Top Tips for Staying Safe in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the most popular cities in the world with millions of tourists visiting every year. The vast majority of people enjoy the culture, sights and atmosphere of the city without any issues but Barcelona has got a bit of a reputation.
Like any city in the world, there are things you should be aware of before departing and Barcelona is no different. Here are some important things to be aware of and advice how to stay safe and enjoy this amazing city without any problems.
Plan ahead and work out how to get from your arrival point to your accommodation. Keep an eye on your luggage and bags on arrival because when you arrive you might be slightly tired or disoriented being in a new destination. Avoid any people offering you transport and always get taxis from official locations.
Don't Dress Like a Tourist
Thousands of international tourists visit Barcelona every week, and you might want to dress appropriately to avoid standing out or attracting too much attention. For example, do you really need that expensive camera hanging around your neck?
Learn the Local Lingo
People in Barcelona speak Catalan and Spanish, and if you don’t know any basic words and phrases we highly recommend learning some before arrival. Not everyone speaks English and knowing even just some simple words will make your trip easier and more enjoyable.
Some good Spanish basic to learn before going to Spain include:
- Hi - Hola
- How are you - Como estas
- Thank you - Gracias
- Yes - Si
- No - Nao
- Help - Ayuda
If you have a longer duration to spare you might like to book a Spanish language course in Barcelona.
Be Aware of Pickpocks
Pickpocketing is one of the most common problems tourists face in Barcelona, ether it be on the metro, public transport or just out and exploring. Keep an eye on your belongings and never leave your phone or wallet just hanging out of your pocket. Try to have a zipped pocket, or put belongs in a bag out of sight.
Avoid Shady People on Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is the tourist heart of Barcelona and where the majority of foreign tourists either stay or visit. This street and also the side streets are also well known for having lots of 'shady' people hanging around early in the morning, afternoon and evening. You can usually spot these people and most likely they will approach you offering you drugs, women and other things. Just avoid them or a polite no gracias usually does the trick.
Avoid Excess Alcohol
Barcelona is a lively city and there are so many cool bars and clubs. Avoid getting to the point of paralytic though, as being drunk in a foreign destination is never a good idea.
Explore in a Group
We recommend travelling with friends, or if you go solo, try to do group activities to avoid being alone especially at night. No matter where you are, Barcelona or other cities, it is always safer to be in a group or with someone rather than walking around by yourself. You could book a Barcelona tour or arrange sightseeing on arrival through help from your accommodation. This is a good way to meet other travellers and have fun.
If you walk around with a map looking lost you might attract unwanted attention. Be confidence and look like you have a sense of purpose and direction.
Use Your Hotel Safe
Most hotels and hostels have safes or places you can store important things like your passport, money and documents. It is safer to keep them locked up in hotel safes rather than carrying everything around with you.
Having a smart phone and tablet can really help you on your travels and free WiFi is available in lots of locations in Barcelona. There are so many Barcelona travel guides and also popular apps like Google maps can help you navigate the city.
You might want to also take a look at downloading mSpy which is a software which allows your family to track your phone location. mSpy reviews are very positive whilst there are other things to consider include activating 'Find My Iphone' if you use apple, this will help locate or disable your phone incase you have it stolen.
Take Extra Caution in Some Areas
Barcelona us a huge city and there are so many different neighborhoods. Some are more safe than others. Areas which are very safe where you are likely to see lots of other tourists include the Gothic Quarter, L’Eixample and Gracia.
El Raval is an up and coming multicultural area which is getting trendy, but this area is also somewhere to take extra caution especially at night. If you are thinking about being more than just a tourist by going to work in Barcelona then a lot of people consider moving to El Raval due to the low rents compared to places like Las Ramblas. Again though be aware of your surroundings here.
Avoid Carrying Excess Cash
Do you really need to be walking round with hundreds of Euros? Be careful about the amount of cash that you are carrying about with you and only carry what is really necessary. Be cautious when withdrawing money from ATM's especially at night. You might want to also buy a daily or weekly travel card to avoid getting money out of you pockets all the time.
Remember Emergency Numbers
The European emergency number 112 is not the only emergency number in Spain. The national emergency numbers are: 091 - police, 061 - health emergencies.
Trust Your Instincts
You can never be too careful so trust your instincts and first impressions. If something seems too good to be true, or someone is being overly friendly out of the blue be cautious.
Spain really is one of the best and safest destinations in Europe and very few tourists encounter any problems. We didn't want this article to put you off visiting Barcelona, quite the contrary, this is a magical city and hopefully our tips have given you some ideas how you can avoid any issues.
Have you been to Barcelona? Got any safety tips to share? Let us know below.