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Barcelona is the capital city of Catalunya - Catalonia - and the second largest city in Spain. There's an active CS community. You can check the Barcelona group on CS to keep up to date with Barcelona CS activities.
Welcome to Barcelona
How can I get to Barcelona? What can I do? What can I see? How is the couchsurfing community here? Well, start reading! : )
2º 7’ 42’’ E
41º 24’ 42’’ N
ALT. 12,5m (Pl. Sant Jaume)
POP. 1.593.075 (2005)
Barcelona's short name is BARNA or BCN. If you refer to it as Barça, Barca (btw, it means 'boat' in English) or Barsa, you mean the football team. Arsenal is not London, Juventus is not Torino, Steaua is not Bucharest, CSKA is not Moscow... so Barça is not Barcelona :DDD Keep this in mind when you want to get in touch with locals :P
Climate & Weather
Planning a trip to Barcelona? Here you have the monthly climate average with max and min temperature and monthly rainfall.
Many companies fly to El Prat which is connected regularly to the city by a bus and a train service RENFE).
El Prat is about 30 minutes by train to Sants train station. A single ticket is €3.
Updated info new Terminal Terminal names has changed now we have T1(new one), and T2 (A-B-C Old one).
Barcelona airport passengers can easily travel between the two terminals on the shuttle bus service that will be in operation.
There will be two shuttle buses covering the distance between T1 and T2. From the Renfe (Cercanías/Rodalia) suburban train station, situated next to T2B, there will be a shuttle that coincides with train arrivals. At T2B there will be another shuttle service which departs every six or seven minutes. Neither shuttle takes longer than 10 minutes.
Aerobus lines, more info and timetable on Web:
* Aerobus (A1) Airport (T1) - Plaza de Catalunya. T1 (departures and arrivals roadway) bus stop * Aerobus (A2) Airport (T2) - Plaza de Catalunya. Opposite T2B (opposite the Joan Miró mural) and T2C
Metropolitan bus lines:
* L77 Sant Joan Despí-Airport. The bus stop is situated on arrivals roadway. * L99 Castelldefels-Airport. The bus stop is situated on arrivals roadway. * PR1 El Prat-Airport. The bus stop is situated on arrivals roadway. * 46 Plaza España-Airport. * N17 Plaza Catalunya-Airport.
Regional bus lines. The bus stops are situated on the arrivals roadway:
* Directbus. Airport-Estación de Sants (railway station)-Andorra-Sant Julià de Lòria. * Empresa Plana. Airport-La Pineda-Salou-Port Aventura-Cambrils. * Mon-Bus. Barcelona-El Vendrell. * Rapid Aeroport (Alsa). Services for Girona, Figueres, Lleida, Reus, Port Aventura and Tarragona. * Novatel Autocars. Airport-Andorra
Barcelona Airport transport info: Getting there
Some low-cost carriers, notably Ryanair, use the airport in Girona, nearly 100km to the north, to connect Catalunya with Europe and Morocco. The Barcelona Bus service runs a shuttle bus from Estació del Nord in Barcelona to Girona Airport. A one-way ticket costs €12 and a return ticket costs €21. The journey takes approximately one hour and ten minutes. If you want to know the timetables of the buses from there check this page: Horaris aeroport de Girona / Girona airport bus Timetables searcher Timetables Girona Airport to Barcelona Timetables Barcelona to Girona Airport
Please report broken links, as we try to update as soon as they changed.
For Reus airport, the easiest way is to take the train from Barcelona Sants station to Reus and then the local bus to the airport. The train costs €6.45 and then the bus costs €2. This takes roughly an hour and a half. Or there's another option: Bus from Barcelona Sants station directly to Reus Airport.
Check these websites: Hitchwiki Barcelona | Hitchbase Barcelona Although Spain is not an easy country for hitchhiking, and barcelona is a big city, it's quite easy getting a ride at one of the two gas stations reachable by local trains described at the links above.
Nitbus in Barcelona
- Nitbus Nitbus is the bus that works all night in all Barcelona Metropolitan area (Barcelona city and towns near Barcelona). Perfect for party-lovers who want to make most of the night!
Routes and maps for the different buses:
- N0 - (PDF)
- N1 - (PDF)
- N2 - (PDF)
- N3 - (PDF)
- N4 - (PDF)
- N5 - (PDF)
- N6 - (PDF)
- N7 - (PDF)
- N8 - (PDF)
- N9 - (PDF)
* N10 - (PDF) these line doesn't exist at these moment
Public Transport updated 2014 rates
- The Bus Turístic links all of the Barcelona tourist sites you could possibly want to visit. It has three routes, including a northbound and a southbound line which leave from opposite sides of the Plaça de Catalunya. You can buy tickets valid for one day (€27) or two consecutive days (€35), buy it only with discount at here.
- The metro can take you to many places. Stations are marked <M> on most maps; every station has a detailed scheme of exits to the city. A one-journey ticket cost €2.15, so it's probably best to buy a multiperson 10-ride ticket for €10.30 (called a T-10) or a personal 50-ride for 30 consecutive days ticket for €42.50. These tickets are also valid on the Buses, Trams, FGC and Rodalies Renfe. . 1- to 5-day public transport tickets are available which allow unlimited travel on the metro and bus networks (€14 for 2 days, €20 for 3 days, €25.50 for 4 days, €30.50 for 5 days,).
- Alternative options: (sharing travels)
Barcelona has a growing active community that organizes meetings from time to time, end 2006 on a weekly basis.
You can find many active CS groups just by searching the keyword "Barcelona" in the main community search portal. It is always a good idea to contact one or two active members personally to know if there is anything going on. Also it's available the Barcelona CS Calendar
When to Visit: Festivals and Events
- Sant Jordi 23rd of April. Is like Saint Valentine's in many places. People give roses and books around the streets. Is one of the most popular and interesting celebrations in Catalonia.
- Corpus. Late in May (Corpus Christi day). An egg is put over the fountains (most of them in the churches, and decorated with flowers), and "magically dances" over the water. Most of the churches are in the city centre: Cathedral's cloister, Santa Anna, Casa de l'Ardiaca, Museu Frederic Marés, and over 10 more fountains.
- Revetlla de Sant Joan: for weeks on end, listen to kids shoot off caps and fire crackers. Finish the week with San Juan, head down to the beach for various music stations and all night festivities. The shortest night of the year: 23rd June!
- Festes de la Mercè Around the 24th of September, the main celebrations in the city. Live music during all the day and night, theatre, life in the streets, castellers, and most of it for free!
- Festes de Gràcia - around the 15th of August, the celebrations from the Gràcia quarter. Many streets are decorated by the neighbours, live music, food in the street, party all night long.
- Festes de Sants - similar to Gracia's event, but smaller and a bit later in August. If you can't go to the Gracia's, try this one!
- Festes de la Mercè - Around the 24th of September, the main celebrations in the city. Live music during all the day and night, theatre, life in the streets, castellers, and most of it for free!
- Fira de Santa Llúcia - From December 2nd/3rd to December 23rd, to commemorate Sta Llúcia (December 13th). In front of the Cathedral, is where the Christmas objects are sold. Some places sell Christmas trees, but most of them sell elements for making the pessebres, the representations of the birth of Jesus that people uses to put at home. These include small sculptures, wooden pieces and moss used to simulate grass.
See and Do - Touristic Barcelona
Check the excelent resource Wikivoyage Barcelona
Museu Picasso The Museu Picasso de Barcelona is the chief reference point for knowledge about Pablo Picasso’s formative years, and bears witness to the close relation between the artist and the city. Five Gothic mansions house this museum which, in addition to works from the artist’s youth and later life, such as the Blue Period, also contains the magnificent Las Meninas series, a rich interpretive exercise based on Velázquez’s famous work.
Fundació Caixa de CatalunyaTen years after its inauguration and coinciding with the centenary of the start of the construction of Milà House, the Fundació Caixa Catalunya has reopened the Espai Gaudí. It is a place of reflection, exploration and discovery, inviting the public to participate in an intellectual and sensorial experience which aims to let Gaudí speak for himself in the exceptional setting of La Pedrera attic. In addition to the Espai Gaudí, the visitor can see the courtyards, La Pedrera Apartment, which recreates the ambience of a middle class home of the early 20th century, and the roof, surprising for its artistic and symbolic power.
Fundació Antoni Tapies Fundació Antoni Tàpies, housed in a Modernist building in Barcelona’s Eixample district, was established in 1984 by the artist Antoni Tàpies for the purpose of promoting the study and knowledge of modern and contemporary art. The Foundation organises temporary exhibitions, lectures and film seasons in order to contribute to a better understanding of contemporary art and culture, as well as possessing one of the most complete collections of works by Antoni Tàpies.
MACBA The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) houses an important collection of artworks from the last fifty years. Besides a selection of works from the permanent collection, the museum also provides a broad programme of temporary exhibitions and organises activities related to contemporary culture and art. The building itself was designed by the American architect Richard Meier.
CCCB The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) is a centre that organises exhibitions and activities in such diverse spheres as music, film, dance, performance and anything involving artistic experiment.
MNAC The magnificent collections at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), covering from the 11th to the 20th century, illustrate, amongst others, two outstanding periods in Catalan art: the Romanesque, with a collection unique in the world; and Modernisme, featuring outstanding works by such artists as Antoni Gaudí, among others. The museum site also commands spectacular views over the city.
Fundació Joan Miró Fundació Joan Miró de Barcelona, housed in a magnificent building by Josep Lluís Sert in the Parc de Montjuïc, contains the finest public collection of the work of Joan Miró, with 300 paintings, 150 sculptures and the complete graphic works. The Foundation also presents a regular programme of temporary exhibitions by 20th century artists.
The Barcelona Modernisme Route is an itinerary that takes you through the Barcelona of Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch, the architects who, together with others, made Barcelona the world capital of Modernisme. This Route enables you to get to know thoroughly impressive palatial residences, amazing houses, the temple that has become a symbol of the city and a huge hospital, but it also includes humbler and more everyday buildings and items such as chemists’, shops, lampposts and benches - 115 works in all which show that Art Nouveau put down strong roots in Barcelona and today Modernisme is still an art that is alive and part of life in the city.
