Airlines Air France tel 901 112 266; British Airways tel 932 156 900 or for reservations tel 902 132 132; Iberia tel 902 400 500; Swissair tel 932 159 100; Virgin Express tel 932 266 671.
Airport El Prat de Llobregat tel 902 400 500 for all information. The airport is due to expand over the next few years, possibly to accommodate a high-speed AVE rail link with Madrid and France. The two passenger terminals, A and B, are, in fact, one large connected terminal, B serving check-in for Iberia and its One World partners, and much smaller A serving everyone else.
Ambulance Dial 061
American Express The office is at Pg de Gràcia 101 tel 932 170 070; Metro Diagonal; Mon-Fri 9.30am-6pm, Sat 10am-noon. There's also an Amex cash machine at the airport.
Banks and exchange Main bank branches are in Pl de Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia. El Corte Inglés department store, in Pl de Catalunya, and American Express (see above) also have efficient exchange facilities which offer competitive rates and do not charge commission. One bank with extended hours is La Caixa, Pl de Catalunya (Mon-Fri 8.15am-2pm; Oct-June also Thurs 4.30-7.45pm). Banco de Santander in c/de Ferran (corner Pl de Sant Jaume), and Caja de Madrid in Pl de Catalunya both have automatic money exchanges, which accept British paper currency. For buying non-Spanish currency when you're leaving the country, try Banco Popular, Pg de Gràcia 17, or branches of La Caixa.
Exchange offices include: Airport (daily 7.30am-10.45pm).
Foreign banks include: Bank of America, c/Bori i Fontesta 23.
Bike rental Pedal bikes and motorbikes from: Biciclot, c/Sant Joan de Malta 1 tel 933 077 475; Los Filicletos, Pg de Picasso 38 tel 933 197 885; Scenic, c/Marina 22 tel 932 211 666; Icària Sports, Avda Icària 180 tel 932 211 778; Un Cotxe Menys, c/Esparteria 3 tel 932 682 105. The latter also organizes bicycle tours of Barcelona. Die-hard cyclists can find fellow enthusiasts through the Federació Catalana de Ciclisme on c/Fontanella 11 (tel 933 012 444), or Amics de la Bici, c/ Demóstenes 19 (tel & fax 933 394 060, ).
Buses For buses to almost all destinations, go to the Estació del Nord tel 932 656 508 (7am-9pm info line) on Avda Vilanova (Metro Arc de Triomf). Some buses leave also (or only) from the smaller station behind Sants Estació at Pl Joan Peiró tel 934 904 405. Note that on many routes, ticket prices go up if you travel Fri-Sun or on a public holiday. When leaving , it's a good idea to reserve a seat in advance on the popular long-distance routes - the day before is usually fine.
Car rental Atesa, c/Muntaner 45 tel 933 230 701; airport tel 933 983 433. Avis, c/Casanova 209 tel 932 099 533; c/Aragó 235 tel 934 878 754; airport tel 932 983 600, . Budget, Josep Tarradellas 35 tel 934 102 508; airport tel 932 983 500, . Docar, c/Montenegre 18 tel 933 229 008, . Europcar, c/Viladomat 214 and airport tel 934 398 401, . Hertz, c/Tuset 10 tel 932 178 076; airport tel 932 983 636; and Sants Estació tel 934 908 662, . Totcar, c/Berlin 97 tel 934 192 294, . Vanguard, c/Londres 31 tel 934 393 880, email@example.com .
Car repairs Try Roque, c/Padilla 285 (tel 934 352 266; Mon-Fri 9am-1.30pm & 3.30-7pm, Sat 9am-1pm & 3-7pm, Sun 10am-1pm) or Tallers Lumont, Avda de Roma, 43 (tel 933 210 954; daily 24 hours a day). Small independent mechanics are scattered about the city, look for a "taller" sign
Consulates Most foreign consulates in Barcelona are open to the public for enquiries Mon-Fri only, usually from 9am-1pm and 3-5pm, though the morning shift is the most reliable.
