Barcelona has an excellent web of public transportation. Most convenient is its metro system. For all metro travels a one zone-ticket suffices. An individual one zone-ticket is expensive (1,45 euro). It is much cheaper to buy a (one-zone) T-10, which is valid for ten trips and costs 8,25 euro. The T-10 is integrated, which means that it is valid in all public transports in Barcelona (Metro, Bus, FGC, Train), and you only pay once if you change from one mean of transport to another, in 1h 15min at most. You can find some advice on Barcelona metro system here.
The most convenient metro stop for participants of LC2011 is Universitat, located in Plaça Universitat. The metro and rail-way stop in Plaça Catalunya is also very close to the University.
The short distance rail-way services (Rodalies) are catered by two different operators: FGC and RENFE where the latter is said to have a worse on-time performance. Medium and long distance routes are exclusively operated by RENFE.
We can recommend moving around by bicycle in Barcelona. There are various rental services that you can find on the Internet: here is an example. It might even be more practical and cheaper to become a member of the public bike renting service Bicing. This is for Spanish (ex) residents only.
Moreover, various destinations in the center are within walking distance of each other and Barcelona has large pedestrian areas in the center and around. Walking a distance of, say, four metro stops does on average not take longer than 15 minutes or so.
The two official languages in Barcelona are Catalan and Castilian (Spanish). Most inhabitants of Barcelona are proficient in English too.
All regular payments are done in euros.
Health care, first aid
General alarm number: 112 (for emergencies);
There is a useful webpage that localizes the nearest pharmacy on duty for you. The page is either in Catalan or Spanish but is rather straight-forward. If necessary, translations can be obtained by, for example, Google Translate.
The nearest public health center, Centre d'Atenció Primària (CAP) in Catalan, is here.
Opening hours (Horari; Horarios) can vary quite a bit. For musems and institutions we advice to consult this in advance. Big shops and any shop in the center, are mostly open all day (10:00 - 21:00). Smaller shops outside the center may close between 13:30 and 17:00. Typically, governmental institutions are open only in the morning, say from 8:00 - 14:00.
Lunch typically is served between 13:00 and 15:00 and dinner can typically be consumed from 20:00 - 23:00. Again, there is quite some variation in this, and dinner before 21:00 could be seen as excentric by some locals.
Local food and beverages
The main meal is lunch. Catalan food is rather similar to various other Mediterranean cuisines.
Catalan culinary culture also includes the typical tapas which are like small portions of appetizers and various tapas can constitute a meal.
The conference is located at the Raval neighborhood. In this neighborhood there are various budget restaurants which can be easily found by walking around, preferably a bit away from the Rambla. On weekdays, almost all restaurants offer during lunch a menu that includes three courses, a drink and bread.
You can consult some of the restaurants in Raval here.
Tipping cultureTipping in Barcelona is not as in the US and is more like rounding off plus one or two euros rather than a fixed percentage. For example, for a lunch of 14.5 € one either does not tip or pay 15 €. For a dinner party of 87 €, paying 90 € is considered more than appropriate. A taxi ride of 22,65 € would be rounded off to 23 €, although many people do not tip at all in taxis.
There are quite some mobile applications for Barcelona: tourism (Lonely Planet, Timeout, Tripwolf, etc), public transport (TMB Virtual, Bus Turístic Virtual, BCNbus, Metro Barcelona, Barcelona Subway), transit information (Trànsit), taxi (Catalunya Taxi), bycicles, etc.
These applications are given as examples, not recommendations, please check out mobile applications for your interestes since they keep growing in numbers. We would like to point out the recent application BCNTours created by the students of the Faculty of Mathematics (University of Barcelona).
Links of interest
For further questions or enquiries, please do not hesitate in contacting the local organizers at email: lc2011 (at) lsi.upc.edu.