You can follow the route with the aid of signs on the ground that are part of the very urban landscape of the city. These are small red paving stones set into the pavement that mark out the main sections of the Route’s and go past the Modernista works on the rest of the itinerary.
For those of you who prefer to get to know Barcelona’s Modernista masterpieces without following a pre-set route, here is a list of the thirty most recommended monuments:
- Hidroelèctrica (Hydroelectric building)
- Museu de Zoologia (Zoology Museum - Website)
- Palau Güell (Güell Palace)
- Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music - Website)
- Casa Calvet (Calvet House)
- MNAC (National Museum of Art of Catalonia - Website)
- CaixaForum, Fàbrica Casaramona (Casaramona Factory - Website)
- Casa Lleó Morera (Lleó Morera House)
- Casa Amatller (Amatller House)
- Casa Batlló (Batlló House - Website)
- Editorial Montaner i Simón, Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Montaner i Simón Editor’s – Antoni Tàpies Foundation)
- Conservatori Municipal de Música (Municipal Conservatory of Music)
- Casa Thomas (Thomas House)
- Palau Montaner (Montaner Palace)
- Casa Milà, la Pedrera (Milà House - Website)
- Casa Fuster (Fuster House)
- Palau del Baró de Quadras (Baró de Quadras Palace)
- Casa Comalat (Comalat House)
- Casa Terrades, Casa de les Punxes (Terrades House, House of the Spires)
- Casa Macaya (Macaya House)
- Casa Planells (Planells House)
- Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Expiatory Temple of Sagrada Família - Website)
- Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (Hospital of the holy cross and of Saint Paul)
- Park Güell (Parc Güell - Website)
- Casa Vicens (Vicens House)
- Pavellons Güell (Güell Pavilions)
- Col·legi de les Teresianes (Teresian Nuns’ School)
- Torre Bellesguard
- CosmoCaixa, Museu de la Ciència (Science Museum - Website)
- Observatori Fabra (Fabra Observatory)
- Parc del Tibidabo (Tibidabo Theme Park - Website)
Bars with History - Places with its own style
Locales con historia: He aquí una serie de lugares únicos donde hacer un alto en el camino. Todos ellos se encuentran en edificios o en entornos con mucha historia:
Andy Blue (Segre, 24) map here. Café, restaurante y copas. Este local se encuentra en una antigua fábrica textil del siglo XIX que hoy alberga también una de las mejores bibliotecas de Barcelona. Donde se escuchaba el traqueteo de los telares, hoy se oye el tintineo de platos y copas.
Bar Almirall (Joaquín Costa, 33) map here Situado en una de las calles con más mezcla cultural de Barcelona, el Almirall es un bar muy antiguo (1860). Lugar de ambiente bohemio y decoración modernista, como el bar Muy Buenas (Carme, 63 -1918-) y el London Bar (Nou de la Rambla, 34 -1909-).
Bar Oller (paseo de Sant Joan, 146) Vermut, cervezas y tapas. Un bar tradicional de barrio, que conserva la decoración original de 1928. Se encuentra junto a la fuente de Hércules (1798), también conocida como fuente de los Leones.
Bar Pastís (Santa Mònica, 4) Copas en un diminuto bar de estilo marsellés y ambiente portuario fundado en 1947 en pleno barrio Chino. Para bohemios amantes de la música de Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Carlos Gardel, Georges Brassens, etc.
Biblioteca Francesca Bonnemaison (Sant Pere Més Baix, 7) Situada en un señorial edificio del siglo XVI, esta biblioteca, creada en 1909, fue la primera de Europa en especializarse en temas relacionados con la mujer. Se puede acceder gratuitamente, como en el resto de Biblioteques de Barcelona, a libros, revistas, diarios, CD, DVD, Internet, etc.
Biblioteca de Sant Pau-Santa Creu (Hospital, 56 – Carme, 47) Ubicada en una de las salas del que fue el principal hospital de Barcelona durante 500 años, hasta principios del siglo XX, es el lugar idóneo para practicar el arte de la biblioterapia bajo bóvedas de crucería centenarias.
Bodega Saltó (Blesa, 36 – bodegasalto.net) Cenas frías, vinos y copas. Una de esas bodegas, con un siglo de historia, a las que las amas de casa solían ir a buscar vino a granel. Con actuaciones en directo entre grandes toneles de otro tiempo.
Cafè Borrell (Av. Paral•lel, 84) Café y tapas. Situado frente al Molino, este café centenario (1909) es un vestigio del tiempo en que el Paralelo era el corazón del ocio nocturno barcelonés, con sus tabernas, cafés cantantes, teatros, carpas de circo y barracones de feria. Conserva algunos curiosos aparatos antiguos: gramolas, ventiladores, teléfonos, radios...
Cafè del Centre (Girona, 69) Café. El tiempo parece haberse detenido en este café de mesas de mármol, bancos de madera y columnas de fundición, abierto en 1873. Muy cerca del Forn Sarret (Girona, 73) y de Queviures Betlem (Girona, 70), dos establecimientos de finales del siglo XIX. En el portal que está entre Queviures Betlem y el Bar Funicular fue detenido, el 25 de septiembre de 1973, el anarquista Salvador Puig Antich, uno de los últimos condenados a muerte del franquismo.
Cafè de les Delícies (Rambla del Raval, 47) Cafés, tes, cenas frías y copas. Situado en plena Rambla del Raval, este delicioso café de ambiente bohemio ocupa una antigua tienda de mimbres de 1850. Gracias a una máquina de discos rescatada de los Encantes, aquí sigue sonando la música de la década de 1970.
Cafè de l'Òpera (Rambla, 74) Café. Fue abierto en 1876 como restaurante y en 1929 se transformó en café. Al entrar, conviene fijarse en la puerta y también alzar la vista para contemplar los rótulos de un antiguo banco. En el interior, destacan las columnas de fundición y la decoración de los espejos.
Ca l’Estevet (Valldonzella, 46) Cocina de mercado en pleno Raval, no muy lejos del CCCB y el MACBA. Por este restaurante, que lleva más de un siglo sirviendo platos, han pasado celebridades de la talla de Orson Welles.
Can Culleretes (Quintana, 5) Cocina catalana en el restaurante más antiguo de Barcelona, fundado en 1786. En pleno centro de la Barcelona medieval, a un tiro de piedra de la plaza del Pi y el Call judío.
Casa Leopoldo (Sant Rafael, 24) Restaurante fundado en 1929, a escasos metros de donde pocos años antes había sido asesinado Salvador Seguí. En sus orígenes era mesón y bodega a precios populares, pero hoy lo frecuentan intelectuales y personalidades de la política y el espectáculo.
Centre Cívic Torre Llobeta (Santa Fe, 2, bis) Una de las masías más antiguas de Barcelona (siglos XV-XVI), muestra espléndida de arquitectura gótica, con dovelas en las puertas y ventanales esculpidos. Además del centro cívico, alberga una biblioteca pública.
Centre de Cultura Contemporània (CCCB) (Montalegre, 5) Conferencias y exposiciones en lo que fue la Casa de la Caritat, una institución asistencial de origen medieval que se encargaba de personas pobres e incapacitadas para el trabajo. En el Pati de les Dones (siglo XIX), se pueden leer todavía las máximas con que se pretendía “educar” a las mujeres acogidas.
El Cangrejo (Montserrat, 9) Taberna de ambiente bohemio y canalla, vestigio de la época en que el Barrio Chino estaba plagado de locales flamencos (1902). Por aquí han pasado personajes de la talla de Dalí, García Lorca, Joan Miró y Carmen Amaya.
El Gallo Quirico (Avinyó, 19) Cocina paquistaní. Junto a la casa de Hércules (que ocupa el número 17 y es del siglo XVI), tiene la particularidad de que las mesas del fondo están apoyadas sobre la mismísima muralla romana de Barcino.
El Nus (Mirallers, 5) Copas. Un bar con encanto, que conserva algunos vestigios del colmado que fue, en la calle donde en otro tiempo trabajaron los fabricantes de espejos. Si accedemos a la calle Mirallers desde Vigatans pasaremos entre caserones centenarios y junto a una carassa como las que en la edad media anunciaban la proximidad de un prostíbulo.
El Sortidor (plaça del Sortidor, 5) Cocina catalana y mediterránea. Este café restaurante fue inaugurado en 1908, cuando la magnífica fuente de Ceres que dio el nombre a la plaza todavía no había sido trasladada a Montjuïc. Vivió su época más bulliciosa durante la Exposición Internacional de 1929 y todavía hoy conserva su antiguo mobiliario.
Els Quatre Gats (Montsió, 3 bis) Café-restaurante. En la casa Martí, obra modernista neogótica de Puig i Cadafalch. Entre 1897 y 1903 fue lugar de reunión y exposición de artistas como Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiñol, Picasso y Nonell.
Escribà (Rambla, 83) La antigua Casa Figueres fue una fábrica de pastas alimentarias. De entonces conserva la decoración modernista (1902), obra de Antoni Ros, pintor y escenógrafo, y de todo un equipo de artistas del vidrio, la escultura, el mosaico, la madera, el hierro... Hoy es una las pastelerías más conocidas de Barcelona.
Fonda L’Havana (Lleó, 1) Tapas y cocina casera catalana en un restaurante de los de toda la vida. Situada en una zona del Raval que se urbanizó en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX, L’Havana fue siempre la más frecuentada de las fondas que llenaban la calle Lleó. Tal vez por eso ha pervivido.
Granja Viader (Xuclà, 6) Chocolates, cuajadas, flanes, pasteles, mató con miel… Junto a la iglesia de Betlem, esta granja fue fundada en 1870. Aquí se inventó el Cacaolat en 1931.
