IHF World Hospital Congress | About Barcelona
The World Hospital Congress of the International Hospital Federation (IHF) is a unique global forum that brings together leaders of national and international hospital and healthcare organizations to discuss key drivers of national and international policy, management, financial trends and solutions in healthcare management and service delivery.
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About Barcelona

Barcelona is a Spanish city, capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, the region of ‘Barcelonés’ and the province of Barcelona. With a population of 1,620,343 in 2018, it is the second most populous city in Spain after Madrid, and the eleventh of the European Union.





The history of Barcelona extends over 4000 years, from the end of the Neolithic, with the first remains found in the territory of the city, to the present day. The substrate of its inhabitants brings the Iberian, Roman, Jewish, Visigoth, Muslim and Christian peoples. As the capital of Catalonia and the second largest city of Spain, the City of Condal has forged its relevance over time, from being a small Roman colony to becoming a city valued internationally for aspects such as its economy, its heritage culture, sport and social life.

Barcelona has been the scene of several international events that have helped to consolidate it, develop it and give it global projection. The most relevant have been the Universal Exhibition of 1888, the International Exhibition of 1929, the 1992 Olympic Games and the Universal Forum of Cultures 2004. It is also the headquarters of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean.



Currently, Barcelona is recognized as a global city for its cultural, financial, commercial and tourist importance. It has one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean and is also an important point of communication between Spain and France, due to motorway connections and high rail speed. Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, located 15 km from the city centre, was used by more than 50.1 million passengers in 2018.



The temperatures are mild during the winter and very warm in summer, with a low daily thermal oscillation, which is around 8°C on average. The annual thermal amplitude is around 15°C, being smaller than in other areas of the peninsular interior due to the maritime status of the city. The average temperature in Barcelona is around 18°C because of heat island in urban areas, being warmer than in other areas not so densely urbanized and being lower in the mountainous areas of the municipality due to the altitude , which exceeds 500 m. in the Tibidabo. Winters are mild, with an average of around 12°C in January, the coldest month. Frosts are exceptionally rare within the city and snowfall is very rare in urban areas, with an average of about one day of snow every 2-3 years on the outskirts of the city, although they are more common in the mountainous areas of the municipality due to the altitude.



Barcelona is administratively divided into ten districts. Each district functions as a political body with its own competences, which help decentralize city policy and make citizens feel the nearest administration. The territorial division of the districts responds to historical questions of the City. Most of the districts correspond to former independent municipalities that were annexed to the city during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and which still retain their own personality.

Ciutat Vella, l’Eixample, Sants-Montjuïc, Les Corts, Sarrià-San Gervasi, Gràcia, Horta-Guinardó, Nou Barris, Sant Andreu, Sant Martí..



The most important subsector of the services sector in Barcelona is trade. The most commercial area of the city is in its historic center: Portaferrisa streets, Pelayo, Rambla, Portal del Angel and Plaza Catalunya, where small shops coexist with department stores and franchises of large clothing chains.

A little further north of Plaza Catalunya, on the Paseo de Gracia, the rambla de Catalunya and Avenida Diagonal, are the shops of the most international brands of fashion, leather goods and jewelry. The designer items take place in the alleys of the Borne district, which has been gaining popularity since the late 1990s. From the rest of the city, the shopping areas of Gran de Gracia street, Sants street or Fabra i Puig promenade stand out, and shopping centers such as La Maquinista, Illa Diagonal, Gl’ries or Diagonal Mar.

More about shopping centers: https://barcelonashoppingcity.com/tiendas/centros-comerciales/



For Barcelona, leisure tourism is as important, or even more important as business tourism. For the development of business tourism, the city has the Fira, Barcelona trade fair, which organizes numerous exhibitions, halls, congresses and fairs for professionals, some of which are among the first in the world, such as the Mobile World Congress is the most important in the world in its sector, the urban fashion fair The Brandery, or the construction fair Construmat of biannual character. These and other fairs make it one of the most important fairs in Europe and the first in Spain with more than 3.5 million annual visitors, that also generate a great activity for the hotel and restaurateur sector with the incentive to evenly distribute year-round. There are guided tours of the most emblematic places.



If we talk about gastronomy in Barcelona, ​​we have to talk about Catalan cuisine. Catalonia is a gastronomic paradise, where Catalan cuisine is a tasty mix of heritage, product, territory, tradition, creativity, innovation … All this, together with an infinite love for the culture of good food make discovering it through the palate is a very attractive option.

The gastronomic heritage of Catalonia dates back to medieval times and is still based today on the value of the product and the territory; ingredients of proximity and season that reflect the immense richness of the Catalan landscape: the sea, the mountain, the orchard, the forests … From that tradition were born recipes that today are as popular as ‘Escudella i Carn d’Olla’ or scalded, by cite only two of a list of typical dishes that transfer the richness of products to the plate. Products that arrive daily to all markets and are a key element in the Mediterranean Diet.



Currently in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, due to the great immigration during the last 20 years of all parts of the world, a lot of languages are spoken. Catalonia has its own language: Catalan. Most people living in Barcelona speak Catalan and Spanish, which is also the official language. You will find the name of the streets and most of transport indications in Catalan.



As in all of Spain and most of Europe, the official currency of Barcelona is the Euro (€).



If you reside outside the European Union, you can request a VAT refund. Request your tax-free check when you make a purchase. Now it is possible to carry out this procedure in the heart of the city:


Tourist Information Office of Plaça de Catalunya

Address: Plaça de Catalunya, 17-S

Hours: Daily, from 8.30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Innova Tax Free, Global Blue, Planet and Travel Tax Free checks are accepted.


