Advice for Tourists
Above: No, it's not a MacDonald's Dave
Below: 'Bicing' by the beach
It's not hard to make the most out of Barcelona. There's culture, fine-dining, bar-hopping and beach-bumming aplenty to be getting on with. However here are a few practical tips and pieces of advice for first-time travellers.
Safety First - Avoiding Pickpockets!
Read some reports and you'd think every visitor who comes to Barcelona is automatically robbed the moment they pass through arrivals at El Prat airport. In fact trouble is rare for anyone who keeps their wits about them, but undoubtedly pickpockets will pounce on any pasty-faced tourist who fails to exercise due caution around Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. Money belts are a good solution, as our bags worn in front of you rather than behind (where zips can be undone, and contents removed). Loose pockets are a no-no, and if you put your bag underneath your chair it will go walkies, especially at internet cafes and touristy bars. Finally, if you take a handbag out at night, never leave it unattended.
Avoiding the Crowds
If you want to experience a bit more of Barcelona for yourself don't forget to pack your compass and delve into some of the city's lesser-known districts. El Born, Poblenou, Raval, Gracia, Montjuic and Eixample are all worth visiting, or escape it all on a daytrip to Sitges.
Viva La Catalunya
Catalans are a fearsomely independent bunch and if it was up to them they'd stick two fingers up to the rest of Spain and form their own breakaway republic. They won't be impressed by your Castillian Spanish, even if your pronunciation is spot on, so why not check out our guide to the Catalan language. Gaudi would be proud.
Outwitting the ATMs
Spanish banks are conning thousands of pounds out of unexpected tourists by tricking you into accepting their unfavourable exchange rate. If asked would you like to be charged in your native currency always select 'no', and ask to be charged in euros; otherwise, using something called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), they will sting you for some extra dinero. For more info click the link for this article in The Guardian.
Consulting the Experts
If you haven't already, download our free Barcelona travel app (it rocks!), or - if that's all a bit hi-tech for you - print out our free PDF guide and you'll have a tonne of handy tips, information and recommendations to read on the plane over.