Internet access via Wi-Fi is available in virtually all Barcelona hotels. In addition, many cafés and bars are Internet hot spots and have signs indicating it in their windows. An important piece to pack is the adapter that translates flat-edged plugs or triple plugs to round dual ones. Most Internet cafés have no equipment to get your laptop online, but Wi-Fi access is common throughout Barcelona.
Computer Supplies and Services
GeoMac. For Apple/Macintosh service solutions, contact GeoMac. Barcelona, Catalonia. 606/308932; macrepairbarcelona.com.
Bcnet Internet Gallery Café . Barra de Ferro 3, Born-Ribera, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08003. 93/268--1507.
Cafe Internet Navego. Carrer Provença 546, Eixample, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08025. 93/436--8459.
Friends on Line. Carrer Còrsega 197, Eixample, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08036. 93/363--0754.
Calling out to anywhere from your hotel almost always incurs a hefty surcharge. Prepaid cards can help you keep costs to a minimum, but only if you purchase them locally. And then there are mobile phones: if you have one that’s Skype-compatible, your financial worries are over.
The country code for Spain is 34. To phone home from Spain, 00 gets you an international line; country codes are 1 for the United States and Canada, 61 for Australia, 64 for New Zealand, and 44 for the United Kingdom.
Calling Within Spain
Spain’s telephone system is efficient, and direct dialing is the norm everywhere. Only cell phones conforming to the European GSM standard will work in Spain.
All Spanish area codes begin with a 9; for instance, Barcelona is 93 and Bilbao is 94. The 900 code indicates a toll-free number. Numbers starting with a 6 indicate a cellular phone; note that calls from landlines to cell phones (and vice versa) are significantly more expensive.
For general information in Spain, dial 1–18–18. The operator for international information and assistance is at 1–18–25 (some operators speak English). Barcelona information of all kinds, including telephone information, is available at 010, where many operators speak English.
Calls within Spain require dialing 8, 9, or 10 digits (beginning with a 2- or 3-digit regional code), even within the same area code.
Making a long-distance call within Spain simply requires dialing the 8, 9, or 10-digit number including the provincial area code and number.
Between phone booths (ask for a cabina telefónica) and public phones in bars and restaurants, telephone communication in Spain functions as well as anyplace in the world. Many phones have digital screens, so you can see your money ticking away. You need at least €0.20 in coin for a local call, €1 to call another province. Pick up the phone, wait for the dial tone, and only then insert coins before dialing. Rates are reduced on weekends and after 8 pm on weekdays.
Calling Outside Spain
The best way to phone home is to use a public phone that accepts prepaid cards (available from tobacconists and most newsagents) or make your call from a locutorio (phone center). The best thing about the locutorio is the quiet, private booth. If the call costs more than €5, you can often pay with Visa or MasterCard.
To make an international call yourself, dial 00, then the country code, then the area code and number. Ask at a tourist office for a list of locutorios and Internet centers that include phone service.
Before you go, find out your long-distance company’s access code in Spain.
MCI WorldPhone. 800/099357.
Sprint International Access. 900/990013.
Pay phones work with a prepaid card (tarjeta telefónica), of which there are several varieties that you can buy at any tobacco shop (tabac) or newsagent. The Euro Hours Card, sold at many tobacco shops for €6, is good for 350 minutes’ worth of international calls.
If you have a multiband phone and your service provider uses the world-standard GSM network (as do T-Mobile, Cingular, and Verizon), you can probably use your phone pretty much anywhere abroad—roaming fees can be steep, however. And overseas you can get stuck with toll charges for incoming calls. It’s almost always cheaper (but confirm with your carrier) to send a text message than to make a call, because text messages have a low set fee (often less than €0.05). To avoid roaming fees completely, select airplane mode or turn off data roaming until you are in a Wi-Fi hot spot, where you can check email or use the Web at much lower costs (often free). If you were to do either while roaming, your bill would show it: an email with a five-megapixel photo, for example, would require your phone to download about 2 megabytes of data at a cost of about $20 per MB from either Verizon or AT&T.
If you just want to make local calls, consider buying a new SIM card (note that your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different card) and a prepaid service plan in your destination.
Cell Phone Rentals
Telecon Iberica. 93/228--9110; www.telecon.es.
Cellular Abroad. This company rents and sells GMS phones and sells SIM cards that work in many countries. 800/287--5072; www.cellularabroad.com.
Mobal. This company rents mobiles and sells GSM phones (starting at $29) that will operate in 140 countries. Per-call rates vary throughout the world. 888/888--9162; www.mobalrental.com.
Planet Fone. This company rents cell phones, but unlike with most other providers, you have to pay for incoming calls. 888/988--4777; www.planetfone.com.