Credit cards To cancel lost or stolen credit cards, call the following numbers in Madrid:
Cultural institutes The British Council, at c/Amigó 83 tel 932 096 090 or 934 146 888, has an English-language library, lists of language schools and a good notice board advertising lessons and accommodation. The North American Institute, Via Augusta 123 (tel 932 405 110; FGC Plaça Molina), has newspapers, magazines and a reference library.
Customs British travellers returning home from Spain, can effectively take back as much duty-paid wine or beer as they can carry (the legal limits being 90 litres of wine or 110 litres of beer). Restrictions applying to tax- or duty-free goods for EU residents are 200 cigarettes, one litre of spirits and five litres of wine; for non-EU residents the allowances are usually 200 cigarettes, one litre of spirits and two litres of wine. Residents of the USA and Canada can take up to 200 cigarettes and one litre of alcohol back home, as can Australian citizens, while New Zealanders are allowed 200 cigarettes, 4.5 litres of beer or wine, and just over one litre of spirits. If in doubt, consult your embassy.
Dentists Dentists are all private - you'll pay around 36 for filling a cavity. For an English-speaking dentist, contact the practices at Rambla de Catalunya 44 (tel 932 160 321) or Pg Bonanova 63 (tel 932 122 073). Another practice is at c/Casanova 59-61 (junction with c/de la Diputació; tel 934 545 403). For dental emergencies phone 934 159 922.
Departure tax There's no departure tax leaving Barcelona.
Doctor For an emergency doctor call 061 or go to the emergency department of Hospital Clinic (see "Hospitals"). Doctors rarely make house calls.
Emergency services tel 112. Operators at this number can handle fire, medical and police emergencies.
Ferries Departures to the Balearics are from the Estació Marítima (tel 933 012 598; Metro Drassanes) at the bottom of the Ramblas. Buy tickets here at the Trasmediterránea office (tel 932 454 645, ) for Palma de Mallorca, Mahó and Eivissa. Umifasa (tel 902 191 066) also runs a service to Eivissa and Formentera, while Navi Gran Veloci (tel 934 439 898, firstname.lastname@example.org ) serves Genoa, Italy. The ferries get very crowded in July and August - book ahead.
Fire brigade tel 080 or 112
Health EU countries have reciprocal health agreements with Spain; British and other EU citizens need form E111, available from main post offices. No inoculations are required for Spain
Hospitals Ciutat Sanitària Vall d'Hebron Pg. Vall d'Hebron, 119-129 tel 934 183 400, Metro Vall d'Hebron; Hospital Clinic, c/Villaroel 170 tel 934 546 000, Metro Hospital Clinic; Centro Diagnostic Malaltiès Sexuales (Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic), Avda Drassanes 17-19 tel 933 294 495, Metro Drassanes. Hospital de San Pau (c/Sant Antoni María Claret 167 tel 932 919 191; Metro San Pau), is a public hospital which accepts the E111 (see "Health" above) and which also has an AIDS department. If you need special medical attention or treatment, your first stop should be Barcelona Centre Médico (Avda Diagonal 612, 2º-14, tel 934 140 643, 24hr tel 639 303 464, ; Metro Diagonal), which co-ordinates some seventeen specialist clinics in the city.
Information tel 010. The city's English-language information line can answer just about any question about Barcelona. The Generalitat now has a similar service at 012.
Internet cafés In the last few years the internet has exploded in Barcelona. Many bars geared to younger crowds have terminals, and cybercafés and other access points now abound. Competition means that prices have been driven down to around 1.80 per hour. Some options include Easy Everything (Ronda Universitat 35, Metro Catalunya; La Rambla 31, Metro Liceu; both open 24hrs); idea ; El Café de Internet , Gran Via 656, Metro Plaça Tetuan (Mon-Thurs 10am-midnight, Fri & Sat 10am-2am); Insòlit , Maremàgnum, Metro Drassanes (daily 1pm-1am); but a stroll down La Rambla will reveal a parade of hoardings touting other locales.
