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Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

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Leamington Spa...
posts: 7
reviews: 111
Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

I'm really keen to go to Barcelona and have wanted to for a long time due to the amazing architecture and sights.

I am incredibly paranoid about pick pockets, I've done a fair bit of research about signs to look out for, groups bumping into you, being sprayed with white liquid imitating pigeon poo, stopping to look at maps etc

Has anyone got any advice or been recently?

I think it's such a shame that people could be put off from visiting somewhere due to this - do the locals not realise how important tourism is for their country!? It's one of the biggest incomes for them and by doing what they do they are putting people off visiting!

123 replies to this topic
London, United...
posts: 173
reviews: 4
1. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

noo please dont be put off ,ive never been to Barcelona myself but am going in july ,i to have read about pickpockets ,but am just going to take extra precautions, i live in central london where we have fair share off pickpockets,and have never ( touch wood ) been caught out. I cant wait to go to Barcelona and see the sights

Istanbul, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Barcelona
posts: 16,982
reviews: 200
2. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

Good points from Julie.

Last summer, I visited with some relatives and boy, was I nervous! To me, they were the perfect targets: affluent-looking, meek, full of expensive electronics, head in the clouds, bulging wallet in back pocket, purse like a leather blossoming flower (ie no lock or zipper). I warned them about pickpockets, suggested more secure man-bags and purses, discouraged any flamenco dancing with strangers on train platforms etc.

Everything went well! The lady wore a practical PacSafe bag and the man put away his electronics.

Bristol, United...
posts: 5
3. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

I visited Barcelona last week and was very surprised at how empty it was especially on the Ramblas as the council will not let the "Living Statues" work there without a license. I saw nothing untoward but, as with any big city be it in the UK or Europe, you do not advertise by going around with open handbags or carrying purses in your hand. I carried by bag in front of me with the clasps against my body. We were also warned not to get into conversation with anyone especially "two gentleman dressed in suits who say they are police". They are not and if you threaten to call the police they will run away. Saw quite a few beggars with cups but if seen by the police they are quickly stopped. Just be careful but enjoy yourself.

Brussels, Belgium
Destination Expert
for Seville
posts: 3,054
reviews: 23
4. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

If you are so paranoid about pickpocketing, just don't go to Barcelona.

I don't think it's fair to patronise locals in that way as if they wouldn't know it is a problem and you are the only one who has ever thinked about it. Would you say the same about London/UK? Because the problem with pickpocketing in there is also BIG and tourism economy is as big as in Barcelona.

Newcastle upon Tyne
posts: 273
reviews: 60
5. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

Unfortunately pick pocketing does happen, but it happens in all big cities. I don't know the stats but people harp on all the time here about it.

I'm going back next Friday for my 11th visit and will just take the precautions I take at home. Certainly don't get paranoid about it. I've never felt the need to hide money in my sock, have a money belt under my shirt or stash any in wor lasses bra!

It does happen and somebody will no doubt put a horror story on here but just be sensible and you'll be fine.

London, United...
posts: 1,086
reviews: 7
6. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

Don't be paranoid, just be vigilant and keep your eyes open in busy areas, especially on las Ramblas and Passeig de Gracia where I spotted some shifty looking characters eyeing up backpacks and bags slung casually over people's shoulders. Don't carry valuables and keep your bag in front of you with your hand over it in busy areas. But don't let over-worrying spoil a potentially enjoyable holiday.

Leamington Spa...
posts: 7
reviews: 111
7. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

I wasn't patronising the locals, you only need to do a google search on this topic in Barcelona and it is labeled as the 'Pickpocket capital of the world'. I've never been anywhere with a tag as such, so understandably it wise to ask the question and do some research - to not do so would be naive and irresponsible.

Hence why I posted this question on the forum. Thank you for your narrow minded comment.

Leamington Spa...
posts: 7
reviews: 111
8. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

Thank you to everyone for their helpful comments, I feel much more reassured now and shall be booking this evening!

posts: 100
reviews: 18
9. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

I was just like you on my first trip, but to be fair once I arrived and I relaxed and enjoyed my time there so much we now visit a few times a year.

Just think about what your doing and you will be fine, I have always worn my big watches, designer shades etc and never once had a problem.

You will love it :)

Des Moines, Iowa
posts: 55
reviews: 32
10. Re: Pickpocketing in Barcelona - should I avoid going?

What worked for us in Italy last year: We went from the Lake Como area to Florence area to Naples and Capri and finally Roma and a small town. My partner, a man, wore a money belt (with bigger bills and one credit card) and a small "purse" around his neck, under his shirt with our passports in it. He was also in charge of our big suitcase and our backpack, the daily essentials, on buses and trains. I had a purse with a wire through the strap so it couldn't be cut and taken and it also had a clamp to close it. Get these on Amazon. See the reviews. I kept our money in there for daily use and a credit card. I also was in charge of our child on buses and trains.This worked splendidly. I never worried once, not even on the body to body train from Naples to Sorrento, which was a little disconcerting with our small child who was mushed and it was HOT! I actually put her in the luggage rack for a while to get her up and out of the crowd. We also couldn't find our bus in Naples and kept asking and walking to and fro close to the train station for a couple hours. Naples also doesn't have the best reputation but, actually, people were helpful and we kept our wits about us. So, in summary, don't worry. Life is too short. Enjoy and see the world but take the necessary precautions before you go. Terrible things can happen anywhere. Are you going to let that stop you from enjoying the one life you were given?

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