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Five tourist traps in Barcelona and how to avoid them

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Packed with culture, charm and intrigue, and partial to a good party, Barcelona is high on the list for summer sun-chasers. Last year saw the city swell with an estimated 32 million visitors, and inevitably, the city's popularity comes hand-in-hand with tourist traps.

These are the pesky tricks which will leave your bank account reeling, leaving you with only a small slice of the real Barça.

Image credit: kirkandmimi on Pixabay

Las Ramblas

An emblematic 1.2 km strip which divides the old city centre in two and links Plaça Catalaunya to the sea, Las Ramblas is not to be missed. However, eating and drinking on Las Ramblas is a mistake, where a beer could set you back by a staggering nine euros.

Save Las Ramblas for an early morning stroll and head instead to the Rambla de Cataluna or Carrer Blai to enjoy a similar atmosphere.

These streets are full of buzzing bars and opportunities to people-watch to your heart's content, all for a fraction of the price, and, most importantly, free from frozen paella and suspect street sellers.

Overpriced panoramas

Miradors with panoramic views of Barcelona can be found tucked away in many neighbourhoods. Paying for the tourist bus or the cable car to Montjuïc is just not necessary.

The Bunkers of El Carmel, a former civil war lookout, is an extremely popular place to watch the sunset bathe the city in a golden tinge.

Alternative free spots include the various parks that line Montjuïc mountain or rooftop bars like Barceló 360.

Staying in the Gothic quarter

Although the city's bar-lined streets are the pulsing core of the city, they can seem congested and claustrophobic in the summer months and they attract petty crime.

Image credit: jarmoluk on Pixabay

If you stay in the neighbourhoods of Poble Nou, Gracia or Eixample, you can avoid the persistent street sellers and performers of the Ciutat Vella. These areas are where the locals dwell, offering greater tranquillity than its boisterous neighbours. You can also avoid the chaotic political demonstrations in the centre, football chants and thumping club music.  

Storing valuables in your pockets

Barcelona is a safe city, but opportunistic theft is rife.

The barrios of Barceloneta next to the beach, El Raval and El Gotico and the metro are all areas to be vigilant over your belongings. In Barcelona, everyone knows someone who has had their phone stolen. The drinks may be cheap but losing your phone or passport will ruin your night.

Expecting a relaxing beach trip

While Barceloneta is known to be a fun district, it is not the place to head if you are looking for relaxation. Rowdy, dirty and packed, be wary of the Mojitos sold on the beach too.

A train ride away, Sitges or Casteldefels are beaches better suited to swimming and sunbathing.

Barcelona is the Spanish capital of hedonism, offering bountiful cultural attractions, gastronomy and parties, but do not fall into overpriced or inauthentic tourist traps.




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