La Clandestina (Baixada Viladecols, 2) Zumos, tes, pasteles, narguiles y bocadillos. A un paso de una torre de la muralla romana muy bien conservada (plaza dels Traginers) y muy cerca de algunos palacios medievales (calle Lledó, números 13, 11, 7, 4-6…) comparables a los de la calle Montcada.
La Confitería (Sant Pau, 128) Cafés, tes, cenas frías y copas. A pocos metros de la joya del románico barcelonés, Sant Pau del Camp, esta antigua pastelería conserva la decoración de 1913 (los rótulos de la puerta, los escaparates, el mostrador de mármol, los espejos, las pinturas, las lámparas…).
La Granja (Banys Nous, 4) Cafés, chocolates, tes, infusiones, batidos y bocadillos. En Banys Nous, la calle donde los judíos de la Barcelona medieval realizaban sus baños rituales. La Granja data de 1872, pero el trozo de la muralla romana que hay al fondo, de muchísimo antes...
La Palma (La Palma de Sant Just, 7) Vinos, cavas, vermut, embutidos, quesos... En la Barcelona más antigua, a escasos metros de la plaza de Sant Just (donde se levantan la iglesia gótica dels sants Just i Pastor y una fuente de 1367), esta es una de esas bodegas de toda la vida, de las que ya quedan pocas.
La Paloma (Tigre, 27) Sala de fiestas. Data de 1904. Conserva la decoración de Salvador Alarma (escenógrafo del Liceu) y Manuel Mestre (1915-1919): pinturas con escenas de baile, relieves, dorados, una gran lámpara…
La Tete (Comtessa de Sobradiel, 4) Tes, infusiones, pasteles caseros y platos vegetarianos en un ambiente alternativo. En la edad media estuvo en esta zona el Palau Reial Menor, del cual sólo se conserva en parte la fachada de la capilla (calle Ataülf, 4).
La Vinya del Senyor (plaça de Santa Maria, 5) Vinos y tapas en un lugar privilegiado, frente a la entrada principal de la gran joya del gótico religioso barcelonés: Santa Maria del Mar.
Llibreria la Central del Raval (Elisabets, 6) Libros en la antigua iglesia de la Casa de la Misericòrdia (1693), que acogía niños abandonados y vagabundos sin hogar. Sobre la puerta, dos ángeles sostienen el escudo de la ciudad.
Marsella (calle Sant Pau, esquina con Sant Ramón) Uno de los bares más antiguos de Barcelona. Fundado en 1820 por un marsellés que trajo de Francia la absenta. Los espejos, las mesas de mármol y las botellas cubiertas de polvo recrean el ambiente noctámbulo y bohemio del siglo XIX. Cerca de la Rambla del Raval y del lugar donde cayó abatido Salvador Seguí.
Otman (Cirera, 4) Moda, tes y comida marroquí. En una de las calles más estrechas y ocultas de Barcelona. Si llegamos a ella por Flassaders desde el paseo del Born, pasaremos por delante de la antigua fábrica de moneda de Barcelona (número 40), que permaneció activa hasta 1836, sobre cuya entrada hay un gran escudo borbónico.
Pati Llimona (Regomir, 3) Centro cívico que ofrece conferencias, exposiciones y toda clase de cursos y talleres. Ocupa el palacio de la familia March (siglo XIV), que a su vez se construyó sobre dos vestigios que se pueden visitar libremente: un lienzo de la muralla romana y una de las puertas de Barcino.
Puda de Can Manel (paseo Joan de Borbó, 60-61) Restaurante de cocina marinera situado en una puda. Las pudas, características de la Barceloneta del pasado, eran almacenes de planta baja sobre los que se construyeron, retiradas, viviendas.
Quimet d’Horta (plaza Ibiza, 10) Lugar emblemático de tapeo en el meollo de la Horta más antigua, a un paso de Can Mariner y de la plaza de Santes Creus.
Sala Parés (Petritxol, 5) Sala de arte. Fundada en 1877, ha exhibido la obra de grandes artistas como Picasso y Rusiñol. Situada en una calle de origen medieval (aunque la mayor parte de los edificios actuales es del siglo XIX), llena de pastelerías y granjas.
Salterio (Sant Domènec del Call, 4) Tes, infusiones y comida mediterránea. Cerca de la plaza de Sant Jaume, en el centro de lo que hasta 1391 fue el barrio judío de Barcelona, a unos metros de una sinagoga y de una lápida en hebreo (calle Marlet, números 5 y 1). Se recomienda fijarse en las fachadas, las portadas y las ventanas de los números 3-5, 4 y 6.
Taverna Can Margarit (Concòrdia, 21) Vinos y cenas. Situada en una casa pairal de 1850 que en 1900 se transformó en bodega, esta taberna es un lugar de ambiente casi rural donde cenar entre toneles y objetos de otro tiempo.
Teatreneu (Terol, 26-28) (Website) Gastronomía, copas y teatro en el antiguo local de la Cooperativa de Teixidors a Mà (1876), una buena muestra del asociacionismo obrero de Gracia.
Tèxtil Cafè (Montcada, 12) Cafetería y comida mediterránea. En la calle más aristocrática de la Barcelona medieval y a un tiro de piedra de Santa María del Mar, este café tiene el privilegio de encontrarse en el soberbio palacio del marqués de Llió.
What's on. Hang out - BCN Nightlife
Couchsurfers in Barcelona generally not only like museums and the beach a lot, they also tend to spend a lot of their time in bars and clubs.Here is a selection of some of their favourite places.
Most nightclubs in Barcelona charge entrance fees (with a drink included) but in the following websites you can get free list entrance to some of the trendiest clubs.
For suggestions about meetings, events and CS activities in Barcelona, check our calendar.
A live music scene guide: barcelonarocks.com.
A weekly guide with cool, rather hipster ('moderno') concerts, parties, exhibitions, etc: lecool . You have to subscribe but it's free.
Things to do for free in Barcelona: Barcelonagratis.com.
Butxaca, cultural agenda
gigs, festivals and other cultural events Butxaca website
- McCarthy's Irish Bar: situated on the very central Via Laietana, number 44. Genuine Irish Bar, owned and operated by a friendly Irishman and a team of English speaking staff who make great local guides. Best Guinness in the city. (Website)
- Alt Heidelberg: located in Ronda Universitat, just besides Plaça Universitat. A beer garden, where the black beer is excellent. Don't miss this one! (Review)
- Petit Apolo: located in C/ Vila Vilá 62, corner with Nou de la Rambla. The main different is that you find your own beer tap on every table. 5€/liter of beer, but it is totally worth it! Don't miss this one! (Map)
- Aurora Bar: one of the CS favourites! Cheap beer, good music, tables and chairs in the first floor, free entrance, open until 3 AM. It gets full quickly and the smoke will cover all the place, but you'll have a great time! (Review & Location)
- L'Antiquari: Located in the most beautiful square of Barcelona. Nice terrace with a real Chillida sculpture. Open doors from 17 to 2 AM. Street Veguer, 13; in the Gothic part of the city. (Review)
- Antic Teatre: street Verdaguer i Callís, 12. Here you can find a wide range of theatrical activities. Besides, a large terrace and a variety of juices to choose. Minimalism in all its glory! (Website)
- El Sifón: located in C/Espalter, 8 (very close to the Botero cat statue in Rambla del Raval)
- L'Ovella Negra or Black Sheep. Not very cheap prices for good beer. A central one in Carrer Tallers and another in Poblenou (Website | Review). The one in Carrer Tallers is the favourite place for tourists and you will NOT see locals in there. L'Ovella Negra in Poblenou is near Razzmatazz, where you can continue the party!
- Bar Ramat: located in C/Sant Martí, 15 (very close to Botero cat statue in Rambla del Raval)
- Mirablau: The best view of the city, with IT people there, not especially cheap. Located in Tibidabo area, in Pl. Dr. Andreu s/n. (Map)
- Manchester: another CS classic! In Street Milans, 5, Gothic Area. Indie music for people from 25s to 35s. Good atmosphere, relaxed but crowded. (Website)
- Oviso: located in Gothic, Carrer de n'Aray, 5. Cheap food, international people and lovely walls. Go for a drink! (Review)
- Teatreneu: Terol, 26-28, Gracia. Very nice theatre with restaurant and bar. The restaurant just friday and saturday night. (Website)
- Glaciar Bar: just in Plaça Reial, 3. Very turistic place but cheap and big enough for groups. It is the perfect place to meet up CSers and after head to Karma or Sidecar. (Info | Map)
- Harlem Jazz Club: located in the Gothic, Comtessa de Sobradiel, 8. It has live music almost every night of the week with the first set starting around 22:00 and continuing around 00:30. Music from Brazilian Bossa Nova to African-Caribbean fusions. The concerts are free during the week. (Info | Map)
- Ambar: Ronda San Pau, 77. There is a growing mix of international people inhabiting this area, making of Ambar an attractive place to meet entertaining regulars. The bar is a mixture of art and music in a multicultural environment. (Info)
- Indian Lounge: Street Sant Ramon, 23. Chill-out bar, cheap coctels on a confortable couch. A little hide and not very crowded. Perfect for the first drink and a nice talk before starting the destruction. (Info)
- Marsella: Ronda Sant Pau, 65. If you are looking for the most authentic place to drink absinth then look no further than the Marsella Bar. The interior has a 19th Century design with faded mirrored bar and hanging chandeliers. Miro, Picasso and Hemingway have all been rumored to have hung out here drinking. One glass of this is probably enough to sample for the first time user. Warning: it is strong and you will have a very good feeling. (Info | Map)
- Barroc Café: street Rec, 67, in Born. Designed by Daniel Piniello, Barroc Café is a creative concept with a special atmosphere, a nice cozy interior, dedicated to relax and enjoy the company. (Info)
- La Fíanna: street Banys Vells, 15, in Born. It is a funky, must-see place created to have a Moroccan and Turkish vibe. Trendy bar and restaurant. They also offer food service in the bar. After midnight they open the entire place for the bar crowd and the music starts beating. (Website)
- Le Journal: street Francesc Giner, 36, in Gracia. Walls with newspapers from different parts of the world. Weird objects. A must on friday evenings in Gracia district. (Review)
- Qbar: street Quintana, 6, 1 minute from Plaça Reial, in the Gothic. It is a nice space but very turistic. Dutch and Perugian own this establishment which has an international crowd of waiters that can speak english, spanish and a big number of other languages. Watch out in summer, the temperature can be extremely high! (Review)
- Els Quatre Gats: located in street Montsió, 3. Històric Modernist coffee place in our city, where famous painters, writers and bohemians used to hang out, including Picasso and Miró. Cozy atmosphere to have a chat with friends. The paintings are original from Picasso, so don't miss it! (Website)
- Do you want to meet real locals?: go to 'El Rincón del Doctor' (street Provença between Enric Granados and Aribau) and have your first and cheap drinks there, let's say until 12:00 or 1:00; or move to Ramplax Bar, just in the corner. Then head to 'Línea 6,25', located in Enric Granados, in front of the previous bar, it's free entrance, good music and open until 3:00; at 2:30, be ready to have drinks @ 3€!!!. After that, move yourself to 'Tubo-Bar', 'La Fira' or 'Get Back', all of them in the surroundings.