Language schools The cheapest Spanish classes in Barcelona are at the Escola Oficial d'Idiomes, Avda Drassanes (tel 933 292 458), where a lottery system is in force - line up at the beginning of term (Sept and Jan) for a ticket, then see if you've won a place to sit the assessment exam. Expect big queues. Or try International House, c/Trafalgar 14 (tel 932 680 239, ; Metro Urquinaona). The Generalitat offers low-cost Catalan classes to Spaniards and foreigners through the Centre per a la Normalització Lingüística, c/Quintana 11 (tel 934 127 224; Metro Liceu). Language courses are also offered at most Spanish universities; contact Barcelona University at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 585 (tel 933 189 926), or write to the nearest Spanish Institute in your home country.
Laundries Self-service launderettes ( lavanderías automáticas ) are rare - you normally have to leave your clothes for the full works (usually around 7.30). Try Martin, c/Carme 65 (10am-2pm & 4-8pm) off the Ramblas - and have a coffee or drink next door in the old neighbourhood bar, Muy Buenas (happy hour 8-10pm), while you wait. Note that by a law much ignored in the old city you're forbidden from leaving laundry hanging out of windows over a street, and some hostales can get shirty if you're found doing excessive washing in your bedroom sink. A dry-cleaner is a tintorería .
Left-luggage At Sants Estació the consigna is open daily from 4am-midnight and costs 2.40-3.60 a day. There are lockers at the Estació de França, Passeig de Gràcia and the Estació del Nord for 2.40 (all 6am-11.30pm).
Library The Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya, at c/de l'Hospital 56, is next to the Hospital de la Santa Creu (Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-2pm) - you will only be able to enter this with a letter of academic reference, however there is a biblioteca popular (a public library) in the same building. Barcelona University's Philology library at Gran Via 585 (Mon-Fri 8am-8.30pm; Oct-June also Sat 9am-2pm) is open to the public.
Lost property If you lose anything, try the Ajuntament ( objectes perduts ) in c/de la Ciutat 9 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-1.30pm; tel 934 023 161), or the transport office in the metro in Plaça Universitat, but you'll be lucky to get it back.
Massage For a quick massage after a heavy afternoon's shopping, try Masajes Mil, c/Mallorca 233 tel 932 158 585; Metro Passeig de Gràcia; daily including hols 7am-midnight; 6 for ten minutes, no appointment required.
Newspapers You can buy foreign newspapers at the stalls down the Ramblas, around Pl de Catalunya and at Sants Estació, as well as at major bookstores and in larger hotels. The same stalls also sell an impressive array of international magazines and trade papers.
Notice boards For apartment-sharing, lifts, lessons and other services, check the notice boards at the cultural institutes; at International House (c/Trafalgar 14); at the university (in the main building; take door on far left and, inside, bear left and then right); at Escola Oficial d'Idiomes (see "Language schools"); at Llibreria de Dones Prolèg and Ca la Dona (see "Women's Barcelona"), and the bookshop Cómplices.
Pharmacies For minor health complaints look for the green cross of a farmàcia , where highly trained staff can give advice (often in English), and are able to dispense many drugs available only on prescription in other countries. Usual hours are 9am-1pm & 4-8pm; phone 010 for information on those open out of hours. A list of these can also be found in the window of each chemist's shop. For emergencies, see "Hospitals".
Police The main police station is at Via Laietana 49 (tel 932 903 000) where there is also a department for women who've suffered violent crime. The tourist police - the Centro Atencíon Policial - are at Rambla 43 (open 24hr in summer; tel 933 019 060). If you are the victim of robbery you will have to go to the Comisaría Drassanes of the Policía Nacional in c/Nou de la Rambla, 62 - keep a copy of the report for your insurance claim. The various police bodies in the city can be contacted on the following numbers: Guàrdia Civil tel 062; Policía Nacional tel 091; Guàrdia Urbana tel 092.
