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Barcelona Bound/Mediterranean Cruise

I’m leaving for Barcelona in Oct 22 and taking a cruise from there. I have some logistics questions for getting around the city and to the cruise ports. 1). Is it easy to get the aero bus to the La Ramblas? Our hotel is just off at he La Ramblas and i would prefer transport other than a taxi. 2). Is it possible to take the port bus to the Moll Addossat from the La Ramblas? 3) Do you recommend the Hop on Hop off bus?

I understand Barcelona is a walking city. I know there’s pickpocket everywhere but is it safe to take walking tours? Thanks.

Billy.

Posted by
11350 posts

I would reconsider staying in a hotel near Las Ramblas if you are worried about pick pocketing.
I would think you’d be relatively safe on a walking tour.

Posted by
1251 posts

We did a one day shore excursion of Barcelona from a cruise ship in May 2015. (We will visit Spain for 2 weeks this November). We did a nice tour of the Sagrada Familia and climbed one of the towers. We also had a nice leisurely lunch. As part of our short day visit, we did one complete loop of the hop on hop off bus. I did not enjoy it. A HOHO is okay to try and see everything in a short time, but you can do it much better with a good youtube video. We had about 10 seconds to snap a crooked photo as the bus passed each attraction. The open top deck was nice until the sun got unbearable and the inside views were restrictive. In retrospect, we should have allotted the time on another good attraction instead of riding the bus. My 2 cents.

Heed all the warnings about the pickpockets in Barcelona. We were taking a metro. On one of the stops, three or four school girls jumped aboard. I felt hands pawing all over me. Very quickly, those girls jumped off just before the doors closed. There was no time for me to react; it took a few seconds for me to figure out what had just happened and by then the train was on its way. Luckily, nothing was taken because everything was secured and I had a firm hold on my day pack.

Posted by
2463 posts

I took taxis from the port to my hotel and later to the airport. Easy, not expensive. Convenience worth the minor cost. Subways easy to use to get around city.

Posted by
11350 posts

Every time we left our Barcelona hotel we were warned about pickpockets and at several restaurants too.

Posted by
2 posts

Can anyone recommend a hotel in Barcelona that is near the sights but also close in proximity to the port area? We are doing a cruise and want to make sure we find the best accommodations without doing (hopefully) a lot of local transport. Also is the city center far from the cruise ports?

Posted by
505 posts

Earlier this year we stayed at Hotel Nouvel. It is a five-minute walk from the Aero bus stop at Placa Catalunya. We found it well located for visiting old town sights; it was comfortable and staff was helpful. Breakfast was available; I liked having menu choices and it was very reasonably priced. Placa Catalunya is a transit hub, so we were able to easily use buses and the metro to get to Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia. There is a taxi stand just west of the hotel on Las Ramblas; rates are posted on the taxis and it was easy to get to the cruise port (if I recall correctly, in the range of €10-15).

We took tours ar Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, and Palau de la Musica Catalana. All were excellent.

Posted by
3961 posts

A few years ago we stayed in centrally located Barcelona at Hotel Jazz x4N. It was a hidden gem. We walked most everywhere. We took a tour of Palau de la Musica Catalana. We did a self guided tour of Parc Guell. We took a taxi there and took a leisurely walk back. We did two free walking tours with award-winning Runner Bean Tours. We highly recommend their Gothic Tour and Gaudi Tour. The Gaudi tour ended at the La Sagrada Familia. We timed our tickets for the Cathedral following our walking tour. Our guide gave us some restaurant options before our scheduled time. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjW0NfJ0LD6AhXkI30KHZuWDxcQFnoECAkQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hoteljazz.com%2Fen%2F&usg=AOvVaw3nBdIiQG6ouE0Hx_2qXUh0
runnerbeantours.com

Posted by
1542 posts

1) Yes
2) Yes
3) No

Barcelona is our favorite city with multiple visits over 20 years and we have witnessed the impacts of the velocity of tourism. That said, late October will see a significant decrease in tourists enabling a better experience. Be wise in preparing for pickpockets (just as you should for all travels), but please do not fret about an encounter. In our opinion La Ramblas is to be disdained for it has lost its charm amidst a crush of chinzy tourist storefronts and awful street performers. Simply turn away from heading towards La Ramblas to amble through the streets. We often use taxi's in Barcelona, but most hotel staff can help make a connection with private car or other service to help you get to the cruise port. I understand about wanting to insure the connection goes smoothly for when you head to your ship, but believe you will chuckle once you have arrived and see how simple is the transit. How many nights will you stay before boarding?

Posted by
2963 posts

Firstly, I want to say this is not because of your question @blue_hen2014, which is perfectly reasonable if you don't know and have heard/read about it.

Pickpockets in Barcelona: how big is the problem?

Frankly, as a resident in the city, I am beginning to be fed up with scaremongers that without much information perpetuate this supposedly existing "safety threat everywhere in Barcelona". Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city with 1.8 million residents, plus +/- 500,000 daily commuters plus an average of 1 million tourists coming from all over the World in any given month. As in any other major city, crime does exist, thankfully though it's for the most part petty crime rather than a serious one (no guns and mostly no stabbings, no murders). No matter how often we explain statistics or what a typical Barcelonan lifestyle looks like, there are always scaremongers (visitors and locals alike) that go on with this as if we were living in the Far West of the 1800s.

