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Barcelona is one of Europe's most enticing cities for culture, architecture and food. But, it's also known for pickpockets. Find out how to keep your valuables safe and avoid common travel scams.


Photo © Pixabay/Kristina Spisakova

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Spain's soaring unemployment rate, tourism and scarce legal deterrent for petty crimes have created a perfect storm of petty crime in popular destinations – in particular, Barcelona.

But, there's no need to cancel your flights. As long as you can keep a hand on your wallet, you have nothing to fear in Barcelona.

Spotting a pickpocket

Often working in pairs or groups, pickpockets prey on distracted and disoriented tourists. One captures your attention while the other rifles through your bag or slips your phone from your pocket.

It might seem rude or culturally insensitive to question odd or friendly behavior from strangers while you're traveling but this is the attitude pickpockets rely on.

You don't want to be constantly wound up and paranoid when you're trying to relax while on holiday. But, if you do feel suspicious, it's easy to brush your hand over your wallet, pull your bag closer or have a quick look over your shoulder. Don't be afraid to confront anyone following you either, although there's no need to get aggressive. If the thieves know you're onto them, they'll quickly skulk off to await an easier target.

Forewarned is forearmed so if you can recognize a dodgy character or situation you'll know when to be alert and then you can spend the rest of your holiday being pleasantly distracted.

Where pickpockets strike

Pickpockets congregate at popular attractions and transport hubs.

Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona's most popular attractions, with thousands of visitors and locals wandering, shopping, eating and soaking up the atmosphere. However, the boulevard is also notorious for thieves and scammers. During the day, take care when watching the street performers, as they may be working alongside pickpockets in the crowd. Avoid the gaming tables, almost everyone here is on the act.

The south end of Las Ramblas gets a little seedy at night, with prostitutes and drug dealers aplenty. 

Plaza Catalunya, at the northern end of Las Ramblas, is another place to watch your valuables. To the south, beware in Barrio Gotico, one of the city's historic districts. During the day it's easy to find yourself isolated in the area's narrow, winding streets.

The popularity of the Picasso Museum makes Carrer Montcada a popular hangout for thieves. The same goes for Carrer de la Princesa and the sidestreets near Mercat Santa Caterina.

Stick to the main roads when making your way to or from Rambla Del Raval as some of the streets near this popular nightspot are a little dodgy.

Be aware of your surroundings when you're arriving or departing the city, particularly if you are carrying your luggage and maybe a little stressed or disoriented. Sants and Franca train stations, Estacio del Nord bus station and the Cercanias Metro line, which goes out to the airport, are all prowled by pickpockets.

Protecting your belongings

  • Don't dress like a traveler. That's an instant advertisement to any pickpocket
  • Brightly colored clothes aren't big in Barcelona and will make you stick out like a sore thumb. Subdued, autumnal colors make up the locals' preferred palette
  • Barcelona is a seaside town but there are two very different dress codes for the beach and the city. There's plenty on show at the shore but don't wear your board shorts and bikinis too far from the water
  • Despite the declining influence of the Catholic Church, Barcelona's style is still quite conservative. Fitted clothes are fine but female travelers should avoid overly revealing garments. Miniskirts and low-cut tops will draw the attention of pickpockets, but also some disapproving glares
  • Jewelry is like a red rag to a bull for thieves. Don't go out dripping in gold or silver
  • Bum bags are right out. Not only do they scream 'I'm a tourist, rob me', but they're very easy to rip or cut off
  • Handbags with long straps are also easy for grab and run thieves, who sometimes zoom by on bikes. Try to wear any bags across your body, rather than just over the shoulder, making it more difficult to wrestle them from you. At the very least, tie some knots in any long, thin straps to make them a little shorter and stronger.

Extra tips to keep you safe

The way you behave is perhaps even more important than how you dress in avoiding criminal attention. A really sharp eye will be able to pick you as a tourist no matter how you're dressed but you can still show you're no easy pickings.