- Les gens que j'aime Pub: It is more for dates, or you can also take people passing by, not very enlighted with Jazz music. Located in the real center of the city, in Valencia, 286. Map
- Bar Mariachi: Some people say it's Manu Chao's bar, when you get there you will understand why. Tiny little bar well hidden in the Gótico. Nice decoration and if you're lucky you might see some live music in the early evening. Be nice to the bar tenders and you might get the chance to taste one of their secret drinks, very tasty! website Carrer Codols, 14 bx, close to plaza del tripi (george orwell)
- Bar Bamboo: Near Barceloneta Beach, 5 minutes walking from several clubs. C/ Dr. Aiguader s/n. Barceloneta Metro Station (L4 - yellow). Check the map for the exact location.
- Nevermind: Good atmosphere, good music and good prices. Escudellers Blancs, 3, behind Plaça Reial
- Born: Lots of bars there, a very common area for locals. Review
- Big Bang Bar Oldies: Live music almost every night, from 10pm, free entrance or around 5 euros. Rock, folk, pop, punk, electronic...in the Raval, calle botella 7.Big Bang website
- La Esquinica: one of the best places for Tapas in Barcelona! Very good price and delicious tapas. The place cannot be booked in advance, so you will have to queue until you get in. If you arrive before 8 PM on Friday or Saturday, or if you go during the weekdays, the wait will be reduced to 5 minutes. (Map | Review)
- Maxi: located in the entrance of Barcelona, in front of the Mall Gran Via 2, C/Carretera del Prat, 30 Bis, Barcelona Tel. (+34) 932968410. You will be surprised for the quantity and quality of their tapas. It is better to book in advance, but you will love this place.
- Bar Emilio: do you want to mix with real locals from the suburbs? Then get the metro until Plaça Espanya, change to the Ferrocarril (FGC) and stop in Gornal. Ask any person there for this bar, located just 2 minutes from the station. No booking, but incredible prices and very good tapas. It would be better to contact a member from CS Barcelona if you plan to try this bar :DDDDDDD (Volunteers to go there: Chavales | Fusion)
- Bar Tomás: the best Patatas Bravas in the city, located in the area of Sarrià, Carrer Major de Sarrià, 49, Tel. 93 203 10 77. No booking. It would be better to contact a member from CS Barcelona if you plan to try this bar :DDDDDDD (Volunteers to go there: Chavales | Fusion)
- Sidecar: a nice club to end your night, right in the center at Placa Reial. Famous are the Anti-karaoke nights, every monday. (Website | Review)
- The Alfa Club: in Gracia. For some the club to be on a Saturday night, for others a bar with too loud music. Definately a great go when lost at night in Gracia. (Review)
- Razzmatazz: a huge club with 4 dancefloors and concerts. Opens until 7 a.m. Entry 12€ in advance and 15€ at the door. Including consumption. Great night guaranteed. (Website)
- Karma: located in the center of Plaça Reial, N-10. If you like Rock, this is your place. (Website)
- Plataforma: the eternal and classic alternative Disco in Barcelona. Good music, reasonable price for entrance, beers, and cubatas. During the CS Italian Invasion, we filled it up with 90 people, so it became part of the CS History. It is located in Nou de la Rambla, 45, very close to Apolo - L3 / Paral.lel (Map | Review)
- CatWalk: near the Port Olímpic and the Arts Hotel, fashion place, good house music and nice people. (Website | Map)
- Fellini: multispace disco, different kinds of music... kinda laberintic.. specially after some beers ;) (Website | Map)
- Línea 6,25: in Enric Granados, 52, Eixample. Perfect after having a few drinks in 'El Rincón del Doctor'. Free entrace, good music (pachanga!!!) and open until 3 AM. At 2:30, long drinks' price is reduced to 3€ each, so do not miss the chance to get inexpensive vodka orange. (Map)
- Opium: one of the most famous clubs in Barcelona. You can get free entrance before 1. Located in Passeig Marítim (La Barceloneta) 34 (Website)
- Shoko: Restaurant, Lounge and Club, all together. Passeig Marítim (La Barceloneta) 36 (Website)
- Sotavento Beach Club: Free access and house/tecno music. Passeig Marítim (La Barceloneta) 38 (Website)
- Don't know where to go???: then check GoldenDesigner and get free access to the main discos in the city.
Cheap eats in Barcelona....
- Restaurant 'La Fonda': Escudellers, 10. Nice and good restaurant close to the Plaça Reial. Mediterranean cusine. Good service. (Website)
- Restaurant 'The Pink Elephant': Villarroel, 82. Cosy restaurant close to metro Urgell (Eixample izq.), opened december 2008. Mediterranean cuisine. Very good food, service and sound. Lunch menu around 10 EUR. (Website, map)
- Restaurant 'Les Quinze Nits': Pl. Reial, 6. Very good price at midday. Lunch menu around 10 EUR. (Website)
- Restaurant 'La Dolça Hermínia': Magdalenes, 27. Very good, but not for low budgets.(Website)
- Restaurant 'La Crema Canela': Villarroel, 82. Unexpensive and very good.(Website)
- Restaurant 'La Mamasita': Av. Sarrià, 10, corner with Street Buenos Aires. Unexpensive and very good.(Website)
Willing to see and dance some Flamenco? Yes, it is also possible in Barcelona!!!
- El Patio Andaluz: Andalucian Flamenco Dance Show in Eixample area of Barcelona. The Andalucian food is good quality, but like many dinner show combinations, don't expect a gourmet dining experience - the show is the star act of the night. Guests are also invited to try dancing the somewhat easier dance from Andalucia called Las Sevillanas. The live dance shows are twice a night at 20.00 and 22.00. Located in Carrer de Aribau, 242, Barcelona, Spain | Tel. (+34) 932093378 (Website)
- El Tablao de Carmen: live authentic and spectacular Flamenco show in the Spanish village on Montjuic - Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc. The Tablao de Carmen is a tribute to the legendary flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya. Carmen Amaya was a Gypsy and a Catalan and made her debut in 1929 in front of King Alfonso XIII, on the very grounds now occupied by Tablao de Carmen , to commemorate the inauguration of the Pueblo Español, during the Universal Exposition in Barcelona that year. The Tablao de Carmen offers a 75 minute Flamenco show with established flamenco artists and new young talent. Avinguda del Marquès de Comillas, Barcelona, Spain, 08038 - Telephone (+34) 933256895 (Website)
- Tablao Flamenco Cordobes: The Tablau Flamenco Cordobes is a renowned flamenco nightclub on La Rambla in Barcelona. If you want a taste of authentic Spanish Flamenco then you will enjoy an evening of thrilling flamenco dancing and singing by popular and acclaimed artists. There are three shows nightly at 20.15, 22.00, and 23.30. Check the website for details of prices and menus if you want to include the dinner. Address: La Rambla, 35, Barcelona, Spain, 08002 - Telephone (+34) 933175711 (Website)
- Palacio del Flamenco: on Calle Balmes in Barcelona is billed as a "show of the purest flamenco!". The show is made up of original choreography acts including soloist acts. The night begins with the unique and enthusiastic performance of our flamenco group. The guitar and the sound of the palms accompany the "taconeo" and the movement by the “bailaores” that introduce to us in this enthusiastic world. Address: Carrer de Balmes, 139, Barcelona, Spain - Telephone (+34) 932187237 (Website)
- Opera and Flamenco: brings together the melody of lyrical singing, the seduction of the Gitano dance, the magic of Spanish music, in a unique show. It's festival of music and dance from Bizet with his passionate Carmen till De Falla in his Amor Brujo in a Journey through the popular songs and Spanish Zarzuelas. The fourth season of this extraordinary fusion of lyrical singing and flamenco seen already by more then 80.000 persons. Address: La Rambla, 130, Barcelona, Spain, 08002 - Telephone (+34) 933010660. (Website)
- Tarantos: Plaça Reial, 17, Metro: Liceu (Line 3 - green). This is possibly the cheapest one (5€-7€), but better check the schedules on their Website.
