Barcelona is a great city to spend your hard-earned money in as it’s a relatively cheap destination compared to other European cities. Whether you’re visiting the Catalan capital for a day or a week, a bit of preparation and research before you leave home can help you make the most of your money in Barcelona. To help you out while you’re here, we’ve come up with a few good tips on how to exchange money in Barcelona.
Related article: How to Transfer Money Internationally in Barcelona
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Before you even step on the flight, you need to take care of a few things with your bank first. These are simple things that a lot of people often forget, and they can end up being quite costly in the long run.
First of all, ask your bank for some euros in cash for when you first arrive. This will just be used for taxis, a meal, and other necessities. Basically, you need a little cash to get to your accommodation comfortably. Secondly, don’t forget to notify your bank that you are going to be in Barcelona. The last thing you want to happen halfway through your weekend is to have your card canceled by your bank. Finally, research your bank’s relationship with Barcelona. Is your bank represented or does it have partner banks where you can withdraw money at a lower cost? You will never know if you don’t ask.
There are three main ways to exchange money safely in Barcelona. These include ATMs, prepaid cards, and currency exchange shops. If you are withdrawing cash from an ATM, you will be charged a small fixed commission fee depending on the bank. The main advantage here is that you get the real exchange rate when you withdraw your money. Even with the small added commission fee, it still works out cheaper than many currency exchange shops. Finally, whenever you are withdrawing cash or paying with a card, remember to always choose to be charged in euros. ATMs will often prompt you to pay in your currency, but this is just another way of charging you more.
Prepaid debit cards
Prepaid debit cards are also a great way to budget for travels abroad. You can easily order one from your bank, a credit card company, or use a MasterCard Passport. These cards will usually apply the exchange rate to your purchase without all the added fees of a credit card. A good option is to use this card while traveling while keeping your credit cards safe in case of emergency. You can easily check your balance, set the expiry date, and put more money the card. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying a lot of money with you, these cards are the answer. They can be used at millions of ATMs worldwide and can be easily used to pay at shops abroad.
Related Article: Budget Travel: On the Budget in Barcelona
Currency exchange shops
If you have some cash you need to exchange after you arrive, then you can also go to a currency exchange shop to get a good rate. Look for the shops that say “Change” or “Cambio” in Spanish in large letters on the outside. You can also exchange money at banks, but queues are long and opening hours are short, so it’s generally not worth it.
Currency exchanges are based all around Barcelona, mostly in the tourist hotspots like La Rambla, the Sagrada Familia, and the city’s biggest plazas. For the best rates, avoid places like airports and hotels when exchanging your money. Also, beware of shops that offer no commission As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In this case, the commission is included in the price. Always check the live exchange rates as they are constantly changing and you can compare the price you are given to the live market price. Finally, you should always ask for the final exchange rate.
Keep these main tips in mind when you need to exchange money in Barcelona, and you can rest assured that you’ll be stretching your money as far as you can during your stay.
I’ve got a question. I changed my money in one of the exchange shops(near The Sagrada Familia) when pound costs almost the same 1.02 like €. At the end they chargerd a transaction tax and for £400 I’ve got 330€. Can they do that?
A little research shows that many currency converters charge a transaction tax of between 8 and 20%, depending on the currency you want to convert.
If you have proof and time, you can report it at the police station.
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