Headquarters of Barcelona Tourism

Passatge de la Concepció, 7-9

Hours: From Monday to Saturday, from 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Innova Tax Free, Global Blue, Planet and Travel Tax Free checks are accepted.



To move around the city, we recommend using public transport and alternative means such as cycling. There is nothing better to know the city than to walk its streets. If you come by car, it is preferable to leave it in a parking lot and enjoy your visit by taking the bus, subway or taxi. The main hotel and convention centre is on Avenida Diagonal where you will find Bus and Metro connections.


Metro and FCG: Currently, Barcelona has 8 subway lines, covering a total of 86.6 km through 150 stations. Metro lines can be identified by the number and color of the line: L1 (red), L2 (lilac), L3 (green), L4 (yellow), L5 (blue), L9 (orange), L10 (light blue), L11 (light green) and serve most of the city.

It also has an urban and metropolitan rail network the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC), run by the Catalan government, which supplements Barcelona’s metro network. There are three urban lines: L6, L7 and L8.


Tickets: The metro operates an integrated fare system enabling passengers to obtain a free transfer from one means of public transport to another within a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes. There are different types of travel cards and transport passes in Barcelona that are valid throughout the public transport network (metro, buses, tram and suburban rail), including the T-10 card which is valid for 10 journeys, or day passes (2, 3, 4 and 5 days).

  • Single Ticket: 2,20€
  • T-10 Card: 10,20€
  • Day passes: Hola Barcelona



  • Metro (TMB): Weekdays from Monday to Thursday, Sunday and public holidays: 5am-midnight. | Friday and evenings before public holidays: 5am-2am. | Saturday and evenings before public holidays on 1 January, 24 June, 15 August and 24 September: continuous service. | 24 December: until 11pm.
  • Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC): Weekdays from Monday to Thursday, Sunday and public holidays: 5am-midnight. | Friday: 5am-2am. | Saturday and evenings before public holidays on 11 January, 24 June: continuous service.


For more information: Metro: www.tmb.cat  or 902 075 027 |   Ferrocarrils of  Generalitat de Catalunya: www.fgc.cat or 012


Tram: The Tram works again in Barcelona from 2004. This means of public transport, an alternative to the metro, that had disappeared in 1971, is today an accessible, ecological, fast and comfortable system. The Tram route provides easy access to Barcelona’s major industrial areas, shopping centres and residential zones.

There are 2 Tram lines in Barcelona: the Trambaix (T1, T2, T3) which runs from Francesc Macià to the towns of Sant Just Desvern, Sant Joan Despí, Sant Feliu de Llobregat and Cornellà. The Trambesòs (T4, T5, T6) covers a route from the Olympic Village to Sant Adrià de Besòs via the Forum site and arriving to Badalona.



  • Single ticket: 2,20€
  • T-10: 10,20 €
  • Day passes: Hola Barcelona


Times: Weekdays from Monday to Thursday, Sunday and public holidays: 5am-midnight. | Friday, Saturday and evenings before public holidays: 5am-2am.


For more information: www.tram.cat or 900 701 181


Bus: A fleet of over 1,000 fully adapted buses serve all areas of Barcelona. The integrated fare system means that travel cards can be used on the metro, trams, FGC and Renfe trains (zone 1)


Tickets: Barcelona’s bus network operates an integrated fare system enabling passengers to obtain a free transfer from one means of transport to another within a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes. There are different types of travel cards and transport passes that are valid throughout the public transport network (metro, buses, tram and suburban rail), including the T-10 card which is valid for 10 journeys, or day passes (2, 3, 4 and 5 days).

  • Single ticket: 2,20 €
  • T-10: 10,20 €
  • Day passes: Hola Barcelona


Times: Running times vary according to the bus route. Most services begin between 5 and 8am and end between 10 and 11pm. Average frequency of service is between 20 and 30 minutes at weekends. (The running times and frequency of service are posted at the bus stops).


For more information:  www.tmb.cat


Night Bus Service: Barcelona has a night-bus service (Nit Bus) which serves most of the city and its suburban area. Most of the night bus services begin between 10.40pm and 11.40pm and end between 5am and 6am. They all stop at or depart from Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya.


For more information: www.ambmobilitat.cat


Taxi: Barcelona has a service of 11,000 taxis which can be easily identified by their yellow and black colors. A green light on top of the taxi indicates its availability. There is also a service of taxis adapted for people with reduced mobility.

If you want to hire specific services (drivers who speak foreign languages, seven-seater vehicles, etc.), we recommend you use the telephone booking service.


Barcelona taxi fares: There are special supplements of entrance and exit of the airport, luggage and nights.


For more information: www.taxi.amb.cat or 932 235 151



The main gateway to Barcelona for international travellers, and many nationals is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, located ten kilometres southwest of the city, and the second by traffic from all over Spain, with more than 50.1 million passengers in 2018. Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport operate the world’s major airlines, with direct flights to all major cities in Europe, and with numerous connections to cities on five continents.


How to get to the airport:

BY CAR:  It takes 20 minutes.

BY SUBWAY:It takes 35 minutes.

BY BUS: It takes 30 minutes.  



Emergency telephone number: 112
Sanitary urgencies: 061
Firefighters: 080
City Guard: 092
Mossos d’Esquadra (Police): 088
Pharmacies: 934 810 060
Handicapped taxis: 934 208 088



Barcelona has so many beautiful modernist buildings, gothic alleys and Mediterranean beaches surrounded by majestic green hills that you could spend your entire visit simply admiring the views while walking, but you will not want to miss the cultural experiences in those enchanting settings.

If you are a fan of medieval history, an architecture enthusiast, a football fan or an enthusiast, the Catalan capital will surprise you!


More about Barcelona: https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/