General information for your stay in Barcelona
Entering Spain: Visitors from other European Union member countries may enter Spain using either a passport or their national identity document. Visitors from other countries must have a valid passport and a visa if required. Inquiries regarding visas can be directed to Spanish diplomatic representatives abroad
Please click to receive an invitation letter for visa purposes
Language: Spanish and Catalan are the two main languages spoken in Barcelona. English, and to a lesser extent French, are also fairly widely spoken. Tourist information, menus, etc. are nearly always available in English, French and German.
Health Regulation: No international immunization is needed when entering Spain. However, be sure to familiarize 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 of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77-86 degrees Fahrenheit), but are very pleasant in the evening.
Taxis: Taxis in Barcelona may be ordered by phone, picked up at authorized taxi stands or flagged down in the street. Always check that the meter is running. Taxis must usually be paid in cash though some accept credit cards.
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 bus, metro and local trains. Taxis are abundant and reasonably priced. Free parking is very limited in the city center and car parks are expensive, so car rental is only really recommended for excursions outside the city.
VAT: There is a variable value added tax (VAT) of 8% to 18% applied to most items and services, but most prices you see will include it. When it is not included, this should be clearly indicated.
Shopping: Normal trading hours are Monday to Saturday from 9.00 to 13.30 and 16.30 to 20.00; however, in the city center and shopping malls, many shops stay open all day from 10.00 to 21.00, 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 traveler's checks can be exchanged in Spain at banks and foreign exchange offices. Cash-point machines accepting major international credit cards and charge cards are available at most banks. The Spanish currency is the Euro (€).
Duty Free: There are no restrictions on visitors entering Spain with goods bought in another European Union member country, as long as they are for their own use and not to sell.
Banks: Banks are open from 8.30 to 14.00 from Monday to Friday during the summer months.
Tipping: In restaurants, hotels, taxis, hairdressers and so on, a gratuity is not included in the price. Although optional, tips are readily accepted and a general guideline is between 5% and 10% of the bill, depending on the quality of the service. Hotel and airport porters will take, depending on the luggage you have, 1 to 3 Euros.
Liability and Insurance: The Conference organizers cannot accept liability for personal injuries, loss or damage to property belonging to Conference participants (or their accompanying persons), either during or as a result of the Conference. Please check the validity of your own insurance.
General Safety Advice for Visitors: Barcelona is a safe city, with almost no violent crime, and tourists and visitors can stroll around and sightsee at ease. However, as in any big city, some basic safety precautions should be observed:
_ Watch your luggage, especially handbags, cameras, video cameras etc.
_ If you travel by car and have to leave your luggage in the vehicle, it is better to use surveilled car parks, and never leave objects within sight.
_ When walking around typical tourist spots such as Les Rambles and the Gothic Quarter, be especially vigilant of handbags and wallets.
Electrical Power: A 2-pin round adapter is necessary for electrical appliances. The electric current used is 220 volts/50hz. For those bringing 110 volts/60hz appliances, be sure to use an appropriate transformer.