Walk with purpose and try to look and try to avoid that lost lamb look, even if you have no idea where you are. If your group has to look at the map, try and find a shop, cafe or an alcove to do it in, rather than standing around in a circle of confusion. Asking directions from a shopkeeper or waiter actually often yields a clearer route than consulting your map.

Even if you are the victim of theft you should be able to minimize your losses by keeping your most valuable items close to you. Don't keep any prized possessions in handbags or backpacks. Only take out as much cash as you need that day, along with a photocopy of your passport. Keep the rest and the real deal safely locked up at your accommodation.

Carry your wallet in your front pocket and try to get into the habit of brushing your hand over it every so often. This will make you feel more secure as well as letting any scoping pickpockets know you're alert to their presence.

What to do if you get pickpocketed

If a pickpocket does manage to pull one over on you, don't panic. Don't spend time trying to tracing your steps to track down the perpetrator either. You can be sure they've either already vanished or passed on your stuff.

It's better to focus this frustrated energy on dealing with the practicalities of the situation. Your first priority should be to cancel your cards. Your bank should have a 24-hour emergency contact number for this sort of situation. It's wise to keep this written down somewhere. Canceling your phone account is also a priority if you're not using a prepaid service.

Getting a replacement passport and canceling the old one is integral if you're planning on going home at any point. You can do this at your consulate but you'll to get a police report first.

You should report all robberies to the police (in any emergency, call 112). If you visit one of the inner city police stations for this purpose you're sure to run into plenty of other cheated tourists. This might make you feel a little better about falling victim, but the resulting lines can be frustrating. 

To report a crime, including stolen property and passports, visit the nearest Policia Nacional, regional police (Ertzaintza in the Basque Country, Mossos d’Esquadra in Catalonia, and Policia Foral in Navarre) or Guardia Civil Station to file a police report (denuncia). Some Spanish cities also offer a Foreign Tourist Assistance Service (SATE - Servicio de Atención al Turista Extranjero) run by the Town Hall and National Police where tourists can report crimes in a variety of languages, including English.

While in Spain, you can also call a dedicated English-speaking police line on +34 90 210 2112 from 9am – 9pm 7 days a week, or file a police report online for minor offenses such as a bag or car theft.

Try and prepare all the details, serial numbers, passport numbers, distinctive markings etc, of anything that has been stolen. Don't waste time talking about the photos that were on your camera, they would have been deleted almost immediately.

Give a clear, concise explanation of theft and where it occurred, or where you think it occurred.

In June 2011, the Hotel Association of Barcelona began trialing a system in which tourists can make police reports from their accommodation. It's only currently available in a few hotels, but if it works to streamline the reporting process it could be widely available. Check with your hotel when you arrive.

Common scams in Barcelona

The flower scam

One of the most popular traps involves a couple of unassuming ladies offering you a flower. Don't take it. The flower is just an excuse for the women to get close and get into your pockets. If you do take it, you'll soon learn it wasn't a gift. The women will demand money for it, pestering you for some tiny amount. When you decide it's worth un centavo to be rid of them, they will kindly reach into your wallet to help you locate the right coin, simultaneously clearing out all your notes.

Obviously letting a stranger put their hands in your wallet isn't a great idea but these sneaky couples can be very persistent. Even if you don't take the flower they may grab your hands, urging you to accept it, all the while getting themselves closer to you and your valuables. The best approach is not to acknowledge them at all, don't slow down or stop. If you do end up with a flower in your hand just drop it on the ground and continue on your way. You might cop a few curses but at least you'll keep your stuff.

The pigeon poo scam

Another classic trick is for someone to spray paint or milk onto your clothes. A kindly local will quickly approach to tell you about your unfortunate accident and offer to help clean you up. The aim is for you to drop what you're carrying as you attend to the stain, or for your helpful friend to get his hands into your pockets. If you do find yourself the target of this messy method, politely but firmly refuse any assistance. Keep a tight hold on your possessions and walk away quickly. You can clean yourself up later.

