YOGABODY Teachers College | Tools of Transformation Retreat 20 – 23 September 2023
Booking Tickets: Barcelona is easily accessible from just about anywhere in the world via dozens of major airlines. These days, most of the big online travel sites are extremely competitive (meaning the prices are very similar), so we recommend you pick a favorite booking site and find a flight that meets your needs.
Commonly used airfare sites:
Barcelona-El Prat Airport
Barcelona Airport (BCN): There is just one airport in Barcelona, El Prat, so all flights with Barcelona as the destination will land here. The airport is about a 25-minute drive from the city center, and there are three options to get into town, all of which are very easy and do not require advanced booking.
How to get into the city:
Aerobus Barcelona: The Aerobus runs every day from 5am to 1am and costs 5,90€ one-way. It is surprisingly fast, comfortable, and cost-effective. From the moment you exit the airport, you can be on the bus and on your way to the city in less than 10 minutes. We highly recommend this transportation option.
Metro: The L9 (orange line) connects the airport to the city. Passengers have to switch lines and take either the L1, L3, or L5 to reach their accommodation. A one-way ride from the airport to the city via metro costs 4,50€. The metro runs every day from 5am to midnight, except for Friday night when it runs until 2am, and Saturday night when it runs for 24 hours. The problem with this option is the route is very long and roundabout, so allow for as much as two hours to get to your destination. The metro is safe, clean, and reliable, but undeniably slow.
Taxi: Taxis are available 24/7 at the terminal. Taxis are all safe and metered. Cost varies depending on the time of day and traffic, but expect to pay 30€ to 35€ on average to get to most destinations. Credit cards are accepted.
Money: Credit cards and debit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere in the city, including most fresh markets. For cash, you’ll usually get the best rate if you do withdraws from cash points/ATM machines rather than bringing in foreign currency and exchanging it at the airport. All cash points/ATM machines will accept cards from around the world and support multiple languages.
For current exchange rates, please visit www.xe.com. (Note: These are best market rates; the actual rate you’ll get is never this good.)
Metro. Very convenient, clean, and easy. With a T-10, you pay about 1€ per ride. You can purchase a card in any station. Alternatively, if you prefer unlimited travel within Barcelona, you can buy a 5-day travel card in advance.
Bus. Buses go everywhere, but they can be slower and more crowded than the metro. City buses work on the same system as the metro, so if you have a metro card, you can use it on the bus, as well. Note: You cannot buy metro cards on the bus, only one-off rides (which are expensive), so it’s best if you pick up a metro card at the beginning of your trip to have handy.
Taxi. Taxis are safe, fairly clean, and relatively inexpensive in Barcelona. Most rides within the city center are 6€ to 12€. There are numerous apps out there, but most people just hail them from the sidewalk.
Food. A typical menú del día (set lunch menu) costs 9€ to 14€ and a dinner might set you back 20€ to 30€. Cheap eats are easy to find, too. Grocery stores and fresh markets are everywhere, and ready-made (fresh daily) food shops are also common.
Barcelona’s waterfront and promenade
Culture: Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain (after Madrid) and is situated on the Mediterranean Sea, with very close proximity to the Pyrenees mountain range, Andorra, and France. There are people in the city who consider themselves Catalan, Spanish, or both Catalan and Spanish. There is a strong Catalan independence movement that is very polarizing and political, and it’s common to see Catalan and Spanish flags hanging from balconies—a sign of political affiliations. People often assume Spanish culture is warm and welcoming, but that is not as true in Barcelona as it is in the south of Spain. People in Barcelona are friendly, but tend to be more reserved and often keep to themselves. Catalunya has a rich tradition of food, wine, and architecture. Beach and seaside activities are also very important to the local residents.
Language: Barcelona is one of the few truly bilingual cities in the world, with both Catalan and Spanish used fluidly in most settings. In schools, both languages are taught. On street signs, Catalan is obligatory. It’s worth mentioning that Catalan is not a dialect; it is a language unique to this region and spoken by some 10 million people. At times, it sounds very close to Spanish; at other times, not at all. It’s often described as Spanish meets French. Everyone who speaks Catalan understands and speaks Spanish, but not all Spanish speakers understand or speak Catalan. Immigrants from all over the world, and even other parts of Spain, usually learn and use Spanish, not Catalan, so you’ll hear both languages throughout your time here. In shops and restaurants, people switch between languages without missing a beat. It’s not something people talk about or think about, it’s just part of the culture.
