Reading this incredibly funny and accurate article about expectations vs. reality when moving to Barcelona, I instantly thought that I should have written something similar before 🙂 Check that article, but also check my list below somewhat inspired by it, where I´ll try to summarize what you should simply avoid doing while in Barcelona, as a tourist.
*If you want some recommendations about what you should do if you decide to live here, please refer to my articles under “Barcelona” tag, especially the most recent one. (the don´t for new barcelonians will hopefully come soon:) ).
Be aware of the pickpockets! Yes, I know, I sound like a broken record by now, but I cannot stress this enough. Just take care, it will destroy your whole vacation if you´ll lose your money during the first day. Always, always pay attention! I´ve heard many stories, so just be careful! This is not to say that the city is not generally safe, just an important reminder: don´t assume you won´t get robbed!
Don´t eat in the overcrowded touristy locations around Rambla or in Barceloneta. Paella is not really special here in Catalunya, go for “Fideuá” instead. Look for places locals go to and avoid paying a fortune for some mediocre (if lucky) horrible food. In that note, sangria is also not typical here, no need to order it every single time you get out of your hotel.
Don´t take the Aerobus from the airport if you are not so rich that you just don´t care, situation in which either way I assume you would have your personal luxury car awaiting. You can opt for the metro, the train or bus number 46 (getting directly to Plaza Espanya).
I like to think that this is a common sense rule, but I sadly notice every day that it is not. Don´t act like you don´t care at all about this place! There are actual people living here, remember! I know, this city is beautiful, but there is no need to scream all the time about it! There is also no need to pee in public places (and it is also illegal). Just act like a decent human being, pretty please!
Don´t stick to the famous, well-known sightseeing points! Explore instead, this city breathes awesomeness. There is a surprise (good or bad) at each corner, try to discover as much as possible without following what others saw before you.
Don´t forget about prior booking for Sagrada Familia and Guell! Or any other site possible. Life is short, don´t waist 6 hours of your life in a 6 hour line in a dusty street near Sagrada Familia.
Don´t assume that Barcelona has a permanent summer going on! Might seem obvious, but my personal statistics show that it is not the case 🙂 Just check the weather before coming, no slippers in January, eh? On the other hand, don´t forget your sunscreen! The amount of sun burns hazard that I saw during these years would bring 100 dermatologists close to a stroke.
Another common sense “rule”, but here it goes: Nobody here wants your opinion about the independence situation. So, don´t offer it it not asked!
Now, all this might seem really basic, but it is not less important. These are actually some principles one should follow in each type of destination visited, but consider this post a reminder of all that. As much as this city has an enormous range of benefits from tourism, as I said so many times, it deserves a lot more than becoming a theme park. I am hopeful that we can all take small steps in order to enjoy what this amazing city has to offer as free and conscious as possible!