If you plan to travel to Barcelona from the United States either for vacation, for work, studies or for a medical treatment from ShBarcelona we want you to give some information and tips that will make your stay or your travel easier, or at least the adaptation process faster. When traveling abroad there are things that tend to be very similar to your home country at the new location you have chosen, but there are other details that are different and that can become a problem if you do not know some information:
-The currency and prices: as I write this article the euro was $1.26, meaning that a dollar is 0.80 euros. Depending on the area in which you live in the United States you might not notice much difference in prices, as Barcelona is one of Spain’s most expensive cities, but surely there are notable differences in the price in electronics (more expensive in Europe), food (cheaper in Barcelona), clothing (Spanish brands like Zara are much cheaper), transportation (cheaper in Barcelona), etc. You must research and compare before paying any bills because you can find large differences depending on the area of Barcelona (tourist neighborhoods will always be more expensive and has more abusive prices for tourists), and depending on your personal tastes.
-The Weather: if you live in the Northern Hemisphere the climate of Barcelona matches yours but temperatures are more tempered by its proximity to the sea. In winter (January) the minimum is 4°C with peaks of up to 14°C, in autumn temperatures are between 8°C and 20°C, in summer they can reach 30ºC or more and go up to 20ºC, and in the spring, from 9°C to 25°C. It rains a lot in the fall, but not many days, and in winter and spring can rain as well as in summer, but is not very common. We could say that the weather is perfect for a high quality of life, because even if it’s cold the sun still shines almost all year.
-The Language: Catalan and Castilian are spoken in Barcelona, both as official languages. Don’t let anybody fool you saying that people ONLY speak Catalan because it is a lie. Everyone learns Spanish at school and everybody is fluent in it. The signs on the street, in the public transport, in museums or other parts of the city are in Castilian and Catalan, sometimes in English for tourists, but sometimes they are only in Catalan. If you have any questions, ask someone and they will nicely help you. You may find that not many people speak English in Barcelona, try asking someone young to ensure a higher percentage of English speakers.
-The food: certainly you can not leave Barcelona without tasting some dishes or products of its cuisine such as paella (in this section you’ll find information about where to eat a good paella), tapas, “butifarra” white “mongetes”, alioli, the “calçots” if it’s time, delicious seafood, wines, etc. In this blog you will find many articles talking about the gastronomy in Barcelona on where to find these culinary wonders without being disappointed or paying too much for something of poor quality.
–Public vs. Private transportation: in Barcelona almost everyone travel from one place to another within the city by public transport as the metro, buses, trains, etc., they allow you to easily reach any part of the city without paying a lot of money and without much travel time, comfortably. Private transportation (car or taxi) is usually much more expensive and it takes longer to get from one point to another depending on traffic. We encourage you to find out about what Metro, Tram or bus, for example, goes through your place of residence/work/study or suits you before deciding to buy a car.
–Catalan people: Catalans are friendly but not very open to meeting new people, are rather reserved, but as they say “if you have a Catalan friend you have a friend for life”. They are noble people, trustworthy, hardworking, familiar, cultivated, they like to go out but they mostly enjoy places of trust in the neighborhood. They also like to enjoy life and are fond of eating well, dress well, take care of their health, go to see art exhibitions, and they also have good taste in design. Try to get along with the locals of the city but if you don’t manage to make many friends because of the language you can always look for other alternatives, such as mingle with the “expats” living in the city (there are many!).