Barcelona Summer Program: The City of Barcelona

'La Ciudad Condal'Barcelona Panorama

Nicknamed the "Ciudad Condal" for its role as the "countship" of Catalonia during the Spanish Reconquest, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, capital city of Catalonia and the province with the same name. It is located in the comarca of Barcelonès, along the Mediterranean coast (41°23′N 2°11′E) between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs. The population of the city is about 1.6 million, while the population of the Barcelona province is calculated to be 5.3 million. As capital city of Catalonia, Barcelona houses the seat of the Generalitat de Catalunya and its Conselleries, the Parliament of Catalonia and the Supreme Court of Catalonia.

Moorish DoorBarcelona’s impressive modern architecture –Calatrava’s, Gehry’s and more – complements its Roman, Gothic, and Modernist jewels. It houses Picasso, Tàpies and Miró museum collections and is the stage for El Grec, Barcelona’s highly acclaimed summer festival. A 50-100 mile drive offers extensive evidence of the relationship between political history, language, and the arts.

To the North, the Greek/ Roman site of Empuries; and Girona, with its newly restored Jewish and Arab quarters and extraordinary gothic churches. To the South, Tarragona, one of the main Roman sites in Spain (UN World Heritage Site), and the mountain and Abbey of Montserrat, the symbolic heart of Catalan religiosity and modern Catalan culture. (Barcelona City Hall door photo courtesy of Scott Semyan).

Public Transport

Barcelona Trambaix
The Barcelona Metro network is composed of nine lines, identified by an "L" followed by the line number as well as by individual colors. Six of them (L1, L2, L3, L4, L5 and L11) are managed by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), while the other three (L6, L7 and L8) are FGC commuter lines that run through the city. The metro network runs through Barcelona and connects it to a few towns in its metropolitan area. Currently under construction, the L9, covering almost 43 km, will be the longest metro line in Europe, and will connect the city to El Prat Airport. TMB operates scheduled day bus services through the city, plus a sightseeing bus service called Bus Turístic. It also operates the tram lines known as Trambaix and Trambesòs and the funiculars that climb Montjuic and Tibidabo.

There are also scheduled night bus lines (Nitbus). Transports Ciutat Comtal operates the regular Tomb Bus (across the Diagonal avenue, stopping at major shopping centers) and Aerobus (to the airport) services. It also operates the Port Bus, a service for cruise passengers, and Tibibus, to the Tibidabo amusement park. Other companies operate services that connect the city with towns in the metropolitan area.
The Estació del Nord (Northern Station), a former train station that was renovated for the 1992 Olympic Games, now serves as the terminus for long-distance and regional bus services.


Barcelona also has two cable cars: one to the Montjuïc castle (operated by TMB) and another that runs via Torre Jaume I and Torre Sant Sebastia over the port.


Barcelona Taxi
Barcelona has a metered taxi fleet governed by the Institut Metropolità del Taxi (Metropolitan Taxi Institute), composed of more than 10,000 cars. Most of the licenses are in the hands of self-employed drivers, leading to a clean and generally good service. With their black and yellow livery, Barcelona's taxis are easily spotted.

Taxi Company Names and Numbers:

Catalonia Taxi
+34 93 3050520
Radio Taxi 033
+34 93 3033033
Radio Taxi Metropolitano
+34 93 2250000
Servi Taxi
+34 93 3300300
Taxi Mercedes
+34 93 3070707



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Main festivals and celebrations

The range of festivals on offer in Barcelona is among the most varied and complete in Europe. Among the best known are the Festival Grec (please see description under "Fieldwork" on the Course Information Page), in summer (a few images of a Festival Grec may be seen at; the Festival de Jazz, held in autumn, and the Sonar Festival of electronic music and culture, in summer.

The calendar of festive celebrations in Barcelona is lively and rich. Most take place outdoors, on the city's streets, where collective creativity and participation become signs of shared enrichment and vitality. The main celebrations include: the parade of the Three Wise Kings (5 January); Carnestoltes or Carnival (February); Santa Eulàlia, co-patron saint of Barcelona (12 February); Saint Jordi's Day - the day of the book and the rose (23 April); Saint John's Eve - the summer solstice - a night of bonfires and bangers (23 June); the Mercè, the city's own feast day in which one million people participate in more than 382 different activities (in September); and the Fair of Santa Llúcia, in the time before Christmas and the winter solstice (December).

In addition to these festivities, there are the local festivals or festes majors in each neighborhood in honor of their traditional patron saint.

Holidays in Barcelona

1 January: New year's day (S)
6 January: The Three Kings (S)
Good Friday: the exact date varies according to the year (S)
Easter Monday: the exact date varies according to the year (C)
1 May: May Day (S)
Pentecost Monday: the exact date varies according to the year (L)
15 August: the Assumption (S)
11 September: Catalonia's National Day or "Diada" (C)
24 September: the Mercè festival (L)
12 October: the Hispanic Day (S)
1 November: All Saints (S)
6 December: Day of the Constitution (S)
8 December: the Immaculate Conception (S)
25 December: Christmas (S)
26 December: Saint Stephen's Day (C)

(L) Local holiday in Barcelona
(C) Holiday in Catalonia
(S) Holiday in the entire State

The newspaper kiosks sell the weekly, Guía del Ocio, which offers details of what's on in the cities cinemas, theatres and museums as well as information on exhibitions, restaurants and other leisure activities taking place during the week.

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Emergency Numbers

Practical Suggestion: If you are unlucky enough to be the victim of a crime, you should report the incident as soon as possible at the nearest police station or comisaria. If you report a crime you will be asked to make a denuncia, an official statement, which is essential if you wish to make an insurance claim.

There are four types of police in Barcelona: Policia Nacional, Policia Municipal, and Guardia Civil, and the Mossos d'Esquadra. In an emergency all of the police forces will help, although there is a distincion between their jurisdiction and duties.

Policia Municipal
Tel: 092
Officers wear navy and pale blue uniforms. Their jurisdiction is in towns and cities, and they deal with minor matters such as parking and traffic offenses.

Policia Nacional
Tel: 091
Officers wear blue uniforms. They cover bigger towns and cities and man most of the police stations or comisarias.

Guardia Civil
Tel: 062
Officers wear green uniforms and are heavily armed. Only serious crimes should be reported to the Guardia.

Mossos d'Esquadra
Tel: 93 300 2296
Officers wear navy and light blue uniforms with red trim. The Catalan government's police force. Perform similar role as the Policia Nacional.

Medical emergencies


General emergencies


Fire service


Guàrdia Urbana (local police)


Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police force)


Policía Nacional


Guardia Civil police force


Hospital General de la Vall d'Hebron

93 274 61 00

Hospital Clínic i Provincial

93 227 54 00

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

93 291 90 00

Hospital del Mar (next to the UPF campus)

93 248 30 00
93 248 33 35/34

Hospital Sant Joan de Deu

93 253 21 00

Duty Magistrates Courts (24-hours)

93 567 31 40

Social help center (24-hours)

900 703 030

Office for Non-Discrimination

93 304 31 18

Telegrams by telephone

902 197 197

Taxis (Audiotex telephone)

Catalan: 93 481 00 85
Spanish: 93 481 10 85

Special taxis for people with reduced mobility

93 420 80 88

Information on duty chemists

93 481 00 60

Medicines. Night home delivery (only for subscribers)

93 218 88 88

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