The average level of English-language understanding is surprisingly high, but many people are reluctant to speak it—often times because they don’t have much experience or practice. Speaking only English, most travelers don’t run into any problems. The closer you are to the city center, the higher the average level of English. Younger generations also speak and understand English at a higher level. Barcelona is a major destination for tourism, so there is never a problem using English or being a foreigner—there are foreigners everywhere.
Food: Barcelona is a foodie’s paradise, with a myriad of outdoor cafes, tapas bars, and seaside dining options. Over the past few years, the gastronomic scene has expanded to include every type of dietary restriction under the sun. Food here is simple, yet tasty, and priced moderately. A typical breakfast always includes coffee and then possibly something light to eat, such as a croissant. Throughout the work week, lunch is often a sandwich or a menú del día (for those with an extended lunch break) and dinner is eaten at home. On weekends, however, the midday meal is the biggest of the day, featuring multiple courses and a leisurely schedule, usually starting around 1pm and ending around 3pm.
Easy to find:
- Fresh produce
- Outdoor markets
- Great selection of fruits
- Chicken, ham, and sausage
- Rice dishes
- Fried foods
More difficult to find (just takes some research):
- A decent salad
- Variety (the typical tapas bar is everywhere)
- Fresh juices/smoothies
Typical Barcelona eating times:
- 7am to 8am: Coffee
- 10am: Something small
- 1pm: Lunch (as late as 3.30pm is not uncommon)
- 8pm to 10pm: Dinner (as late as 11pm on weekends)
Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter
Neighborhoods and Accommodation: Barcelona has accommodation options to fit just about any budget, from rented rooms in shared apartments to 5-star hotels. The only thing to keep in mind is that the city is an extremely popular travel destination, so things do fill up. Book early or you’ll have less options.
Options for accommodation:
Rent a room. Airbnb.com has numerous rooms for rent inside other people’s apartments. This can be a very comfortable and affordable option. Tip for female travelers: It’s probably best to choose female-only apartments. Also, always read reviews and email with the owner beforehand to make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Rent an apartment. Airbnb.com and more than a dozen other sites rent apartments short and long-term. We like Airbnb.com because of the reviews and security, but there are other sites, as well. Tip: Always read the bad reviews first, and if something seems off, don’t book. Don’t ever book a place with no reviews and always email the property owner before your arrival.
Hotels and hostels. There are thousands of options in the city, from hip youth hostels to 5-star luxury hotels. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s all easy to find. We recommend using www.Booking.com or www.Agoda.com to aid in your search.
Eixample. This large, well-planned section of the city offers the most options of all types. Apartments tend to be larger and in many cases, more recently renovated. It’s a great neighborhood in which to stay and go out to eat.
The Gothic Quarter and Born. These are beautiful, old neighborhoods and also the peak tourist areas of the city. Despite the crowds, both have really lovely options for accommodation and you’re very close to the sea, which is a big advantage. The most important things to consider about these neighborhoods are evening noise and crowds at bars that can be disruptive. Both neighborhoods are safe, but in the evenings they can be party zones.
Gràcia. We have one studio and our main office in Gràcia. The densely-packed neighborhood is close to everything, but maintains it’s own village feel. The streets are narrow, there are a lot of boutiques and health food shops, and it’s a great place to get lost. That being said, there are not many hotels and the apartments tend to be older, smaller, and more run down than in other parts of the city.
GETTING AROUND: Barcelona is a very compact city, so it’s extremely easy to move around. The weather is great, so walking, biking, buses, metro, and taxi are all feasible options. If you like to cycle, renting a bike is a great idea. If you’re a walker, most destinations are less than 30 minutes from wherever you happen to be.
Plaça Sant Jaume and the Ajuntament de Barcelona (Barcelona City Hall)
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is defined by quirky art and architecture, imaginative food, and vibrant street life. It has medieval roots, seen in the labyrinthine streets and squares of the Gothic Quarter, but a modernist personality represented by the fantastical buildings of Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Its restaurant scene, anchored by La Boqueria (the central market), ranges from fine dining to tiny tapas bars.
HCC Montblanc Hotel – Retreat Venue
C/ Via Laietana 61
(next to Plaza Urquinaona)
Bicing: Plaza Urquinaona
Metro: L1 (red) and L4 (yellow) Plaza Urquinaona
Parking: Closest paid private parking: Onepark
YOGABODY Fitness 2
C/ Torrent de l’Olla 203-217
(next to Plaza Lesseps)
Bus: 124, 27, 32, 87 y 116 | Bicing: C/ de Nil Fabra 230
Metro: L3 (green) Plaza Lesseps
Parking: Closest paid private parking: C/ Santa Perpètua
YOGABODY Fitness 3
C/ Cartagena 273
(between Córsega y Roselló)
Bus: 117,19, 33, 34, 50, 51, B24 y H10 | Bicing: C/ Industria 157
Metro: L5 (blue line) Sant Pau | Dos de Maig y L5 / L2 (blue line / purple line) Sagrada Familia
Parking: Closest paid private parking: C/ Mallorca 444
We’ve compiled a list of resources to help make the process easier! From simple search engines to hotel partner discounts, you’ll find the perfect space to stay for your training period.
