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Primeros pasos en Barcelona

First Things to Do in Barcelona
MUST KNOW BCN INFO

1. Info & Services

Important phone numbers:

City Council & Resident information: 010
Generalitat: 012 (outside Catalunya 902 400 012)
Yellow pages (directory): 11888
Social Security Office 901 502 050
City Council: 900 226 226
Diputacio Provincial: 93 402 2222
Parliament Catalonia: 93 304 6500
Tourist Office: 93 285 3834
Water (Agbar): 900 700 720
Gas Natural: 900 750 750
Electricity (FECSA-ENDESA): 902 508 850
Telefonica 118 22
Post Office: 902 197 197
Funeral Services: 902 076 902
Social help (24hrs): 900 703 030
Office for Non-Discrimination: 93 413 2000

Embassies/ consulates:

Australia 93 490 90 13
Belgium 93 467 70 80 Diputacio, 303, l.
Brazil 93 488 22 88 Av. Diagonal, 468, 29
Canada 93 412 72 36 Pl. Catalunya, 9, 19 23.
Denmark 93 488 0222 Ftbla. de Catalunya 33, 39 lg.
France 93 270 30 00 Ftonda Universitat, 22B, 4rt.
Germany 93 292 10 00 Pg. de Gracia, 111, 19.
Great Britain 93 366 62 00 Av. Diagonal, 477, l3.
Netherlands 93 363 54 20 Av. Diagonal, 601
Ireland 93 491 50 21 Gran Via Carlos lll, 94
ltaly 93 467 73 05 C/ Mallorca 270
Russia 93 280 0220 Pearson Ave, 34
United States 93 280 22 27 Pg. Reina Elisenda Montcada, 23-25 3-25

For other consulates look on: www.embassiesabroad.com

lf you need any further Barcelona information look at our forum  or contact us on info@altirobarcelona.com

Newspapers & media

Magazine:

Barcelona Connect is a handy English city guide of Barcelona and helps you to get the most out of your time in Barcelona! www.barcelonaconnect.com

Newspapers:

If you walk by any kiosk in Spain you will see the variety of newspapers and quantity of newspapers they hold. In addition to the local newspapers there are multiple other newspapers on Spain´s 17 communities, in case you are interested in reading specifically about one region. Some of the most common newspapers are:

El Pais: Spain´s largest and most read newspaper with a loosely/liberal political affiliation
El Mundo: Spain´s second largest newspaper with a light conservative political affiliation
La Rázon: Spain´s third largest newspaper with a clear conservative political affiliation
ABC: Spain´s fourth largest news paper with a clear liberal political affiliation

Your alternative and more economical option is to pick up one o f the free newspapers from people handing them outside the metro or around other crowded areas. Some of these are 20 Minutos, Metro, Qué!, and AND.

Television:
Spanish TV is probably not the best, but it´s a great way to learn Spanish! Basic cable usually includes six channels: the two state-owned TV-1 (La Primera) and TV-2 (La Dos) and four others run by private companies: Antena 3, La Cuatro, Telecinco, and La Sexta.  

Radio

Here's just a quick run-down of some of Spain's most popular radio stations:

Cadena SER: The most listened to radio station in Spain. It's a national station reporting on a mix of news, sports, talk shows and culture.
Los 40 Principales: Music station playing the most popular current music.
M80: Music station playing popular music from the 70's, 80's and 90's.
Cadena COPE: Station dedicated principally to talk shows and politics.
Cadena 100: Popular music station.
Cadena Dial: Radio station that emits exclusively Spanish music.
Radio Nacional de España: This group consists of six radio stations. 

Tips and taxes
Generally in Spain they are lower than in other countries in Europe. Any tip will be appreciated, 10% is a good and acceptable reference point. 

Electricity
220V 50 Hz is the standard power supply.

Business hours
General business hours in Barcelona are from 9am to 2pm and from 4pm to 8pm. Banks and government related establishments are usually just open in the morning. In restaurants you can generally only get warm food from 1pm to 4pm and in the evening after 6pm. Sandwiches and tapas are generally available during the whole day.