The crowded metro scam

This trick involves a group of thieves who'll push in front of you as you try to get on or off a train. They create some delay at the door, meaning their buddies, who've slipped in behind, have an excuse to bump into you. They also work on a divide and conquer principle, trying to separate potential victims from their traveling buddies. You should be alert whenever you're taking crowded public transport, but if you find someone try to squeeze between you and your friends' chances are your possessions are in jeopardy.

A variation of these techniques can happen at any bottleneck or queue, like a shop entrance, bus line or escalator. The thieves will use any means to hold you up, from dropping coins to having someone fall at your feet. If you bend to help pick up the coins or the clumsy stranger you present your bag and back pockets to the waiting cutpurse. It may seem cruel but don't be afraid to push past and get yourself out of danger.

The clipboard cover scam

Someone holding a clipboard will approach you, asking you to complete a survey of some sort. They'll shove the sheet into your face, obscuring your view and allowing them or an accomplice to dip into your bag.

Again, there are plenty of adaptations. People asking directions hold up maps, nightclub promoters wave posters and scalpers flash phony tickets in front of your eyes. They all serve the same sinister purpose, so don't let yourself be fooled.

The devious diners scam

Other thieves roam the outdoor dining areas of Barcelona's many restaurants, looking for any unwatched bags or cameras. These crooks come in all shapes and sizes. Some lone opportunists will just pick off whatever they can find, others work in groups and have elaborate methods to distract diners.

One story we've heard involves a raucous group of well-dressed young girls sitting down at a table next to some travelers. They made a lot of noise but didn't order and soon they all stood up and left. The waiter returned, saw they were gone and instantly told his unsuspecting patrons to check their bags, which were all gone.

There are similar reports about beggars approaching tables and insisting on a donation, even getting abusive. Anything to attract your attention while an accomplice slips away with your stuff.

Don't leave bags at your feet at restaurants and don't put your jacket over the back of the chair, especially not if there's anything in the pockets. It might be slightly uncomfortable but it's best to keep your things in your lap.

The fake policemen scam

These guys are closer to conmen than pickpockets but the end result is the same. It starts when someone pretending to be a fellow tourist approaches and asks for directions or advice. Even if you just wave them off, another group of men will then appear, flashing IDs and claiming to be undercover police. They'll say they've been tracking your newfound friend, on drugs or terrorism charges or something equally intimidating, and that you're now a suspect by association.

Demanding identification of some sort, they'll try and get you to hand over your passport or wallet. They might just split with your things or they might be subtler and try to pocket the cards and cash. Some people have even reported being told to give up their PIN as the 'cop' has a phony conversation with HQ on the telephone to confirm their identity.

Don't cave in to these intimidation tactics. Don't risk provoking the gang but ask to have a closer look at their badges. Ask to walk to the nearest police station before handing over any documentation. That should be enough to put these scammers off.

Variations on a theme

There are hundreds of variations on these popular techniques, but they all boil down to one main element: misdirection.

Barcelona's pickpockets are very fast and very skilled but they are also very predictable. When know what cues to look for it should be easy to spot and avoid crooks. If something feels a little amiss, it probably is.

Barcelona's residents are very welcoming and helpful, but they are also quite reserved, compared to southern Spaniards at least. They will gladly offer you directions if you ask, but it's unlikely they'll try to initiate a conversation out of the blue. They definitely won't try to touch you.

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  • Kim said

    Yet this article fails to mention that 90% of crime in Barcelona is commited by immigrants (mostly from Morocco, South America and Eastern Europe). You will hardly see any locals pickpocketing or attacking tourists. Sadly, there is no prison sentence for petty crime so there is no way to stop these people. If anything, they are growing in number. So I would advise to stay away from strangers and to try to blend in with the locals as much as possible so you don't stand out as an easy target.


