When you embark on a journey to learn Spanish in Barcelona, you can expect an unforgettable adventure which combines culture, mouthwatering cuisine and fascinating linguistic diversity. If that all sounds good to you, you’re in for a treat here!
We will guide you through what to expect when learning Spanish as a beginner in Barcelona, providing you with some tips on the food culture, the peculiarities of learning Spanish in Catalonia, and some other useful insights.
Spain is famous for its food, and Barcelona is certainly no exception. The city is a paradise for connoisseurs with its delicious tapas, hearty paella and fresh seafood. While paella has its roots further down the coast in Valencia, and tapas originated in Andalusia, both have been part of Barcelona’s culture for generations and have deep roots in the Catalan region.
You will find tapas bars and restaurants all over the city, and it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming trying to find good places to eat. The teachers at your Spanish school will all have their own favourites, but sometimes it’s a good idea to take a walk around the neighbourhood and see what bars are busy at around 9:30-10 pm - the time where most Spaniards eat. This is generally a good sign that a place offers good food - especially when it is full of locals - and you can make a mental note to try it out later on in your trip.
Walking around the Eixample quarter of Barcelona recently, I saw queues of locals waiting for a table outside some of the most popular tapas bars - at 10 pm on a Tuesday night! I returned a little earlier the next evening to avoid the queues and was not disappointed!
Barcelona is a bustling, cosmopolitan city, so it’s no surprise that you will also find plenty of international cuisine - including some interesting international tapas variations.
You can also explore Barcelona’s many food markets. While the focus is on the fresh produce and fish, there are also many cafés and tapas bars to be found here that offer some of the freshest tapas in the city!
You will be spoilt for choice in Barcelona when it comes to sights and activities. La Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s Park Güell are two of the most famous and most popular (book ahead to ensure it’s not sold out!), but Barcelona offers so much more than this.
There are many museums that are worth visiting as well: the Picasso museum has a huge collection of his works, going back as far as sketches from his teenage years, while the MACBA is a gem for fans of contemporary art. Other highlights include the MUHBA museum of Barcelona’s history, the MNAC Catalunya national art museum located in the magnificent Palau Nacional, and the maritime museum located in the historic shipyards.
If museums are not your thing, how about architecture? From the medieval charm of the Gothic Quarter, the modernist beauty of the entire Eixample district to masterpieces from the likes of Gaudí and Mies van der Rohe: you will definitely not be disappointed!
Or you can simply take a stroll through the maze of narrow streets in the old town, with lots of small, independent shops selling everything from shoes to art.
Barcelona offers a fascinating linguistic landscape, which can sometimes feel a bit daunting for beginners: The local language of Catalan coexists here with Spanish. While everybody can speak Spanish, you will be confronted with Catalan on a regular basis, be it street signs, local TV or conversations you hear on the street.
The main thing is not to worry, and to simply embrace and appreciate both languages. Your Spanish course will focus on Spanish, but you will no doubt quickly pick up a few Catalan words as well. A local might first address you in Catalan, but once you start speaking a few words of Spanish, they will also switch.
You can show that you are aware of this and show respect to the local culture and language by also learning a few basic Catalan phrases while you are there.
Because of its appeal to tourists, it’s hardly surprising that Barcelona is a popular choice for those wanting to learn Spanish too.
Barcelona has many language schools, and some of the best are partners of Estudia-España. All of our schools are located in the magnificent Eixample quarter, a beautiful and famous quarter of wide, straight avenues and octagonal blocks. The 19th and 20th century architecture here is unique to Barcelona, and is worth exploring on foot. The schools are within walking distance of the main sites Barcelona has to offer, such as la Sagrada Familia or La Rambla.
The courses themselves are held in small groups of no more than 12 students. Courses of up to 20 lessons per week usually take place in the mornings, giving you the rest of the day to explore the city, visit a museum or simply relax by the beach. In busier times, in particular in the summer months, courses also take place in the afternoons. But you will still find plenty of time to explore the city.
As I have already mentioned, Barcelona is a very popular tourist destination, and especially in the summer it can get very busy.
If possible, I would recommend learning Spanish in Barcelona outside of this time. Barcelona’s climate makes it an ideal destination in spring and autumn too, so why not book your course then, where there will be considerably fewer tourists around?
If you want to book a course, we are here to help! Either book here, or contact us via email, chat or contact form and we will be happy to help you plan your trip!