13 Mistakes To Avoid When Visiting Barcelona

Nadia Podrabinek Nadia Podrabinek

Written by Nadia Podrabinek

Barcelona Park Guell

During your visit to Barcelona, it’s important to avoid making common mistakes that could negatively impact your trip. As a travel expert, I want to share some practical information and insider tips to help you plan the perfect trip. This also applies in some ways to Madrid and Valencia.

Remember, even if you see many negative comments on the web about traveling to Barcelona, it’s almost always due to survivorship bias. People just don’t tend to write about positive things or when they don’t get robbed!

So, now let’s get into it.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not spending enough time in Barcelona. With so much to see and do, it’s important to plan for at least three nights in the city and add an additional day or two for day trip to nearby destinations such as Montserrat Monastery.

Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid staying far from the city center solely to save money. While accommodations may be cheaper outside the city, the cost of public transportation and time wasted commuting can quickly add up.

Key Takeaways

  • Plan to spend at least 3-4 nights in Barcelona to fully experience the city and nearby destinations.
  • Avoid staying far from the city center to save money, as the cost of transportation and time wasted commuting can outweigh the benefits of cheaper accommodations.
  • Seriously, book tickets in advance for popular attractions like Sagrada Familia and Park Güell to avoid long wait times and ensure entry. You will thank me later!
  • Bring a pickpocket resistant bag (Fanny pack, crossbody bag).
  • Pack some warm clothes, don’t rent a car, and don’t eat at La Rambla.
  • Overall, Barcelona is safe, don’t listen to reddit people that much!

What people say on Reddit

There are some nice places for paella near Barceloneta.

For instance: La Mar Salada, Can Solé, Can Ros, Pez Vela (this one is a little bit overpriced but it’s due to being a super fancy place with awesome views)…

Basically avoid Ramblas and check Google Maps reviews and you’ll be fine. We are the country with most bars/restaurant per capita IN THE WORLD and it shows.

Have fun here!


Be careful always of your belongings. Even though it feels like a myth the fact that your things might be stolen it really happens.. Happened to me and my bf. And also keep your passport in a safe place, and I would recommend not with you.

Barcelona is smaller and more tourist friendly compared to Madrid. I would recommend renting a bike and enjoying the city with it.


Everyone keeps mentioning pick pocketers and I’m doing my solo travel in a couple weeks and I’m so afraid of getting my stuff stolen. I’m only coming with a backpack. I think I’m going to put my backpack in front of me the whole time. I’ll stick out like a tourist but I can’t risk stuff getting stolen.


Don’t leave any valuables lying on the table and secure your backpack to your chair when you sit at a table outside is another good tip. But also, besides from being careful, don’t worry too much about it, not everybody who has been to Barcelona has been pickpocketed and I’m sure you’ll be fine as long as you watch out a bit


Mistake #1: Not Spending Enough Time in Barcelona

As someone who has visited Barcelona multiple times, I highly recommend spending more than just a couple of days in this beautiful city. In fact, the longer you stay, the better your experience will be. Barcelona has so much to offer, from its stunning architecture to its delicious food, and it would be a shame to rush through it all.

In our basic guide to Barcelona, we suggest spending at least four full days in the city to truly appreciate everything it has to offer. Additionally, Barcelona has many amazing day trips that you won’t want to miss, such as Girona, Montserrat, Tarragona, and Sitges. To visit all of these places, you’ll need to allocate enough time.

If you’re looking for a leisurely visit to the city, I recommend spending five nights in Barcelona and adding a day for each day trip you plan to do. This way, you’ll have enough time to explore the city at your own pace and not miss out on any interesting places.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, make sure to allocate enough time to fully experience all that this amazing city has to offer.

Mistake #2: Thinking It’s Always Warm in Barcelona

As a traveler, it’s important to know the climate of your destination before packing your bags. Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, which means it doesn’t experience the extreme temperatures that are common in other parts of Spain. However, it’s a common mistake to assume that it’s always warm in Barcelona. During the winter months, temperatures can drop to under 10 degrees Celsius, and snow is a rare event.

To avoid being caught off guard by the weather, it’s recommended to check the forecast before your trip. In times of climate change, it’s best to wait about five days before traveling to get a reliable weather forecast. This way, you can pack accordingly for the next few days.