  • Barcelona is Beautiful said

    Barcelona is Beautiful! :)


  • Captain Obvious said

    We'll send Said the invoice for the massive jail infrastructure to support that miraculously original and well-thought out idea


  • Anon said

    Simple solution....Hefty jail sentences for pickpocketing. problem solved.


  • Kevin said

    My partner and I just returned from three absolutely glorious weeks in Barcelona. I've traveled in much of Europe and I have to say that Barcelona is my favorite city as it explodes with museums, architecture, great food, and amazing locals. This was my first trip in Spain, so I took note when I read that Barcelona is sometimes named the pickpocket capital of Europe. I should admit up front that I border on the hysterical when the subject turns to pickpockets and the like. So I approached Barcelona with a good deal of trepidation. I am happy to report that if one uses common sense and keeps track one's belongings all will be well. I kept my wallet and my phone in my front pocket and had my hand on it at all times. In the evenings when the weather turned cooler, I buttoned my wallet and phone in the breast pockets of my jacket. We had no trouble at all. I did witness a fair share of tourists who foolishly left their belongings in plain sight. One particular example comes to mind: a young french couple very much in love took no note of the young lady's phone (complete with bright pink carrying case) which she left at the far corner of the table. Eventually, when I could stand it no longer, I managed in my limited French to tell her to put away her phone. The rule of the day is "pay attention." Keep your belongings close to you and check to see that all is where it should be. Leave your passport at the hotel...your driver's license or state ID will suffice. Bring only the money you will need for the day and leave all but one credit card at the hotel making sure to have the card information on you so that if you do lose it you can call in the number and so forth. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Do not let a fear of pickpockets keep you from visiting Barcelona. It's my new favorite city in Europe and I would get on a plane in the morning if I could return.


  • Michael said

    Had to travel through Barcelona sants train station to airport with two other friends got robbed of cash by gang of 5 or 6 pickpockets as I entered the train for the airport, luckly passport bank cards etc still safe. spanish people on the train said phone police whitch I did, and reported events to police at airport station. people on train very sympathetic but said it was normal for them one even showing me how he chained his wallet to his waist "yes honestly no kidding" saying this was what they had to do as a normal precation as Barcelona was like this all the time. I felt sorry for them as it seems this is what you have to do to travel around a city you live in.
    As they say you live and learn and Barcelona may be a beutiful city but it is also crawling with thieves who seem to have no fear of punishment the tourist web sites are simply telling you how to avoid being a victim never let your guard down etc. so my simple answer is sod Barcelona I can go anywhere else without constantly having to be on guard, whats the point of going somewhere you cant relax for a minute.
    If you are not prepared to hand out some jail time for these packs of thieves they will simply continue to multiply in droves.
    Since my return home it seems almost everyone I have spoken to knows someone who hase been a victim or suffered an attempt at being robbed in Barcelona. As I say live and learn. I for one wont be caught again with this scam as the authorities seem poweless to stop it why should I go back to a thieves paradise.

    best of luck. Michael


  • Kevin said

    We recently returned from three absolutely glorious weeks in Barcelona. We were there during the off season, but it was still crowded. I was not the victim of a pickpocket but I did see one fellow attempt to do so in a crowded tapas bar. Luckily, another guest at the table (locals, not tourists) caught him in the act. Because I was born and raised in NYC, I am constantly aware of what's going on around me and I suggest that anyone who visits Barcelona or any city needs to do the same. I was amazed by the numbers of tourists who sat at cafes with their bag slung over the chair or who placed their cell phones on the table while they were in conversation. Because the weather was still a bit breezy, I was able to wear a wool shirt with breast pockets, each of which has a sturdy button. I kept my wallet and phone in those pockets. Just pay attention to who is around you and wave off any shady character who tries to begin a conversation or show you something. Barcelona is by far my favorite city in Europe. I'd get on a plane in the morning if I could return.