- FLAMENCO.CAT: For all lovers of flamenco, Flamenco.cat website offers a full calendar of flamenco concerts ands flamenco festivals in Barcelona and Catalunya. In Spanish and Catalan only. (Website)
Original Version Cinemas
- Verdi in Gracia neighborhood (Website)
- Renoir Floridablanca in the City center (Website)
- Renoir Les Corts in Les Corts neighborhood close to FCBarcelona Stadium (Website)
- Ycaria Yelcmo in Vila Olimpica neighborhood(Website)
- Maldà in the City center (Website)
Suggested hostels in the city center
Barri Gòtic area: Hostal Kabul - Website | Itaca Hostel - Website | Hostal Quartier Gothic - Website | Hostal Levante - Website | Alternative Creative Youth Home Hostel - Website | Ideal Youth Hostel - Website |
Suggested hostels not in the city center but well comunicated
Sant Jordi Hostels Various hostels arround Barcelona- Website |
Barri Clot area near Plaça de les Glòries: Barcelona Urbany Hostel - Website |
Barri Sarrià - Sant Gervasi area : Inout Hostel - Website located in nature but very near Barcelona |
Suggested hostels in Barcelona Surrondings
Badalona : Barcelona Dream Hostel - Website very near Barcelona 15 min by metro|
Campings near Barcelona - probably one of the cheapest options you have
Viladecans town (15 km from Barcelona city center - reachable by metropolitan bus): Camping Filipinas - Website with contact info | Camping Ballena Alegre - Website with contact info | Camping Tres estrellas: - Website | Camping Toro Bravo - Website |
Squats - Casas okupa
Sometimes people ask for them as a place to stay, we cannot say if you will be accepted or not, but you can just try!
Useful websites to find accommodation in Barcelona
HiHostels Website | Gomio Website | Barcelona30 Website | hostels.com Website | hostelbookers.com Website | hostelworld.com Website | Rooms4rent Website | BarcelonaCheckIn Barcelona Apartments Website |
Useful websites and places to find Long Term accommodation in Barcelona
'Barcelona rent room or flat' group in CS | Loquo.com Website | Habitatge Jove Website | Borsa d'Habitatge Website | Easypiso.com Website | Pisocompartido.com Website | Rooms4rent Website | Col·legi administradors de Finques Website | Barcelona Metropolitan Magazine Website |
BORSA D'HABITATGE JOVE (Barcelona city hall - Youth acommodation service) Plaça Rius i Taulet, 3 (Gràcia). Monday to friday (9 to 19h) 93 291 43 43 (borsa) firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.provivienda.org/sjh_menu.php
Moving to BCN. What do I need to do?
Related CS group: Moving to Barcelona
Número de Identificación de Extranjero
- Which forms are required to apply for the NIE?
- What documents do you need to bring?
- Empadronado (see further down).
- (Stefan): They did check for my empadronado, but I've read on other websites, that this is not necessary to have any more. Can anyone confirm that?
- How does the process work?
- You have to go to Oficina de Extranjeros in Calle Balmes 192 with your forms and papers. Once you're inside they will quickly check if everything is correct and give you a tax-payment form with which you have to go to a bank close by, pay €10.-, get it stamped and signed and return to the police station. A few minutes later you hold your NIE in your hands. Very easy process now. It was way more complicated some time ago.
- Some comments on banks: some won't let you pay for the NIE tax unless you're customer at that specific bank. Some won't let you pay for the NIE tax at all (Banco Santander). Caixa Catalunya seems to be the bank that works best. However, due to the huge amount of people coming to pay for their NIE tax and generating long lines, they've decided to distribute it over their different branch offices in Barceloneta. Meaning, depending on which day you're going there you've to look for a sheet of paper hanging somewhere in the lobby, saying which branch will accept NIE-tax payments on that day. Then directly go to that branch office, instead of waiting 15 minutes in the line and then being told that you've to go to another office.
Getting a Security social number? Very easy !
Be sure to take with you the following documents to go to Seguridad Social offices:
- Original & copy of your passport
- Original & copy of your NIE
There are several offices in Barcelona were you can get the Security Social number. Check out this link to see where your closest one is situated
Basically, to get empadronado is to register with the community where you live. It makes you an official member of the community and benefits both you and the community. The community, because they get funds based on how many people they have registered which goes into health-care, schools, security etc. It benefits you because you are now a member of the community (not to be confused with resident) and can enjoy benefits like your own doctor at the hospital, numerous discounts at leisure centers and other places, gives you the right to vote, put your kids in the local school etc. It is also needed for a variety of administrative procedures.
To get your empadronamiento you will need to go to the Ayuntamiento (city hall) or Junta Municipal de Distrito (neighborhood administrative office) and bring:
- The form required (which you will get once there)
- Your passport
- Proof of where you are living (your contract or if you share a flat bring the person who has signed the contract and is registered already with you.
It is a quick procedure and usually only takes a few minutes if there is not a line. Interesting to know about the Empadronamiento is that it is STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.
For those who don’t have their papers in order, they have nothing to fear from registering. It’s in the city’s best interest to have an accurate count of the number of people within their jurisdiction and they will NOT use this list to go after illegal immigrants or those who overstay their visas.
- What is CatSalut? Please have a look in here
- What do you need to get the CatSalut card?
The documents needed are the following:
- Stamped NIE application form (Número NIE)
- Registering as a citizen at the local Town hall (Certificado de Empadronamiento)
- E121 (They will give it to you there)
- What do I need to open up a bank account?
Normally when you open a bank account you need some documents ready in order to have not to come back again:
- Eventually you might need:
- Seguridad Social
- Work contract/salary sheet
- It's always good to bring copies of the documents as well. Sometimes they might want to keep it, sometimes not.
- Which is the best bank to open an account?
There are many different banks, so every bank has its own procedure and can be better than another one. Please have a look at the following banks and look carefully their internet sites:
- BBVA ( Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria):
- BSCH ( Banco Santander Central Hispano):
- La Caixa : 
- Caixa Catalunya :  (very friendly and they don't ask for a minimum amount)
- Banesto : 
Some banks could be asking you to give them your salary paper because they are strict so be sure you start with a bank where they don't ask for it : La Caixa
- Where can I make copies of my passport?
Normally it's not hard to find a shop where to make copies so you don't need anything more than walk some meters and you will always find an internet cafe' or some newspaper shop where you can ask to make a copy of your passport
- Where can I take passport photos?
There are 2 ways to take them:
- 1 - Going to a small kiosk under the metro station or outside where you can pay for the small photos
- 2 - Going to a photo shop where you will be paying some more money and they will take you photos and cut for you in order to be used in the passport
BAR CEL ONA - Personal Names
Hey Couchsurfers, if you haven't seen these places and don't know these names, then you haven't been to Barcelona. :DDDD
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926)
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was born in 1852 in Reus to a family of coppersmiths from Riudoms. The smallest of five brothers, he moved to Barcelona in 1873 to study architecture, which he finished four years later. It is said that on awarding him his degree, the Director of the School of Architecture, Elies Rogent, muttered “Who knows whether we have given the degree to a madman or a genius: only time will tell”.
His first professional assignment was to design the new buildings of the textile cooperative of Mataró (1878), for which Gaudí conceived unusual catenary arches of wood and a giant bronze bee (symbol of the cooperative). In the same year, he designed a glass and crystal ware cabinet decorated with wrought-iron, mahogany and marquetry for a Catalan glove manufacturer, Esteban Cornellá, to display his products at the Universal Exhibition of Paris. The display cabinet seduced Eusebi Güell, an industrialist, aristocrat and rising politician, who was to become the patron of the young architect. Gaudí’s first commission for Güell was to design the furniture of the pantheon that the Marquis of Comillas, Güell’s all-powerful father-in-law, possessed on the outskirts of Santander. This assignment was followed by another, a pergola decorated with globes and hundreds of glass pieces. From then on his career and his work, which in the course of time became one of the most famous symbols of Barcelona, were intimately linked to the Güell family. In 1883 the Church commissioned him to build the Sagrada Família, which was to become the great work of his life, and in which he invested all the efforts of his last years. This gradual concentration on the great expiatory temple ran parallel to the consolidation of a fervent Catholicism, an aspect which had not been apparent in the young Gaudí. In his maturity, the great Catalan architect was known to be a frugal and solitary man who devoted all his energy to the profession through which he expressed his two great passions: Christianity and Catalan nationalism. His obstinate defense of Catalan identity even led to his arrest by the police in 1924 on Catalan National day (11th September), for refusing to submit to an officer who ordered him to speak in Spanish.
On 7th June 1926, Gaudí was hit by a tram when he was crossing the Gran Via. Initially on his admission the staff of the hospital, who struggled to save his life for three days, took him for a beggar because of his humble attire.
The original Rambla was a wide, rambling path that ran down the southern limits of the city parallel to the medieval wall built by king James 1st in the 13th century. One hundred years later a new wall would surround the Raval and leave the Rambla wall enclosed, without its theoretical defensive function. However, the wall gates (Santa Anna, Portaferrissa, Boqueria, Trentaclaus and Framenors) did not disappear and continued to be meeting points for open air markets, or were “recycled” into new buildings, such as a cannon factory. “Rambla”, in Arabic, means “watercourse” and this is precisely what it was: a torrent, known as the Cagalell, which had become both the sewer and the moat of the city. In the 16th century, the first religious centres (Convent de Sant Josep, 1586), schools (Estudis Generals, 1536) and theatres (Teatro de la Santa Creu, 1597) began to appear on the southern bank. Thus the 17th-century Rambla had the city wall on one side and churches and convents on the other side, in what is now the Raval district. In the late 18th century, military engineers under Juan M. Cermeño transformed this wide ditch into an elegant avenue, channelling the stream under ground and clearing plots for new, aligned buildings.
There is only one Rambla, but each section has been given a different name: going up from the port you will walk along Rambla de Santa Mònica, Rambla dels Caputxins, Rambla de Sant Josep, Rambla dels Estudis and Rambla de Canaletes. These names are not gratuitous but correspond to the monasteries, churches or buildings that stood beside the avenue that began to take shape as the ditch was filled in. In 1768 old king James’s wall was demolished and work began on the construction of some of the most emblematic buildings, such as Palau de la Virreina and Palau Moja, and Casa March de Reus (built by Joan Soler i Faneca in 1780) which is left behind down the Rambla, at number 8. The last great transformation of the Rambla was in the 19th century, when the disentailment of the church’s property as a result of liberal policies led to the disappearance of most monasteries that stood on it. They were replaced by new streets (Carrer Ferran), public spaces (Plaça Reial), markets (La Boqueria) and buildings that have become emblematic (Liceu). The Rambla is currently the best showcase of the city, of its history and of the life of its citizens, as was described by the Catalan writer Josep Plà in one of his works: “The Rambla is a marvel. It is one of the few streets of Barcelona in which I feel fully at ease. There are always enough people to meet someone you know, but there are always enough people to go unnoticed if you wish”.
