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Travel Tips

Important things to know before visiting Barcelona

Pickpocketing is a huge problem in Barcelona! It is a shameful situation and we hope the authorities will wake up and take action very soon!

While violent crimes are extremely rare and Barcelona is safer than many other European and American cities, you still need to be concerned about your valuables. With a few simple precautionary steps you can ensure you will have a great time, and your photos to prove it...

Please read this section all the way to the end and we will give you specific tips on how you can avoid the thieves of Barcelona...

Be super cautious - especially at:

  • Trains and bus stations
  • La Rambla (the main walking street)
  • Barrio Gotico (the old part of town)
  • Subway/underground entrances and escalators
  • When loading luggage and getting into a vehicle

Don't leave valuables out of sight! Don’t leave your wallet in your back pocket. Don't leave your camera unattached on the seat next to you in the coffee shop. Don't leave anything valuable on the outdoor restaurant table, not even for just a second. It will disappear. Phone, wallet, bag - if you leave it on the table you risk losing it. This is the sad reality in Barcelona at the moment and we want to make sure you are fully aware!

Look at this photo below - it shows a typical day on La Rambla...

Crowds at La Rambla

As you can see, Barcelona is very busy, and unfortunately pickpocketing is a daily occurrence. This is not an exaggeration - stuff gets stolen here everyday!

Take a look at the older couple on the right side of the picture - the gentleman is wearing a small backpack and the lady is holding a handbag to her right-side and under her arm. Its advised to wear your belonging where you can always see them. The lady is holding her bag properly and the man is not. The thieves of Barcelona are experts at what they do – so please don’t make it easy for them by keeping your valuables out of direct view.

Now take a look at the lady in the center of the photo – notice how she has her bag in front and her camera strapped around her neck and in her hand. This is how you want to be wearing your valuables. In front of you and in direct sight at all times. If you hold your belongings this way you will simply not be approached by anyone because they will look for someone who is easier to 'work' with. This simple step alone will reduce your risk to almost zero! Please wear your valuables in the front.

Be aware there are professional scammers on the streets. Some of their tactics include sprinkling you with water from behind and then ‘assisting’ you with some distracting story while another person makes way with your valuables in your backpack. Remember, if you keep your belongings in front and within direct view – you will not be approached. Scammers look for unsuspecting and unprepared tourists - you will be too difficult to scam so they will simply look for someone else!

How to hold your belongings in Barcelona

Be extra careful in underground/subway stations, as some thieves will use the crowded escalators to remove wallets and other valuables from people's bags and pockets.

Thieves don’t have a particular look in Barcelona, and they can be well dressed and even look like tourists themselves. You need to use good judgement and know that crowded areas are problematic, don’t carry more cash and documents on you than needed, and carry valuables in inside pockets or in front of your direct view.

Lastly, be super careful when you enter and exit any vehicle. Do not leave valuables inside the car unattended (not even for 2 minutes) and never leave doors open for more than absolutely necessary when you enter or exit a vehicle. Barcelona's super-fast thieves can make way with your belongings if you are not careful during loading and unloading of your luggage. Be alert and keep an eye on your valuables at ALL times.

We are not trying to scare you from visiting 🙂 Most people visit Barcelona and go away with wonderful memories. We want to make sure you too leave with only great memories!

Get them in advance! They're cheaper and will save you hours of standing in queues.

We can help you get skip-the-line tickets - click here to get in touch...

Park Guell or Sagrada Familia?

Park GuellMany sites of interest in the city are related to the masterpieces of the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. There are 2 sites in particular however that are considered a must-see: the church of the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. Both require admission to go inside and we are often asked whether the admission price is worth it. The answer (as always) depends on your budget and what you consider appealing, but you should know that while you can see the Sagrada Familia from the outside (and most visitors will do this), you will not be able to see anything worthwhile of Park Guell unless you buy tickets to go inside the park. Therefore, we would recommend that if you have to choose one site for doing an inside visit due to time or costs, then go for Park Guell and visit the church of the Sagrada Familia from the outside.