  • William said

    Was hit by the 'jam in the train door' trick, but all they got was a fake wallet. In Barcelona, and many other places, it is a good idea to have a dummy wallet, filled with paper scraps, in your back pocket, to offer easy pickings, while you keep your real money and cards in inside pockets. Leave your true wallet at home, and just carry cash and a single well-hidden credit card on your person. Also, packpacks with cameras, and phones, are a favorite target


  • Ivaylo Zlatanov said

    I just got back from an exciting week in Barcelona. I was quite concerned about those pickpocket warnings that I read before I left and I was expecting to get in hand-to-hand combat with armies of thieves each day. However, nothing like this happened to us, neither did I see such attempts on someone else (we spent our days and late evenings roaming the streets of Barcelona). There were police on all public venues and where crowds were huge, e.g. at Sagrada Familia, police were heavily armed.
    So, be cautious, but don't take it to extreme and don't let fear ruin your time in the great city of Barcelona.


  • Carol said

    I fell victim to the following scam during an otherwise lovely visit to Barcelona this month: We had just arrived from the airport, and I was buying Metro passes from a machine in the Plaza Catalunya station, when a young woman approached and asked whether the machine accepted cash as well as bank cards (I was using a card). My traveling companion answered her, and then the two of them started chatting. The conversation was just enough to distract me, because after I had gotten the tickets out of the machine, I realized that my card had disappeared -- and so had the young woman. Happily, she only got the card, and it requires a PIN code which I don't think she was able to get, because no unauthorized charges were made. Of course I called the bank right away to cancel it, but she would probably have had time to take money out of an ATM if she had my code.


  • Goalie said

    My wife had her bag stolen at the Starbucks near Sagrada Familia a few weeks ago. I left her alone at an outside table and went inside - big mistake. There were signs in the Starbucks warning of bag thieves. I was going to warn her as soon as I rejoined her but before I could even get my coffee the thieves had done their dirty work. Apparently there were two young men, one who dropped a coin to distract her and the other to snatch the bag. Unfortunately she had her passport, credit cards, camera lenses and lots of cash in her bag so these thieves hit the jackpot. We reported the theft to the police, went to the consulate to get a new passport and cancelled her credit cards but it pretty much ruined our trip to Barcelona.


  • Douglas said

    Barcelona airport, as you walk out there are thieves all around you. The case you, find especially woman with expensive watches and bags and the follow, distract and steal their valuables.

    It has made Barcelona the place you do not want to go, i was robbed and while waiting at the airport police ( who did nothing to help) I saw not fewer than 10 young people who were robbed

    My wife is Korean and they said that 15 koreans get robbed every month at the airport

    Barcelona Police need to get off their butts and get this cleaned up. I would never recommend anyone going to Barcelona it will turn out to be a terrible experience if the Police do nothing about this issue


  • Jo said

    Watch out on the metro. My husband and I were joining the train at Lessops, we just made the last carriage. Two women made it difficult for us to get on and my husband was almost trapped in the door. He managed to push through,I had to push my way through, eventually getting past them. What I didn't realise was that they had unzipped my bag stolen my purse and zipped it up again. They got off at the next stop. I had thought they were just rude and wanted to be near the exit. I thought I was being careful, having a bag with a tight zip that went across me, obviously not. Also I have now found out that you have to dress down so you look like a local. I had a pink T shirt on!, Spoilt our lovely day and we lost a lot of money, leave it in the safe!,


  • Cara said

    While sitting in the dark theater of La Sagrada Familia museum, my sunglasses where knocked backwards off the top of my head. When I turned over my shoulder, a young man apologized, reached down and handed me back my sunglasses. Leaving the theater several minutes later, I noticed that my shoulder bag was unzipped and my phone was gone. My daughter was standing in the back of the theater and said several people left the row behind me at the same time. Be more careful than you think you need to be.


  • Colette said

    Just back from weekend trip to Barcelona . Purse was lifted in metro lift. I, along with my two sisters were the only passengers the lift was about to depart. A number of people, who didn't seem to be travelling together, pushed on and pretended to be asking where the lift went. They delayed us getting out of the lift by splitting us up. Purse was gone.