Going up Carrer Sicilia and turning right at Carrer Mallorca we reach the TEMPLE EXPIATORI DE LA SAGRADA FAMÍLIA. (EXPIATORY TEMPLE OF THE HOLY FAMILY). Gaudí was a unique architect in his time, and one of the few in the history of architecture to have had a commission that lasted a lifetime -in fact, a commission that outlived him. The Sagrada Família is a work of great brilliance and ambition and of giant aspirations. The origin of the Expiatory Church of the Holy Family dates back to 1869 when Josep M. Bocabella, founder of the Josephite Association dedicated to fostering devotion to Saint Joseph, had the idea of building a church to honour the Holy Family (Saint Joseph, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ). Bocabella bought a site and in 1882 started to build a church in a Neo-Gothic style with the aim of creating a cathedral for the poor, to counteract the anticlerical radicalism that was beginning to spread among the lower classes of Barcelona (the city anarchist leader Mikhail Bakunin had pointed out as the most revolutionary in all of Europe). However, in the course of time the church took on a very different meaning as conservative Catalan nationalists began to identify with the project. The initial design of the church was by Francesc de Paula Villar, but the lack of understanding between the owner and the architect led to a radical change of plans. Villar was dismissed and replaced by Antoni Gaudí, who finished the crypt and presented a new, far more ambitious plan: to build a cathedral with a great, central, 170-metre-high tower dedicated to the Saviour. Pious Mr. Bocabella was thrilled with the idea and Gaudí plunged into the project. Progress, however, was not easy. In 1891 he started work on the Nativity façade: thirty-four years later, in 1925, Gaudí had finished only the first of the four bell towers that crown this façade. The other three were finished after the death of the architect.
The Sagrada Família may be considered a Bible in stone, owing to the great number of Christian symbols that Gaudí placed on its façades. These include, or rather will include once finished, Adam and Eve, the Twelve Apostles, all the episodes of the life of Jesus and all the main symbols of the Old Testament. The Sagrada Família is, indeed, a monument that could be used as an introductory crash-course to Catholic religion. The importance of this building is not, however, exclusively religious. It is also the “book of Gaudí”, the clearest lesson of his way of building, a kind of testament in which Gaudí applied all the structural solutions that he had studied and tested in his different works. The work where he paid his last homage to nature, which he called “the best builder” and which he always strove to imitate. One can see this clearly in the way the church is supported on leaning columns whose branches support small hyperboloid sections of vault, producing the effect of a forest.
The Nativity Façade, on Carrer Marina, is Gaudí’s great work. Almost completed by the architect, it attempts to express and communicate the joy of creation through the birth of Jesus. In the central archivolt, one can see Jesus, Joseph and Mary under the Star of Bethlehem and with the ox and the mule, surrounded by angels, musicians and singers. A careful examination of the façade’s decoration reveals over a hundred plant species and a hundred animals sculpted on the archivolts and ribs. This façade has three doors. The central one is the Door of Charity, inscribed with the names of the genealogy of Christ, from the beginning of the snake with the apple to the baby Jesus with the ox and the mule, and the signs of the Zodiac as they were on the day of Christ’s birth. On the south side is the Door of Hope, representing the marriage of Joseph and Mary, the flight to Egypt, the massacre of the innocents and a representation of the Montserrat mountain with the inscription “Salveu-nos” (“Save us”: Montserrat Mountain is traditionally considered a holy mountain and the Virgin of Montserrat the patron of Catalonia). On the opposite side is the Door of Faith representing the scenes of the Visitation; Jesus among the wise men in the temple and at his carpenter’s bench. The pinnacles of this façade resemble ears of corn and bunches of grapes, presided by the image of Mary as the Immaculate Conception. The façade as a whole celebrates the triumph of life.
The Passion Façade on Carrer Sardenya is the counterpoint to the Nativity Façade. This façade includes over a hundred contemporary sculptures evoking the Passion by the sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs. Desolation, nudity, pain and sacrifice all accompany the death of Christ to announce his resurrection and ascent to heaven. Gaudí often repeated that, had he started with this façade, people would have rejected the Sagrada Família outright. In contrast with the decorated, ornamented and turgid Nativity Façade, the Passion Door is harsh and naked, as if it were made of bones. Through a larger portico supported by six large leaning columns as sequoia tree trunks, an immense pediment rises with 18 smaller columns supporting an inner portico. The lack of decoration concentrates the tragedy in the dramatic main events, presided by the naked figure of Christ at the moment of his death.
The main façade, which will represent the life and destiny of man, is still to be built. According to Gaudí’s plan, it will face the sea looking over Carrer Mallorca, which would be covered by a large plaza reached by a huge staircase rising from what today is the doomed block of houses facing the temple. What is beginning to take shape is totally new forms in the naves of the church, which show unusual geometrical and structural solutions. The naves of the church are the result of years of study and reflection: it wasn’t until 1910 that Gaudí started the study of the naves, incorporating the experience he had acquired in the chapel of the Colònia Güell. However, the discovery of the luminosity of the hyperboloid led Gaudí to use concave-convex domes fitted to columns, walls and windows. At a scale of 1/10, this was the vision of the forest that he often used to explain his design.
The museum of the church conserves the history of its construction in site plans, photographs of different periods of the construction, fragments of models, iconography and wrought iron, wood and metal work designed by Gaudí, in addition to photographs and an audiovisual presentation on other buildings by the same architect. One can also see the models of the central nave and the façades. The most outstanding exhibits are the model that was used to calculate the structure of the church of the Colònia Güell (a solution including slightly helicoidal columns and paraboloid-helicoid arches) and a score of original drawings by the architect. There are also photographs of other buildings by Gaudí and elements that he designed and that were modelled in the workshops of the church. One of the adjoining facilities is the Sagrada Família Schools, a simple curvilinear building with the stamp of Gaudí that dazzled Le Corbusier with its technical boldness. These schools, originally intended for the children of the builders who were working on the site, form an innovative building in which Gaudí did not use iron and made all the structures with brick, thus achieving great plasticity with a very cheap material.
Lluís Domènech i Montaner
The son of a bookbinder, Lluís Domènech i Montaner was born in Barcelona on 27 December 1849. He was a versatile man who combined his passion for drawing with literature, history, deluxe editions, teaching, politics -and of course architecture. Domènech understood the work of an architect as similar to that of an orchestra conductor. He held the baton and all the instruments (the glaziers, the sculptors, the carpenters, the manufacturers of mosaics and paving...) had to sound perfect.
The young Domènech was a brilliant student of physical and natural sciences in Barcelona, and later of engineering in Madrid. This discipline led him finally to study architecture, in which he qualified in 1873. He was a lecturer at the School of Architecture of Barcelona from its foundation in 1875 (so he taught Gaudí and Puig i Cadafalch), and he was director of the School from 1900 to 1920. The publication in 1879 in the journal La Renaixença of the article “En busca de una arquitectura nacional” (“The quest for a national architecture”) gave him, along with other later works, a certain fame as an art theoretician and disseminator of the latest ideas in architecture, especially those of his much admired Viollet-le-Duc.
Considered today by many to be the “most Modernista” of the artists of Catalan Modernisme, Lluís Domènech did indeed travel and he knew what was being done in the rest of Europe by the artists of the Art Nouveau, Secession and the Arts and Crafts movements, with some of whom he established a friendship. He was, in fact, a humanist of his time, who developed himself in a wide range of fields, including botany, publishing and illustration. He was one of the most outstanding heraldists in the country, a journalist of certain renown and on several occasions he was elected president of the Ateneu Barcelonès, the main cultural association of the time. He had a long political career, starting in a Catalan nationalist movement called Jove Catalunya (Young Catalonia) and reaching the presidency of the Lliga de Catalunya and the Unió Catalanista, the first major parties of the Catalan Renaixença (the “Rebirth” of Catalan culture and nationalism, which came to life in the second half of the 19th Century). He was foremost in the drafting of the first declaration of sovereignty for Catalonia, Les Bases de Manresa in 1892, and he was elected member of the Madrid Congress in in 1904 in the so-called “four presidents’ ticket”, considered to be the first political triumph of Catalan nationalism. Soon, however, Domènech came into conflict with the almighty leader of the Lliga Regionalista, Francesc Cambó, and he abandoned conservative Catalan nationalism to found a new left-wing party, Esquerra Catalana, and to become the editor of its newspaper El Poble Català.
General Primo de Rivera in 1923 led to the dismantling of the regional structures of government in Catalonia, the prohibition of Catalan nationalist political activity at all levels, and the suppression of all but the most naive expressions of Catalan culture (even the Barcelona Football Club stadium was closed!). Domènech, always a passionate lover of life and refinement and of the most civilised forms of expression, felt profoundly affected by the brutal repression of a military regime that he could only see as illegitimate and barbaric. He retired to family life and died that winter, on the same day on which he had been born.
In addition to Barcelona, Domènech performed several important works in Canet de Mar, the home town of the family of his mother, Maria Montaner, and in Reus, thanks to his great friendship with the intellectual Pau Font de Rubinat.
Gaudí’s unfinished urbanistic dream, listed UNESCO World Heritage in 1984. The most ambitious urban planning operation of Barcelona in the late 19th century was idea of Gaudí’s main patron, Eusebi Güell, who in 1899 bought an old rural estate of 15 hectares called Can Muntaner de Dalt for conversion into a luxury garden city inspired in Ebenezer Howard’s model (and so the name was -and still is- spelt the English way: “Park”, as opposed to “Parc”, in Catalan).
