Practical Information

  1. Getting Here
  2. Getting around in Barcelona
  3. Calendar of Holidays and Daily Schedules
  4. Cost of Life
  5. Banks and Credit Cards
  6. Internet Access
  7. Tips for Keeping Safe
  8. Useful Telephone Numbers


1. Getting Here

By Plane

Barcelona has an international airport known as El Prat , with two terminals: T1 and T2. The terminals are connected by shuttle buses running every 8 minutes. The airport is located 18 km south of the city. More than a hundred airlines connect the city with 200 destinations worldwide. If you arrive by plane, there are several ways of getting from the airport to the city:

  • Aerobús . Bus service rapidly connecting the two terminals with downtown Barcelona (25-35 minutes), end stop Plaça Catalunya. The Aerobús' T1 line serves terminal T1 while the A2 line serves terminal T2. It runs every day from 5:30 am to 1:00 am.
  • Train . Line R-2 Nord (R-2 North), of the Catalan Regional Railway - Rodalies de Catalunya - connects terminal T2 with Sants, Barcelona's central station (19 minutes), Passeig de Gràcia (26 minutes) and Clot-Aragó (30 minutes). It runs every day from 6:00 am to 11:30 pm.
  • Taxi Cab . There is always a large fleet of taxi cabs available at the airport at any time, at either of the two terminals. Taxis charge an additional fee for airport service and for every suitcase transported.

At approximately 100 kilometres from Barcelona are the Girona-Costa Brava  and Reus  airports, out of which certain low-cost airlines run.

By Train or Car

The city of Barcelona is well-connected with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe through road and railway networks.

  • Road: If you're coming by private vehicle, you can find all the information on the state of the roads at the Servei Català de Trànsit (Catalan Transit Service) or the Dirección General de Tráfico (Spanish Traffic Authority). There are also many coach lines regularly connecting Barcelona. Barcelona's main bus station is Barcelona Nord  (Estació del Nord). There is a smaller bus station, the Fabra i Puig Station , as well as a few lines running out of the Sants central train station.
  • Railway lines: Renfe  (Spanish Railway)


2. Getting Around in Barcelona

Map of the districts of BarcelonaEvery city has its emblematic buildings or points of reference that help you get your bearings. The main point of reference in Barcelona is Plaça de Catalunya, lying at the heart of the city in the Ciutat Vella (Old City) district. The city is divided into 10 districts, which are, in turn, divided into neighbourhoods (barris). You can easily find your location on this map.

The Ciutat Vella district includes the neighbourhoods comprising the heart of the city: Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarters), la Ribera and el Raval. The traditional fisherman and seafarer's neighbourhood, la Barceloneta, completes the district. Surrounding the old city, the Eixample district spreads out from Barcelona's former city walls. Like an open-air architecture museum, this expanse, which began to be built up during the Industrial Revolution, eventually absorbed neighbouring towns, today comprising their own districts, i.e. Gràcia, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, Sant Andreu and Horta, among others.

The neighbourhoods of Vila Olímpica and Poblenou, in the Sant Martí district, together with Barceloneta, comprise the city's seafront, with 4 kilometres of beaches.

If you want more information about the neighbours or districts of the city we suggest you to visit the website of the City Hall (information in Spanish).


Public Transport

The city has a comprehensive, highly efficient public transport network. Different means of transport comprise a network that will bring you to any corner of the city, not to mention the neighbouring towns in the greater metropolitan area. There is an integrated fare system  allowing you to use the same ticket on all public transport.


Metro : The metro has 8 lines and 140 stations covering nearly the entire city. This is the fastest means of public transport. Two new lines are also under construction that will directly connect Barcelona's El Prat Airport. 


Bus : The bus system has over 100 lines connecting the city's different neighbourhoods as well as Barcelona with the neighbouring municipalities in the greater metropolitan area. At night, the day lines are replaced with night lines, called NitBus


Tram : Barcelona has 6 tram lines connecting Barcelona with other municipalities in the metropolitan area. It is divided in two: the Trambaix, connecting the district of Les Corts with the towns of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Sant Joan Despí, Sant Just Desvern and Esplugues de Llobregat; and the Trambesòs, connecting the Sant Martí district with the towns of Sant Adrià de Besòs and Badalona. The latter connects UPF's Ciutadella and Poblenou campuses in just 10 minutes.


