Tourist tax in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia
CostaBravaTouristGuide.com — The autonomous Spanish community of Catalonia, whose Costa Brava is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations, has levied a tourist tax since November 1, 2012.
The Catalan tourism tax applies to all establishments where tourists stay – from campsites and youth hostels to hotels and cruise ships.
Holiday apartments and private homes rented to tourists are also affected by the tax.
Catalonia Tourist Tax: 2022 Rates
This information was last updated on May 25, 2022, and is still current on March 22, 2023.
|Type of Accommodation||Tourism Tax|
© Copyright 2022, Costa Brava Tourist Guide | Last updated: January, 2022
|Barcelona City||Extra Barcelona|
|Rest of Catalonia|
|5-star hotel, grand luxe hotel, luxury campsite, equivalent||€ 3,50||+ € 1,75||€ 3,00|
|4-star hotel, superior 4-star hotel, or equivalent||€ 1,70||+ € 1,75||€ 1,20|
|Dwelling for tourist use 2||€ 2,25||+ € 1,75||€ 1,00|
|Other establishments 3||€ 1,00||+ € 1,75||€ 0,60|
|Over 12 hours||€ 3,00||+ € 1,75||€ 3,00|
|12 hours or less||€ 1,00||+ € 1,75||€ 1,00|
Tourist Tax Chart: Explanation
The amount you pay depends on the type of facility you are staying at and whether you are staying in Barcelona or elsewhere in Catalonia.
“Dwelling for tourist use“: these are dwellings rented directly or indirectly by the owner to third parties, repeatedly and for a fee, for an uninterrupted period of up to 31 days. For example, Airbnb or Wimdu.
“Other establishments“: Hotels or hostels with 3 stars or less, youth hostels, rural accommodation, campsites that do not belong to the “luxury” sector.
Important additional information:
How to pay the tax
You pay your tourist tax (and, if in Barcelona, the extra city tax as well) at your accommodation.
The hotel (or other lodging establishment) is required to provide an itemized bill that clearly and separately shows the amount of tax collected.
We have heard that some tour operators claim that local taxes are already included in your vacation package. In this case, you should obtain (and bring with you) an itemized bill.
Were you charged more than the listed rates?
From time to time we hear of people facing higher fees than those listed above, with some accommodations also quoting an additional “hotel tax.”
However, according to the Generalitat de Catalunya – the government of Catalonia – there are no additional taxes (other than the normal 10% VAT on the total bill) that apply to tourists.
If your hotel charges higher prices under the guise of “tourist tax” or charges you an additional “hotel tax” or “bed tax”, you are being ripped off.
If you believe this is the case, remain calm and polite. However, contact the Ajuntament (town hall), a police station or the local tourist office and ask for help.
Costa Brava Tourist Tax?
Some people ask us about Costa Brava Tourist Tax rates. The Costa Brava is part of Catalonia, and does not have different tax rates.
Note that the city of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, does levy higher tourist stay fees, plus an additional city tax.
Most countries charge a tourist tax
When the tourism tax was originally proposed, hotel operators and others in the travel industry were upset. They feared that tourists would choose another vacation spot. And they balked at the effort and expense of updating hotel management software.
Some tourists were upset, too. Some hotheads called for a boycott – or at least threatened never to vacation in Catalonia again.
However, the Generalitat de Catalunya – the government of Catalonia – rightly points out that most countries, regions or cities in Europe and the rest of the world levy tourist taxes.
The government also predicted that the tax revenue would actually bring more tourists to this part of Spain.
Tourist tax earmarked for promotion, tourism-related infrastructure
In fact, the revenues are divided between the Catalan Tourism Agency, the local tourism associations and the town halls.
Not that the region is doing badly: before the COVID-19, Catalonia’s 7.5 million inhabitants were joined by 16 million visitors a year, almost half of them in the summer.
However, the promotion of tourism in the region ( referred to as a “country” by the community’s government) is still necessary. This is all the more true since the coronavirus pandemic has decimated tourism worldwide.
In addition to promotion, tax revenues are also used for the maintenance and development of “tourism-related infrastructure.” Think, for example, of the upkeep of beach promenades or the reconstruction of beaches after storm damage.
It also includes maintenance of roads, beaches and natural areas. It even pays part of the salaries for extra police hours at events like the famous annual Blanes International Fireworks Festival.
