Barcelona is Spain’s second most populated city and is one of the world’s leading tourist, economic, trade fair and cultural centres, and it’s influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities.
It’s impossible to get bored in Barcelona: the best concerts, exhibitions and events related to art, culture and leisure await you, week after week. Barcelona occupies 13th place in the world on Innovation Cities™ Global Index. Enjoying this city means enjoying a good meal. Catalan gastronomy is one of the highlights of the culture of the region, which has a varied range of cuisine that is famed the world over.
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate (the average annual temperature is 21°C/70°F during the day and 14°C / 57°F at night) and is the 14th most “liveable city” in the world according to lifestyle magazine Monocle (similarly, according to Innovation Analysts).
LOCAL BUSINESS ETIQUETTE AND customs
Foreign women are accepted as businesswomen, but northern European businesswomen are often unpleasantly surprised by the attention Spanish men pay them in the office. Paying compliments on her looks, also in business, is a natural way of telling a woman that she is liked.
In Barcelona as well as in the rest of Spain, personal space is not as well respected as in, for example, the United States. It is not uncommon for a boss or worker to talk to you with his face very close to your own. It is considered rude to back away and create more space between you. Spaniards stand very close to each other, touch each other frequently on the arm, back and shoulder and maintain good eye contact.
People are friendly and hospitable. They speak and laugh loudly and like to go out in large groups. Do not expect to get invited in their homes but you will be invited to a restaurant. If you do get invited to their homes take chocolates or flowers. If you want to make friends, invite them to a restaurant or plan another outdoor event
Most people usually have their lunch from 2 pm to 4 pm and dinner from 9 pm to 11 pm.
If you do not know someone in the business world, it is proper to shake hands with that person. On the other hand, if a woman offers her cheek, you should gently give 2 kisses, one on the right cheek and the other on the left. It is not exactly a direct kiss, but more of touching of each cheek and kissing the air around it. However giving a kiss on the cheek is more appropriate in a social setting than in the business world. A hug is only given if you know someone very well. When leaving, it is polite to shake hands or give a kiss.
When working in Barcelona, it is important to be aware of the standards of behaviour and dress code of the company at which you are working. Manners and job etiquette in Barcelona are very similar to those in the rest of Europe, but there do exist certain differences.
In Barcelona, there is a difference between what people perceive as being formal since they care a lot about appearance. For work, women will wear skirts, dresses, and pants. At the office, women also often accessorise with jewellery and scarves for a more formal look. Shoes are also a very important part of work attire. Barcelona is known for well-made leather shoes, which must always be cleaned. Shorts are hardly ever worn, except for going to the beach.
Women usually wear a good watch. Discreet gold jewellery, such as earrings and a small gold necklace are fine. Only young girls wear plastic jewellery in Spain.
You do not need to dress very formally when you go to a theatre or when having dinner. Young people, however, are nowadays generally free to wear comfortable clothes.
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
You can get to Barcelona by any means of transport: by plane, car or train… even by boat!
Barcelona and its Metropolitan area have a wide range of public transport and sightseeing transport options. There are different ticket types so that you can get to where you want to go easily and conveniently.
Public transport such as the Metro, tram and FGC are the quickest, simplest and most convenient way of getting around the city. You can choose from the different ticket types and travel cards.
- Bus: The integrated fare system means that travel cards can be used on the Metro, trams, FGC and Renfe trains (zone 1)
- Barcelona Bus Turistic: From 25,20 € /person
- Bike: Barcelona has fully integrated cycle lanes and you can cycle through the city’s open spaces and parks.
- Taxi: There are 11,000 taxis in the city which can be easily identified by their yellow and black livery.
For further information about Barcelona’s Metro and rail services:
Taxi: Tel: 933033033
WOMEN’S NETWORKS AND EVENTS
PWN Global is a dynamic fast-growing offline and online networking and leadership development platform for professional women of all sectors and industries. With over 3,500 members and more than 90 nationalities, our volunteer-led organisation delivers over 600 events a year in our community of 25 city networks. We welcome you to our events; as a mentor or mentee; to explore our rich knowledge and resources; to learn, grow and leave your legacy, whilst volunteering across the Federation and our City Networks. Find out more about our city networks, here ; join our mission, here ; or, sign up for our monthly event mailer and quarterly newsletter, here. If you want to find out more from a ‘live’ person, don’t hesitate to contact Rebecca Fountain, PWN Global’s Head of Global Marketing and Communication.
SAFETY and emergency services
Long-term foreign residents and local residents in Barcelona will tell you that that Barcelona is generally a very safe city. Sadly there are many pickpockets in popular tourist areas, so be aware in busy tourist places, airports, train stations, Metro and also in your hotel lobby. Pickpockets in Barcelona are not violent. They target handbags, phones and wallets, which they try to steal without the owner noticing.
Aggressive and violent behavior in the Barcelona night-life is very rare, especially compared to northern European countries. You can walk the streets alone at night out without feeling threatened and the Barcelona metro is completely safe from violent crime. You often see police patrolling on streets and in traffic both day and night.
But like any big city, muggings in Barcelona can happen. They usually occur late at night after 01:00 in the morning and mostly around the port end of La Rambla and in the lower part of the Raval neighbourhood, but as previously mentioned, muggings with violence are very rare. In general, everyone can walk the streets of Barcelona and take the Metro in safety.
Emergency telephone numbers:
- 12 – All general emergencies
- 061 – Medical emergencies
- 080 – Fire service
- 088 – Police (Mossos d’Esquadra)
ambassador: ISABEL MARTINEZ-COSENTINO
My name is Isabel and Barcelona is the city where I was born and where I currently live. But I’ve also lived many years outside of Spain, for example I lived in the USA for 10 years in Minneapolis and Houston working as an expatriate. I have been the Expansion Director of a multinational firm for fifteen years, and I have been travelling around Asia, North and South America and Europe. My role was to open new offices of the firm around the world. I love to work and I love to travel, but two years ago I decided to come back to my city and start a new experience as a consultant in Cross-Cultural Management.
Lately, I have been working at the University Autónoma of Barcelona as an Associate teacher of International Business and I have a consultancy firm of Cross Cultural Management – crossculturalsolutions.es
I have a great passion for entrepreneurship, people, teaching, creativity and detail. I am also very passionate about my city, I love to keep posted about the cultural life, the newest restaurants and events that are going on in my fabulous city.
Networking: See who is networking in Barcelona now
Read the doing business in Spain guide.