Smoking
In Barcelona Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed and public places: Clubs, restaurants, etc.

To register with a doctor:
Most people have only had positive feedback from the doctors in Spain, they are well-educated, practical, prescribe good drugs, and will treat you will respect. It´s a good idea to learn about the Spanish and Catalan health systems in the case of any consultation or emergency.
The procedure for getting a doctor within the public health system is as follows:

First of all you must have your empadronamiento.Once you have this, take your form to the local clinic (they should tell you where your clinic is at the registration centre for your empadronamiento). Present the form at the desk (you will be waiting for at least an hour so go with time) where they will hand you a card good for free public health care at your local doctor´s office.

In case of an emergency you can take the card with you to the hospital and will receive free medical attention.

If you are the type of person who prefers to stick to a prívate health insurance you can also check this link: http://tinyurl.com/24424xt with all the options and procedures for this.

Pharmacies:
Some are open all night and a large variety of medicines can be bought freely. To find your nearest open pharmacy at night time go to www.farmaciesdeguardia.com or call 93 244 0710.

Public holidays:
In Barcelona many places close for a whole month in August. In this time the majority of the Spanish go on holiday. Some shops and bars stay open especially in the tourist areas. The official public holidays in Barcelona in 2010 are:


1 January New Year´s Day
6 January Holy Kings Day
2 April Good Friday
5 April Easter Monday
1 May Labor Day
24 May Eastern
24 June San Juan Festival - there will be fireworks and parties on the beach
11 September Catalonia´s National Day
23-26 September Festival de La Mercè – The biggest festival in Barcelona
12 October day of ¨Hispanidad¨
1 November All Saints
6 December Constitution day
8 December Immaculate Conception Day
25 December - Christmas
 
Security
Barcelona is a city in which it is generally safe to walk around and use the public transport. Of course, like any other city of this size it is always advisable to take certain safety precautions and be aware of possible risks. It´s advised to especially be aware of pickpockets in the tourist areas. Most precautions come down to plain common sense, but underneath a few attention points:
Pickpockets generally look for tourists – to avoid becoming a pickpocket victim put your belongings always in a secure place, close bags and keep valuables such as cameras and wallets in a safe place.
Especially in the summer season they are very active, while on the streets, bars, restaurants and public transport so be careful not to be distracted. Try not to use bags that are easily opened.
Be wary if people come (too) close to you while asking for directions, the time etc. Avoid leaving valuables unattended on the beach, for example while swimming Avoid walking in dark small streets alone at nighttime.

Languages
The main languages in Barcelona are Spanish and Catalan. Although almost half of the people are not originally from Catalonia the majority speak and understand it. English is not very wide spoken in Barcelona, considering the amounts of tourists coming every year. Spanish is clearly the most wide spoken language and also the language most foreigners choose to learn while coming to Barcelona. If you are interested in learning Spanish you can look here for an overview of language schools, coming through the Masters Lounge means that you will have a 5% discount on the schools featured.

Information points in Barcelona

Catalunya: Pl. de Catalunya, 17 soterrani,Daily 9-21h
Oficina Rambla: Rampla del Estudis, 115, Daily 9-21h
Sant Jaume: Ciutat, 2, Mon-Fri 8:30- 20h
Estacio de Sants: Pl. dels Paisos Catalans, s/n hall, Mon-Fri 8-20h

Shopping
If you like shopping you will love Barcelona! Everything from bohemian markets to the luxury shops on Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona definitely has something for everyone! The pedestrian streets are nice for a walk while looking at all the variety of shops. You can start the tour up Las Ramblas and explore both sides of the two streets which are full of shops, boutiques and malls. Continue on Passeig de Gracia to admire the stores like Burberry and Louis Vuitton as well as the beautiful architecture that surrounds it.
Avenida Diagonal across almost all Barcelona also has a variety of shops and cozy restaurants on the road. If you are looking for beautiful and typical Spanish shops the L'Illa shopping center is what you are looking for. Also worth visiting are; Diagonal Mar, The Machinist, and the English Court


2. Money


Currency & exchange
The currency in Spain, and therefore Barcelona, is the Euro like in most countries in the European Union. If you have leftovers of the old currency, the Spanish peseta, banks will unfortunately not change it anymore for Euros.