Sagrada FamiliaWe can arrange skip-the-line tickets to both venues, and many others too. If you join our semi-private or small-group tours then we arrange entry to Park Guell as part of the itinerary. If you wish to go inside the Sagrada Familia too, we will arrange a guided visit inside for you at the end of the tour. Afterwards just take a taxi to your hotel and we will reimburse you for that too since you will not be using our drop-off service which is already included with the price of the tour!

For private tours – you can do anything you like in any order you prefer.

(1) Flamenco show with Spanish dinner - enjoy an authentic experience of Spanish culture! We are happy to suggest this venue which is centrally located. Advance booking is highly recommended! See more...

(2) La Pedrera Night Experience: visit this impressive Gaudi building and enjoy dazzling audiovisuals on the Roof Terrace. Get tickets here...

(3) Go to the Opera: dress up and join the locals at Liceu Theater, once Europe's largest Opera house. See more info here...

(4) Live Music at Gaudi’s Casa Batllo: Get an audio-guided tour of the building and then continue to enjoy a live concert on the rooftop. There is a different band every night but they typically play light jazz, blues or flamenco. Advance booking is required - click here...

(5) Magic Fountain audio visual FREE show: head out to the Font Magica… (Magic Fountain) and enjoy a sunset with music and colorful water-fountain displays - its nice! Check performance times here

Barcelona is considered a safe city in terms of violent crime. However, pickpocketing and theft is sadly a big problem!

To avoid unnecessary worry, we prepared a map of the area in Barcelona that tends to be less pleasant at night. You can type the name of your hotel to check if you are staying inside this area.

This is how to check:

1- Click on this link here to open the map

2- Click the magnifying glass and type the name of your hotel

If the hotel appears INSIDE the marked area then it is in the rather unpleasant part of town...

If you don't yet have your accommodation booked, we would suggest you consider booking OUTSIDE the highlighted area.

For a budget of $100+ consider:

For $200+ our guests recommend:

For $300+ these hotels come highly recommended:

As a cruiser you don't typically have much time in Barcelona so it's important to plan your schedule properly. Find out what works best for your specific visit:

Landing in Barcelona to begin a cruise later the same day?

Normally, this means you will land between 8-10 AM, with the intention to embark the cruise around 1-3 PM. If this sounds like your schedule then consider booking a private tour that will pick you up directly from the airport with your luggage, and will take you directly to the cruise ship at the end of the tour. This is a very popular option for American cruisers. You will see all the highlights of Barcelona and make the best use of your time before checking into the ship!

Staying in a hotel overnight before starting the cruise in Barcelona?

If you are planning to be in Barcelona at least one day before the cruise begins, then you can join our small-group tour and we will still pick you up directly from the hotel with your luggage. During the tour, we will store your luggage safely in the vehicle, and then bring you to the cruise ship at the end of the tour in time for embarkation. You can choose to join us for a variety of half day tours or if your embarkation is late in the afternoon then you can also join a full-day excursion.

Docking in Barcelona for the day?

Depending on how many hours you have at port, you can select between the half-day and full-day excursions. Join one of our small-group tours and pay as little as 59 Euros, or you can book a private tour just for your party. Pickup and drop-off will be at the cruise port - very easy!

Ending the cruise in Barcelona?

If your cruise ends in Barcelona then we would highly recommend booking a tour that will pick you up as you arrive and will take you to your hotel or the airport at the end of the tour. Keep in mind that you are likely to disembark the cruise ship with hundreds of other guests at the same time, and if you choose to take a taxi then it is likely you will stand in a very long queue (not unusual to wait over an hour for a taxi – rain or shine). Also, if you plan to go to your hotel in the city after disembarking the ship then you certainly do not wish to arrive before 1 PM since it is unlikely your room will be ready. Some inexperienced cruisers will disembark in Barcelona with their luggage, wait for an hour to get a taxi to the hotel, only to wait another 3 hours for the room to be ready… For as little as 59 Euros you can join us for a small-group tour that will pick you up with your luggage as soon as you arrive and take you to the hotel at the end of the tour in time for check-in…

Do you have luggage?