HCC Montblanc – Where the retreat will take place.
The MCC Montblanc hotel, located in Via Laietana. This street is a major thoroughfare in Barcelona, in the Ciutat Vella district. The avenue runs from Plaça Urquinaona to Plaça d’Antonio López, by the seafront, and separates the neighborhoods of the old city on either side – El Born on one side and Barri Gòtic on the other. It is also very well connected with the Urquinaona Metro station only 2 minutes away and a 15-minute walk to La Barceloneta, the Barcelona seaside neighborhood.
H10 Cubik – The H10 Cubik is a four-star superior hotel located in Barcelona’s historic center, very close to Barcelona Cathedral. It features bright rooms, the Market Restaurant and the spectacular Atik Terrace with plunge pool and stunning views of the Cathedral.
Uma Suites – Housed in an elegant building dating from the year 1944, Hotel Barcelona Center is a four-star hotel in the Eixample neighborhood. Its design combines history, modernity, and comfort, and breakfast is included with each stay.
H10 Urquinaona Plaza – The H10 Urquinaona Plaza is set in a late 19th-century building that has been perfectly restored. Its modern interior design contrasts with Novecentista details that have been preserved and that give it a very elegant look. The hotel has the Novecento Restaurant, a quiet outdoor garden and the Lluna Terrace with plunge pool and views of the city.
Hotel Denit – Denit Barcelona is a recently renovated modern hotel, located in an old remodeled country house in the picturesque Gothic Quarter of Barcelona – next to Plaza Cataluña and a few minute’s walk from the Paseo de Gracia and the popular Las Ramblas. A true oasis of peace in the most authentic, dynamic, bustling, and cosmopolitan sector of Barcelona.
Mothern By Pillow – A boutique hotel in Barcelona in this location will allow you to be within walking distance of Paseo de Gracia, La Rambla or the University round. In the square itself, you will have at your feet the numerous sculptures that characterize it and make it an iconic point of the city: the Pastor by Pablo Gargallo, the Goddess by Josep Clarà or Barcelona by Frederic Marès.
Amra Hostel – A new hostel with a modern and minimalist feel, with four types of rooms: single, double, triple and twin. The rooms are very spacious with a private bathroom and terrace overlooking Paseo de Gracia.
AIRBNB – Airbnb is a great resource for finding accommodation to fit your budget.
Check it out here: www.airbnb.com
CouchSurfing – Looking for a quirkier, yet authentic way to travel? Try couchsurfing. Internationally, the CouchSurfing community includes 400,000 hosts and four million surfers. This accommodation option guarantees you will meet local residents and receive some insider tips about the city.
TRIP ADVISOR – The well-known travel website has all the latest reviews on just about every hotel in Barcelona. You can look at the map view and search for hotels near our studio locations.
Click here to find the right hotel for you.
BOOKING.COM – We’re sure you know what Booking.com is.
Find the hotel that fits your needs and expectations here.
Tools of Transformation Retreat
Clothing/gear to consider:
- Check average temperatures here
- Yoga clothes, at least three outfits (more if you can)
- Water bottle
- We recommend purchasing travel health insurance, just in case, since it’s so inexpensive and easy to get. Travel health insurance can often be obtained from your local bank, health insurance provider, or credit card company. While you’ll probably never need it, it’s a very inexpensive way to have peace of mind.
- In the case of illness or injury during your travels, there are many hospitals on Barcelona. They provide great care and the staff speak English. In case of an emergency, we would immediately get in touch with your emergency contact to make sure your loved ones are updated, and we’ll be at your side for any and all needs that might arise.
- As part of the European Union, Spain’s currency is the euro.
- For exchange rates, visit: www.xe.com.
- Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
- For cash, use your local bank card/ATM card for the best rates at local cash machines (rather than exchanging cash at the airport).
- Spain grants a 90-day visa to most nationalities upon arrival at no cost.
- If you’re unsure if your nationality is granted a visa, please search on Google or contact us.
NOTE: When arriving in Spain/Europe, it’s much simpler to say you are coming on holiday. If you want to get a student visa, we can help, but it’s a big hassle with lots of paperwork and no benefits.