Barcelona: sun, sea and…petty crime? Over recent years, the city has earned a reputation for pickpockets and con artists as well as its world-class art and architecture, to the extent that many of our friends and readers’ first question is ‘am I going to get robbed?’
It is still a reassuringly small percentage of travellers that run into any trouble at all when visiting Barcelona, but nevertheless sensible to take some basic precautions in order to, um, not get robbed of all your worldly goods. On the other hand, if you want to go home with some hair-raising travel stories about how you had to sell your hair/kidney/boyfriend to get the Aerobus home, feel free to read our essential guide to how to get robbed in Barcelona.
1. Get drunk: The number one best way to get robbed. Chug a few jars of sangria, pass out in a public place and before you know it, some kind stranger will have relieved you of all your money.
2. Dress like a tourist: Why do people wear tourist clothes to go on holiday? You know the ones we’re talking about: socks with sports sandals, bum-bags and strapless tops. To be sure of being robbed, we would recommend wearing shorts when it isn’t warm outside, showing lots of cleavage and finishing off your look with an ‘I heart BCN’ t-shirt.
3. Get lost: Getting lost has lots of advantages – you see another side to the city, get off the beaten track and, if you’re really lucky, stumble across a really scummy part of town and have no idea how to get outta there.
4. Leave your iPhone on the table: A classic move, and very popular among many of Barcelona’s young visitors. Added bonus of ensuring that you will be robbed in double-quick time, and all while enjoying a nice cold beer (see point 1).
5. Hang out in the wrong part of town: For those of our readers who are set on having all of their stuff nicked, we would advise using any of the other steps mentioned here in areas like El Raval or Sant Pere.
6. Get involved in shady business: While some tourists to come to Barcelona to indulge in drugs, prostitution and ‘banter’, they are often pleasantly surprised by the level of thievery that can go along with this kind of illicit activity (as well as the risk of violence, serious illness and exploitation of street workers).
7. Leave your stuff unattended on the beach: A classic move. Whatever you want stolen, leave it unattended on the sand at Barceloneta. Shoes and underwear included.
8. Get too comfortable on the metro: Kick back, relax, put your headphones on and turn the music up. It’s only a matter of time before someone whips your wallet.
9. Seek out scams: Oh sure! I would love a piece of lucky heather/for you to help clean that mess off my lapel/to play cards with you here on Las Ramblas while you rummage through my pockets.
10. Take photos on your iPad: The same applies for expensive cameras slung carelessly over your shoulder or hanging out of your backpack.