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woman traveling alone in barcelona?

i sigh as i write this...i've landed on barcelona as the city i want to visit on my own (at the end of a trip with my husband to london and paris) and now of course i'm researching...and finding TERRIBLE things. i'm pretty much convinced--only by reading scary things online--that if i go there i will be beaten and mugged at knife point the minute i step off of the plane (i'm only kind of exaggerating) basically i'm at the point where i need to stop researching, but i'm asking...has anyone been to barcelona, particularly alone, particularly women? and if so--what was that like? because i really, really want to go there--and i really, really don't want to be beaten or mugged. and more than all of that, i really, really want to believe that i'm just reading stupid things posted by people who were not prepared. and i want to be prepared. if that means not going, then so be it, but i'd like to at least know both the good and the bad.

Posted by
4555 posts

People always post when they have a negative experience....people rarely post if they haven't been mugged. Crime in Barcelona is no worse than anywhere else....in fact, I'd rather walk through downtown Barcelona than downtown Toronto at night. Take reasonable precautions, especially against pickpockets, and you'll be fine.
In fact, if you look at this recent thread, asking about pick-pocketing experiences in Italy, you'll see that very few people have been affected.

Posted by
397 posts

Hi Tracy

Have been enjoying your blog as you prepare for your trip. I agree with Norm, don't worry people tend to focus on the negative things that happen. Last year when I was going to Prague, I felt the same way that you did - scared to ride the bus from the airport, the year before it was Dublin and before that the Paris metro. This year I too am going to Barcelona and I have read some scary things but also some great trip reports from other solo women. Try looking at Fodors and Trip Advisor for them. I live in a very small town in Eastern Washington and I still felt safer on my own in Europe. Have a great time and let us know how your solo trip goes.

Posted by
9110 posts

So and so told me that he heard from another guy that read where ..................

My wife and I have been to Barcelona several times. We have different interests and frequently separate for many hours during the day. I don't worry about her. She don't worry about herself.

Neither should you.

Posted by
951 posts

6 years ago, I went to Spain solo. Had the time of my life. In Barcelona, I felt my hostel was in a not so good neighborhood but never once did I get stabbed, mugged, or violated. I even stayed out late and never had trouble. Just be smart and alert.

Posted by
272 posts

I was in BCN a couple of years ago. Traveled with my friend (also female). We often split up during the day to see different things (so I was often alone). I absolutely loved that city and would hate for you to miss out on such a wonderful place just b/c of some frightening tales. As everyone says...use common sense and you should be fine. I will admit to seeing a few pickpockets in action and a guy walking down the street with a camera and taking pictures up ladies dresses/skirts. And prior to my trip, I had heard more tales from friends of picketpocketing in that city than anywhere else in Europe (including places in Italy that are notorious!). I was sure to be hyper-cautious of my belongings.....always had my bag across my body and in front of hip with money in zippered inside pocket, never left a purse unattended even on a chair next to me in restaurant...literally kept it strapped across me even in restaurants. But none of this was violent stuff. I had read up prior to the trip and noted certain neighborhoods to avoid. We stayed in a hotel at the top of Las Ramblas on Placa Catalunya. Always tons of people bustling about so always felt safe coming and going. I would return to BCN in a heartbeat...with friends or alone. Happy travels!

Posted by
463 posts

thank you everyone! i feel a little better. and i realize it is not like i'll be in any real danger--worst case scenario i'll lose a few euros (but i probably would have spent them anyway!) i just don't want to be in a perpetual state of fear--and it sounds like that won't be the case. i'm going to wait to hear from a friend of mine who is in spain right now (coworker, actually--i forgot she was going, but she'll be back tomorrow) and then book it on wednesday. again--thank you for your words of encouragement. i love the helpline!

Posted by
18 posts

I spent 5 days in Barcelona last June with my 11-year-old grand-daughter. We stayed in an inexpensive hotel, walked for miles, rode the Metro, and were even out as late as midnight a couple of nights. We were always treated courteously and never felt threatened in any way. We used standard travel precautions, did our research so that we had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do, and I'm sure exuded some positive, confident vibes because we were having a great time. I wore a moneybelt, so anyone who might have grabbed my purse wouldn't have gotten more than a few euros and my Rick Steves guidebook. A few months earlier, a woman friend spent two weeks alone in Barcelona--also without incident.

Posted by
147 posts

I too will be going to Barcelona and am just a tad bit nervous. However, it's not going to prevent me from going. Just be aware that there are pick-pockets who will try to distract you somehow. if someone tries to sell you anything, just say "no, gracias" and move along.

I have purchased a PacSafe purse as well, one that is "theft proof" meaning it can't be slashed and has other safety features too.

Enjoy Barcelona!!! I know I will :)

Posted by
463 posts

PacSafe purse? I will have to look that up RIGHT NOW! I solved my 'but how will I go to the beach alone?' question today by looking up 'waterproof money belt'--they exist!