Post office The main post office ( Correus ) in Barcelona is at Pl d'Antoni López, facing the water at the end of Pg de Colom (Mon-Sat 8am-8pm). Poste restante ( llista de correus ) is at window 17 (Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-2pm). There is another post office at c/Aragó 282 (Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-2am). Each city neighbourhood also has its own post office, though these have far less-comprehensive opening hours and services.
Pressure groups There's strong anti-nuclear and anti-NATO feeling in Catalunya. Casal de la Pau (c/Cervantes 2; tel 933 183 994) is an anti-militarist grouping, while the more broadly based Acciò Ecologista Viure Sense Nuclear is at c/Gran de Gràcia 126-130 (tel 932 179 527). The Ass. Dona (Dones Anti Militaristes), a women's anti-military group, is based at Ca la Dona (see "Women's Barcelona"). There's a branch of Amnesty International at c/Alfons XII 19-21 tel 932 093 536, and Greenpeace at c/Pelai 32 tel 932 187 749. SOS Racisme is an anti-racist organization at c/Escudellers Blancs 12 tel 933 010 597.
Residence permits In Barcelona, residence permits for EU nationals are issued by the Servicio de Extranjeros at Avda Marqués de l'Argentera 4 (Mon-Fri 9am-1pm; tel 934 820 544 or 934 820 530) - line up before 9am. You will be required to show a Spanish bank statement in your name, typically with a balance of more or less 4200.
Telephone information tel 1003 (general) or tel 008 (international).
Time Barcelona is one hour ahead of the UK, six and nine hours ahead of New York and Los Angeles respectively, and eight hours behind Sydney.
Tipping In most restaurants and bars service is considered to be included in the price of meals and drinks (hence the premium you pay for sitting at a terrace). Tips are more a recognition that service was adequate or exceptional than an expected part of the server's wage. For a coffee or a drink, leave no more than 0.20, while for a meal in the 6-9 range, 1 is considered generous. Anything beyond is excessive. Upmarket restaurants may indicate that service is not included, in which case you will be expected to leave ten to fifteen percent of the value of the bill. Taxi drivers should be tipped only if they have helped you with bags or been similarly helpful.
Toilets Public ones are few and far between, and averagely clean, but sometimes don't have any paper (best to carry your own). Bars and restaurants are more likely to have proper (and cleaner) toilets, though you can't guarantee it - even in the poshest of places. The handiest clean central toilet is inside the Café de l'Opera on the Ramblas. Ask for el lavabo or los servicios ( toaleta or serveis in Catalan). Damas (Ladies; Catalan Dones ) and Caballeros (Gentlemen; Catalan Homes ) are the usual signs, though you may also see the confusing Señoras (Women) and Señores (Men).
Tours In Barcelona there are a number of associations of tour guides (all of whom must be registered and approved by the Generalitat ). Services among them are basically all the same, so the best bets are the most economical ones. The cheapest is the Associación Professional de Informadores Turísticos de Barcelona (APIT), at Pl Berenguer el Gran 1-1ºD (Mon-Sat 9.30am-2pm & 3-6.30pm, tel 933 198 279, fax 933 104 011, email@example.com ), which charges 87.80 for a four-hour weekday English-language walking tour of the city for up to twenty people. The next cheapest, City Guides BCN, at Ronda Universitat 21-7ºD (Mon-Fri 9am-1pm & 4-7pm, tel 934 120 674, fax 934 125 133, firstname.lastname@example.org ) charges the same basic price, but adds sixteen percent VAT and a further twenty-percent surcharge. The cheapest option for a walking tour is Turisme de Barcelona's English-language tours (Sat & Sun 10am, 6, 3 for children). Reservations and details at any tourist office.