I don't work in tourism -thus I couldn't care less- but it p*** me off those spreading misinformation about something I know -cause I live it daily- it's grossly exaggerated by some people. Is there pickpocketing? yes, I said so earlier. Is it a bigger problem than in other places? Official stats by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior (2021) display a similar number of "hurtos" (small theft) in the three major cities in Spain: Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, with the latter taking the lead by a small margin. I did not show figures for Rome, London or Paris because more than one would be surprised about the police reporting results in those cities and how close percentages are from one to the next. If you're adamant, visit Eurostats and you'll get all the reported facts (yeah, there'll still be those saying police forces all around manipulate the information provided to look better off... gosh!)

But it is a big problem? again, if you come from a major city, especially if it is a touristy one, I am sure you're "used" to the existence of petty crime, if you come from a smaller city or a town, this might be news to you... so, there's no definitive answer other than learning about facts and applying then your common sense. As I pointed out, at any given time there are an average of 3.3 million people in the city, the stats about small theft is around 70,000 per year... do your math. Is this % a lot to you? what are the chances you are going to be a victim of pickpocketing? do you behave carelessly when visiting a major city full of strangers? By all means, I am not complacent with the existence of pickpocketing in my city nor I am trying to minimize it. In fact, year after year, Barcelonans rank this as one of the top problems in the city and complain about it to the City Hall. But, with facts at hand, one needs to put things into perspective and not blow it up of proportions.

I can perfectly understand that if one has been a victim of pickpocketing, that's probably going to be the highlight of his/her experience visiting the city and the evaluation won't be positive... but one, one hundred or one thousand cases do not compare to the millions that visit every year (or live here!) and don't share the same experience so generalising it's simply painting an inaccurate picture of reality.

Are there no-go 'areas' in Barcelona?

I personally would say no, or better, I'd rephrase this by saying there are areas I probably wouldn't necessarily go if I don't "have" to, as they're more sketchy than others. But ultimately, as a visitor/tourist, there is probably no need to go there anyway because there's nothing "touristy" to see/do.

... follows...

Posted by
2963 posts

What about "downtown"? -traditionally being one of the areas of many cities where crime occurs

Downtown Barcelona comprises the district of Ciutat Vella ("the Old City", with the neighbourhoods of El Raval, El Gòtic and La Barcelona among others). That's home to 10% of the residents of Barcelona, with lots of non-nationals living there. Along with L'Eixample district, it's one of the busiest. The GDP per capita of those neighbourhoods is below the city's average, especially in El Raval, which is 35-40% lower than the average. In all major cities, areas with lower GDP tend to concentrate a higher proportion of crime, and this is not an exception. Add to that the number of passers-by (visitors and residents from other areas of the city) that unsuspectedly roam those streets having fun, visiting an attraction, dining out... and you have a scenario for pickpockets. Does this mean I should avoid it? no, simply be aware and take basic precautions as you would anywhere else with densely packed crowds. The area is the cradle of the city and has many reasons to be visited.

But tourists are targeted, not residents!

Yes, tourists are targeted... as much as residents are too. In fact, the % of complaints recorded by residents is higher than that of tourists. Reasons might vary, I grant you that, but nonetheless, this is to show that tourists are not 'the target' per se, anybody susceptible to being pickpocketed is a potential victim. Any large concentration of people where distractions are all around is the perfect grounds for pickpockets, this includes major tourist attractions, concerts, football matches, public transportation during busy hours, and even busy shops/malls... and you'll find tourists and locals alike visiting those.

And again, other than the obvious, quite often even for experienced locals is not that easy to know whether someone is a resident or a visitor, given we have residents from over 120 different nationalities living in this city, so targeting "by looks" (as I said, except for some obvious examples we all have in mind!) is rather bold, to say the least. Take care of your belongings, watch your surroundings and enjoy your visit... as we all do. And before someone starts playing the xenophobe card... locally, we do have thieves and criminals from all nationalities, even some that are just passing by trying to finance their vacation out of pickpocketing fellow tourists, so let's not start pointing to any specific group.
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Does anyone still stubbornly want to believe otherwise without hard facts and reasoned arguments? Be my guest, I am sure you know best.

Just wanted to get this off my chest. Sorry.

Posted by
1542 posts

Enric,
Your perspective as a local and mine as a long time often visitor, comes to the same factual conclusion; Barcelona is a safe city. I encourage people to take common sense safety measures utilized in all travels and then set aside fretting about what may occur.
Barcelona is a fabulous place to create wonderful travel memories!
Go visit the places of your choice and then stroll along the streets to bring additional flavorful "seasonings" to add to your memories.
Enjoy!

Posted by
2963 posts

@Marbleskies... I totally agree, but when scaremongers keep hammering the same message over and over, unsuspected visitors might be misled to consider that's actually what's going on, hence my fume.