  • Tim said

    We flew into Barcelona Airport T2 last week. Once we were given the keys to our pre-booked hire car we walked to the hire-car car park located just outside T2. After we found the car allocated to us, we loaded our bags into the car's boot. Then a man suddenly appeared - pointing to the front car's number plate. I walked over but could not understand him as he was speaking a language that i could not recognize. Whilst this was going on, my travel partner noticed a second man walking away from the back of the car holding a rucksack and then realized that it was one of our bags so we gave chase. After a long chase back in the terminal and up an escalator we grabbed the bag back so they got away with nothing luckily. Europcar said that it is a common distraction scam although hadn't warned us during the booking our process only 15 minutes earlier! So our advice is be very careful - particularly if its late and dark which it was with us (it was after 11pm so the Europcar cabin in the car park was shut).


  • Monica said

    My dream was always to visit Barcelona. I was so looking forward to a birthday cruise with my daughter on the new Harmony of the Seas Ship. I booked the trip. My daughter has an intellectual disability, is very friendly and I will be on my own caring for her. She always gets sick on the plane. After reading about pick pockets, mugging and crime, I have decided to cancel my cruise. It was suppose to be a surprise for my daughter but I am not going to a place where I will have to constantly worry that I might get mugged or assaulted. I had no idea it was so bad. Once I started researching, at various sites and crime stats, I decided it isn't worth the risk. Also fearful of terrorist threats as the cruise ship leaves on September 11th. I haven't even left and have been have been ripped off as I will lose part of my deposit with the booking agency. Thankfully not 4,000.00. I was going to stay a week before the cruise to see all the beautiful sites I read about before I read about the crime. Next step is to cancel my hotel reservation. My gut is just telling me don't go....With regrets, I wish Barcelona was safer.


  • Antonio said

    Por favor, Barcelona como el resto de España es un lugar de lo más seguro del mundo. Dejénse de infundir miedos innecesarios. Con decir que se tenga cierto cuidado con los carteristas sería suficiente para la mayoría de las personas con sentido común. Si usted tiene criterio y es prudente es suficiente. Cuanto menos, en términos generales no debería de preocuparse nadie que tome las medidas de precaución oportunas y proporcionales al lugar donde se encuentre. No significa que no existen carteristas, ni que sea casi imposible que nos encontremos con una desagradable sorpresa. Pero si tomamos las medidas de precaución consabidas (aplicando el sentido común adoptaremos la mayoría de dichas medidas) no hay que temer nada. Estadisticamente tenemos más probabilidades de sufrir otros incidentes, accidentes o percances y la mayoría de nosotros ni si quiera somos conscientes de ello. En resumen, seamos cautos, sensatos, prudentes y disfrutemos de cualquier maravilloso lugar de España.


  • Jose said

    Spain is very safe.


  • Spaniard said

    I lived in beautiful Barcelona for 4 years and even my visiting friends were victims of this national sport. As usually the worst problem is the loss of your personal documents: passports, credit cards, etc.. I think the local authorities should put containers around the Ramblas, for example, where the petty criminals could drop the wallets after taking the money. That would really help, since they seem totally unable to stop this plague. Maybe we could start a world-wide campaign to design such containers and offer them to the major of Barcelona, Madrid, Seville.... etc