Trains For train information, call RENFE (tel 934 900 202; international routes on 934 901 122, 10am-2pm; ). You can buy train tickets at the RENFE office in the underground foyer at Passeig de Gràcia (corner of c/Aragó). Otherwise, at Sants Estació (tel 934 903 851) there's both a RENFE information office (daily 6.30am-10.30pm; English speaking) and an International Train Information Office (daily 7am-10pm), where you can reserve seats and couchettes on international trains. This is recommended in high season, compulsory on some trains, and should be done in advance - at least a couple of hours before departure, the day before if possible. Certain routes ( rodalies , or cercanías ) within Barcelona and Catalonia are operated by FGC; their information line is 932 051 515 or 933 663 361.
Travel agencies General travel agencies are found on the Gran Vía, Pg de Gràcia, Vía Laietana and the Ramblas. For specific deals try: Julia Tours, Pl Universitat 12 (tel 933 176 454 or 933 176 209) for city tours, Catalunya holidays and trips; for deals (including student specials) on flights, the best places are Viatgi, Ronda Universitat 1 (tel 933 011 629, email@example.com ) or, if you can brave the hours-long queues, Usit, Ronda Universitat 16 (tel 934 120 104; ); for youth train tickets head to Wasteels, inside Sants Estació.
Vaccination centres Go to Avda Drassanes 17-21 tel 934 430 507, or Institut Municipal de la Salut, Pl Lesseps 1 (tel 934 150 066).
Women's Barcelona The most useful contact address in the city is Ca la Dona, c/Caspe 38 (tel 934 127 161; Metro Urquinaona; Mon-Thurs 10am-2pm & 4-8pm), a women's centre used for meetings of over twenty feminist and lesbian organizations; information available to callers. There's also La Illa, c/Reig i Bonet 3, Gràcia (tel 932 100 062; 7.30pm-1am, later at weekends; Metro Fontana), a women's bar and cultural centre. The official Institut Català de la Dona has an information office at c/ Portaferrissa 1 (tel 933 179 291; Mon-Fri 10am-2pm & 5-7pm). For bookshops specializing in women's issues, try Llibreria de Dones Pròleg, c/Dagueria 13, Barri Gòtic tel 933 192 425 (Metro Jaume I; Mon 5-8pm, Tues-Fri 10am-2pm & 5-8pm, Sat 11am-2pm & 5-8pm), and The Book Store, c/la Granja 13 tel 932 379 519 (Metro Lesseps; Mon-Sat 11am-1.30pm & 2.30-7pm; closed Mon in Aug).
Work Without a particular skill or pre-arranged job, the only real chance of long-term work in Barcelona is in language schools. There's much less work about than there used to be and you'll need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or ESL (English as a Second Language) certificate to stand any kind of chance. One other possibility, so long as you speak good Spanish, is translation work, most of which will be business correspondence - look in the Yellow Pages under Traductores . Unless you're a citizen of a European Union country (who should see "Residence Permits" section), obtaining a work visa for Spain is nearly impossible.
Worship St George's Church, c/Horaci 38 tel 934 178 867, off Pg de la Bonanova, buses #75, #64 and #22, has English-speaking Anglican services on Sun 11am, and 1st Mon of month 8pm. Santa María Reina Church, Carretera d'Esplugues 103 tel 932 034 115, buses #75, #114 and #63, has Catholic Mass in English Sun 10am. The synagogue - Sinagoga Comunitat Israelita - is at c/Avenir 24, Gràcia tel 932 006 148, FGC Muntaner, and hosts lots of youth group activities. Be warned that security is tight at the synagogue: take your passport. The Centro Islamico, Avda Meridiana 326 tel 933 514 901, Metro Sagrera incorporates a mosque, and an education centre that's happy to provide information on aspects of Muslim life in Barcelona.
Youth information There's a youth information office at c/Ferran 32 (tel 934 027 800 or 934 027 801; Mon-Fri 10am-2pm & 4-8pm), with city information and advice, a library and English speakers. ISIC and hostel cards at Representació Territorial de la Joventut, c/ Calàbria 147 (Mon-Fri 9am-1pm & 4-5.30pm; tel 934 838 383).
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