Although with a population of only 1.5 million people, Barcelona is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world, annually receiving over 8 million people from all continents. The exceptional Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine, the architectural wonders, the fascinating history or the famous FC Barcelona soccer team represent just the tip of the iceberg of this vivid city.
However, just like all other major cities, the capital of Catalonia is full of dodgy streets, sketchy bars, and questionable people. So, if you don’t want to let pickpockets, robbers or drug dealers destroy your vacation, here are some locations you should stay away from.
Las Ramblas/La Rambla after dark
The famous boulevard stretches from the Catalonia Plaza to the Mediterranean Sea and is a trendy destination for both locals and tourists. The beautiful beaches and the restaurants gather thousands of people every hour of the day and night. However, in the past few years, the destination became the crime scene of bloody terrorist attacks and not only.
The entire Ciutat Vella district, consisting of the famous streets of Las Ramblas, is known for its late night crime. The streets are packed with drug dealers, prostitutes, and robbers, so you should watch your steps. However, the area is quite safe in daylight due to the numerous open restaurants and cafes.
If you happen to wander on these streets after midnight, make sure you at least carry a LED flashlight with you or a pepper spray.
Barri Gotic or the Gothic quarter
On the other side of the Las Ramblas, the Gothic neighborhood is the home of various architectural beauties and places to visit. The Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, the Cathedral of Barcelona or the Plaça Reial are just some of the sites we encourage you to visit while in Barcelona.
The Carrier Ferran is packed with tourist shops where you can score good deals for souvenirs and local delights. You can also pay a visit to the famous Museu Picasso in the area that hosts some of the painter’s work or enjoy a traditional dinner at The Four Cats restaurant which was one of the favorite places for artists back in the day.
However, the Gothic quarter should be avoided after midnight as it remains the home of shady people and pickpockets.
An architectural wonder and the symbol of Barcelona, the church of Sagrada Familia remains unfinished, even though the building started in 1882. The original project of the church is attributed to Antonio Gaudi, a famous architect who worked on it for over 40 years. His past 15 years of life were exclusively dedicated to the Sagrada Familia. Unfortunately, the building remains unfinished, and the currently estimated deadline is the year 2026.
Since we are talking about the most popular tourist attraction of the city, expect huge crowds, endless lines for tickets, as well as pickpockets, and robbers. Be extra careful when visiting this crowded area and keep all your belongings safe. We suggest avoiding wearing opulent jewelry that might attract robbers.
The public metro is the easiest way to move around Barcelona and visit as much as possible in your trip. It is extremely popular and affordable so most people, both tourists and locals, opt for it. However, the metro is not the safest place in the world since thieves and pickpockets also frequent it.
It would be a good idea to leave your jewelry and electronics in your hotel safe instead of flashing them in the metro. And, if you need a bag for your wallet and phone, purchase a fanny pack. They are stylish, trendy, and you won’t risk getting mugged.
Bars and restaurants in the center
Although the center of the city is packed with tourist attractions and countless bars and restaurants where you can drink the famous sangria, most of these places are very expensive. If you truly want to discover the laid-back lifestyle of people from Barcelona, take a walk in the port or go on narrower streets that are packed with hidden gems.