Best Things to Do

Barcelona is the capital of the Catalunya region, and one of Spain's most vibrant, modern, and cultured cities. Proud of its heritage, most Barcelona residents speak Catalan instead of Castillian. This means that locals use si us plau (see oos plow) instead of por favor and adeu (ah day oo) instead of adios. In fact, the children of Catalunya learn Catalan Spanish in school before learning Castillian Spanish. Still, most residents will, after a brief pause, understand Castillian Spanish, and, for that matter, English. Most menus are printed in both Catalan and Castillian Spanish, as are placards in museums, and informational handouts at cultural sites. 

While Barcelona is not Spain's center for bull fighting or Flamenco dancing, it still participates in the other Spanish institution — the siesta. This means business is conducted 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Lunch occurs during siesta and dinner doesn't start until 9 p.m. The most popular tourist locations, though, tend to stay open through the siesta. The action really begins late in the evening, around 10 p.m. or 11p.m. It is easier than you may think to adapt to the unique dinner hour. Simply eat a late lunch, get an afternoon snack, and be sure to nap either during siesta (when it is possibly too hot to be walking around the city) or before dressing to go out to dinner.

For further insight into the city, see GAYOT's Complete Guide to Barcelona.