What to look out for when visiting Barcelona. Advice on what you can do to avoid becoming a victim of street theft and pickpockets.
barcelona, safety, travel tips, robbery, theft, pickpockets
When you think of Barcelona, what usually springs to mind? The wonderful Catalonian port located between the mountains and the sea? The beautiful city of modernism and design soaked in warm sunshine and carefree lifestyle? The wine, beer & cava fuelled cosmopolitan city of tapas & fiestas? Well yes, this is indeed Barcelona.
However, regardless of this idealistic vision, visitors are nowadays more and more aware of a growing problem which nobody should ignore as it really is affecting the Catalonian capital city’s reputation. We are talking about urban security in Barcelona.
This terrible problem has become an issue of public concern and it is mainly affecting tourist spots. Pickpockets and thieves are becoming more experienced by the day and people are often getting mugged for their mobile phones or getting their bags snatched. Many are being robbed within minutes of arriving at Barcelona’s airports, bus or train stations.
Some good news is that local authorities are conscious about this problem and are taking the necessary measures to re-establish confidence amongst Barcelona locals and tourists.
However, even though something is being done to stop this obstruction to people’s basic right of a peaceful stroll, there are some important measures you should follow in order to avoid becoming a victim and wasting precious time spending hours filing a complaint at one of Barcelona’s police stations. Much better to spend your time exploring and of course enjoying it!
In order to avoid becoming a victim, here are some useful tips:
Do not carry large amounts of money when you leaving your apartment or hotel.
Don’t let anyone invade your personal space while walking down the streets (whether they seem suspicious or not).
Wear your bag diagonally across your chest and avoid wearing it on your shoulder. If possible, keep a hand on it at all times. If you must have a backpack, wear it on the front and not on the back as it should normally be worn.
Even though it is important that you have a valid ID such as a passport with you, in case you decide to go shopping and you need to pay with your credit card, it is not recommend that you carry your passport with you. Take a photocopy of it and keep it somewhere safe in your bag.
If you still want to take your passport or other ID documents with you, remember to photocopy them and leave the photocopy in your apartment or hotel.
Carry your wallets and purses in your front pockets and never the back pockets. You will be surprised at just how easy it is to take a wallet or purse from a back pocket and before you realise, then perpetrator will be long gone.
Whenever you leave a bus, metro or taxi cab, please remember to take all your belongings with you. If you are carrying a laptop, always keep it close to you and never leave your luggage or any other valuables unattended.
It cannot be stressed enough that even in the busiest, safest looking places (bars and restaurants included), you are a potential target, so be aware at all times.
Remember, thieves are so experienced that it takes them seconds to act without anybody noticing. Never rely on a single way of payment. Try to use a combination of cash, traveller cheques and credit cards to pay during your trip. The safest way to travel is by carrying travellers cheques. In case you didn’t know this – you are insured in case they are stolen.
These are important aspects to remember nowadays while travelling but not only in Barcelona, but everywhere. Tourists are easy targets, so be careful.
Whilst it is important to remember all this, please do not get paranoid. Just be sensible – no need to take the latest digital SLR camera down the small backstreets, or carry 2000 euros in cash in a wallet hanging out of your back pocket.
Just remember that thieves look for easy targets, so just think a little and make sure you’re not one of them. Then you can go out and truly enjoy this magnificent city of modernism, mountain, sea, great weather, sunshine, tapas and cava. Barcelona never sleeps – make sure you do, peacefully!