You’re researching your trip for Barcelona…the dream vacation you’ve always wanted. You’re ready to dip your toes in the Mediterranean, feel the Spanish reds trickle over your taste buds and smell the culinary wonderland that is a pan of steaming paella.
Then, you read about Barcelona pickpockets.
While it’s true that sticky-fingered thieves like to lift wallets, phones and other valuables from unsuspecting travelers, you can apply some universal principles to make sure, that, 1. You don’t become a target for Barcelona pickpockets, and, 2. You enjoy your Barcelona experience.
1. Keep your things in front of you:
Cameras, laptops, bags and other things you don’t want to lose. Carrying your purse or camera at your side or behind you makes them accessible to thieves who sneak up from behind. Walk with your things hanging in front of you. Keep an hand on them, if you’d like.
2. Keep your wallet out of your back pocket:
This is a pretty simple tip. Wallets that go in your back pocket are wallets begging for the well-trained fingers of a local thief.
3. Keep your belongings close when you’re sitting down:
You’d be surprised how many times we see visitors leave their belongings on a bench or steps as they walk a few steps to take a photo, answer a phone call or say hi to a friend or family members. When you stop for a break, it’s always best to place your belongings in your lap or between your self and your traveling partner(s).The beach, particularly Barceloneta, is a popular spot for thieves.. Keep an eye on your things, and try not to leave your possessions alone when you take a dip in the Mediterranean. A great way to avoid any thievery at the beach is to plan ahead and leave your valuables in your room before you hit the sand.
4. Keep away from the Bermuda Triangle:
Things disappear when visitors enter the Bermuda Triangle: (a)carrying lots of stuff (b)late at night after (c)lots of drinks. In other words, keep your valuables in your room if you’re planning to go out and drink until the break of day. Many small-time robberies befall revelers who stumble home after midnight with booze in their veins and their phones and wallets hanging out of their pockets.
5. Keep perspective:
Barcelona is an amazing city. Are there pickpockets? Yes. Do you have to live in fear every time you step out of your hotel or hostel? No. Apply these basic principles, and you’ll reduce the chances that something important to you will go missing.
6. Additional tips
Pickpockets like to work in groups of two or three people. Their favorite spots for thievery include Barceloneta Beach, the Gothic Quarter, the Raval, El Born and Las Ramblas. They also frequent the L3 (green) and L4 (yellow) metros near the areas mentioned above. Travelers are particularly vulnerable when they’re struggling to get luggage up stairs and onto escalators.
Petty thieves work like magicians: distraction is key. Often, they’ll walk up to you with a map in hand asking for directions. While they unfold the map in front of you, their pals come up behind you and steal. Another classic racket is the survey ruse … someone asks you if you want to do a survey. Ten minutes later, you realize your wallet is gone. In these situations, be aware of who is standing around you.
If, however, you realize you’ve been robbed, head to the closest police station to file a report. There is a police station (Comissaria de Policia de Barcelona) a few blocks from Las Ramblas. The address is: Carrer Nou de la Rambla 76-80, 08001.
Embassies often require police reports in order to replace stolen passports and other important documents.