Predictably, the person entrusted with carrying out Güell’s landscape planning scheme was Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí’s project involved the construction of a housing estate of 60 private plots and large common greens. Gaudí devised the idea of a bucolic retreat for the highest bourgeoisie of Barcelona. Its location on the hillside and far from the city was ideal to symbolise the metaphor of the ascent to paradise, to Eden. The project, however, was a total failure. Development of the estate began between 1900 and 1904 and was definitively halted in 1914. One plot was purchased by the owner of the construction company developing the works, and two more plots were sold to a single purchaser, who had only one villa built. As for the common facilities, three crosses were built to mark the place where the chapel was to be erected, but only the two entrance pavilions, the retaining walls and all the road infrastructure around a large square supported by columns were completed. As a result of this financial disaster, the heirs of Eusebi Güell, who died in 1918, sold the site to the City Council, and it was decided to preserve it as a public park. The prodigious structures raised among the typical Mediterranean vegetation are a curious mixture of fantasy and spirituality, which the staunch patriot Gaudí interspersed with Catalan emblems. A work, in short, where Gaudí gave up his habitual historicism and boldly chose a language of his own ranging from naturally-inspired forms to a surprisingly avant-garde plasticity.
The main gate of Park Güell, featuring a brick wall decorated with mosaics, is protected by a wrought iron railing and flanked by two evocative pavilions that reproduce the story of Hansel and Gretel, which was performed as an opera at the Liceu in late 1900, the same period Gaudí began to design the Park Güell. The smaller one on the left with a double cross on the roof, is the house of the children Hansel and Gretel: it currently has a bookshop and souvenir shop on the ground floor. The house on the right, crowned by a poisonous toadstool-shaped dome, represents the Witch’s dwelling -interestingly, it was meant to be the house of the Park’s guard. It now houses the Interpretation Centre of the Park, part of the Barcelona History Museum. The free-access ground floor has information on Gaudí’s work, but you must pay a fee to go upstairs to see the original house of the guard and the exhibition “Gaudí and Park Güell. Architecture and Nature”. Beyond the two pavilions, on the right one can see a kind of grotto supported by a central column that becomes wider at the top, as if it were a wine glass, meant as a shelter for carriages and horses on rainy days.
The main staircase is parted by a small waterfall featuring the famous multi-coloured dragon of glazed ceramic trencadís. The stairs lead to the hypostyle hall, also known as the Hall of the 100 Columns though it only has 86. This hall, originally intended to be the market of the future housing estate, was decorated by Gaudí’s assistant Josep Maria Jujol, who was given 'carte blanche' to do so. The result was exceptional: an undulating ceiling of mosaic with varied incrustations forming capricious spirals. When this zone was restored in 1992 lights were added at the base of the columns, which create a spectacular resemblance to a Greek church at night. From the hypostyle hall two paths lead to the great circular square, a marvellous belvedere overlooking the city. According to Gaudí’s initial design, this square was to collect rainwater, channelled down inside the columns of the hypostyle hall to be collected in a huge cistern holding up to 12,000 cubic metres (not open to the public).
The square is surrounded by a winding bench of trencadís in which the imagination of Gaudí and Jujol achieved an extraordinary boldness, considered by some specialists a forerunner of abstract art. The bench is a symphony of colours: greens, blues and yellows are used in different combinations, forming moon shapes and stars and abstract flowers. Colour, however, fades away gradually from left to right, and at the far right the bench is mainly white, the symbol of purity. The bench seems to hint that human life is a kaleidoscope of colours that culminate after death in heavenly white. The white of this part of the bench is not, however, a pure white: here Gaudí used materials that had been rejected in other buildings, such as Casa Batlló, precisely because of the “impurity” of this white. The last restoration of the bench (1995) has maintained this imperfection by using up to 21 different hues and shades of white to replace the deteriorated parts.
Other unusual features of the Park Güell are its bridges and viaducts, with twisted, grotto-like columns. The fourth portico that connects the upper part with the lower part is perhaps the most Surrealist structure, with the leaning walls and arches that recall images by Dalí. The summit of the park is crowned by a monumental Calvary formed by three crosses at the place where Gaudí had planned to build the chapel. Even here the feverish architect had symbolic fantasies. If we look toward the east -toward Jerusalem, as it were- the perspective seems to merge all three crosses into one. This is the final point of the ascent: the cross is the ultimate symbol.
- Address: Olot, s/n; ctra. del Carmel, s/n.
- Park opens November through February from 8am to 6pm. March and October, 8am to 7pm. April and September 8am to 8pm. May through August 8am to 9pm.
- More information about the park.
Near La Rotonda, at the beginning of Avinguda del Tibidabo, there is a stop where you can catch the TRAMVIA BLAU. (BLUE TRAM). This tram, which originally dates from the Modernista period, is a pleasant way to approach the mountain, on a relaxed ride between majestic houses and gardens up to the funicular lower station. The six trams on the route cover the distance of 1,276 metres, including a difference in altitude of 93 metres, at an average speed of 10 kph. The Tramvia Blau’s first service on 29 October 1901 was the fulfilment of Doctor Salvador Andreu’s ambition to open up an alternative way to the Tibidabo, direct to his funfair at the summit. At first the fleet consisted of four trams that covered the route between Passeig de Sant Gervasi, the end of the line for Barcelona’s urban trams, and the lower station of the Tibidabo funicular half way up the mountain. In 1981, following a long period of restoration work, two old trams were put back into operation: tram number 2 from 1901, which had been out of service for 30 years, and the model popularly known as “la Jardinera” (“the Flower Box”) which had once run along the sea front. The renewal of the tracks on 1984 and the construction work on the city’s second ring road in 1990 affected the line’s old route. However, advantage was taken of this circumstance to build a new transformer station and refurbish the tracks and the tram sheds.
- Address: Avinguda del Tibidabo, s/n.
- Prices (2008): Single ticket: €2.60. Return ticket: €3.90.
- Open Timetables may vary with the seasons, it is advised to chek them beforehand.
Mercat de la Boqueria
1200 - 1700 (Origin)
The Boqueria Market, as known nowadays, has been through many phases. Throught this document, we'll try to give a faithfull description of facts Where this market comes from is uncertain, what we are sure of is that it was born as a traveling market, placed in Ramblas of Barcelona. La Rambla adquired importance as a pedestrian lane, and the market couldn't be set in a better place, and it's location was many times threatened. Taking into consideration that in Catalunya, towns and cities have been founded around markets, we find that it's origens are as an open air market, infront of one of the gates of the old wall (Pla de la Boqueria) where salesmen and fruit and vegetable vendors from other towns and farms nearby settled to sale their products. Inner spaces where small for the stablishment of a big market and was necesary to set them outside the walls. It seems that some time ago vegetables were sold precisely at Pla de la Boqueria, where farmers of orchards stablished near paseo de la Ronda, known as "huertos de Sant Antoni, Sant Pau and Sant Bertran". Furhter stoped the farmers of the neighbour towns from Corts de Sarriá and Sarriá itself and between the old greengrocers and the new ones there would be fights, that would lead to not leaving tables and other things in the same warehouses. The primitive "marmanyeres" had the wide street of Figuera to rest their products, that went from calle Hospital to la Petxina and which was obstructed to public acces because of the construction of the legendary "casa de la Sileta". The "marmanyeres" of Sarriá left their things on another street, called "Sarrianesses". The market of Pla. de la Boqueria was called Bornet. Until 1794 it was called "Mercado de la Paja" (market of the hei), that's why at that time it was know as Pla del Peso de la Paja (Square of the Weight of the Straw) The market was surrounded by portics intending to be the first market in Europe. Later the Market didn't get built as it was projected. With all that, the market of Pla. de la Boqueria didn't have official caracter and became an extension of "Plaza Nueva" which grew to Plaza del Pi and by the riera with the same name connected with la Rambla.
1701 - 1900
It was believed convinient to take the market out of those two sqares and reorganize ir in Rambla de Sant Josep, and then the fish shops was built and butcher and bird shops were built, which formed streets by the side of the convent and the Virreina. The open air market, in Rambla de Sant José was inaugurated October 18th, 1827. - In 1823 it moved up to "Convento del Carme", but when religious orders went back to convents it went back to la Rambla, from where still wasn't taken out at all. Then it was projected to built a special constructiion for the market in the orchard of Infants Ofres' house, by calle Elisabets. - In 1826 The Marquee of Campo Sagrado, general captain of Catalunya ordered to regulate for the first time the flying market of la Boqueria. In 1835 took place the destruction of the convent of Sant Josep, then a square similar to the Plaza Reial was constructed in its lot, everything surrounded by porches and named Plaza del Treball. It had to had gardens and foutains and a very high column of monumental, allegorical sense of the work. At that time it would've been the the greatest square in Barcelona, since it had to connect with Jerusalem street. When the urbanization was almost ready and while the moment was expected to begin works of the new market in the orchard of the "Orfes", it was believed necessary to temporarily install the market in the lot of the old convent of Sant Josep to be able to remove it from the middle of la Rambla. That's why the houses that surround and frame the market of the Boqueria form porches, that are not like the present market, but to the projected Plaza del Trabajo, in style of the Real. In 1836 when the convent of the Carmelitas dissapeared with it's church of Saint Josep, the city hall projected the construction of the market. The project was in charge of the architect Mas Vilá. That year the market was inaugurated.
St. Joseph's day in 1840 the first stone of the market of la Boqueria was placed. In 1848 was constructed an enclosure for the fishmonger's shop behind the palace of the Virreina. Also was built the pavilion "Repeso" that would later become the office of the Direction and Veterinary Services. The new market was insufficient. - In 1853 the market acquired to official character when 14 florists paid their tables, and they were uniformed. This is the origin of the florists of la Rambla. -In 1861 some fruits and vegetables salesmen wer allowed to settle provisionally at Plaza Sant Agustí and it was then when la Rambla remained exclusively for flower stands. Many salesmen gave out a flower for the purchase of some of their products. The sale of flowers increased. - In 1863, the retail places of fruits and vegetables, settled underneath the porches. - In the 1869 the convent of Jerusalen was demolished, behind the market to extend it in that direction. - In Christmas of 1871, the gas illumination was inaugurated. In 1911 the actual fishmonger's shop was built. In the beginning of the XIX century, la Rambla had from Carme st. to la Petxina, the width that has today the front part of the Palace of the Virreina. In the space between the houses and the trees, was the market divided in differentiated sectors (according to the product that was dealt).
