Is Barcelona safe? Know the 3 areas to avoid


Updated on May 10 • 2 minute read

Internationals dream of La Vida Loca in the Catalan capital. Yet as soon as it gets down to the nitty-gritty, one question comes to the mind 'Is Barcelona safe to live in?'.

In short: Yes! And once you find out what bad areas or neighbourhoods of Barcelona to avoid, the city will easily make you feel at home.

Barcelona is notorious for pickpockets

One reason why internationals doubt the safety in Barcelona is the record of pickpockets in Barcelona.

Let's face it,

with 600 pickpockets registered per day (2009), the city is a stronghold for pickpockets.

A survey by TripAdvisor ranks Barcelona as the world city of pickpockets, ahead of Rome.

And it's not all that surprising: pickpockets are only punished with a fine if the stolen goods are less than €400.

Make sure that the zips of your bags are always closed. Especially in crowded places or underground trains.

And: don't hesitate to raise your voice if someone takes up your personal space.

Can I walk alone through Barcelona at night?

Women treat the night with more respect than most men do. Whether you should walk alone through the streets of Barcelona at night is a question worth checking out.

Barcelona is a vibrant city; day in, day out. You will find many people on the streets of Barcelona at any time, so you don't have to be afraid at night.

Yet, the neighbourhood around La Rambla turns into a hotspot for prostitutes and johns at night. Try to avoid La Rambla at night.

Use your common sense at night as you would during the day in any big city. Don't walk around with your pockets open or present your valuables on a plate. Pickpockets remain active at night, yet crimes of violence aren't a threat.

The 3 districts to avoid in Barcelona

Want to be on the safe side? Then consider avoiding Ciutat Vella. This covers the area of the Barri Gotic, El Born, El Raval, and Barceloneta.

Besides containing poor quality housing, this too-touristy area is also rather expensive and a haven for pickpockets (and also burglaries) due to the tourists.

1. Raval

In the southern part of the old town (Gothic) is an area to avoid: Raval.

Although the area is generally safe, in the eastern part towards the harbour you will find many prostitutes and a high concentration of homeless people.

Especially in Carrer d'En Robador or Park Ronda Sant Antoni, you find a meeting point for prostitutes and drug dealers.

Chances are you’ll run into characters in Raval trying to sell you drugs.

2. La Mina and Sant Adrià de Besòs

As you walk through the streets of La Mina, you'll probably notice the amount of trash. At night, hardly any residents nor tourists come to this area; meaning that you will find yourself walking alone through the empty streets.

The area has become famous among the homeless, and alcoholics and junkies feel at home in La Mina as well.

Don't forget: even if La Mina gets a bit doggy at night, Barcelona remains a safe city. You won't find any major acts of violence here either.

3. La Rambla and El Born

La Rambla becomes a stronghold for prostitutes and johns at night. To avoid this dodgy area, it's best to find houses for rent in Barcelona outside La Rambla and El Born.

If you are out at night in El Born, near La Rambla, don't walk through small alleys, but rather through lit streets with more people.

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