Do people speak English in Barcelona?


If you have decided to come for a visit in sunny Barcelona, or if you are planning to stay for a little while, the first question you will probably ask yourself is “What language do people speak in Catalunya?”. And the next, if English will be enough to get by during your stay. Regardless of how much time you decide to stay in the city, you will need to find accommodation, and ShBarcelona has the best the city can offer. While you are browsing for a cool flat, we will explain all you need to know about languages in Barcelona and the level of English of this dynamic city.

What language do people speak in Barcelona?

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Barcelona is a really multicultural city, so people speak hundreds of languages here. But let’s be practical – most people in Barcelona are Catalans, meaning that Catalan is their main language. That being said, the majority of locals are bilingual and can speak Spanish fluently. In all the shops, restaurants, banks, museums, etc. those are the usual languages that people use on a daily basis. But don’t let that intimidate you. If you are only coming for a visit and not to actually live in Barcelona, there is no need to learn the local languages. You will find that most touristic spots have hired employees who can also speak English and other foreign languages.

Related article: An introduction to the Catalan language

The English language and Barcelona

Barcelona is a very touristic city, opened to the world and bursting with culture. Over the recent years, the English language has bloomed, and more and more Catalans are speaking it. If you are planning to become an English teacher here, you will find plenty of work opportunities.

But the Catalan and Spanish citizens are not the only ones to speak English. There are people living in Barcelona that have come from all over the world, who quickly find that the best way to communicate is in English.

Tourists usually have a relatively easy time getting around the city and communicating with the locals in English, mainly in the touristic areas. But if you decide to come to Barcelona to live, it is essential that you learn a least basic communication in Spanish.

Related article: English language books

Venues and services in English in Barcelona

Photo by Carlos Lorenzo via Visualhunt

There are a variety of venues and services that cater to the English speakers in Barcelona. If you experience health issues, can find both doctors and dentists who speak English. If you are looking to meet with people that speak English to make new friends, we strongly recommend you to check out Meetup. This social networking platform allows you to get together with other users and many of them are English-speakers. And you can also visit one of the many Irish pubs that you will find all other the cities if you want a taste of back home, or watch some sports that might not be on the Spanish television!

The point is, Barcelona is a welcoming city and you will easily find a way to settle here, whatever language you decide to speak.

About the author

Alix Simonovitch

Alix Simonovitch

Traveler and blogger, Alix wrote about the cities of Amsterdam and Brussels before moving to Barcelona 9 years ago. Writer and translator specialized in tourism and gastronomy, she wants to share all her discoveries in her new city.