Most of the locations that accept credit cards do not create any difficulties for visitors to the city, but many require a minimum payment of 3 euros when paying by card. If you would like to buy one bottle of water or a single mug of beer, this likely will not be possible by credit or debit. The markets located in small provincial towns on the outskirts of Barcelona might not have ATM machines at all. However, this is no reason to deprive yourself of a cup of aromatic coffee or fresh fruits, details that can enhance your experience of the city and your vacation as a whole. Officially, currency exchanges in Barcelona, Spain are carried out by banks, touristic bureaus, and many other places. Therefore, you should not encounter any problem when exchanging foreign currency in one of these locals.
First of all, visitors always can withdraw money from ATM machines, for all ATMs work with Visa and Mastercard (Access). It may be true that at times it is not a good idea to pay an extra fee for the use of a foreign card at the ATM. However, the key principle is to be informed about the options offered by different banks’ machines, and it will become clear whether it is worthwhile to use the ATM to make your exchange. Sabadell bank charges just 1.80 euros per operation for a withdrawal of any amount. Moreover, every ATM offers menu options in multiple languages, including English. Hence, it is highly unlikely that the procedure will be confusing, and you will have a variety of withdrawal options. Other banks charge a slightly higher fee of 3 euros and sometimes 3.50 euros, depending on the amount withdrawn. In any case, even with these varying conditions, the exchange rate is not as bad as the extremely low rates offered in hotels and hostels.
Currency exchange in banks of Barcelona
Another option is to exchange foreign currency in Barcelona and in Spain, in general, in any bank. The banks are the places in which the best exchange rate typically is found. Although the Central European Bank and the Bank of Spain set the market quotes, banks and currency exchange offices are free to apply other quotes, thereby establishing buying and selling rates at their own discretion. Nevertheless, the most famous banks, such as BBVA, Lа Caixa, Sabadell, and Santander feature the most attractive rates and even enable their clients to save on the interests. The only inconvenience is the limited working hours at these banks, which are typically 8:00 – 14:00 on weekdays and 9:00 – 12:00, midday, on Saturdays. Should you need to visit a bank in the afternoon, it might be totally impossible to access the services you require. The central streets of Madrid are the only places in Spain where the banks remain open around the clock.
Please, keep in mind that when exchanging money in a branch of a bank, you will be required to present a passport. Plus, banks often have specific limit on the maximum exchange amount – as a rule, you can withdraw up to a maximum of 3000 euros.
Undoubtedly, to exchange foreign currency in Barcelona, the best choice is to visit a bank. It is worth remembering, however, that it could be a problem to exchange dollars for euros, since recently banks have been instructed to carry out such operations for Spanish residents only. However, with any other exchanges involving the national currency, no problems should arise.
Moreover, visitors also can find foreign currency exchange offices in the majority of the large hotels in Barcelona. Keep in mind that when exchanging money at a hotel, you will be charged an extra fee. There are several currency exchange offices on Les Ramblas, the most touristic street of the city. As a rule, this location does not have the most attractive exchange rates. Plus, the general security level of this district is rated at 7 points out of 10. For this reason, a better option is to exchange money behind closed doors without strangers behind you.
How to exchange currency at Barcelona airport
El Prat airport, like most arrival points, features some exchange sites. The Catalonian bank, La Caixa, controls the exchange offices in Terminals T1 and T2. The same bank returns your Tax-Free savings on your purchases made in Spanish territory. If you need cash directly upon arrival, it is convenient to exchange some of your money after retrieving your luggage. The currency exchange office operates from 7:30 to 22:00. However, a currency exchange at the airport of Barcelona is still not the best option available. La Caixa does not charge an extra fee for the operation, but often the established exchange rate is significantly lower than that set by the bank. So, in order not to pay in excess for your euros, it makes more sense to make your exchange once you arrive in the city. The good news is that buses and taxis from the airport accept card payments.
Contact “INEEDSpain” and you will not need to worry about your cash operations or search the city for the working hours and location of banks. We also specialize in organizing trips and assisting tourists, and we are ready to provide consultations on any matter related to your trip.