We travel with cruisers almost every day so we know as a cruiser you will bring a lot of luggage with you 🙂 This is 100% OK! We will store your luggage in the vehicle while we visit the sites, and of course we will take you safely to the hotel, cruise port, or the airport at the end of the tour – with your luggage. Some hotels in the historic quarters of Barcelona have limited access to vehicles. If you booked in one of these places, we will let you know in advance and will make sure that you get there with your luggage directly at the end of the tour. We will provide all the information to you before you arrive and ensure you travel hassle-free!

  • Barcelona city tour - if you have limited time
  • Barcelona and Montserrat - if you want to see as much as possible in one day
  • Montserrat and wine country - if you've covered Barcelona already
  • Girona and Costa Brava
  • Figueres and the Dali Museum
  • Sitges and Tarragona
  • Besalu and the Medieval route

Not sure how to plan?  Use our Trip Planner and get a free Travel Plan for your visit (day by day) without any obligation!

Travel Plan

We are part of an alliance of Tour Operators around the Mediterranean, offering quality private and small-group excursions.

For the best service and prices on shore excursions in Italy, visit ItalyTours.EU - operating top quality services in many Italian ports!

For day-tours and shore excursions in other cities in Spain – visit SpainDayTours

Visiting the biblical land of Israel? We highly recommend Guided Tours Israel - a family company offering small-group tours at unbeatable prices!

For shore excursions in Turkey – check out Ephesus Shuttle – the #1 shore excursion operator in Turkey

If you are visiting Greece and particularly Rhodes Island, contact Rhodes Private Tours for a custom shore excursion. For tours in and around Athens, contact George’s Taxi Private Tours

For tours in Madrid – visit Madrid is a great base for taking day trips. This Madrid office offers private and semi-private tours in and around the Capital of Spain

For passengers on the way to the fascinating land of Egypt, we recommend Ramses Tours - offering a a wide range of tours and a warm and friendly service

There are many websites offering tours in Barcelona which are not run by legal Tour Operators. Non-official Tour Operators are not insured or bonded, and are not allowed by law to conduct business with foreigners. It could ruin your day if you are randomly stopped mid-tour by the police... This does happen!

Some websites offering touring services might in fact be owned by certified and licensed tour guides, taxi drivers or chauffeurs , but this is still a form of piracy since they are not official Tour Operators.

Some websites will try to mislead their guests by displaying a type of license as evidence of running a legitimate business (usually a license known as SP - which is a taxi-type license). This is basically equivalent to an Airline proudly showing the license of one of their pilots while not having the proper permits to operate an airline, having any insurance, or holding a bond in case they go out of business. Would anyone book a flight with this type of operation?

The best way to ensure you are booking with a genuine Tour Operator is to inquire with ASTA (the American Society of Travel Advisors) which is the main body supervising travel companies worldwide.

Just as we imagine that you would not get into an unmarked car at the airport except if it is a licensed taxi, we kindly hope that you will take part in stopping the piracy of tourism in Barcelona and book only with a genuine Tour Operator.

Thank you!

We believe you are coming to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world - so come in good spirit and enjoy everything about it!

View of Barcelona from above

Smile, take lots of photos, and enjoy your stay!  We hope to be part of your visit in Barcelona 🙂

Got any other questions? Please feel free to contact us now… 🙂

✦ Pay as much as you want when booking a tour

✦ Free-cancellation up to 48-hours before the tour

✦ No charges if your international flight is cancelled

✦ No charges if your cruise ship does not dock at port

✦ Enjoy our tours or get up to 50% of your money back!