The Catalan Tourist Board promotes Catalonia through Spain, Europe, and the rest of the world.
“Why should I have to pay tourist tax? That’s not fair!”
Some tourists balk at paying a tourist tax. They claim that since they already spend money on hotels, bars, and restaurants, they should not have to “fork out” more money.
However, it would not be fair to ask locals and businesses to pay all the costs associated with the tourism industry. The tax is a small price to pay in return for clean beaches, well-maintained roads and good facilities.
Note that Catalan and Spanish visitors are also asked to pay.
Incidentally, the Generalitat says that for 96% of tourists visiting Catalonia, the tax represents only about 1% of total spending.
© Copyright 2022 CostaBravaTouristGuide.com. May not be republished. Links encouraged.
This article was first published on November 8, 2012. We take care in keeping it up-to-date. The last update occurred on Thursday, June 2, 2022.
If a tourist holidays on more than one occasion in a year,does the tourist have to pay more than once
Yes, the tourist tax is charged on each visit you make — but only for the first seven nights of each stay.
As a frequent British Tourist, having Spain as my main holiday location, I am appalled at this Tourist Tax charge! Spain, having no natural resources of its own – such as oil, gold, silver, copper, etc – depends completely on the Tourist, and heavily on the British Tourist, to boost its economy. Therefore, it is a complete INSULT to the Tourist/Holiday-maker to exploit us as we pay the lion’s share to maintain the Spanish economy. It is akin to biting the hand that feeds you, and as such I will never pay this tax, and go elsewhere for my holidays. I and my family and friends will NOT be held ransom by such a stealth tax. Disgusted British Holiday-maker.
Oh boy, where do I start, Mr. C. McClinton?
First, Spain has many natural resources. Google is your friend, so look it up.
Many countries, regions, and cities throughout the world charge tourist tax. Doing so benefits tourists (read the article you are commenting on), and also helps create more jobs, which in turn helps the local population.
As a Christian (I checked your name and email address and read your testimony) you should not begrudge it when people who find themselves in an economical tight spot find a legal way to help both themselves and others. Besides, taxation is a fact of life, and you know what Jesus said on the subject.
You are free to go elsewhere, of course, but the list of countries and places that charge a tourism or hotel tax is growing, so your options are dwindling. Boycotting Spain is as silly as not buying goods at stores in Ulster because they charge a sales tax.
That said, tourism is Spain — and in Catalonia in particular. Catalonia has seen a 2.3% increase in visitors compared to last year.
Are these prices set in stone with regards to the tax? The apartments I am staying at in Salou on Saturday apparently charge 3 euro per adult per night?
@Lee: I believe that Salou, like some other towns and municipalities throughout Catalonia (and the rest of Spain) does charge a local hotel tax in addition to the Catalonia-wide tax.
You may want to check with the tourist office or with the adjuntament (city hall) to see whether you are being over-charged.
I am now told that this tax is applicable to those over 12 years old (recently stayed at AC Suites by Marriott) and was charged for 3 people (inc 13 yr old). Was I overcharged or is this a chance to update your website?
I was not told about this tax before I booked my holiday, had I known I would have gone somewhere else. Fleecing tourists who already work hard and save hard for their annual holiday is not a good way to be doing business. I already pay enough tax on my earnings. I have only been to one country which charges a tourist tax and I won’t be going there again. However, I’m glad the tax was not hidden by the hotels in their charges.
@Cheesed off holidaymaker. Your email address indicates you live in the UK. And your comments show that you haven’t traveled much.
As for ‘fleecing tourists,’ take a look at this May, 2015 article published by The Telegraph (UK): http://j.mp/UKtouristtax. It is titled, “Only one country has higher tourism taxes than the UK” and the sub-header says, “The World Economic Forum’s travel report ranks the UK 140th out of 141 countries for cost competitiveness in the tourism industry.”
See also, Why is UK hotel VAT so high? http://j.mp/UKhotelVAT Note the chart.
Spain’s hotel/tourist tax is very reasonable. Our article above indicates what the income from the tax is used for, showing that tourists such as yourself benefit from improved facilities, clean beaches, good roads and transportation, safety measures, and a whole lot more — all without you and your vacationing family becoming a burden to the native population.
@Richard Golding: I think you were overcharged. The official information published by the Government of Catalonia says that children aged 16 and under are exempt.
