Banks & ATMs—You can usually find a bank—or at least an ATM—wherever crowds gather in Barcelona, especially around major Metro stations. Most permit cash withdrawals via MasterCard or Visa. The most prominent ATM networks in Barcelona are La Caixa and Banco Santander, but they may charge a high commission; shop around for smaller banks that do not. Note that most Spanish ATMs accept only 4-digit PINs, so if you have a longer PIN, change it at least a week before departure. Many banks now have “dynamic currency conversion,” allowing the bank to charge your withdrawal in dollars rather than euros. The exchange rate is even worse than the one your bank at home will give you, so always answer “NO” and ask to be charged in euros.

Consulates—National embassies are all located in Madrid, but there are some consular offices in Barcelona. The U.S. Consulate, Carrer Reina Elisenda, 23 (; tel. 93-280-22-27), is open Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm; you need to make an appointment unless you have an emergency like a lost/stolen passport. Before going, check The Canadian Consulate, Plaça de Catalunya, 9 (tel. 93-412-72-36), is open Monday to Friday 9am to 12:30pm. The U.K. Consulate, Avinguda Diagonal, 477 (; tel. 93-366-62-00), is open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 1:30pm.

Doctors & Dentists—Barcelona has many hospitals and clinics, including Clínic Barcelona (; tel. 93-227-54-00) and Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, at the intersection of Carrer Cartagena and Carrer Sant Antoni María Claret (; tel. 93-291-90-00). For dental needs, contact Clínica Dental Barcelona, Passeig de Gràcia, 97 (; tel. 93-487-83-29), open daily 9am to midnight.

Emergencies—Call tel. 112 for general emergencies. To report a fire, call tel. 080; to call an ambulance, tel. 061; to call the police, tel. 088.

Internet Access—Most lodgings offer free Wi-Fi, at least in public areas. Typically, bandwidth on free hotel Wi-Fi is good enough to surf the web and check e-mail, but not for streaming videos or music. The city government provides free Wi-Fi at over 2,000 spots around the city. You will have to sign up for a free account to use it ( Buses and some Metro lines also have free Wi-Fi.

Language—Catalunya has two official languages: Catalan and Castilian Spanish. Catalan (Catalá in its own language) takes precedence for signage, television, radio, and most publications. A romance language resembling both Spanish and French, Catalan is much preferred among locals, especially so during these times of separatist zeal. English is often a better bet, and it is widely spoken—if not well—in the tourism sector.

Mail & Postage—The main post office is a beautiful beaux-arts building at the foot of Via Laietana, on Plaça d’Antoni López (; tel. 93-486-80-50). It’s open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 9:30pm and Saturday 8:30am to 2pm.

Newspapers & Magazines—Barcelona’s leading daily newspapers, which often list cultural events, are El Periódico and La Vanguardia. Time Out Barcelona is useful for arts listings.

Pharmacies—The centrally located Farmacia Montserrat, Les Rambles, 118 (tel. 93-302-43-45), is open daily 9am to 8pm. Pharmacies take turns staying open late at night; those that aren’t open post the names and addresses of nearby pharmacies that are.

Safety—Barcelona is a big city with many disoriented tourists paying scant attention to their belongings. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers treat the unwary like the weak antelopes straggling at the back of the herd. Don’t be one of them. Be careful with cameras, purses, and wallets wherever there are crowds, especially on Les Rambles, on buses, or while standing in line at a tourist attraction.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.