17 Things to Avoid in Barcelona (Video Inside)

We often get lost in searching for things to do while going for a vacation. We scrap for exciting places on the web, travel books and even documentaries. But none if not all of us consider things not to do. As much as it may seem insignificant, it has a vital part to play in ensuring your well being during the travel.

For instance, different regions have different cultural heritage, and what is considered a decent dressing in your locality, it might be inappropriate in another region and against their culture. Ensure you’ve done your search well in all the things you can do and those you can’t avoid a cultural clash. Am sure the last thing you need is being slat shamed in public or even worst fined for inappropriateness or getting in an illegal section of the region during your excursions.

To guarantee you the best time and get you on the right side of the law and locals, below are the things to avoid in Barcelona:

1. Expect everyone to speak in English

You will encounter the descent of people while in the city. But don’t assume everyone speaks in English. This is quite offensive to the locals. It’s mostly those who work in hotels, restaurants, resorts, and shops are more familiar with English. And it’s mainly due to their job requirements.

The locals speak in either Catalan or Spanish; you can learn a few essential words and phrases that may come in handy while there. You never know which place you may get stranded. Learn some few greeting words, and that will display to the local your respect to their culture. It will give them the feeling of being more than a tourist attraction.

2. Walking with your beachwear in the city

beachwear is strict in the beach zone. At the beach, you can have a great time with your bikini or shorts while basking in the sun. But that is as far as you can go with your beach dressing. At the city center that dressing is strictly forbidden.

It’s considered inappropriate and illegal. Being caught walking in the city center with your bikini or shots can earn you a fine of €100 – €200. This also includes men with bare chest. Once you are through having fun, you have to cover up yourself decently as you head out of the beach.

3. Restaurant or service tips

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Elsewhere, this gesture of gratitude is recognized and appreciated. It’s a form of understanding the excellent service you were given. But the same sentiments are not shared in Barcelona restaurant. It causes a lot of confusion in the workplace.

Some waiters or waitresses go as far as running after the guests thinking they must have forgotten their money behind. When you feel the service is excellent and you need to give gratitude, “muchisimas gracias” is a simple and recognized way to do it.

Alternatively, leaving a “glowing yelp” review is another form of gratitude. This applies the same when dealing with other service businesses.

4. Pay for free basic tapas

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The main idea behind issuing of tapas is like a form of marketing or promoting beer sales. When you order your beer, you are given tapas as a free snack. Their main origin is Andalucía, a place where this tradition of free tapas after a beer order is still blooming strong.

In that place, an order of any brand of beer awards you with tapas as much as you need. In Barcelona, the situation is quite different. Due to an influx of tourists, some bartenders take advantage of the situation. Rather than giving the snacks for free, they charge unaware tourists for tapas.

When you visit such bars where the basic tapas are on sale, take a U-turn and leave. The only types of tapas for sale are gourmet. This is because they are made from the finest ingredients, making them special.

5. Attending Flamenco Show

Flamenco Show
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It’s a tradition with Andalucía origin. While in the region, you can attend this famous dance. They are very authentic with the power to move the emotions of the toughest person. It is found in Andalucía cities such as Almeria, Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, and Cadiz.

In Barcelona, most of the dance performances are drawn in due to tourists pay. Ensure you do thorough background research before settling for any of them. If you are not careful, you may end up paying handsomely for a fake dance performance. But that doesn’t mean there are no genuine venues.

6. Loud conversation on the streets at night

Most of the older neighborhoods have narrow and winding streets. With many of the locals residing within the city center, a simple conversation at night is considered a nuisance to those sleeping. Since stargazing is still a recognized culture, enjoy your view silently or risk being showered with a bucket of water by the angry residents on the upper floors. It can also be great to show a bit of respect to those sleeping by keeping your voice low during the sleeping hours.

7. Using selfies stick on a busy street

There is nothing great like taking selfies of a beautiful moment as it happens on a holiday tour. With the invention of the selfies stick, we no longer need to bother passersby for a quick photo. All you have to do is set your phone on the device and take a shot by yourself.

As much as they are great accessories to have during a trip, be cautious of the locals going on with their daily business. The selfies stick can become a nuisance through pocking the people close by. It can also block paths due to its length, not mentioning the fact that you are advertising to everyone “I am a Tourist.”  Thus don’t let your great moment be somebody else nightmare.

8. Showing up ticketless at La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia
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This is one location with the most significant tourist influx in Barcelona, as such; it guarantees you the longest ticket quest. That is long enough to round a block. This is the most devastating situation to find yourself in considering you are eager to experience La Sagrada Familia.

The best where to assure a quick entry is by buying the tickets online. Then come with it to the site. Where you can go past the lines and enjoy the tour in the church which is 145 years old. You can learn a few stories about it and grab the enchanting details for delightful storytelling after the tour. Also, don’t forget selfies to remember the moment with.