1901 - 2007
In 1914 the market with the metal deck was inaugurated. As from there it began to modernize and to improve, not only at sanitary level, aesthetic, and decorative. These places have been demolished several times. Before in Plaza Galdrich (of the farmers) there were wooden shaks, where gentlemen with a typewriter wrote up what people asked them to. Long lines formed. These services we give them today at the information point.
Throughout the years La Boqueria has become the most emblematic market of all the network. The structure, the situation, and the salesmen turn it into an obligated (must-see) to all the tourists who visit our city. This market has for the Barcelonians, the suggestion of a family memoire, it's entwined with the city history, of all our families, their popular traditions and celebrations. The present salesmen are mostly, of the third and fourth generation of salesmen of the market. They are the union of the past with the present. Inovators, full of projects and renovation ideas of la Boqueria for the new Barcelona. The commercial supply is vary; fresh fish and seafood, salty fish, tinned food, butchery and offal, birds, hunt and eggs, fruits and vegetables, herbes and dietetic, delicatessen, bread furnace, restaurants, frozens, specialities, charcuterie, farmer stops, etc...
If you are really unlucky and manage to land yourself into trouble, here's a list of the local police stations:
- Ambulance, Emergencies, Firemen, Police: 112
- Police Stations in Barcelona: (+34) 93.290.30.00
- Fire Department - Bombers/Bomberos: 080
- Local Police - Guardia Urbana : 092
- Catalan National Police - Mossos d'esquadra: 088 - To make complaint online visit
- Policía Nacional 091
- Guardia Civil 062 borders police, customs
- Ambulance, Emergencies, Firemen, Police: 112
- Medical Emergencies: 061
- Fire Department: 080
- Hospital Vall d'Hebron - Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron, 119-129 Barcelona - (+34) 93.489.30.00 | (+34) 93.274.60.00 - Web
- Hospital Clínic i Provincial - Villarroel nº 170 Barcelona - (+34) 93.227.54.00 - Web
- Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau - C/Sant Quintí, 89 Barcelona - (+34) 93.291.91.91 - Web
- Hospital del Mar -Passeig Marítim 25-29 Barcelona -(+34) 93.248.30.00 | (+34) 18.104.22.168 - Web
- Hospital de l'Esperança - Sant Josep de la Muntanya, 12 Barcelona - (+34) 93 367 41 00 | (+34) 22.214.171.124 - Web
- Hospital Sant Joan de Deu specialized in children - Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, 2. 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat - (+34) 93.253.21.00 - Web
- Hospital de Nens de Barcelona specialized in children - Carrer Consell de Cent, 437 Barcelona- (+34 ) 93.231.05.12 - Web
- Funeral Services: (+34) 93.484.17.00
Embassies and Consulates
Official and Crisis Unit
- Office Against Discrimination: (+34) 93.304.31.18
- Ajuntament de Bacelona: 010
- Generalitat de Catalunya: 012
- Diputació Provincial: (+34) 93.402.22.22
- Parlament de Catalunya: (+34) 93.221.20.00
- Veterinarian Services - 24 hours-: (+34) 93 205 31 16 | (+34) 93.581.18.94 | (+34) 93.426.87.46
- Information about On-Call Pharmacies: (+34) 93.481.00.60
Fraud Prevention Unit, Banks & Info
(Lost Credit Cards)
- Visa - MasterCard - Servired: (+34) 93.315.25.12 | (+34) 91.519.21.00
- American Express: (+34) 91.572.03.20
- Dinner's Club: 902.401.112
- Red 6000: (+34) 91.596.53.35 | (+34) 91.596.53.00
- Caixa d'Estalvis de Catalunya: (+34) 93.484.50.00
- Caixa d'Estalvis de Girona: 900.300.259
- Caixa d'Estalvis Laietana: (+34) 93.741.75.00
- Caixa d'Estalvis i Pensions de Barcelona: (+34) 93.330.70.09 | 900.300.081
- Caja de Madrid: (+34) 91.519.38.00
- Caja Ahorros de Galicia: 902.432.433
Emergencies and Last Minute Couch Requests
Barcelona LAST Minute COUCH Request <72 HOURS .
Your Local CS Ambassadors
(Guidance Note: Provide a link to your city's/area's nearest ambassador (if there is none in the city, then at least the one who's nearest is just as good, as a poin tof contact through CS. Any further information you put here is optional and down to you (some Ambasadors chose to make their phonenumber pubillc for members to contact them in case of emergency. If you already list that in your profile, then you could list it here as well. But, remember, you don't *have to*. If you don't offer such information, then this is absolutely understandable. Providing links to the Local Ambassador's profile, in this section, is more than enough).
The main site to find a job in Barcelona: Infojobs
For English speaking jobs and work in Barcelona, check out JobsinBarcelona
Pickpockets, Thieves, and Self-Defense
MOST VISITORS TO European and other countries don't encounter pickpockets or thieves regardless of how or where valuables are carried. In one developing North African country with a rap for rip-offs only five percent of visitors are victimized by thievery, according to a British magazine survey. In your travels you will mostly experience waitresses chasing you down with a forgotten camera, taxi drivers taking the best route, other backpackers looking out for your stuff, the correct change in your hand time after time, the shining honesty and kindness of good people.
Nevertheless, if you make it easy there are a few thieves everywhere (including Barcelona) who may steal your property, and the trouble and expense of replacing passports, tickets, travelers checks, and gear can wreak havoc on your tour. Fortunately, with common sense and an awareness of how thieves operate, risks can be reduced.
Dangerous Areas and Local Information
Every major city has an area more dangerous than elsewhere, and a time when this is especially true. It may even be safe during the day, but becomes sinister after nightfall. Such areas are always well-known to locals, so get advice from a hotel, tourist office, or waitress. Most guidebooks include warnings about red light or seedy areas, but conditions may have changed since the information was written.
Another point is that just because other travelers say someplace is perfectly safe, that doesn't make it true. It may only means they didn't encounter problems. I listened to an experienced backpacker swear how the dangers of a particular area were highly exaggerated or non-existent, when the previous day I had encountered three Germans who had been robbed at gunpoint there.
Local authorities and tourist offices cannot always be relied upon, either, as they may have an interest in minimizing problems, so you always need to use your eyes, ears, instincts, and best judgment, along with a few degrees of body lean towards safety, away from recklessness.
As you wait in line at the crowded Amsterdam tourist office continuously blaring over the loudspeaker is this warning in six languages: "Your attention, please. Watch your wallets, there are pickpockets about!"
That tourist office is tough pickings for any would-be pickpocket, as everyone is continuously fidgeting with pockets or purses, and throwing about a great many suspicious looks.
I have, however, encountered a number of pickpockets in my travels. While queuing in a train station I observed a pickpocket's hand stealthily slip into a purse. For some reason the snatch couldn't be made, so he slithered into another line and attempted to lift a wallet from a back pocket. (I then made his presence known, but he immediately disappeared into the crowd.)
I have also chased hands from my pockets four times--twice while disembarking crowded buses (a very vulnerable situation1); while temporarily blinded as I descended into a dark, sleazy club from a bright street; and in a market. A travel mate had her fanny pack unzipped and wallet removed while pressed against a wall of people in a crowded market. Another backpacker in the same country had been pickpocketed three times in two months, also in markets. Said he, "They're good."
The professional pickpocket in the developed world has a more-or-less standard operating procedure. He chooses a likely target--someone who obviously has money within easy reach, which includes back pockets and purses. If the thief cannot get the money cleanly, he or a partner will create a distraction by bumping the target, violently colliding with the target, or spilling something on the target. The wallet is snatched and within two seconds discreetly handed to a partner who quickly walks away. The money and valuables are removed and the rest dumped within a few more seconds.
Even if you see or feel what is happening, you have no evidence. The scoundrel says someone shoved him into you, you fell into him, or you were trying to rob him.
Another tactic is to create a disturbance with the target's friend or partner, and then pickpocket the real target while he/she is distracted.
These pickpockets look for easy marks. As long as you don't dangle your money in a purse, or dangle it in a back pocket, or otherwise dangle it on a thread ten feet behind you, they will choose an easier target, of which there are many.
In the developing world you are a juicy target because pickpockets know you have ten, a hundred, or a thousand times more money than the average local. You are the target. There is no getting around that. But if you keep most of your money in a hidden money belt against your skin as detailed below, you'll be safe from pickpockets.
Money Belts--Your Best Defense
"Money belt" does not mean the fanny or waist pack many tourists wear outside their clothes. If you wear one of these in some areas you will immediately see "$" signs light up in some eyes. And I'm willing to bet when you see a waist pack on a tourist your first thought will be something like "Big, fat bag of money!" Imagine your thoughts if you were hungry and jobless, or a street urchin with no one to look after you.
You can probably use a waist pack in Europe without incident. Millions of tourists enjoy their convenience, and they are safer than pockets and purses. But they are not nearly as safe as hidden money belts. Criminals know waist packs are "where the money is," and no waist pack is a match for their deft hands and incredibly sharp razors.
Thus the primary achievement of hidden money belts is the "out of sight, out of mind" principle. It's almost a secondary benefit that they are impossible for a thief to snatch without your knowledge.
Experience BCN like a local! For tips by Barcelona locals, check out Spotted by Locals Barcelona.
Info for Barcelona hosts
In your profile, you can add the following text to your "Couch Information" so you give people the basic information any CSer needs to know when planning to come to our city.
If you are coming to Barcelona, check this post in Barcelona group, with basic information which is very useful for CSers who come to Barcelona: Read before posting in 'Barcelona' group - Helpful info inside - Thanks!