Spanish Language vs. Catalan Language

What are the differences?


There are two official languages of Catalonia: Spanish and Catalan. While many people think that Catalan is a Spanish dialect, it’s actually its own separate and distinct language that has many similarities to other romance languages such as Portuguese, French, and Italian. Today, both Spanish and Catalan can be heard throughout the region, with a moderate amount of English, as well.

The Catalan language evolved from Latin, and during the Middle Ages was widely spoken across many Mediterranean areas. However, following French control of the region in the 17th century and the subsequent reconquering by the Spanish, the use of the language steadily declined. As it stands today, Spanish is the dominant language in Spain, although Catalan is still present in smaller villages and towns throughout Catalonia.

A determination to remain relevant is a very fascinating aspect of Catalan. In fact, the language is such a fighter that even after use of the language had declined significantly by the 19th century, it still thrived as a literary language for quite some time. Writer Ramon Llull, lyricist Berenguier de Palazol, and poet Raimon Vidal all composed famous works in Catalan, which are still referenced to this day.

It is not necessary to be fluent in Catalan or Spanish to visit Catalonia. In fact, in the coastal areas of the region with large numbers of foreign visitors and in other large cities like Barcelona, many shops, bars, and restaurants will usually have some English-speaking staff. However, it never hurts to learn a few words and phrases, and any attempt made by visitors to use native languages (however poor the attempt may be!) is always appreciated by the local residents.

Believe it or not, learning Catalan isn’t just useful for visiting the Catalonia region of Spain. There’s actually a number of other areas where Catalan is widely spoken, including Valencia, Andorra, the Balearic Islands, and even some areas of Italy, France, and Sardinia. Overall, it’s estimated that there are around 9 million people in the world who speak Catalan.

The good news is that if you’re somewhat familiar with Spanish, you shouldn’t find it too difficult to pick up some basic Catalan. As you can see, there are quite a few similarities between the two languages:

HOLIDAY GLOSSARY – ENGLISH/SPANISH/CATALAN

EnglishSpanishCatalan
Hello!HolaHola
Good dayBuenos díasBon dia
Good eveningBuenas tardesBona tarda
Good nightBuenas nochesBona nit
Good byeAdiósAdeu
See you laterHasta luegoFins desprès
PleasePor favorSi us plau
Thank youGraciasGràcies / Merci
YesSiSi
NoNoNo
Of courseClaroEs clar
Excuse mePerdonaDisculpeu
I’m sorryLo sientoHo sento
I don’t knowNo séNo ho se
Have a good holidayQué tenga buenas vacacionesQue tingeu bones vacances
Where isDónde estaOn esta
How much is..Cúanto cuesta…Quant es..
How do I get toCómo se va a …Com puc anar a …
Help me pleaseAyúdame por favorAjuda’m si us plau
I don’ speak Spanish/CatalanNo hablo castellanoNo parlo català
Do you speak English?Habla usted ingles?Parla voste anglès?
I’m English / AmericanSoy inglés / americanoSoc anglès / americà

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Cycling in Catalonia

If your idea of the perfect holiday involves more than lounging around your rented villa with pool in the Costa Brava, then you will be pleased to know there are some exceptional cycle routes in the area too. From the city of Girona to rural villages and coastal cycle paths, there are perfect tours for cyclists and mountain bikers, and beginners to seasoned riders. 

There are kilometres of old railway tracks and greenways awaiting, allowing you to participate in a healthy and exciting family activity. Take a backpack with a picnic or enjoy a tapas lunch in one of the charming villages en-route, you will see more of the picturesque Catalan countryside than you could ever imagine – especially if you are usually the designated driver. In addition to an abundance of fresh, clean air you can enjoy kilometres of lush, green countryside, natural parks, rugged coastline and medieval hilltop villages.

Plan your route accordingly, if you are an experienced cyclist but your travelling party only indulge once or twice a year, choose a route which is suitable for everyone. The terrain needs to be taken into account as well, flat cycle paths are great if you are touring with children, with plenty of stop off points for a beverage and a bite to eat on the way.

If mountain biking is more your thing, leave your Costa Brava vacation rental and head for the Girona Pyrenees area, there are spectacular natural parks, quaint mountain towns, you can also indulge in some downhill biking. Follow the B roads which link the towns of Girona and head off on your merry journey.

If you didn’t arrive at your family villa in Spain by car there are plenty of areas locally where you can cycle along the coastline, and there are places where you can hire bicycles for all the family. Check before you arrive so that you can plan your routes and discover the best that Catalonia has to offer cyclists.


Top 5 Budget-Friendly Restaurants in Barcelona

You are in your beautiful rented private villa in Barcelona. You look up at the sunset, take a sip of your cocktail, and then your stomach rumbles. Uh oh! Time to find a restaurant! But, just because you’re in one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, doesn’t mean you want to break your bank. So, here are five budget-friendly restaurants you should check out while visiting Barcelona.

1. Viana

Craving an International, Mediterranean, and Spanish menu? Then head down to Viana! This restaurant offers beautifully crafted, unique dishes, each a delectable gastronomic journey you’ll enjoy. Make sure you grab one of their amazing cocktails and delicious desserts. This restaurant mixes a high-quality, fine-dining atmosphere with the laid-back fusion bar vibe that makes this affordable restaurant a unique dining experience.

2. Blavis

Simple yet elegant describes this small and cozy restaurant. Blavis doesn’t have a large menu, but each dish is a delicious, handcrafted experience that you are sure to enjoy pulled from the European, Spanish, and Mediterranean cuisines. The atmosphere is casual, the portions generous, and the desserts a must at this amazing and inexpensive restaurant!

3. Bodega Biarritz

Rustic, intimate, and beautifully modern describe this wine and tapas bar. Bodega Biarritz features a Mediterranean and Spanish menu with unique and delicious dishes you are certain to enjoy. The inside is cozy, with unique lighting and a bar atmosphere. The food has large portions and a lot of choices, so you are certain to find something for everyone. A great place for date night or just a fun night on the town!

4. Bodega Biarritz 1881

Another Bodega Biarritz tapa bar, the Bodega Biarritz 1881 offers a delicious selection of Spanish and Mediterranean tapas paired with excellent beers, wines, and cocktails that make for a truly fun time out with your significant other or group of friends. The food comes in generous portions and each dish is certain to delight.

5. La Caleta de Sants

A rustic yet modern family-friendly restaurant, La Caleta de Sants has a Venezuelan menu with Latin and Caribbean influences. With large portions, delicious dishes, and plenty of bread and beer, everyone in your family or group of friends are sure to find something to love at this restaurant!

Now that your stomach grumblings have left, head back to your Barcelona vacation rental and enjoy a relaxing evening, or go out for more fun on the town with an evening of entertainment and delight!

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