The best place to exchange money in Spain is at the banks; usually you will get a better rate than at the airport or in exchange offices. For actual exchange rates you could consult www.xe.com

Banks are generally open Monday to Friday from 08:30am to 2pm.  


Tips & taxes
In Spain the tips are generally low compared to many other European countries. Any tip will be appreciated and a 10% tip is acceptable and a good point of reference; it´s not common to tip taxi drivers.


3. Transport

Metro, Ferrocarril, and buses
Barcelona has a clean, punctual (for the most part), air-conditioned metro and ferrocarril system that will take you to the major sites around Barcelona and some in the suburbs. The metro is especially useful in the summer when it is too hot or winter when it´s too cold to walk everywhere.

Each individual journey is 1.40 Euros and the cards work both for metro, ferrocarril, and buses.

Master Tip: If you want a more economical option, buy either the T-10 card (valid for 10 journeys), or the T 50/30 (valid for 50 journeys in 30 days). These cards are easy to lose, make sure you take care of them!
           
The operating hours for the metro system are shown in the table below. Normally you wont have to wait more than 5 mins for a train to arrive. However, on Sundays the trains and buses do run a little less frequently.

Metro operating hours
Day of the week
Lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 11
Monday-Thursday
05:00 - 24:00
Sunday & holidays
05:00 - 24:00
Friday
05:00 - 02:00
Saturday and day prior to 1/1, 24/6, 15/8 and 24/9
Continuous Service
December 24th
05:00 - 23:00

For a printable version of the metro map click here.www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/maps/barcelona-metro-map-printable.html

The buses run a little less often than the metro and ferrocarril, about every 7-10 minutes, and with longer intervals on Sundays. After 11 pm the buses stop running and the Nit buses (Night buses or as you will see them signaled N1, N2, N3, etc) which run with less frequency but all night long.

If you want more information on tickets, timetables, and even help on specific routes or how to get from point A to point B go to the official TMB (Transports Metropolitan de Barcelona) website : www.tmb.cat

Taxis
The taxis are obviously not the cheaper option but nevertheless there are times we might need something fast, efficient, any day and hour.

Barcelona Radio Taxis - Tel: (0034) 93 303 3033
Barcelona Taxi Firms That Also Have Handicapped adapted Taxis
Tel: (0034) 93 322 2222
Tel: (0034) 93 307 0707
Tel: (0034) 93 420 8088

Renfe
The RENFE train service runs approximately every 30 minutes to and from Barcelona airport to the city centre. Travel time approximately 25 minutes.
You can catch the train from Clot, Passeig de Gracia, or Barcelona Sants (otherwise known as Sants Estacio). The name of the stop you want for the airport is Aeropuerto.
If you are travelling from the airport to the city centre you can get off at Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gracia or Clot which is serviced by metro stops. From these you can change to the Barcelona metro system to go to your final destination.
If you have not bought a T10 ticket and just purchased a normal ticket then you will have to buy another ticket for the change at Estacio Sants Barcelona Sants. If you have a T10 ticket you can change without paying an additional charge. The metro runs directly from Barcelona Sants station and from Passeig de Gracia.

*Barcelona airport: 902 404 704
http://www.castelldefels.com/aeroport/index.html

*Girona airport: 97 218 6606
http://www.girona-airport.net/

*Euro Lines: 93 367 4400
www.eurolines.es

*Renfe trains: 902 240 202
www.renfe.es

*Ferrocarriles: 93 205 1515
Station Barcelona North Bus: 902 260 606
www.barcelonanord.com

Car hire at the airport of Barcelona
Hertz: 93 356 1139
Avis: 902 480 321
National ATESA: 93 298 3433
Europcar: 902 105 055

Arriving to airports:

Barcelona Airport
Bus A1 o A2 from Pl. Catalunya, or bus 46 from Pl. España. Trains leave from Sants station.

Girona Airport
You can take the bus from ¨ Estación del Nord¨
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