General information for your stay in Barcelona
Visiting Spain: Visitors from other European Union countries may enter Spain using either a valid passport or their national identity card. Visitors from other countries must have a valid passport and a visa if required. Visitors should put any enquiries concerning visas to the Spanish diplomatic representatives in their country.
Language: Spanish and Catalan are the two major languages spoken in Barcelona. English, and to a lesser extent French, are also widely spoken. Tourist information, menus, etc. are nearly always available in English, French and German.
Health Regulations: No international vaccination is needed when entering Spain. However, be sure to familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations of all countries through which you may have to pass on your way to Spain.
Climate: Barcelona enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild, sunny winters, warm summers and relatively low rainfall. Temperatures during the summer months of July and August can be quite hot during the day, with temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius (77–86 degrees Fahrenheit), but very pleasant in the evening.
Taxis: Taxis in Barcelona may be reserved by phone, hailed at authorised taxi stands or flagged down in the street. Always check that the taximeter is running. Taxis usually need to be paid in cash, although credit cards may be accepted.
Public Transport and Car Rental: Barcelona has a good, comprehensive public transport network, with special ten-trip and one-, two- or three-day tickets valid on buses, metro and local trains. Taxis are abundant and reasonably priced. Parking is expensive and free parking is very limited in the city centre, so car rental is only really recommended for excursions outside the city.
VAT: There is a variable value added tax (VAT) of 4%, 10% and 21% applied to the majority of items and services. However, VAT is usually included in the price. If it is not included, it must be clearly indicated.
Shopping: Normally stores open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 1.30 pm and from 4.30 pm to 8 pm; however, in the city centre and shopping malls, many shops are open all day from 10 am to 9 pm, or even later in some tourist spots such as Maremagnum.
Credit Cards, Currency and Exchange: AII major international credit cards are accepted. Foreign currency and traveller’s checks can be exchanged in Spain at banks and foreign exchange offices. Cash Machines accepting major international credit cards and debit cards are available at most banks. The currency in Spain is the euro (€).
Duty Free: There are no restrictions for visitors entering Spain with goods bought in another European Union member country, as long as they are for personal use and not to be sold.
Banks: Banks are open from 8.30 am to 2 pm from Monday to Friday during the summer months.
Tipping: In restaurants, hotels, taxis, hairdressers and so on, tips are not included in the price. However, optional tips are readily accepted and as a general guideline they should be between 5% and 10% of the bill, depending on the quality of the service. Hotel and airport porters will charge €1 to €3, depending on your luggage.
Claims and Insurance: The Congress organisers shall not be liable for any personal injuries, loss or damage of belongings affecting Congress participants (or their accompanying persons), either during or as a result of the Congress. Please check your insurance cover.