Bicing : Bicing is an urban transport system based on shared use of bicycles. Simple, practical and environmentally friendly, it's a good way to get around the city. There are over 400 stations and 6,000 bicycles, with stations at all UPF campuses. To use this public transport system, you must have a Spanish national identification number (DNI) or foreign national ID number (NIE) . 


FGC  (Catalan Commuter Rail): 14 lines, three of which operate as a complement to the Barcelona metro system. The remaining lines connect Barcelona with other cities in the metropolitan area and vicinity. 


Rodalies  (Catalan Regional Railway): 8 inter-city railway lines connecting Barcelona with the metropolitan area and the rest of Catalonia.

Other Options

The city also has a major taxi cab fleet. Barcelona taxi cabs are black with yellow doors. Look for the green light indicating a free taxi, or go to one of the taxi stands, operating 24 hours a day.


3. Calendar of Holidays and Daily Schedules

There are different bank holidays over the course of the year. Some of them are celebrated throughout Spain, others throughout Catalonia and some only in Barcelona, all of which affect the UPF Academic Calendar .

Daily schedules are somewhat different from the rest of Europe:

  • Meals: Meals are generally eaten later than in other parts of Europe. Breakfast is normally eaten between 9 and 11 am, lunch between 2 and 4 pm and supper between 9 and 10 pm, although restaurants have more extended hours.
  • Business Hours: The majority of establishments open from Monday to Saturday, closing on Sundays, but small shops often close on Saturday afternoon as well. As a general rule, departments stores, shopping centres and large shops do not close at midday, whereas municipal marketplaces and small shops tend to close from 2 to 5 pm (with variations depending on each shop).
  • Working Hours: The work day usually begins between 8 and 9 am. Lunch break often consists of an hour or so sometime between 1:30 and 4 pm. Work usually ends between 6 and 7:30 pm.


4. Cost of Life

Depending on your country of origin, you may find Barcelona expensive or not. To help you plan your stay, we've made up a table with approximate monthly expenses. The amounts are approximations and there can be variations depending on the neighbourhood you choose to live in, the housing you choose and your lifestyle.

Item Room in a shared flat Room in a student  residence hall
Housing 350-500 € 500-800 €
Food 200 € 200 €
Transport 50 € 50 € 
Other expenses 200 € 200 € 
TOTAL 800-950 € 950-1,250 €







5. Banks and Credit Cards

The banking system complies with all international standards and the city has a major network of different bank offices and automatic tellers. Credit cards are extensively used and are accepted in the majority of shops, restaurants, etc.

To open a bank account you need to have a NIE (Spanish foreign national ID) number / card.

If you are staying long, it will be convenient for you to open a bank account in Spain. On Ciutadella Campus there is a Banco Santander office (at the entrance to the Roger de Llúria building).

We also recommend you consult with your bank before leaving your country about their fees for using your credit or debit card abroad, as well as money transfer conditions.


6. Internet Access

Barcelona WiFiThe number of bars and restaurants offering their customers WiFi is on the rise. In  addition, Barcelona has a public WiFi network open to everyone, called Barcelona WiFi , comprised of over 400 connection points at city facilities or outside, on the street. You do not need to register beforehand.

During your stay you will have access to the UPF WiFi network , available at all our campuses.


7.  Tips for Keeping Safe

Barcelona is a modern, cosmopolitan city with over a million and a half inhabitants. Like any other large city, the innermost areas, especially those attracting tourists, can be the riskiest, basically due to the presence of pickpockets and street hawkers. Pickpockets sometimes use ruses to distract you, as, for instance, telling you that you have a stain on your clothes or trying to sell you carnations. Try to avoid such people.

The main recommendation is to use your common sense and always keep an eye on your things. The Police have put out a leaflet with the main safety recommendations in different languages (Catalan, Spanish, English, French and German).

When you're in a bar or restaurant, never lose sight of your personal belongings.

In any case, if you are the victim of a robbery, you can ask any police officer for help or call 112, the emergency number.


8. Useful Telephone Numbers

The Barcelona City Council provides a list of useful phone numbers, including municipal services, emergencies, transport, etc.

There is also an all-encompassing number that can be used for any type of emergency: 112. In addition, there are the citizen information lines of both the Barcelona City Council (010) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan government - 012).