing system with a network of over 400 bike stations to make sure you won’t waste time looking for a bike.
Purchase tickets in advance
For every major Barcelona attraction that you have to pay for, you should purchase your tickets well in advance. This way you’re not only able to visit on the day and time you desire but you can also benefit by skipping lines. Are you interested in an attraction you walked by the other day? Take a look at their website first and find out about discounts or specific benefits that they’re currently offering.
Always carry cash!
In the narrow streets of Barcelona, you’ll run into a lot of small stores. One establishment after the other offer all sorts of convenient things such as coffee, water bottles, quick snacks, souvenirs,… Problem is, these stores – particularly the smallest ones – don’t accept card if the payment is under €10 or €15. Believe me, not being able to buy a bottle of water when you’re thirsty, can be very annoying. So make sure to always carry some cash for those moments in need. Another reason for carrying cash might be that you can help out homeless people at any given time. Very generous of you!
Escape the city
Barcelona is situated in a strategic location and serves as the perfect base for visiting its surrounding regions. Costa Brava, Girona, Figueres, Montserrat,… are only a few of the options you could go for to get a taste of life in Spain outside of the big city. However you could also take it further. Always dreamt of visiting Menorca or even crazier: Morocco? Barcelona allows you to visit them all! Take a look at our upcoming trips, organized by Erasmus Barcelona. That way the only thing you’ll have to worry about is signing up, we will take care of the practical matters so that you don’t have to!
Did you know that the city of Girona – and other places in Spain – were used as the backdrop for certain episodes of the successful TV show, Game of Thrones? Check out these 4 locations you should definitely visit when you’re a fan of the Game of Thrones series.
Already feeling more prepared after reading all of this? Great, we love hearing that! To make your stay in the city even more remarkable, you should certainly experience the nightlife – especially as an Erasmus student. Keep up with our parties here and enjoy benefits such as free entrance.
Looking for other activities during your stay in Barcelona? Keep a close eye on our website in order to stay tuned for upcoming events. Prefer social media? All the better! Thanks to our Instagram and Facebook, you won’t miss a single trip, party or activity. Hope to see you soon at one of our events!