Hi there. Great article and very helpful, however could I ask you. If I am a resident of catalonia, do I have to pay the tourist tax?
Yes Chris, as is the case in the vast majority of countries that levy tourist tax, residents are subject to those fees as well. That is because local visitors have pretty much the same impact as visitors from abroad.
If 1000 people spend a weekend in Barcelona, it makes little to no difference whether they came from Girona or London. In either case, Barcelona spends money for the upkeep of roads, safety measures, public transport, law enforcement, et cetera.
TOURIST TAX THANKS BUT NO THANKS Spain should be encouraging people to visit Hotels not taxing them,.If they do not want our money that i s ok by me,. i can spend mine where I want.So, good by Spain I will go next door to Portugal
Portugal is a nice country indeed. But like countless other countries, it has a tourist tax. Just not as high a tax as the UK — your own country — levies.
Note: Only one country has higher tourism taxes than the UK. The article says, “The World Economic Forum’s travel report ranks the UK 140th out of 141 countries for cost competitiveness in the tourism industry.”
The reasons behind tourist taxes are well-explained in the article. Both tourists and the locals benefit from them.
Since more and more countries levy a tax on tourism, you may have to simply vacation in your own backyard.
Say goodbye to your tourist industry Spain.
That’s a very strange comment, Frank. You did not read the article correctly. First, your IP number identifies you as being in the UK. See this comment, in which I provide a link to an article that shows “only one country has higher tourism tax rates than the UK.” Have you noticed any decrease in tourism at home?
Second, what does tourism in Spain have to do with tourism in Catalonia? Catalonia is one of 17 autonomous communities in Spain. It is, for now, the only Spanish community that charges a tourist tax. Other may well follow soon though, given the success of the tax — and the purpose of the tax (read the article).
Third, you are wrong. Tourism in Catalonia is way up with record-breaking numbers, as is tourism in all of Spain.
Hi. If we are staying in a house booked privately, 2 adults, 2 children this summer for a fortnight, near Rhonda Valley who do I need to pay the tax to and how do I go about it please?
Interesting article, thank you for sharing xx
Hi Sarah, you would pay the tax rate listed under ‘others’. The person or company your rent the house from should add the charge to your bill, listed as a separate item. If the charge was not part of the original booking, you may be charged upon arrival. Applying the tourist tax charge is the responsibility of the person or company you rent from. Have a nice vacation!
I booked through Jet2holidays and they did not mention the tourist tax either until it appeared on our booking confirmation and it appears we have to pay this amount separately (shame on Jet2holidays for forgetting to mention this). However, having said that less than one euro a night for a maximum of seven nights of our stay is not a life changing amount. I read with amusement some of the previous comments – some countries charge a lot more for you to enter or leave and that doesn’t stop people going there! Am really looking forward to my holidays soon.
Hello, The owner of the airbnb I am staying at says we need to pay the 2.25 for all 12 nights but this website and another website I have been on say you pay it for only the first 7 nights. The owner is being very difficult and is now shouting at us on the airbnb site. Please clarify for me. I am not being difficult, but I did do my research and can’t find anywhere that you pay the tax beyond 7 nights. Thank You.
The owner is wrong. You pay tourist tax over the first 7 nights of your (continuous) stay in one place. Only if you were to move to another place, say another Airbnb or a hotel, then you would have to again pay for up to 7 nights.
Stay tax of €25.00 per night, per person will be due to the owner upon arrival. Does not apply to children under 18 years.
I booked a VRBO and had a total bill i paid and said no refund and this came up . It says 25.00 that is way different than 2.25. that is almost $1000 after the exchange?
That does not sound right at all. Note that the owner must by law provide you with an itemized bill showing exactly how much was charged in tourist tax. This is true even you you paid ahead through a different company.
The rates listed on our website, in this article, are correct.
I am abit confused, from the table does it mean that if I stay in 4 star hotel in Barcelona it will be 1.7+1.75 intotal 3.75 euro before vat?
That’s right, Abby. Currently when you stay in a 4-star hotel in Barcelona, you pay:
– €1.70 in tourist tax, plus
– €1.75 in city tax, plus
– 10% VAT over these amounts
Note that next year the city tax for a 4-star hotel will be €2.75, and in 2024 the rate will be €3.25
Thanks for the response, as i have been getting vague answers and I needed to budget for spending.