What to Know about Barcelona Before Starting your Erasmus Experience
Ok, you are moving to Barcelona for what will probably be the best year of your life, but you don’t even know where to start?Don’t worry! Beroomers will do it for you! We don’t want you to stress out about anything so we have prepared a useful guide to ry and solve some of your doubts!
Via Joaquim S. Müller
Some useful tips
As you might know in Barcelona there are two main languages, Spanish and Catalan. Although everybody can speak Spanish, it might be quite useful to learn a basic level of Catalan. There are free courses for foreigners organized by the Town Hall of Barcelona. Be aware that there is a chance that your university lectures will be taught in Catalan. This is something you should check before choosing your modules.
We will blog about good options to eat around Barcelona on a tight budget very soon. Meanwhile, let us introduce you to tapas, the Spanish snacks, that you can find in many bars, and we are sure you will love them. Just be aware that, in the touristy areas, they can be expensive and not the best quality type in some places.
Although Barcelona is a safe city, if you are walking around the touristy area such as ‘Las Ramblas’, you should watch out for pick pockets.
Now that you know the basics, we can start to discuss the important issues….
Where to live?
In terms of choosing a neighborhood the first thing you need to think about is… what do I want? Do I want to live close to my university? or in the middle of the action? fancy or hip area? beach or mountain?
Well, let’s start from the beginning… Ciutat Vella (Old City), comprised of four different neighborhoods (Barri Gotic, El Raval, Barceloneta, El Born). It is one of the most beautiful and charming areas of the city. If you have ever visited the city before probably you felt in love with this area and you decided that it was the area where you wanted to live. However you should also take into account that this is a very touristy area and as a consequence it can be more expensive.
Moreover, it is jammed with bars, music venues, restaurants, etc. so it might be noisy in some parts, especially in the Barri Gotic, where the streets are pedestrian and quite narrow. When you choose your apartment just make sure that there is not a bar or restaurant terrace below!
Another option is Zona Universitaria (L’Eixample’ and ‘Les Corts’), where the majority of students live, since many universities are based here, for instance ‘Universidad de Barcelona’, ‘Universidad Politecnica de Cataluña’ or ESADE. This area also hosts many international companies, businesses and hotels.
Overall, it is a good area to live in as it is quieter than ‘Ciutat Vella’ but it still has many beautiful areas such as Parc Pedralves. Moreover, it is also close to Paseo de Gracia, where some of Gaudi’s buildings are located.
Not so far from Eixample, there is the neighborhood of Gracia. This is the new hip upcoming neighborhood which used to be a town and still maintains this charming feeling. Many students are moving to this neighborhood because of its trendy scene and cheaper rent.
How to move around?
Barcelona is a wonderful city and walking around is a really good way to get to know it. However, it is quite big so understanding how the public transport system works will help you move around like a local.
The public transport system is called TMB as it combines three different systems: trams (T), metro (M) and bus (B). The tube system (metro) is the easiest and quickest way to move around the centre of Barcelona. Moreover its opening hours are very long, especially on the weekends when it stays open 24hours. Perfect if you are going out for long night!
Regarding tickets, if you are younger than 25 years old, the T-jove is the card for you as it offers unlimited trips during 90 days at an affordable price. Otherwise you can choose the T-mes which offers unlimited trips for a month or the T-10 with 10 trips. Check out their page for more info: http://www.tmb.cat/en/home
The public buses also work well, although it is recommendable to use them combined with the tram and metro. If you are coming back home late, there is an all-night bus line, which is marked with the letter N. You can check the schedule in the same web as TMB.
Barcelona also has its own public bikes system that also includes electric bikes. In order to be able to use them you must subscribe on their website: https://www.bicing.cat/es and pay an annual fee. The webpage is written only in Catalan or Spanish, so it is a good place to practice your language skills!
What to do?
You couldn’t have chosen a better destination for your year abroad! There is always something happening in Barcelona, from small concerts of local artists to big festivals with the best international artists such as Sonar Festival, which takes place all around the city during the month of June. Clubbing is also amazing for those on the clubbers side. Barcelona has some of the best clubs of Europe such as Apolo, Pacha, or Opium Barcelona.
Culture plays a big role in Barcelona’s daily life. In this vibrant city, there is no need to go to a museum to enjoy cultural events because you can find them everywhere in the street. You can check this webpage (http://www.forfree.cat/en/) for the best free events in the city. If you are more into street art, you can walk around the city looking for the best graffiti (http://mappingbarcelonapublicart.tumblr.com/) and see if you can find some of Banksy’s graffiti (http://banksystreetart.tumblr.com/).
Moreover, in the past few years the city has become a benchmark in the design scene in part due to the success of the ‘Barcelona Design Festival’, which aims to bring design and society closer.
When you want to recover from your nights out you can relax at the beach. Although Barceloneta is the most famous beach of the city, I encourage you to move away from the city centre and discover some less crowded beaches. Nova Icaria and Bogatell Beach are both good options as they can be accessed by metro very easily from the city center. For Nova Icaria beach you should go to the Ciutadella/Vila Olimpica metro station and the Bogatell beach is located 15 minutes away from Bogatella Metro Station.
Check out Barcelona’s tube webpage to download a map.
Your next step should be to find accommodation in Barcelona and … guess what? We can also help you with that! There are plenty of amazing rooms in our webpage. Do you want to check them on Beroomers now?
We hope that you enjoyed the post!
If you're looking for accommodation, remember that in Beroomers we are willing to help you in more than 50 destinations worldwide.