Catalonia tourist tax

Catalonia Tourism Tax
Catalonia charges a tourist tax to locals and foreign overnight visitors alike. Shown here is Blanes, known as the Gateway to the Costa Brava.

Tourist tax in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia — 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.

The tax rates have been increased several times, primarily as a way to address overtourism.

Catalonia Tourist Tax: 2024 Rates

This information was last updated on September 17, 2023, and is still current on July 20, 2024.

Type of AccommodationTourism Tax
© Copyright 2023, Costa Brava Tourist Guide | Last updated: September 17, 2023
 Barcelona CityExtra Barcelona
City Tax

Note: € 3,25
from April 1, 2024
Rest of Catalonia
5-star hotel, grand luxe hotel, luxury campsite, equivalent€ 3,50+ € 2,75€ 3,00
4-star hotel, superior 4-star hotel, or equivalent€ 1,70+ € 2,75€ 1,20
Dwelling for tourist use 2€ 2,25+ € 2,75€ 1,00
Other establishments 3€ 1,00+ € 2,75€ 0,60

Cruise Ships:
Over 12 hours€ 2,00+ € 2,75€ 2,00
12 hours or less€ 3,00+ € 2,75€ 3,00

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:

  • The tourist tax is charged per person, per night
  • The tax is charged only for the first seven nights of your stay — in the same accommodation over a continuous period. (If you stay in more than one establishment during your visit, you pay tourist tax over the first seven nights in each of the establishments.)
  • People aged 16 and younger are not charged tourist tax
  • Your tourist accommodation must provided you with an itemized invoice, detailing the tax rate used and the number of nights over which it is charged
  • The tourist tax is subject to a 10% VAT (Value Added Tax; Spanish: IVA; Catalan: L’IVA) charge

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 a different tax rate.

Note that the city of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, does levy higher tourist stay fees, plus an additional city tax.

Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Catalonia
The popular seaside resort town Tossa de Mar. Its walled-in “Vila Vella enceinte” is the only example of a fortified medieval town still standing on Catalonia’s Costa Brava.

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 the “Catalunya Experience”

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 2023 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 Sunday, September 17, 2023.

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