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Stay away from Barcelona.

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Middle East
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10 posts
22 reviews
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Stay away from Barcelona.

It is the pickpocket capital of the world. If you must go, leave all your valuables in the hotel safe.

Seattle, Washington
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9,278 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

I'm not sure you can call it the pickpocket capital of the world. It's okay, but hardly number one.

VPS
Vilanova i la Geltru
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1,556 posts
45 reviews
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2. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

Oh dear Razz, this is not a rational statement to make. I'm sorry if you have had a bad experience but you shouldn't make such a sweeping generalisation.

Barcelona has it's problems like any other major city but it is also a beautiful, vibrant city, full of culture, art, music, food and wine. I hope one day you will return and have a positive experience.

Pittsburgh, PA
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428 posts
10 reviews
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3. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

We just returned from four great days in Barcelona. Saw nothing suspicious, spent very little time in Las Ramblas. I would NEVER take a purse anywhere that had a reputation for pickpockets, and especially not where there are crowds. And I didn't allow my husband to put his wallet in his pocket for even a second. Four of us wore money belts and were fine. Sure, they're inconvenient, but having your vacation ruined is a lot worse.

Middle East
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10 posts
22 reviews
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4. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

Hey, VPS, I'm sure your outlook would be a little more pessimistic if you and your partner were pickpoceted twice and purse-snatched once in the space of two days. No fault of Gaudi, of course, but the theives of Barcelona make it a very unpleasant destination.

Shrewsbury
Destination Expert
for Barcelona
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11,365 posts
25 reviews
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5. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

I have no idea if Barcelona is the pickpocketing capital of the world (I suspect no) and I'm always sorry to hear about unpleasant experiences, and you do seem to have been extremely unlucky, but the advice about hotel safes is just misleading.

All hotel safes can be accessed by other people - people who also have access to your room. You might as well leave the valuables out in the hall with a sign saying "these are my valuable".

If the safe is one that can be opened by someone else, then it is not secure. It's that simple.

Unless you only ever open it in the presence of an approved hotel employee and you sign & countersign all deposits into and withdrawals from the safe, then how can you prove what it was that you locked away if somebody steals it?

London
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1 post
8 reviews
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6. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

I was warned alot before going to Barcelona, about pickpocketting. I think it is rife no matter what city you go to. The main thing is to be secure. For example taking bags which can be zipped up. I took my wallet with a chain.

You will surprised how many people flought their possession in front the public..

This is a difficult article to write because I don't want to scare people off from coming to Barcelona. By writing about safeguarding your personal safety in Barcelona and how to ensure you are not pick pocketed or robbed implies that the city is not safe.

However it's true to say that there is a pick pocketing and bag snatching problem in Barcelona.

The wrong thing to do on La Rambla. You should go to a cafe or restaurant to consult your map. This couple have clearly labelled themselves as tourists.

So many times I walk down La Rambla and see tourists with maps open, looking lost and with their bags unguarded. These tourists will almost certainly be noticed by all the wrong people and be an instant target. You can be a tourist, no problem, but what you must behave like is a savvy tourist and you will be much, much safer.

Please take these precautions to safeguard yourself. I know you may think it will never happen to you. You may even think that "all big cities are the same in this respect" but I would say perhaps think again. I see so many tourists that are leaving themselves wide open for something to happen and all they need to do is just take a few simple steps to help safeguard themselves.

Is The Ramblas Safe? (The Ramblas is the main promenade through central Barcelona)

At night time La Rambla can be seedy and there are prostitutes who are often than not also pickpockets. They operate along the full length of Las Ramblas. They will aim to get physically close to tourists by linking arms or pulling the tourist close to them. That is when they will attempt to pickpocket you. Sometimes they will work with more than one person and one causes the distraction whilst the other steals from you. The stolen goods are then quickly passed on to someone else for safe keeping so that if you ever go back to challenge them (not recommended) they miraculously have nothing on them that was yours!

Please take care at night and particularly on Las Ramblas. The "prostitutes" undertaking these thefts can be quite persistent even if you tell them repeatedly to go away they often still continue to pursue you. However if you just keep on walking quickly past and repeatedly keep saying "no" in my experience they get the message and leave you alone eventually. It is advisable not to make eye contact nor to confront them just keep walking, keep your valuables guarded and keep saying "no".

More needs to be done to protect tourists from this type of harassment. We should be free to walk along the most famous street in Barcelona without being harassed or made a victim of a theft by these lowlifes.

VPS
Vilanova i la Geltru
Level Contributor
1,556 posts
45 reviews
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7. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

Razz. I find it incredible that you managed to have 3 robberies in the space of two days! What didn't you learn from the first experience? Did you not put your money/cards in one front pocket and keep your hands in that pocket in crowded areas? etc.etc.

Also don't assume that I haven't experienced such events. What I don't do is tar everybody/place with the same brush. I try to be more objective. If I had turned against Catalunya the number of times my car has been damaged or broken into etc. I wouldn't be living here now.

What would be a more helpful response is to say how other people might avoid the same happening to them.

Middle East
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10 posts
22 reviews
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8. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

VPS, you have the right idea. To avoid being pickpocketed in Barcelona, JUST SAY NO and stay away. A city with this much theivery deserves being boycotted.

VPS
Vilanova i la Geltru
Level Contributor
1,556 posts
45 reviews
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9. Re: Stay away from Barcelona.

Oh dear Razz, I'm sorry you are so bitter about Barcelona. I hope you get over it soon and maybe try to think of the positives of your trip. All the best in your future travels.

Barcelona, Spain
Level Contributor
841 posts
9 reviews