Cellphones (Mobile Phones)
All European cellphone networks are GSM (Global System for Mobiles), so if your cellphone is on a GSM system, you will be fine in Barcelona. If you are unsure how to set up your phone for overseas use, call your wireless operator and ask for "international roaming" to be activated on your account. Per-minute roaming charges are high in Europe, so it's a good idea to buy a prepaid SIM card from a local retailer in Barcelona. This will get you a local phone number and much, much lower calling rates.
If you are staying in Barcelona for more than a few days, renting a phone might be the answer. You can rent from kiosks at the local airports but in Barcelona itself there is only one company that offers this service: Rent A Phone, Carrer Numància 212 (tel. 93-280-21-31). They charge per call. A call to another cellphone in Spain will cost around .80€ per minute, and up to 1.50€ per minute for calls to the States or the U.K.
Buying a phone is a good idea if you're staying in Spain long-term. Find a local mobile shop and get the cheapest package; you'll probably pay less than 60€ for a phone and SIM card. Local calls are as low as 10¢ per minute, and incoming calls are free. Don't forget that in Spain you have to show your passport when you buy a phone and SIM card.
Travelers in Barcelona can check e-mail and access the Internet from their laptop or PDA, or at cybercafes found all over town. Many hotels, and all three local airports, have Wi-Fi access too. If you have Web access while traveling, use a broadband-based telephone service like Skype (www.skype.com) or Vonage (www.vonage.com) to make free international calls from your laptop or at a cybercafe.
Internet access is plentiful, both in cybercafes and in hotels. The Bornet Internet Café (Barra del Ferro 3, Born; tel. 93-268-15-07; www.bornet-bcn.com) has 16 terminals and charges 2.80€ per hour. For music while you catch up on your e-mail, try Alsur Café, Carders 17 (tel. 93-182-54-07; www.alsurcafe.com), with two branches, one in the Sant Pere district, the other next to the Palau de la Música.
Be wary of using the telephone in your room as hotels impose a surcharge on calls, sometimes as high as 40%. On the street, cabinas (phone booths) have dialing instructions in English, and you will need to buy a tarjeta telefónica (phonecard) from a newsstand or tobacconist. To make a long international call, a locutorio (call center; there are lots in the Old City) offers cheap rates. They also sell phone cards that work with both landlines and mobiles and must be used within a month of the first call.
All telephone numbers in Spain operate on a nine-digit system. Each number is preceded by its provincial code for local, national, and international calls. So whether you are calling Barcelona from within the city or from another province within Spain, you must dial 93-XXX-XX-XX.
To call Barcelona from the United States:
1. Dial the international access code: 011.
2. Dial the country code for Spain: 34.
3. Dial 93 for Barcelona and then the number. So the whole number you'd dial would be 011-34-93-XXX-XX-XX.
To call Barcelona from the United Kingdom:
1. Dial the international access code: 00.
2. Dial the country code for Spain: 34.
3. Dial 93 for Barcelona and then the number. So the whole number you'd dial would be 00-34-93-XXX-XX-XX.
To make international calls from Barcelona: Dial 00 and then the country code (U.S. or Canada 1, U.K. 44, Ireland 353, Australia 61, New Zealand 64). Dial the area code and number. Knock the first "0" off the area code when calling the U.K.
For directory assistance: Dial tel. 11818 if you're looking for a number inside Spain, or tel. 11825 for numbers in all other countries.
For operator assistance: For assistance in making an international call, dial tel. 1008 (for Europe, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Turkey) or 1005 (for the U.S. and all other countries); for assistance in calling a number in Spain, dial tel. 1009.
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.