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  • Richie Doherty

Is Barcelona Safe For Tourists?

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

My goal for this post is not to discourage anyone from visiting Barcelona. I had a great experience and would return for another vacation in a second. This event was shocking to me, I thought two grown men would be safe walking around Barcelona midday, but I was wrong. I only want to inform people of the possible dangers of traveling in the great city.

Walking down Passeig Saint Joan at midday on a Wednesday towards the Arc De Triomf in Catalonia’s Capital Barcelona. My friend, a 21-year-old pro hockey player from Sweden, was mugged. He was approached by a gentleman who was requesting a cigarette, after my friend said he didn’t have any he was punched in the face. The man then attempted to rip off the gold chain around my friend’s neck. Luckily, my friend was safe and the guy rain away empty handed.

Safe is a relative concept, we thought we were safe, my friend thought he was safe, but in the context of our situation it turns out we weren’t. In speaking with other tourists and American students studying abroad, stories like mine are on one off occurrences. Most of the stories involve people getting mugged walking home from the bars or clubs. I spoke to a gentleman from the United Kingdom who told me his story. He was walking home from the bar when he was held up against the wall by two people while the third stole his wallet and phone. Another recurring theme was students getting their phones stolen out of their hands at clubs. I spoke to a young woman from Washington D.C. who is studying abroad there. She had her phone ripped out of her hand at the club and was unable to get it back.

From the stories I heard, and my experience it is apparent that the people that commit these crimes target tourists. But that isn’t surprising, and to me Barcelona does not stand out as any more dangerous than other travel destinations. All of these stories had the same theme, attackers picked on people in vulnerable situations. My answer to anyone asking is Barcelona safe for traveling, I will tell them yes. They should go to Barcelona because it is a great experience, but they need to be aware of their surroundings. Do not put yourself in vulnerable situations like walking home alone from the bar. If you are traveling to Barcelona, and have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will help in any way I can.


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