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Has anyone been to Barcelona?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by skateboy, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    I'm really excited about going to Barcelona, Spain for a week--leaving the day after Christmas.

    A question for anyone who has visited there: I've heard horror stories about the pickpockets there. I tend to always carry my money, credit cards, ID, etc., in my front pocket as a rule. Is that good enough, or do I still have to worry?
  2. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    I went to Barcelona last year and was totally freaked out by the tales of pickpockets. I used a bag that had a zillion zippered compartments and never had it hanging off the back of me or anywhere I couldn't see it. I usually had my arm tight around it - I'm sure I looked ridiculous, but I had no problems with pickpockets, and I stayed right on La Rambla for half of my trip.

    Here's a site with some tips about Pickpockets in Barcelona:

    Overall, I think doing whatever you can to minimize looking like a good target is all you can do. Don't look like a disoriented tourist, pay attention to your surroundings, don't use any bags that have openings on them that you can't see (aka wearing a backpack on your back), don't keep all of your cash/cards/ID in the same pocket, don't let anyone distract you...and realize that it might happen anyway.
  3. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

    I've never been to Spain...but I kind of like the music...LOL!

    j/k. Have fun.
  4. Oreo

    Oreo Well-Known Member

    Put everything under your clothes. It doesn't matter how many zippered pockets your bag has or how tightly your arm is around it, these people are masters at stealing. I lived in Madrid for several months and carried my purse across my chest, did everything right, and I was still mugged. In my case, he ran up behind me, slammed his elbow to the side of my face, and then tried to grab my purse. He didn't get it because I fought him. Everybody I knew in Madrid--Spanish, non-Spanish, male, female--were mugged at some time or another. Even a big Australian guy got nailed by some gypsy women in the Plaza Mayor at 10 in the morning! Barcelona isn't any different. You'll be okay--just don't carry anything around in the street. If you want to put something in a front pocket, that's fine, just don't put anything in it you'd be upset to lose. Only carry the money you need. Credit cards and passport go under your clothes. One of my Spanish friends is a tour guide in Barcelona, and with every group he has, he always has to give the safety speech. On the other hand, you needn't be a complete paranoid--just a little bit of one. It's a gorgeous city--enjoy!!
  5. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    I was there in 2004, carried a bag all the time, and nobody bothered me. I didn't have anything particularly valuable with me, but then the pickpockets didn't know that, right? I don't know if things have gotten worse since, however.

    The only time I've ever had a pickpocket steal from me was on the bus right where I live. I guess it makes sense, considering how much time I spend here vs. in other countries - but my point is, just because people who live in a city have been mugged at times doesn't mean it'll happen to you in the short time you're there. Be careful, but not to the point where constantly worrying ruins your time in Barcelona.

    I agree with this. The less obviously touristy one looks the better.
  6. antmanb

    antmanb Well-Known Member

    Except for this year :)wuzrobbed) I've been to Barcelona two or three times a year for the last ten years and (touch wood) have not been pickpocketed. Many people warn you about it, and I've walked all over the city with a bag (with lots of zips and compartments), and with my phone and money in my pockets but no-ones ever even seemingly tried.

    I don't think Barcelona is any worse than any other big city in Europe. I found Milan to be worse for pickpockets, and found the pickpockets there were really blatant and I had to shove a group of women quite harshly when three of them had their hands in my bag.
  7. Lynn226

    Lynn226 Well-Known Member

    I didn't have issues with pick pockets when I was there in 2009. I had one incident in Madrid this year and one in Barcelona that made me feel like I was targeted for robbery, but I reacted quickly and nothing happened. I loved Spain and enjoyed every minute of it.
  8. BittyBug

    BittyBug Dispirited

    Possibly my favorite city in the world. It is positively fabulous.

    We didn't have any problems but use common sense and avoid the Rambla. It's just an open air sardine can anyway and you can use side streets to avoid the throngs of people promenading up and down. I used a cross body bag that I kept in front of me and noticed that many locals appeared to do the same.

    The Catalunyans are wonderfully warm and open. The city is clean, has beautiful design, great public transport, incredible restaurants and wonderful museums. Enjoy every second of your visit and catch up on your sleep once you're back home. :D
  9. TwizzlerS

    TwizzlerS Well-Known Member

    It's a beautiful city but my husband had his cell phone stolen at the Sagra Familia. I think it was in a holder on his belt. So, be careful with that along with your money.

    Also, if you have a chance, the town of Sitges is not far away. It's a beautiful coastal village.
  10. antmanb

    antmanb Well-Known Member

    Sitges is :swoon: one of my favourite places on earth!
  11. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    Normal precautions is about all you can do. If you have more than one credit card, just carry one, leave the other in the hotel safe. And carry limited cash. Not all in the same pocket. Keep your credit card # and phone written down somewhere so you can cancel ASAP. If you have a jacket with zip or button pockets (exterior or interior), keep them closed. If you happen to encounter a thief, they are either very adept at picking your pocket so you don't feel it or they don't hesitate to maul you all over to get it. So you really have to shove back even if it is a woman or a child.

    I generally have had more trouble in Italy than in Spain, but I am sure it has changed over the years.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  12. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    I loved Barcelona!!!
    It's one of the best cities I've ever visited. Madrid was awsome too.
    Go up to Montjuic, fantastic views and some of the olympic venues are there.

    I wished people stopped being so paranoid about pick pockets, like it only happens in "bad" countries.
    Be careful with your belongings, like you would be in ANY big city and around crowds.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  13. Lynn226

    Lynn226 Well-Known Member

    Montjuic is wonderful. There's a restaurant near the Olympic Museum. Very chic, but reasonably priced. There's a park across the street from the Olympic Stadium. It has an outdoor escalator. A life saver if you have blisters on your feet.

    I loved Sitges, too.
  14. mikey

    mikey ...an acquired taste

    I've been to Spain several times and also recommend simple common sense. I carry my wallet in my front pocket and only keep the bare essentials in it. Also, be especially wary around the gypsies- they are a particular pickpocketing threat.
  15. star_gazer11

    star_gazer11 practising choreo

    Personally, I had no problems back in 2005 and I even stayed in the Las Ramblas area.

    I know someone who visited this year, who was pickpocketed. They were targeted on the subway (coming from the airport) so that made for a bit of a rude welcome.

    However, it was just some electronics that was taken, no money or passport. I think they were wearing a crossbody bag, but not one that had a secure closure at the top (probably just one magnet, no flap covering?) The items that were taken were sitting near the top of the bag.

    They had just arrived, were tired, and yes it happened. At least it was replaceable items that were lost.
  16. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the great advice, everyone. I'm really looking forward to the trip!