9. Watch out for pickpockets

Among the cities in Europe, Barcelona is known for the highest cases of pickpockets. In 2009, the prevalence of pickpocketing was at 600 cases a day. The lenient sentence is among the main causes that cite pickpocketing. When they are caught with less €400 of stolen property, the charges do not exceed a fine.

Another contributing factor is the great number of tourists. Most of them carry expensive devices like mobile sets, camera and a large sum of money. This makes them a potential prey for pickpockets. You can reduce the number of pickpockets by keeping your staff safe and caution when removing them. Making yourself an easy target only encourages more and more of the thieves.

10. Considering Cava Champagne lesser

When ranking the finest of sparkling wine, the French wine is regarded as the best of them all. And this is attributed to the long history of this wine. It’s also famous in the world when it comes to wineries and has an excellent reputation for sophistication with its products.

While all this being true, the same sentiments are shared when you talk about the sparkling wine of Spain. It’s also known as Cava, with its first origin being Catalunya region, and this was when a winemaker from the local paid a visit to champagne region way back in the 19th century.

11. Finding yourself in an illegal flat

Due to higher rates paid by the tourists, the local owners of flat have been renting their units illegally to tourists. This is through the platform Airbnb. Through this, the locals are being moved out by a hefty price in their neighborhood.

As a result, the government is clamping the illegal business of renting out flats. But there is a license which offers permit to the flat owners who want to rent out their flats to tourists. Therefore, ensure the flat you rent is operating within the legal frame or book a hotel.

12. Close the dream of seeing a bullfight

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Spain is famous in the world for bullfighting tradition. Many tourists are eager to view the thrilling and daring even. From the images on the web and videos, the matadors dare the massive angry bulls with their capes at the center of the arena as the crowd cheers. This creates cravings of wanting to have the pleasure to view such an event.

But you have to reap it off your list of things to do while in Barcelona. The event was banned and currently considered illegal. This has been the case since 2011. And it’s because the event is seen as animal torture.

13. Burka wear in buildings

In 2010, as a measure to ensure security from terror attacks, the Barcelona government banned the covering of face while in municipal buildings. Therefore, Muslims or any culture whose dressing involves cover of the face be aware of this when visiting the city.

It is not Barcelona alone which enforces this ban; there are dozens of other Spanish cities too. The spaces which are majorly forbidden include municipal offices, libraries, and public market. On places like streets, Burka is okay. The ban is not aiming for religious beliefs but rather the safety of the public. As typical hijab headscarf have no legal issues.  

14. Don’t smoke anywhere

People love to smoke in Barcelona, similar to other European cities. However, this habit is under strict regulations since 2011. Before, people would stroll around puffing huge smokes in public.

This was even after the first 2006 law which restricted the behavior. But as for now, the crackdown has dramatically reduced the behavior restricting it in stadiums, balconies, fresh air pack, restaurant terraces and in hotel rooms if the management permits.

On the other end, smoking is not allowed in public transport like taxi and train, in libraries, on the streets, in hospitals, schools, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and workplaces. This has been good news for non-smokers but a bad one to those who take pleasure in smoking.

15. No early night parting

Barcelona, together with other span cities, shares this common trait. Parting at night starts very late in the midnight or even at 1 pm. You get there early, and you might find yourself alone with the staff in the entertainment joint or find it closed. If you are staying there for quite sometimes, you have to adopt. Also, among this habit, is the eating of supper after 9 pm. People from the states might fight this habit a bit strange considering their parting time. But with time, they can readjust into it.

16. Avoid eating at La Rambla

This zone is a tourist trap; the prices and quality of the products are meant to reap off the tourists. It’s featured with a convenient location, which is in the city center. The area has a beauty and elegance contributed by the imposing architecture and appealing restaurants and bars. To dine in such a place, you will have to pay an excess of the ordinary fee. However, you can get other local areas with better value and authentic regional cuisines.

17. Avoid the tourist look

Avoid the tourist look
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Like any other part of the world, tourists are linked with fancy and expensive assets. This draws a lot of unwanted attention to them. The same applies while in Barcelona. Do your best to blend in with the locals. You can start by wearing clothes that don’t make you stand out like a tourist.

Keep away your maps, cameral, and binoculars, as they shout to everyone around you that you are a tourist. Try learning a few of the primary and common local languages; it might come in handy at some point.

Through this, you get to avoid the tourist rates of product and service prices. You also cease to attract pickpockets who are on the lookout for a potential tourist to steal from and last but not least, you get to experience the local lifestyle authentically.

Check out Wolters World to see 5 other things you should avoid in Barcelona.

See Also: 16 Things to do in Barcelona


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