Is Barcelona safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Barcelona is a lively Mediterranean city favored for its magnificent coastline, gastronomy, and pleasant weather. It has a population of approximately 1.62 million inhabitants and welcomes over 8 million visitors each year who are drawn to its art, architecture, and eclectic food scene.
The city boasts nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, most of which are the works of the legendary Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. His most famous masterpiece is Sagrada Familia, an unfinished basilica in the city’s Eixample Right district. Besides its cultural and architectural treasures, Barcelona is blessed with stunning natural areas. It faces the Mediterranean to the southeast, offering kilometers of beaches where you can enjoy the warm sunshine. There are also green parks for those who want to escape the urban bustle.
The high season in Catalonia’s capital is from May to early September, although the busiest months are from June to August. No matter when you plan to visit Barcelona, protecting yourself and your belongings should be your highest priority. That’s why it’s best to leave them in reliable Barcelona luggage storage to guarantee security. In addition to bag safety, we’ve also compiled essential crime info and Barcelona safety tips you might want to be aware of when visiting this wonderful city.
Is Barcelona safe to visit right now?
According to The Economist, Barcelona is a safe destination with an overall Safe City Index of 77.8, making it the 11th safest city among 60 cities worldwide. Tourists can explore its breathtaking sights and enjoy various activities without encountering dangerous criminals.
Like any big city with petty crime problems, Barcelona has its fair share of misdemeanors and minor offenses. The most common one is pickpocketing, and visitors have a higher chance of being a victim of thieves than violent crime. Use your common sense and be vigilant, and no petty crime could ruin your vacation.
Know that there’s no such as a perfect safety guide. While these safety tips and advice are designed to prepare you for any potential danger you might experience when visiting Barcelona, your well-being and the safety of your belongings are up to you. Exercise caution and do further research, especially if you’re an inexperienced traveler.
Seasoned traveler or not, we recommend checking your government’s official travel guidelines for the city or country you plan to visit before booking a flight.
Top petty crimes and scams in Barcelona affecting tourists
Because Barcelona is a famous European city attracting millions of visitors, it’s not surprising to find scammers and petty thieves lurking in popular tourist spots, especially in the city center. Increasing your knowledge about the possible risks waiting for you there will help reduce your chance of becoming a victim. Here’s a list of everyday petty theft and criminal acts in Barcelona and ways to protect yourself.
There’s a high risk of pickpocketing in the city, and it’s a rampant crime issue with so many tourists in the capital. Pickpockets and bag thieves are common in many areas, especially on the pedestrian street of Las Ramblas, train stations, the Sagrada Familia towers, and other tourist sites with huge crowds.
Barcelona has so many beautiful things, so don’t let petty theft scare you. To have a happy and safe holiday, be confident and don’t send the ‘next victim’ vibe by showing off your wealth and displaying your expensive watch or jewelry. Leave them at a hotel safe or Bounce storage facility and only bring your necessities. Don’t put your wallet or phone in your back pocket. Whether dining, sightseeing, or shopping, always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
You’ll be less likely to get mugged while touring the city, but it pays off to be extra careful by considering it a medium risk. Muggings with violence are extremely rare, and if they do happen, they usually occur late at night or after 1 AM in more shady areas and dangerous neighborhoods.
The victims are generally those who walk alone late at night in the wrong part of town and those who might be inebriated. So to be safe, stay away from unsafe areas and don’t walk alone in dark streets with fewer people. If you wish to experience Barcelona’s nightlife, stay in groups, and don’t take public transport at night.
On the road
Thieves are known to provoke road-related incidents or warn drivers about something wrong with the vehicle, like flat or punctured tires, lights gone, etc. They will stop and volunteer to help the distressed driver but will steal the car or belongings.
Be cautious about accepting help from a stranger when dealing with a road-related incident. Never trust anyone warning you of any issue with your vehicle when driving. A gas station is always an ideal place to stop and check. Use a secure parking facility and always keep your windows closed.
