Barcelona Survival Guide - Language

Catalan and Spanish flags

You have decided to spend a few days in Barcelona when you suddenly realise that you don't speak Spanish or Catalan, as you may already know that locals speak both languages. Which one should you learn? Don't worry; we are here to help you out. This small Barcelona Survival Guide gives you the basics to have a great time in the Catalan capital.

Catalan, an official language

Catalan walk on Las Ramblas - Diada
In Barcelona, as well as the rest Catalonia, Catalan is the official language. Nonetheless, everybody speaks “Castellano”. In fact, you can ask any question to a local in Spanish, they will have no problem understanding it. Traffic signs, shop signs, etc are all written in Catalan. You’ll never see a sign in “Castellano” if it is not already written in Catalan, it’s forbidden. You might find some translations into English as well.


Never say to a Catalan that his or her language is a dialect. You’ll run into trouble! Catalonians are very proud of their language and culture and could take that statement very personally.

If you are French or Italian, you’ll discover that your language is a lot closer to Catalan than to the Castellano.

Concept of time

To all travellers (more or less) coming from the same time-zone, be prepared to live a 2 hour difference. People in Barcelona eat at 2pm, their afternoon starts at 5pm and they usually have dinner after 9pm.

If we compare Dublin and Barcelona, Irish people that are heading back home after a night out will probably bump into Barcelona people that are just now heading to the clubs.


Spanish wall socket

Standard in Spain is a two-pin socket which uses the European standard 220-240V. Most of the apartments are equipped with air-conditioning.

Your small dictionary to survive

We've put together a small language survival guide for you which could be useful during your holiday in Barcelona. Have a look and we wish you great holidays!

 Daily Life  Vida diaria  Vida diària
 Good Morning  Buenos días  Bon dia
 Hi, Hello  Hola  Hola
 Good afternoon  Buenas tardes  Bona tarda
 Good Bye  Adiós  Adéu
 Yes  Sí  Sí
 Thank you  Gracias  Gràcies/Merci
 You’re welcome  De nada  De res
 Good night  Buenas noches  Bona nit
 Please  Por favor  Si us plau
 Help  Ayuda  Ajuda
 Excuse me  Perdone  Perdoni
 I’m sorry  Lo siento  Ho sento
 What time is it?  ¿Qué hora es?  Quina hora és?
 Open  Abierto  Obert
 Closed  Cerrado  Tancat
 Price  Precio  Preu
 Toilette / Bathroom  Servicios / Lavabo  Serveis / Lavabo
 I don’t understand  No lo entiendo  No ho entenc
 Right (directions)  Derecha  Dreta
 Left (directions)  Izquierda  Esquerra
 Sentences   Frases   Frases
What is your name? ¿Cómo te llamas? Com et dius?
 How are you?  ¿Cómo estás?  Com està?
 I’m fine  Estoy bien  Estic bé
 Do you speak English?  ¿Hablas inglés? Parles anglès? 
 Transport  Transporte  Transport
 Subway  Metro  Metro
 Train  Tren  Tren
 How many more stops for…?  ¿Cuántas paradas más hasta…?  Quantes parades més fins a...?
 Highway  Autopista  Autopista
 Local train  Trenes de cercanías  Rodalies
 Ticket  Billete  Bitllet
 Single ticket  Billete sencillo  Bitllet senzill
 Return ticket  Billete de ida y vuelta  Bitllet d’anada i de tornada
 Car rental  Coche de alquiler  Cotxe de lloguer
 Food and drinks  Comida y Bebida  Menjar i beure
 I would like a beer, please.  Quiero una cerveza, por favor  Vull una cervesa, si us plau.
 A table for two, please  Una mesa para dos, por favor  Una taula per dos, si us plau
 The bill/check, please  La cuenta, por favor  El compte, si us plau.
 How much does it cost?  ¿Cuánto cuesta?  ¿Quant val?
 This is too expensive  Esto es demasiado caro  Això es massa car
 This is really good  Esto está muy bueno  Això està molt bo
 Good appetite!  ¡Que aproveche!  Bon profit!
 Emergencies  Emergencias  Emergències
 Emergencies  Urgencias (112)  Urgències
 Hospital  Hospital  Hospital
 Police  Policia (091)  Policia
 Fire Department (911)  Bomberos (085)  Bombers
 Ambulance  Ambulancia  Ambulància
Town hall  Ayuntamiento  Ajuntament