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The Placa de Catalunya is a very popular tourist attraction because of the amazing and unique architecture.  This is a large town square and is considered as the center of Barcelona.

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Barcelona / Cultural Norms in Barcelona

It is always best to know a little of the cultural norms of a foreign country before you visit that way you can avoid any uncomfortable situations and not offend the locals.

Dress code

With a beach area and city area Barcelona's dress code varies depending on where you are. Of course along the beachfront the attire is more casual and in the city center people cover-up more. If you know you'll be visiting religious sites during the day then take along something to cover your shoulders if you are wearing a strapless top or have shoestring straps. Also if you're going to religious sites it is respectful, but not required, to refrain from short-shorts, boob-tubes or tank tops that show your belly.  When going out in the evening rather dress "up" than "down." Topless bathing is part of the European ethos and you'll probably encounter a few examples of it on Barcelona beaches.


Servers and service workers expect to be tipped in Spain although restaurant checks always include the service and you are not obliged to add a tip if you feel the service was not up to standard. Tips should be left in cash and either rounded up to the next Euro if eating in a tapas bar or if having the Menu de Dia but in mid-range to expensive restaurants between 5% and 10% can be left. Taxi's don't expect to be tipped although you can add 5% at your discretion. Tour guides (€2-5), hairdressers (€0.5-3), restroom attendants (€0.5-1) and cleaning staff (€1-5) may be tipped but you are not obliged.


Check before you light up as although most restaurants and bars offer a smoking area some have a complete no-smoking policy or smokers are asked to dine outside if smoking.

Pleases and Thank yous

No need to pepper your sentences with please and thank-you, some Spaniards can read this as insincere. It is customary to greet strangers when entering or leaving a lift or when seeing them on their own. It is also appreciated if you try to speak a little of the local lingo.

Other points of Barcelona etiquette

  • It is acceptable to express your road rage with a flurry of car horn toots and hoots!
  • You are expected to make eye contact when conversing with someone.
  • It is impolite to call Barcelona by the football team's nickname Barca, rather use Barcelona or the nickname – Barna.
  • Don't underestimate the local loyalty to Catalonia first and Spain second. Even when speaking try a few words of Catalonian as opposed to Spanish and you'll be pleased with the response. Never claim that Catalonia and Spain are one and the same! In the same way that the locals aren't amused by tourists wearing Mexican sombreros or raving about flamenco dancing when the dance is actually from Andalusia.
  • It is frowned upon (often verbally) to jump the queue when waiting in line to pay or enter a place.
  • In the Barcelona markets, stalls or stores it is not acceptable to haggle over the prices.

A good rule of thumb is to consider the etiquette which you would appreciate from visitors to your country and also observe what the locals are doing. When in Barcelona…

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