9 Barcelona Tips

1. Watch out for pick-pockets! Within my first 48 hours in Barcelona I met two people who had their phones stolen and another woman who said she caught someone trying to open her bag. If you’d like more advice on how to avoid pickpockets, my post HERE has lots of specific tips.

2014-11-08 01.54.142. Try to buy your tickets for the Sagrada Familia (a must-see) ahead of time to avoid the super long line. If you have a smart phone you don’t even need to print your ticket out ahead of time. There’s no wifi near the Sagrada Familia, so don’t count on buying your ticket online when you get there (likewise if you buy your ticket make sure you download the pdf they will email you while you still have a connection to wifi).

3. Be aware that Barcelona is a huge city, and so you’ll probably need to take the subway to get some places (although I would recommend taking a few very scenic long walks). Fortunately, the subway system is very straightforward (just be sure to re-read tip #1).

4. Although most locals will understand that you’re a tourist, it’s polite to refer to the language you probably know as Spanish as “castillano” or “Castilian.” Some locals are of the opinion that since both Castilian Spanish and Catalan are languages of Spain, both can be considered “Spanish” or “español.” Yes, hundreds millions of people in Latin America speak Castilian Spanish, while basically nobody outside of Cataluña speaks Catalan, but you don’t want to get into that.

5. Both men and women in Barcelona dress really well (but comfortably) and so if it matters to you, you might want to wear something you especially like so you don’t feel super shabby in comparison (although you’re awesome no matter what you wear).

6. Be aware that many stores and attractions are closed on Sundays. It’s best to check online before you make Sunday plans.

7. If you want to be able to ask for directions and order a beer like a local in Barcelona, it’s best to learn a bit of Castillian Spanish rather than Catalan. All the Spanish and Latin American tourists as well as all of the locals speak Castilian Spanish, while only the locals speak Catalan. However, if all you know is “hola,” you’re probably not doomed, as plenty of people know at least some English.

8. Be sure to ask for student discounts, as often times they’re not displayed and they’re only available if you ask.

2014-11-08 04.58.219. Go to La Pedrera, but spend 99% of your time on the roof. The rest of the building is fine, but the roof is magical.

4 thoughts on “9 Barcelona Tips”

  1. Tip #1: Be aware of your credit card payments too and don’t let cards out of your sight. A few years ago, before the days of at-table card payments, and on a transit visit through Barca, used card at a restaurant on Las Ramblas. By the time I returned home next day, over £2000 had been used in Barca from my account. VISA would easily have known where to find the culprit. It was the only time I used the card in Barca. They gave me my money back, so I lost nothing. Thanks Visa. Hope you traced the culprit, presumably targeting the waite that processed the payment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great info on a great city.

    It can’t be stressed enough to buy tickets to Sagrada Familia online in advance. They even urge you to do so at the basilica’s website by showing video of just how bad the queues can get.

    We visited Barcelona in Spring of 2014 and were very thankful we bought our tickets in advance. We got there just after opening time and the queue for at the door tickets was halfway around the building or more and there was absolutely no shelter from the sun which was already fairly high in the sky.

    I have to say that, with the exception of the Boqueria Market which I very much liked, La Rambla didn’t really impress me. It reminded me too much of all those sections of popular cities that are custom made for scamming unwitting tourists. The price of beer and food in most of the La Rambla restaurants compared to restaurants in adjoining streets and neighboring districts just a stone’s throw away was enough to put me off spending much time or money on La Rambla.


  3. The pickpockets is the same for Oslo. Same that stores are closed on Sundays. It was all a bit much at first coming from the US but not it’s normal. 🙂


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