It’s also important to note that during the summer months, it can get quite hot and humid. So, be sure to pack light and breathable clothing to stay comfortable during your trip.

Mistake #3: Staying Far from the Center to Save Money

When visiting Barcelona, some tourists may choose to stay far from the city center in order to save money on accommodation. However, this can be a mistake as it may end up costing more in transportation expenses and wasted time.

In addition to considering the cost of accommodation, it is important to also factor in the cost of public transportation to and from the hotel each day. A couple can spend at least four transport tickets per day. Moreover, staying far away from the city center can result in losing between one to two hours a day getting to and from the hotel.

For those who value their time, it is recommended to do an easy calculation and price their free time at an hourly rate. Adding that amount to the calculation of the cost of staying far away can help determine if it is worth it.

While it is possible to stay outside the city center, it’s better to avoid staying in cities 20+ miles from Barcelona. Any address within the city and close to an underground station will be fine. For those interested in knowing the best regions to stay in Barcelona, there are helpful videos on the subject available on the channel.

Mistake #4: Renting a Car

As a traveler, renting a car in Barcelona might seem like a good idea, but it’s actually a mistake that you should avoid. The city has strict traffic restrictions for private vehicles, and it can be challenging to understand where you can drive without being fined. Additionally, parking in Barcelona is expensive, and you may spend a significant amount of your holiday time stuck in traffic jams.

Instead of renting a car, use Barcelona’s excellent public transport network. It’s faster, more comfortable, and cheaper than renting a car. Taxis are also a good option if you prefer the comfort of a private car.

By avoiding renting a car, you’ll save yourself the hassle of studying traffic restrictions, finding expensive parking, and sitting in traffic. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy the city’s sights and sounds without worrying about navigating unfamiliar roads.

Mistake #5: Not Booking Your Sagrada Familia and Park Güell Tickets in Advance

When planning a trip to Barcelona, it is important to book tickets in advance for the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. These two attractions are extremely popular and only allow access at pre-designated time slots. Without a pre-booked ticket, visitors may face long queues or even be denied entry.

To avoid disappointment, book tickets for the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell at least a 7-10 days before the intended visit. Waiting until the last minute may result in not being able to secure a ticket for the desired time slot.

Booking tickets in advance is a simple process that can be done online. It is a small effort that can save a lot of time and frustration during the trip. So, don’t make the mistake of not booking your tickets in advance and enjoy your visit to these two extraordinary places in Barcelona.

Mistake #6: Eating at Las Ramblas

Boqueria market at La Rambla street

As a traveler to Barcelona, it is important to avoid tourist traps. One of the most common tourist traps in Barcelona is Las Ramblas. Eating at Las Ramblas is a mistake that many tourists make. The food quality is inferior and the prices are hugely inflated. Instead of eating at Las Ramblas, there are many other options nearby that are of better quality and offer more reasonable prices.

One such option is the wonderful Fonda Espanya, which is just a few meters away from Las Ramblas. For the price of a mediocre meal at Las Ramblas, you can enjoy a delicious meal at Fonda España. It is important to do your research and find local restaurants that offer authentic cuisine at reasonable prices.

Mistake #7: Using Public Transportation with Bulky Luggage

As a seasoned traveler, I know that public transportation can be a convenient and cost-effective way to get around a city. However, when traveling with bulky luggage, it’s important to consider the safety and practicality of using public transportation.

In Barcelona, the public transportation network is excellent, especially when traveling from the airport. However, it’s important to keep in mind that getting on and off trains and metros with luggage can be challenging, especially in crowded stations. Additionally, some metro stations in Barcelona require climbing stairs, which can be difficult with bulky luggage.

To avoid any safety concerns or inconvenience, I suggest considering taking a taxi from the airport if you’re traveling with large luggage. While it may be slightly more expensive, it’s a more relaxed and stress-free way to start your trip.

Overall, when traveling with bulky luggage, it’s important to consider all your transportation options and choose the one that is most practical and safe for your particular situation.

Mistake #8: Trying to Have Early Lunch or Dinner

As a local, I must say that it is a common mistake among tourists to try to have lunch or dinner too early in Barcelona, or in Spain in general. Traditional restaurants where locals go usually start serving lunch at the earliest at 1 pm and dinner at half past 8.

