Entresuelo…Ático…Principal… The apartments and buildings in Barcelona are a little different to those found in other European cities and sometimes the Spanish terms can prove difficult to get your head around. The city’s older apartments have many nooks and crannies and even the newer builds in Barcelona have their own quirky features, with a unique and rather strange flooring system. So, to ensure you don’t end up knocking on the wrong door, here’s a short guide to the general characteristics of Barcelona’s apartments and buildings.
Many of the apartments in Barcelona were built at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, in the classic Modernist style of the city. Typically, apartment buildings in Barcelona are about 6 stories high, and apartments often have one or two small balconies with French doors.
It’s definitely worth checking before booking whether or not your Barcelona apartment is ‘exterior’ or ‘interior’. The former is an apartment that looks onto the street while an ‘interior’ faces onto the inner part of a city block or courtyard.
One curious feature of the buildings in Barcelona is that the first floor may actually be two or three stories up, as there is often an ‘entresuelo’ or in-between floor, and a ‘principal’ floor before the ‘1º planta’. Confusing? We know! So here’s a quick lowdown on apartment layouts:
Bajos or Planta Baja: Ground floor
Entresuelo: Actually the 1st floor
Principal: Actually the 2nd floor
Primero: Actually the 3rd floor
Segundo, Tercero, Quarto, Quinto…: Actually the 4th, 5th, 6th 7th floors, and so on.
Ático: Top floor
Please note that not all buildings have an ‘entresuelo’ and a ‘principal’ floor. Some may have one or the other, or even none, in which case the ‘actual’ level of the floors will be different.
Bajos or Planta Baja
The ground floor is often an area for shops, cafés and restaurants, but some buildings also have apartments located on the ground floor. Often the ground floor gives you the opportunity of enjoying a patio or terrace and many of these “bajos” apartments have direct street access.
The term Principal refers to the “master apartment” and these are traditionally larger than those of other floors. In the past, the wealthier residents of the building would occupy the Principal Floor, unlike today’s trend of top floor living, as it was considered better to be closer to the ground.
Apartments on the top floor or ‘áticos’ are situated on the highest level of a building and are often lovely sun traps. Many have the advantage of a terrace or large balcony and often offer beautiful views of the city.
Upon arrival in Barcelona, depending on the type of apartment you have booked, you will either head directly to your accommodation or to the check-in office to collect your keys. Either way, you need to know how to locate your accommodation. You may find that the apartment you have reserved is for example number 165, 2º 1ª. What does this mean, then? This means that the building is number 165, and your apartment is located on the second floor and is number one of that floor. The floor number is always written first and the door number after. This signaling is important as it not only informs you of the location of the apartment, but also refers to the corresponding door bell and mailbox.
So, with this useful information you’ll be sure to locate your apartment without any hassle. Of course, if you have any further questions regarding your Barcelona apartment, the friendly staff of Apartment Barcelona is just a phone call away!