Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
Depending on where you live—in the city or in the suburbs—you may need to drive your own vehicle to conduct your everyday life. In some areas of the city itself, it is possible to get about by walking and by using public transportation.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
A U.S. driver's license is acceptable if you are staying less than 90 days in Spain. It is recommended that you obtain an international driver's license prior to arrival in Spain. If you are not able to do so, upon your arrival in Spain, have your driver's license translated into Spanish by an approved notary. Once the Spanish residence certificate is obtained, your international driver's license/translated license will no longer be valid. At this point, you must make arrangements to take the Spanish driver's examination.
EU citizens are not required to change their original driver's license for a Spanish license, however, when the national driver's license expires, it will be necessary to change your expiring license for a new Spanish license at the Traffic Department (Dirección General de Trafico, DGT).
What side of the road do people drive on?
People drive on the right side of the road.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
The city of Barcelona has a modern and extensive metro, bus and commuter train network. Within the city, it is often easier and faster to move around by public transport. All of the public transport has an integrated tariff system, which makes it possible to change between trains, buses, metro, etc., with the same ticket (with some exceptions).
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
In the Barcelona metropolitan area, it's easy to get to most surrounding towns by using trains ("Renfe Rodalies") or the FGC metro system. All of the beaches are connected by Renfe Rodalies. The towns that aren't connected by train generally have express bus services to Barcelona city. Barcelona is also connected with a high-speed train, the AVE.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
The Barcelona transport system is, although very crowded, safe and generally reliable. You will have to be aware of pickpockets in the metro.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
Tickets can be bought at all of the metro and train stations.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.