Keep your valuables safe
Unfortunately, there is a lot of pick pocketing in and around Barcelona. Be extra careful around crowded areas, train and bus stations, the La Rambla avenue, and the Barrio Gotico (the old section of the city). You probably know what it means to be cautious – just don’t leave your wallet in your back pocket or your camera unattached on the seat next to you in the coffee shop…
❰ ❰ Look at this photo which shows a typical day on the famous La Rambla avenue in the city center. There are lots of people walking around this street day and night, and it is very safe if you are properly alert. Unfortunately, everyday people get their belongings stolen here! This is not an exaggeration – this sadly happens everyday indeed.
It may be a little difficult to see, but if you look carefully you will see an older couple on the right side of the photo (we highlighted them for you to spot easily). As you can see, the gentleman has a small backpack and the lady is holding a handbag to her right-side and under her arm. Hopefully, they don’t have any valuables such as a wallet or passports in the backpack which is out of their sight. The thieves of Barcelona are experts at what they do – so please don’t make it easy for them by keeping your things out of your direct sight. In this case the woman is holding her bag properly.
See also the lady in the center of the photo (also highlighted) – notice how she has her bag in front and her camera strapped around her neck and in her hand. This is how you want to walk around Barcelona, and this is how we do it as well.
Some of the incidents we have heard about include being sprinkled with water while strolling along, and then being ‘assisted’ by a ‘gentleman’ who will do his best to distract you with some ‘story’ while another person makes way with your belongings. If you keep your belongings in front and in sight – you will not have any problems. Also, be extra careful in underground/subway stations, as some thieves will use the crowded escalators to remove wallets and other valuables from unsuspecting victims. Thieves don’t have a particular look in Barcelona, and they can even be well dressed and pretending to look like tourists themselves. You need to use good judgement and know that crowded areas are problematic, don’t carry more cash and documents on you than needed, and carry valuables in inside pockets in front of you.
Be also careful when you enter and exit any vehicles. Do not leave valuables inside unattended vehicles and never leave doors open for more than needed when you enter or exit the vehicle. Speedy thieves can make way with your belongings if you are not careful during loading and unloading of your luggage too. Be alert and keep an eye on your valuables.
Barcelona is a safe and wonderful place to visit and if you exercise good judgement in busy areas then you will have a great time and your camera to prove it!
For short stays – make the best use of your time
Planning well can make a big difference to your holiday. If you are flying into Barcelona, book a private tour right from the airport which will take you to the hotel or the cruise ship in time for checking-in. If you are arriving into Barcelona by cruise, we can collect you from the pier and securely store your luggage while you are touring the sights. This is especially helpful since if you plan to take a taxi to the hotel then you could end up waiting over an hour for a taxi only to wait again at the hotel lobby for your hotel room to be ready… This is valuable time that you could and should spend touring the sights!
For those of you starting a cruise holiday from Barcelona, we can pick you up at your hotel and deliver you to the Barcelona port at the end of the tour with your luggage. See more info for cruisers here.
Wise planning can save you money (get transportation from one place to another as part of the tour) and make the best use of your short time in the city. If you are not sure how to best plan your time then use our Trip Planner for our suggestions.
Skip the line
Getting tickets in advance will save you valuable time. If you want to save hours waiting to get in, let us know in advance and we will be happy to assist.
Park Guell or Sagrada Familia
In general, many sites of interest in the city are related to the masterpieces of the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. There are 2 sites in particular however that are considered a must-see: the church of the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. Both places require admission to go inside and we are often asked whether the admission price is worth it. The answer depends on your budget and what you consider appealing, but you should know that while you can see the Sagrada Familia from the outside (and most visitors will do this), you will not be able to see anything worthwhile of Park Guell unless you buy tickets to go inside the park. Therefore, we would recommend that if you have to choose one destination for doing an inside visit due to time or costs, then go for Park Guell and visit the church of the Sagrada Familia from the outside. We can of course arrange skip-the-line tickets to both venues. In fact, if you join our semi-private or small-group tours then we can arrange an inside visit to the Sagrada Familia for you at the end of our tour, and afterwards just take a taxi to your hotel and we will reimburse you for it since you will not use our drop-off service included in your tour price! For Park Guell, we take you inside with skip-the-line tickets as part of the small-group tour itinerary. For private tours – you can do anything you like in any order you prefer.
Only book with a legal Tour Operator
The best way to find out if you are dealing with a genuine company is to ask them if they are part of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). This is the organization that verifies genuine operators worldwide.
If you book with a company off the Internet which is not a legal Tour Operator, you could end up spending your day filling forms for the police. There is no risk for you other than a wasted day, but it could ruin your holiday.
* Update: don’t say we didn’t warn you! As of the first week of July 2019, many vans of illegal tour operators are being stopped and fined at the site of Montserrat and at Park Guell!
Enjoy your evenings
Book a flamenco show or go to the Magic Fountain to view the sound and light show (if available). Barcelona is a wonderful city day and night so don’t worry about venturing out in the evenings and enjoy the atmosphere.
Stay away from the devious part of town
If you have not already booked your accommodation in Barcelona then take a look at our hotels page. We have included a custom-made map where you can verify that your hotel is located outside the unsafe part of town. There is a link to the map at the bottom of the page. Simply type the name of your hotel in the search box and make sure that it is located outside the highlighted zone. Barcelona is safe and you will have a great time now that you have all the information you need!
Have fun – you are on holiday!
We have started this business out of our love of travel. Prior to working 7-days per week (ouch!) we were also infected with the incurable travel bug and we look back on our days of traveling the globe with longing and nostalgia. We believe you are coming to visit one of the best cities in the world – so come in good spirit and enjoy everything about it!