If you find a restaurant that sells lunch at midday and dinner at 7 pm, you can be sure that it is a place for tourists. Although many places try to adapt to foreigners’ schedules, it is normal for traditional restaurants to follow the local customs.

Therefore, if you want to have a truly authentic dining experience in Barcelona, you should adjust your schedule accordingly. Don’t rush to have lunch at noon or dinner at 7 pm, instead, try to wait until the traditional mealtime. It will not only give you a chance to taste the local cuisine but also allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Here are some tips to help you adjust your schedule:

  • Have a light breakfast in the morning so that you can wait until 1 pm for lunch.
  • Enjoy some tapas or snacks in the afternoon to keep you going until dinner time.
  • Use the time in between to explore the city or take a siesta like the locals do.

By following these tips, you can avoid the mistake of trying to have early lunch or dinner and enjoy the authentic dining experience in Barcelona.

Mistake #9: Not Paying Enough Attention to Your Personal Belongings

As a traveler, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of exploring a new city. However, it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings and keep a close eye on your personal belongings.

Pickpocketing is a common problem in Barcelona, and tourists are often targeted. To avoid becoming a victim, it’s important to keep your documents, money, and mobile phone close to your body in a place that is difficult to access. This is especially important on public transport, in restaurants, and in places where large crowds gather.

By paying attention to your personal belongings and bringing some “pickpocket-resistant” bags, you can surely have a safe and enjoyable time.

Mistake #10: Only Visiting La Boquería

As a tourist, it’s easy to fall into the trap of only visiting the most famous attractions in a city. In Barcelona, La Boquería market is undoubtedly one of the most famous and well-known tourist attractions. However, it’s important to note that La Boquería is no longer a true local market and has become overtouristed, which has transformed its character and kept locals away from it.

While it’s still worth a visit, if you’re looking for a more authentic experience, there are plenty of other markets in Barcelona where locals do their shopping. For example, the Mercat de Santa Catarina and the Mercat de Sant Antoni are both beautiful and offer a more local experience. These markets are located within the historic center, so you don’t have to travel far to find them.

To truly experience the local culture and avoid the crowds of tourists, it’s essential to explore beyond the most famous attractions and seek out lesser-known gems. By doing so, you’ll be able to gain a deeper understanding of the city and its people.

Mistake #11: Referring to Barcelona as Barça

As a traveler in Barcelona, it is important to be aware of the local culture and customs. One common mistake that many foreign tourists make is referring to the city as Barça. Barça is actually the name of the local football team and not the name of the city itself.

Barça is pronounced "Bar-suh". The "ç" in Catalan and Portuguese is similar to the "s" sound in English.

To avoid committing this mistake, it is important to refer to the city as Barcelona. This shows respect for the local culture and also ensures that you are communicating effectively with locals.

Remember, as a traveler in Barcelona, it is important to be mindful of local customs and to show respect for the local culture. Avoiding the mistake of referring to Barcelona as Barça is just one small way to show that respect.

Mistake #12: Throwing Your Transport Ticket Away

When visiting Barcelona, it’s important to avoid making common mistakes that could potentially ruin your trip. One mistake that many tourists make is throwing away their transport ticket after using it. Barcelona is one of the few large cities in Spain that still uses paper tickets to pay for public transport. While it may seem like there’s nothing to do with the used ticket but throw it away, it’s actually important to hold onto it until the end of your journey.

The reason for this is that Barcelona’s public transport system operates on a zone-based fare system. This means that the cost of your journey is based on the number of zones you travel through. When you first enter the transport system, you must validate your ticket by inserting it into a machine. This machine will stamp the ticket with the date and time of validation, as well as the number of zones it is valid for.

If you throw away your ticket before the end of your journey, you risk being fined if you are caught without a valid ticket. Inspectors often check for valid tickets on public transport, and they can issue fines of up to €100 for those who do not have one.

To avoid this mistake, it’s important to hold onto your ticket until the end of your journey and dispose of it properly once you have exited the transport system. It’s also worth noting that if you plan to use public transport frequently during your stay in Barcelona, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a T-10 ticket, which allows for 10 journeys on any mode of public transport within the city.

By avoiding the mistake of throwing away your transport ticket, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey on Barcelona’s public transport system.

Mistake #13: Having a Tourist-Phobia and Not Visiting the City


Come on, Barcleona is a special city! After all, you might not like it as other do, but it will definitely not leave you indifferent.

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