Barcelona and its administrative and territorial structures
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and Spain's second largest city, after Madrid, in physical size and population. Some 1.6 million people currently live in the city. Its metropolitan area is made up of 36 towns and cities with a population of about 3.2 million.
The City Council is the institution tasked with governing and administering the city. It is made up of the mayor, deputy mayors and councillors, all of whom are elected for four years. They meet as the Full City Council to debate and approve municipal policies.
Administratively speaking, Barcelona City Council is divided up into ten districts, each of which has its own headquarters for offering district residents a more direct, local service. Territorially speaking, the city is divided up into 73 neighbourhoods.
Transport and mobility
Barcelona well-connected by a public transport system that enables users to reach all the city's neighbourhoods. You can buy one ticket for the various means of public transport (metro, bus and tram), as it is an integrated system. Bicing is a public bike-hire system. You will need a subscription card to use it, which you can apply for online.
For further information please visit the Barcelona Metropolitan Transport (TMB) website.
The BCN Map shows you any address or service you are looking for on a city map as well as the best way of getting there on public transport.
Culture, leisure and sport
Barcelona offers a broad range of facilities for culture, leisure and doing sport.
The city's libraries are public centres open to everyone, which offer services such as loans, free access to the internet and specific courses.
Local neighbourhood civic centres are local meeting spaces where regular cultural, leisure and training activities are held.
The sport facility network allows users to do a large variety of sports.
Resources for children
Barcelona offers a large variety of activities outside school hours and during the summer holidays. We have a network of 43 local children's centres and public toy libraries, which are municipal recreation facilities for children offering leisure and educational activities.
This link offers further information on extracurricular activities, the places they are held and how to take part in them.
Municipal services for young people
There are several resources for the city's youth. The Young People's Information and Advice Centre (CIAJ) and the youth information points (PIJ) network offer advice on employment, tourism and international mobility, as well as information on such issues as culture, housing, health care and sport.
The CIAJ is at C/ Sant Oleguer, nº 6-8. Metro Drassanes (green and purple line). It is open Mondays to Fridays, from 10 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm. It has free WiFi.
Business opening hours
Barcelona's retail food establishments normally open between 8 am and 9 pm; all other shops normally open at or after 10 am. Some close for lunch sometime between 1.30 pm and 2 pm and re-open sometime between 4 pm and 5 pm. They stay open until 8 pm or 8.30 pm. The big shopping centres do not close during lunch hours. Most shops are open on Saturday afternoons but are usually closed on Sundays.
Markets and street markets
Barcelona boasts a network of local markets. There are 32 food markets, which means each neighbourhood has one nearby.
Besides those there is the Sant Antoni Sunday Market, a large book, postcard, magazine and video-game fair, and the Encants de Barcelona, market, one of Europe's oldest street markets, which houses 283 stalls specialising in antiques, second-hand clothes, collectors' items and plenty more.
Rules for positive community life and civic behaviour
Barcelona is subject to the Byelaw on Public Coexistence, which regulates behaviour in public places. Improper use of such places may lead to fines.
For example, you can be fined for gambling, drinking alcohol, unauthorised street hawking, putting up graffiti, urinating and spitting on public streets and squares.
For further information on the byelaw and associated fines, please call 010.
In addition, the city also has set times you would do well to learn.
- You must avoid making a noise between 10 pm and 8 am, so local residents can get some sleep.
- The recommended time for taking out and dumping your rubbish in street containers is from 8 pm to 10 pm.
- Each neighbourhood has its own assigned day for the collection of furniture and old junk. These must be left outside the main entrance to your building between 8 pm and 10 pm.