Dealing With Money
Here are a few things that will make your time in this lovely city a bit easier:
Cash vs. Cards
- You will need some cash. Small businesses have credit/debit card minimums, especially at markets like La Boquería and Santa Caterina.
- Consider ordering some euros to pick up at your local branch before your trip. Some banks will have fees attached, others might just exchange the money at the official rate of the day.
- Tip: If you choose to order some euros in advance, ask if you can have some of it in small bills (€5s or €10s), as small shops sometimes don’t have change for a big bill, especially if you’re shopping early in the day.
- Small bills and the very useful €1 & €2 coins are perfect for small, quick purchases, tips, etc.
Using Credit Cards Here:
- Some credit/debit cards charge transaction fees on every purchase made abroad. It adds up, so check in advance before you leave.
- Credit and debit cards are used commonly here, so you’ll be able to get around mostly with card if you’d like. (Taxis accept credit cards too!) But just be aware that if you’re using a debit card to get money out of an ATM that’s out of network, the additional fee is generally €5.
- Security is tighter than ever nowadays with foreign purchases.
- Always inform your credit/debit card companies in advance that you’ll be traveling.
- Despite placing travel notes on all of our cards, we still get them rejected from time to time simply because it’s a U.S.-based card used abroad. This is another reason you should always have cash handy.
Always Pay In Euros
- If you’re using your credit or debit card, you’ll usually be asked on the credit card reader if you’d like to pay in euros or dollars. Choose euros.
- Note: This can sometimes be a confusing moment with the credit card machines here. They will often ask, “Do you want to pay in dollars?” with a YES/NO option. And the correct answer is “NO”. It may seem like you’re turning down the entire purchase, but don’t worry, the machine will proceed on its own to finish the transaction in Euros.
- Otherwise, if you choose to pay in dollars, just know that you’ll be charged an additional fee. It’s called Dynamic Currency Conversion, which charges you extra for the “convenience” of showing you the price of your purchase in dollars. But in the end, you almost always end up paying more. Sneaky tourist trap.
- Here’s our advice on tipping at restaurants in Barcelona.
- More on pickpocketing here. Pickpocketing is unfortunately rampant in Barcelona, but you can take basic precautions by moving your wallet to the front pocket of your pants, and using a cross-body purse/wallet (and keeping that in front of you when you walk). A few simple precautions can go a long way.
For More Barcelona Travel Recommendations…
Check out our Gimme Some Barcelona Travel Guide, which includes a constantly-updated list of our best recommendations on where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in Barcelona. Plus, we’ve also shared a bunch of our best Barcelona-specific travel tips, so that you can navigate the city like a local.
Also, feel free to download our Gimme Some Barcelona Google Map, which includes all of the recommendations listed in our travel guide.