Barcelona is a major city in Spain and a member of the European Union. Therefore the local currency in use is the euro (€). If you are coming from within the Eurozone, acquiring cash should be easy, even if you didn’t bring any with you. If not, it is a good idea to have euros in cash. Furthermore, if you’re coming from abroad and wish to avoid roaming charges, you may wish to consider your mobile provider choices. This article will cover your options for both of these issues in Barcelona.
At the Airport
Getting hold of euros is fairly simple. With a little organisation you’ll be able to find the right option for yourself. Firstly, at home you should be able to find a currency exchange centre, where you could exchange your local currency to euros. If you can’t, or aren’t comfortable with taking lots of cash on a flight, there are still alternatives. At Barcelona- El Prat airport, you can find of exchange centres and cash machines. Be aware that in airports they often charge a high concession as there is a captive audience there.
Taking cash out of an ATM may be a preferable option with your card. You are likely to be charged a conversion fee by your bank and a local bank surcharge. But this will probably still be less than an exchange bureau fee. However, at the airport there is often a limit to how much that can be withdrawn, typically around €200. If you’ve booked with us at Welcome Pickups in advance, then your transfer to your hotel will be prepaid. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about cash for public transport to the city centre.
In the City
If you are in the city and without cash, or perhaps without enough cash, that is still ok. As mentioned before, ATMs are a great way to withdraw cash, but may include a fee for conversation and a bank charge. Therefore, it makes more sense to withdraw larger amounts in one go, to avoid repetitive charges. Also, cards are becoming readily accepted in Barcelona, especially in restaurants and hotels. You may need to inform your bank that you will be going to Barcelona, so they don’t block your card when using it abroad.
If you brought plenty of cash with you for the specific purpose of swapping currency, then there are many vendors in the centre of the city to assist. There are a number of exchange kiosks that will serve you, but they are less likely to have real-time exchange rates. You could also exchange at your hotel, but the exchange rate is unlikely to be of good value either. Your best bet is to exchange with one of the many La Caixa or Catalunya Caixa banks. They are the biggest banking group across Catalonia and are likely to have a good, reliable exchange rate.
It is important to be aware that Barcelona is infamous for pickpockets. Therefore, it is wise to keep only the money you need for the day with you, and keep alternate methods of payment separate.
People often go to Barcelona for an extended period of time, whether for business or pleasure. If you are concerned about roaming charges, you might want to know more about the mobile phone provider options. If you need to make local calls, the country code in Barcelona is +34. The major phone network companies are: Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo. If you are coming from the US or Asia, your phone might be a CDMA phone and Barcelona operates on the GSM network, so you may need to get your phone unlocked to work with your new SIM card.
There are many data and minutes packages available for every need. These can be found at the respective networks’ branch shops. There are also a number of ‘The Phone House’ shops located in the city. Alternatively, you can make things easy for yourself and get a SIM for your phone in your Welcome pack. Preloaded with 5GB of data and 3000 minutes & texts, just select that option when booking your transfer and we can provide one for you.