Congratulations, you are coming to Barcelona! Whether it be for studies, holidays, business, or otherwise, there is so much you should do. “Visit La Sagrada Familia”, “go to Park Guell”, or “watch the ‘magic’ fountain show” are common suggestions you’ll hear from many who have lived in or visited Barcelona. These are highly suggested things that you should consider, but what about the other stuff? Which bar or pub should you visit that does not have many ratings, and may not come to the top of your search results on Google or Trip Advisor? What time periods should you plan your holidays around? What processes do you need to confirm your stay is legal? Which apps are useful to use for those staying for a longer period of time, and what other kinds of things should one consider if they are making the move to Barcelona as opposed to just a short visit?
Look no further, after asking current InnoEnergy Master’s students what they would recommend, the CommUnity Post and the InnoEnergy MSc School have collected the input. Here are some students’ suggestions on how to effectively manage your stay in Barcelona:
Get your NIE and/or your TIE
The NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros) is the Spanish identification number. It is the identification number needed to open a bank account in Spain and to work, among other things.
Who needs it:
- All EU students staying in Spain for more than 3 months (formally stated). In reality, only the EU students that wish to work or use the Bicing (Barcelona bike sharing system).
- All non-EU students (although you should be assigned a NIE number on your student visa which was given prior to your arrival in Spain and typically only lasts for 90 days before you activate the long-stay visa). Technically, what is needed upon a non-EU citizen’s arrival for a long stay in Spain is the TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros), which is the identification card that shows your NIE number and is effectively your visa for your long-stay.
How to do it:
- EU Students: Follow the instruction given in the document called “How to make an appointment” at this link. Here you’ll find listed all the documents you need to apply for the NIE. Make sure you have all of them in double copy (original and copy) when going to the police office.
Once you’ve made the appointment and go to the police office, they will tell you to go to the copy shop close to the office where the person working there will ask you to pay 1.5 € for just 3 pages printed: you actually only need the first one! Then, with that page and the number the officer gave you, you should go to the bank in front of the police station and pay the tax (10 €). If no one tells you, be aware that you can pay this tax at the automatic cash machine that is in the bank, you don’t need to stand in the queue (pretty long usually). Then go back to the police office and collect your document.
The link to apply for an appointment works only on MONDAY MORNINGS AT 8:00 (it sounds like a joke, but unluckily it’s true, it works 1 minute per week). If you try at other times it could work, but most of the time it will tell you that all the places are already reserved.
- Non-EU Students: You will also need to make an appointment, however the link to make appointments is always active unlike that for EU students. The forms and procedures that you’ll need to follow to make the appointment and get the identification card itself are found in this link. Aside from the documents you needed to get your initial, short-stay, Spanish visa (and thus, documents you should already have), you will need to do a declaration of your census register (called an “empadronamiento”). To do this you will need to have secured a flat in Barcelona and visit one of the census registry offices (Ajuntament de Barcelona) to declare your residency. No appointment is necessary for the empadronamiento. You will need to visit with your landlord who has documents with him or her showing that they pay the bills, and/or a signed official contract showing your residence at the address and length of your stay in the agreement. The document is issued to you right there at the office.
It is a waiting game for these procedures, and when you book an appointment, they usually give you one about three or four weeks from the date that you request to book it. You can change the date later, so you should make the appointment first, while you go about completing the ‘empadronamiento’. Once you submit everything needed for the TIE at your appointment, you will receive it about a month later. The fee for this card is less than 10 € which you will pay at a bank and show the receipt when you pick up the card at a different office.
The university website offers helpful information about accommodation in Barcelona.
Idealista is also a well-known site for finding rooms to rent.
Looking for something? Use Wallapop
Wallapop is an app for selling and buying second hand stuff, basically like eBay. It’s available for Android and iPhone. You’ll find anything you need there like bicycles, furniture, or anything that you wouldn’t pack with you on an international move. Then, you can utilize the services before you leave to get rid of what you will not be keeping as you continue your journey.
Photo Credit: softonic.com
Visit IMPRFCTO (yes, that is how it is spelled)
It is a bar located at Av. del Paraŀlel, 104 that is owned by a Belgian guy who also runs an NGO for sustainable living called Greencaps. He is very passionate about renewable energy and sustainability and we also organized a CommUnity event here. In addition, you have a wide selection of Belgian beers. Monday nights are two for one, and Sunday nights are quiz nights. Get a team together to test your skills at general knowledge trivia. There is also a raffle that takes place. The Belgian fries are a high-quality snack to get as well.
Other nightlife/restaurants/events that are recommended?
- During Sunday and Wednesday nights at Marula Café (Carrer dels Escudellers, 49) there are live funk jam sessions. The place is really cool and you can enter for free until 12:30. Once inside, the cocktails are a bit expensive, however, you can just enjoy the music.
- Cafeteria Can Deu (Carrer de Vilamur, 25) and Antic Teatre (Carrer de Verdaguer i Callís, 12) are lovely places to go to during sunny days because of their big terraces.
- Fragments Café (Plaça de la Concòrdia, 12) is a nice bar in a lovely square and the patatas bravas are one of the best you can try in Barcelona (not really cheap though).
- Café Camélia (Carrer de Verdi, 79) is a great place to go for lunch or just a coffee and cake. Outside of the meal times, it is also a good place to study. It’s a vegan restaurant, but even if you’re not a vegan, you can appreciate their menu. It’s kind of a hidden place in the Gracia neighborhood.
- Red Ant Noodle Bar (Carrer dels Tiradors, 5) is a great place for Asian food at a really good price. Try the seaweed salad to start and end with one of their many flavours of moochi.
- When springtime comes, if you like electronic/techno music make sure you go to Brunch in the Park & in the City (Jardins de Joans Brossa. Montjuic). Buy tickets ahead of time.
- Again, for the lovers of techno and electronic music the MOOG (Carrer de l'Arc del Teatre, 3) is a nice club to go (entrance is usually 10 €).
Plan to be in town for La Mercé and Sant Joan
Make sure you will be in Barcelona on the 24th of September for the celebration of La Mercé. There are three days of festivities around the city and everything is wonderful. On the last night of the weekend of La Mercé, go to the magic fountain in Placa d’Espanya if you like fireworks.
Photo credit OK Apartment Barcelona
Around the 20th of June is the Festival of Sant Joan. You’ll see and hear fireworks all around the city. Many will be at the Barcelona beaches at night celebrating. There are a few Catalan traditions that align with this festival, but we suggest asking locals what their traditions are during Sant Joan.
Photo credit Barcelona Home Blog
Which Spanish courses are recommended?
The school Metrocultura (close to metro Universitat) is the cheapest option students could find, and from many, we have heard that they had a great experience. A lot of master’s students and professionals in Barcelona use this Spanish language school.
Other Places to Visit? (apart from the typical touristic—but still wonderful—attractions)
- Barcelona Pavilion (Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 7)
- Jardì Botànic de Barcelona (Carrer Doctor i Font Quer, 2)
- Bunkers del Carmel (MUHBA Turó de la Rovira, Carrer de Marià Lavèrnia; take the V17 bus all the way up to Carmel and at the end of the line continue walking uphill)
Barcelona is a wonderful city as you will come to discover for yourself. Listing all of the best attractions and places of interest would result in a novel piece of literature. These are just a few things to consider to get you started during your stay in Barcelona, collected from some peers and individuals in the CommUnity who already know a few things.
Information for accepted students
For more practical and administrative questions about your first year. Please visit the InnoEnergy website page for accepted students information for your specific programme guide.
The CommUnity Post in collaboration with the InnoEnergy Masters School
Special thanks to: