Catalona has managed to keep over the years part of its traditions and these have been integrated in common day festivals, shows and parties.
The following are only some of them, and they are worth to see and participate if you are visiting our city.
Cabalgata de Reyes
Typical Spanish. On 5th January, following the tradition the kings of Oriente arrive to see the new born Jesús. With large "carrozas" impressively decorated, lost of sweets are througn to the astonished children waiting to see the Kings of Oriente.
The Castells are an impressive human tower of up to 9 floors. These are originally from the Tarragona province, although they are very popular in all Catalonia. Easy to see during the Merce Festival, in many parts of the city, i.e. in Plaza St. Jaume.
It is Catalonian's traditional dance. People meet in front of the cathedral every Sunday to dance it.
Saint George is Catalonian Patron. On 23rd April the Catalans celebrate Saint George's day by offering a rose or a book, and the main shopping streets of Barcelona are filled with book and roses stands.
The eve of Saint Juan´s, on 23rd June, is the summer solstice, which is celebrate with big bonfires, firecrackers and fireworks. People that night gather together to eat the traditional "coca de Sant Joan" (a cake) and drink cava.
Festival de La Merce
This is Barcelona's patron saint. A big festival is held during the week of 24th September, which is the day of La Merce. All kinds of activities are organized, for all tastes and ages. The streets get full of activity with musical concerts, castellers, sardanes, etc. However the most interesting is the one call "correfoc" (fire-breathing dragons) and the pyrotechnical music. Barcelona people get dressed in old clothes and run after the correfoc. In order to not get burnt, people from balconies through water all over the runners. Great fun!
As in most part of Europe, in Barcelona the 220v 50hz is the standard power supply. For those of you coming from North America with 110v60hz appliances be sure to use an appropriate transformer. These are easily supplied in hotels and electrical supply stores.
Public telephones are readily available almost anywhere in the city. There are street phone stations, and booths, and you can also find public phones in bars and restaurants. Most public phones will accept coins, but it is much easier to buy a phone card at any "estanco" (tobacco shop) or post office. All phone numbers in Spain have 7 digits, the prefix for the area code, for example in Barcelona "93" needs to be dialed in order to contact that number.
First you need to get an international dial tone by dialling "00" and waiting for a higher pitched continous tone. Then you can dial the international number, starting with country code, area code and local number.
Tips and Taxes:
Tips are readily accepted in Barcelona. As a guideline in restaurants and bars the usual tip is around 10% of the bill, depending on the size of the bill and the quality of service. Hotel and airport porters will take, depending on the luggage from 1 to 5 euros. In Spain there is a variable (7% or 16%) value added tax (I.V.A.) applied to most items and services. Hotels charge 7%. If tax is not included it should be clearly marked, but most prices you will see it is included.
You will receive immediate medical help if you need it. All travellers from EC countries can receive medical treatment in Spain because of the reciprocal EC agreements. If you are not from the EC countries and you need medical help, you will receive it immediately. However it is a good idea to have some kind of medical insurance that covers further treatment.
Here there is a list with important telephone number:
|Hospital Vall D'Hebron
||(34) 932 746 100
|Hospital del Mar
||(34) 932 483 000
|Hospital Sant Joan de Deu
||(34) 932 532 100
|Social Help Centre
||900 703 030
|Telegrams by Telephone
||902 197 197
||(34) 934 810 085
||(34) 934 208 088
|Information on duty chemists
||New Year's Day
||Substitutes Pentecost *
||National Day of Catalonia
||Festival of La Merce
||All Saints' Day
||Day of Immaculate Concepcion
||Saint Stephen's Day / Boxing Day
* This year, Sunday 28th May, Pentecost, is NOT an official holiday in Barcelona.
Barcelona is a safe city and you can stroll around and do your sightseeing with no worries. However, as in any large city, some basic precautions should be taken:
- Watch your luggage, especially handbags, cameras, video, etc.
- If you travel by car and need to leave your luggage in the car, leave it parked at a surveilled parking lot and do not leave objects within sight.
- In open public areas don't show large amount of money.
- Do not get involved in card games or similar betting games in the street.
- Use your hotel safety box and leave your valuable objects and currency.
- Be especially vigilant if someone get too close to you in the street or if driving, while stopped at a red light someone tells you that you have a flat tire or a burning tire.
Please click on the following link in order to get up to date information in all Barcelona consulates.