Is Barcelona safe to travel alone
Barcelona is generally safe for solo travelers and has plenty of exhilarating spots to enjoy on your own. You don’t need distractions, as the city will take care of them for you. Your trip can be as comfortable and safe as you wish.
Also, Barcelona is located on the coast of northeastern Spain, a country with a female safety index score of 66.13 as seen in the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index. So as the country’s second-largest city, it’s probably fair to say that Barcelona is a very safe city for solo female travelers. Of course, you should still avoid wandering in non-touristy places and dark alleys at night and keep your wits about you.
Safest neighborhoods in Barcelona
It is true that some places in the world are not safe. Fortunately, Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe, with Barcelona being one of the most desirable cities to visit. Although Barcelona is not entirely rid of crime, such as petty crime like pickpocketing or bag snatchers, you can still enjoy your stay here without major worries. To help you feel comforted in your plans of traveling to this exciting city, here are the safest Barcelona neighborhoods and a few places you might want to avoid.
If you wish to stay at a quiet location or be away from the hustle and bustle of crowds, then the residential area of Gracia might be your destination. Although it contains only a small number of hotels and major shopping outlets, this is precisely what makes this neighborhood one of the safest in the city. Many families and the elderly make their home here, so it’s an ideal place to feel like you’re living in a small village amidst a vibrant city.
El Born is an area meant for those who enjoy the company of a bustling crowd. It is one of the most touristy places in Barcelona, especially in summer. Despite being a popular tourist destination, it maintains its reputation as a safe Barcelona neighborhood. There are plenty of classy restaurants to choose from and great cafes and shops. This neighborhood is also home to the Picasso Museum and Chocolate Museum, so it’s a perfect area for all ages.
If you’d like to make the most of both worlds, consider Poble Sec. It’s primarily residential, so it offers a peaceful and friendly vibe that’ll make you feel safe. You can find many entertainments in this area as well, such as bars and clubs. Furthermore, this location is close to popular tourist attractions like Montjuïc and Plaça España and Las Ramblas.
El Raval is close to La Rambla but is known to be an area frequented by gangs and robberies aren't uncommon. La Mina is another place you may want to skip—why not visit the well-patrolled neighborhoods and tourist attractions you know are safe?
Is Barcelona public transportation safe?
One of the things that you might often hear about Barcelona is how good the public transportation is. It’s even advised that you travel by this means as driving in the city can be a crazy experience. For example, taxis are easy to spot and more affordable than Uber, although some taxi drivers might try to demand a tip or overcharge their services.
Public transport is considered safe from violent crime and preferred to use by tourists and residents. Unfortunately, the bus and train stations are also common spots for bag thieves and pickpockets to operate due to the flock of crowds using them every day.
You don’t have to avoid taking public transportation completely, but always be vigilant about your belongings. Be extra careful of places like the central metro stations and Sants train station. The escalators are also crowded, providing an opportunity for sneaky thieves.
Important emergency numbers in Barcelona
Anything can happen to anyone, anywhere, so you’ll need to know how to contact the proper authorities if you’re in an emergency during your trip. Below is a list of emergency numbers in Barcelona that you should add to your contact list before departure. You should also determine your embassy number should you need their help while visiting abroad.
- Spain country code: +34
- Barcelona area code: +34 93
- Emergency number: 112
- Police: 091
- Local Police: 092
- Fire brigade: 080
- Accident / Ambulance: 061
- English-speaking police officers: +34 932 903 000
Have a safe Barcelona trip
Anyone can have a safe and exciting trip to the capital of Catalonia. Whether you’re traveling on your own or with a group, it won’t hurt to take extra precautions during your stay. Knowing what to do and things to avoid should be part of your preparation plan, which can save you from headaches and troubles as you begin your adventure.
Barcelona is a huge city, and navigating its streets can take time and effort. Learn how to get around Barcelona to make the most of your trip. When deciding which neighborhood to see or hotel room to book, check out our guide on Where to Stay in Barcelona: The Ultimate Guide for tips and advice.