Advice for Travelling to Barcelona

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Advice for Travelling to Barcelona

Barcelona holidays are a brilliant choice if you want an exciting city break that's blessed with sunshine, a beautiful golden stretch of beach, shops and boutiques to make you swoon, incredible cuisine and swinging nightlife. Millions of tourists enjoy its stunning architecture, beautiful parks and long sandy beaches every year. As with all major tourist destinations, it pays to be prepared before you travel. So if you’re planning a trip to the Catalan capital, take a look at our handy tips and advice for travelling to Barcelona, so you can have the best break possible.

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British citizens don’t need a Visa to enter Spain and passports just need to be valid for the duration of your stay, making even last minute holidays in Barcelona really easy to organise!

Travel Insurance

As with all holidays abroad, it’s a good idea to have full travel insurance in place to cover you for medical treatment as well as theft, loss and other incidents that may leave you out of pocket. The EHIC is valid in Spain, which entitles you to free emergency medical care, but remember that it’s no substitute for proper insurance. Hospitals and emergency health assistance are of an excellent standard in Barcelona, and you’ll find walk-in pharmacies city-wide, which can help with minor ailments or injuries. In case of an emergency you should call 112 for an ambulance.

General Safety


Barcelona is generally a safe city and welcomes millions of tourists every year. Like many busy city centres, of course, there are things you need to be aware of; watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers, especially in crowded tourist areas such as on the Las Ramblas and on the beach. Pickpockets will often strike when your attention is taken by something else, so stay aware of what’s going on around you - even when you’re enthralled by a street performer, snapping a photo or stopping for a snack!
The Barcelona beaches are beautiful, cleaned daily and boast Blue Flags for being clean and generally safe places to sunbathe and swim. Lifeguards are on duty during summer season – as always though, be careful when swimming in the sea and take note of the flag system which indicates the swimming safety conditions. Be especially careful if you have little paddlers with you on holiday, there is a shallow sectioned off swimming area at Parc Forum that offers peace of mind for a super safe dip with little ones! There are great restaurants for alfresco lunches right on the sand and at night the clubs that line the beach are the place to go for dancing and cool cocktail lounges. 

Spain Barcelona Parc-Güell

When it comes to organising your money, only carry the cash that you will need for the day (make use of the hotel safe if there is one) and if possible spread your cash and cards across different pockets - bumbags are a great option. Never carry your wallet in your back pocket and be wary of anyone who embraces you or tries to engage you in a game of football or an impromptu salsa dance lesson (however appealing this may seem!) – these are known scams to distract tourists. Also be aware that some thieves can pose as police officers – genuine police won’t ask to see your wallet or purse and are unlikely to approach you unless you’re drunk, disorderly or committing a crime.

Evening entertainment gets going late in Barcelona, so the streets are normally packed with like-minded tourists and locals till well after midnight. However, it's always best to stay alert and stick to well populated areas after dark. There are plenty of taxis you can take to and from nightclubs, attractions and your hotel.

Local Laws and Customs

Barcelona is a multi-cultural city that’s used to welcoming tourists and travellers from across the globe, but there are still some local laws and customs to be aware of. As in the UK, the legal drinking age here is 18, this also applies to purchasing cigarettes, too. Drinking in the street is not allowed and can result in an on the spot fine.

Personal, private drug use is not a crime in Barcelona, but the distinction between possession for personal use and possession for distribution is open to police interpretation. Public use can be penalised with heavy administration fines.

Skateboarding is prohibited in the streets in Barcelona – so if you were planning on packing your board, don’t bother!

Spain Barcelona Palace Of Montjuic and Magic Fountain


There are currently no vaccinations needed for holidays in Spain, but you should ensure that your routine jabs are up to date. The tap water in Barcelona is safe to drink but the taste can often make bottled water a better option!

Top Tips When Travelling To Barcelona

Barcelona is famous for its tasty tapas bars, but ordering can sometimes cause confusion for those who have not yet experienced Spanish dining. It’s traditional in the city to eat your tapas at the bar, alongside a sangria (or two), and you always settle the bill when you’re ready to leave – trying to pay as you order is a definite no go in this city!

City taxis are yellow and black in Barcelona and can be hailed if the green light is on, or found at ranks in prominent places such as train or bus stations and city squares. They should be metered and charges should be standard. If you ask your hotel or restaurant to call you a private ‘door-to-door taxi’ charges may differ and you will generally find these to be more expensive.

Barcelona is a very child-friendly city making it the perfect destination for fun family holidays in the sun. You’ll notice that the Spanish are particularly welcoming of children in restaurants, but don’t expect to find a specific kid's menu!

Expect long queues at some of Barcelona’s most famous buildings and attractions – particularly the Antoni Gaudi buildings. The Sagrada Familia cathedral is notorious for this, as the city’s most famous and prominent landmark. Booking a guided tour in advance will allow you to hop straight to the front of the queue. Otherwise, getting there before opening time in the morning will usually mean the shortest queue of the day – so if you're enjoying bed and breakfast holidays in Barcelona, get up, grab a bite, and go!

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