What to Avoid in Barcelona: Tips for a Smooth Trip

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Bar Crawl Madrid

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Barcelona, a vibrant city filled with stunning architecture, beautiful beaches, and a rich cultural heritage, is a popular tourist destination attracting millions of visitors each year. While exploring this lively city, it’s essential to be aware of a few things to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. In this article, we will highlight some common pitfalls and offer tips on what to avoid in Barcelona.

1. Overpaying for Touristy Restaurants

Barcelona is known for its culinary scene, but many restaurants in touristy areas tend to overprice their menus. To avoid paying more than necessary, venture out of the city center and explore local neighborhoods to discover hidden gems with more affordable and authentic cuisine. Locals often eat menus del día, which are fixed-price lunch menus, providing great value for money.

2. Not Planning Gaudi Site Visits in Advance

A visit to Barcelona is incomplete without experiencing the architectural wonders of Antoni Gaudi, such as La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. These attractions are extremely popular, and entrance tickets often sell out quickly. To avoid disappointment, it’s advisable to book your tickets online in advance, ensuring you have a specific time slot to enjoy these iconic landmarks.

3. Falling for Pickpocketing Scams

Like many large cities, Barcelona has its share of pickpocketing incidents, especially in crowded tourist areas. Stay vigilant and take precautions to protect your belongings. Avoid keeping valuables in easily accessible pockets, use secure bags or purses, and be cautious of distractions created by strangers. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded places like public transportation and popular tourist spots.

4. Ignoring Local Customs and Etiquette

Respecting local customs is essential when traveling to any foreign destination. In Barcelona, it’s polite to greet people with a “Hola” (hello) and “Gracias” (thank you) when interacting with locals. Avoid addressing locals in Spanish as “Gracias, amigo/amiga” (Thank you, friend), as it can be perceived as insincere or sarcastic. Additionally, don’t forget to keep your voice down when inside churches or other religious sites.

5. Excessive Sun Exposure Without Protection

Barcelona’s sunny climate invites visitors to spend time outdoors, but it’s crucial to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Apply sunscreen regularly, wear a hat, and carry a water bottle to stay hydrated. Avoid staying out during the hottest hours of the day (usually between 12 pm and 4 pm) and seek shade whenever possible to avoid sunburn or heatstroke.

6. Relying Solely on Taxis

While taxis can be a convenient mode of transportation, relying solely on them can be expensive, especially for longer journeys. Barcelona has an excellent public transportation system, including metros, buses, and trams, which are easy to use and provide a more cost-effective way of getting around the city. Consider purchasing a T-10 ticket, which offers ten rides at a discounted price.

7. Exploring La Rambla Only During the Day

La Rambla, Barcelona’s famous pedestrian street, offers a lively atmosphere during the day, bustling with tourists and street performers. However, it’s best to avoid this area at night, as it can become crowded with pickpockets and unsavory characters. Instead, explore other neighborhoods like El Born or Gràcia, known for their charming streets, local markets, and hidden gems.

8. Not Learning Basic Spanish Phrases

While many locals in Barcelona speak English, making an effort to learn a few basic Spanish phrases can greatly enhance your experience. Simple greetings, polite expressions, and common phrases like “Por favor” (please) and “Perdón” (excuse me) can go a long way in building rapport with the locals and showing respect for their culture.


To have a memorable and hassle-free trip to Barcelona, it’s essential to be aware of and avoid common pitfalls. By avoiding overpriced touristy restaurants, planning Gaudi site visits in advance, staying vigilant against pickpockets, respecting local customs, protecting yourself from the sun, utilizing public transportation, exploring various neighborhoods, learning basic Spanish phrases, you can make the most out of your visit to this incredible city.

Barcelona offers a wealth of cultural experiences, stunning sights, and delicious cuisine. With a little bit of preparation and awareness, you can make your visit to Barcelona an unforgettable and enriching journey.

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What to Avoid in Barcelona: Tips for a Smooth Trip