  • MC said

    Tim, I wish I had seen your comment. I had a very similar experience, in the same exact rental car parking lot, a week after you. I was picking up a rental car, during the day. It was about 11am. I made the mistake of putting my purse in the backseat of the rental car while I walked around the car to see damage that was listed on my rental contract. While I was doing that, a man drove up in a black Peugeut, and kept pointing to his hand, which had a "Europcar" key ring in it. He was very agitated and kept pointing at his hand, saying, "Europcar, Europcar", like he was looking for the Europcar booth. I had no idea what he wanted, so I pointed at the Europcar booth. Then he jumped into his car and drove off like a bat out of hell. Turns out that he distracted me long enough that a second person (that I never saw) was able to go into the back door of the rental car and grab my purse. I didn't realize what happened until about a minute later. I reported the incident to the airport police, but they were hopeless. They didn't even look for the guys. They got credit cards, my passport and cash. My advice: be very, very careful in that T2 rental car parking lot. As a matter of fact, if you can avoid renting a car parked in that parking lot, that would be my advice. Clearly these guys are hanging out in the parking lot, watching for their next victim. The rental car agencies do nothing - they don't warn you and take absolutely no responsibility for any theft that may occur on their property. And, there are no cameras, so you will not catch the guys that are just hanging out there waiting for you. If you do go to that parking lot, do not bring your purse or wallet or anything of value. It has been a month since I was robbed, and I'm still cleaning up the mess.


  • Mike said

    This is a great article and set of advice. I consider myself a savvy NewYorker, always on guard, but still got scammed. An Arab looking young male handed me a business card of a local restaurant, as I walked around the Gothic section of Barcelona. I was quite used to this, as many of the businesses had hostesses promoting outside their restaurants. I was then approached by a second similar looking male in his 20's. He handed me a second restaurant card and started asking me me I like Barcelona Football. I realized something was wrong and immediately checked my pockets at which point, I turned on them, they fled dropping my wallet without the cash of course. I didn't pursue. They got about a 100 USD and 20 Euro.

    My advice, don't take whatever they hand you and keep walking. It seems like rude behavior to normal people, but you'll be better off for it in Barcelona.


  • Anonymous said

    I survived the thieves in Barcelona, but found valuables missing from my luggage on arrival back home. Even in the city, I did not feel safe to just walk around. I will happily ignore this otherwise nice looking city.


  • Sylvia said

    I had my wallet stolen in Madrid ,it was my first time there.
    Never put your back pack behind you with your wallet in it.
    The stereo types about certain foreigners stealing are what will you
    into to trouble. I think the person who robbed me was a young Chinese woman.
    Anyone getting to close to you could be a thief.
    Beware the person picking your pocket is the person you would least suspect .
    Get a secure shoulder bag with zipper on top. Keep your purse in front of you at all times .Keep your passport in the hotel safe .
    Anyway have fun!! Do not let the paranoia ruin your vacation .
    Just take precautions.


  • Anon said

    Every single time I take the metro in Barcelona I see at least one person getting robbed. What is really frustrating for me is that you cannot even help to prevent it from happening. I am not going to make a group of pickpockets with knives angry at me for pointing out that they are about to rob someone for someone who is not cautious over his belongings. I would like to help but knowing that you do not get any punishment in Barcelona if you steal something with a value under 400 euros, it would put me in danger and it would not have any effect. If the authorities do not care if you get your belongings stolen, I have to accept that I should not either.


  • Sam Leckey said

    It is with no small amount of trepidation that my wife and I pack our bags and make ready for a trip to Europe which will include a week in Barcelona.
    After reading the previous events about the scams and pick pockets all over Barcelona I do not want to become another statistic. I will report upon our return.


  • Richard said

    A pickpocket got my phone as we were walking back from dinner in the Gothic Quarter. We had just turned onto Las Ramblas, and a man started walking next to my left and trying to hand me something. I always just keep walking or say "no thank you." This man was speaking a language I did not understand and kept walking with me. I said "no thank you" at least 3 times, when he then faked like he was going to trip me, then laughed and walked away. Less than minute later I realized he lifted my phone. It could have been far worse. I kept my wallet in my front right pocket, because I was concerned about pickpockets, and luckily my wife was cold and walking to my right, so I held her close to me. I also had a backpack and camera he didn't touch.

    You may want to take lots of great pictures in this beautiful city, but if you carry around your backpack and camera you will make yourself a target. I've also learned it's not enough to just attempt to ignore or walk past the handbills and business cards... Always be aware of what's going on and where your belongings are if ANYONE approaches.


  • Screw Barcelona said

    I had my phone stolen in the Gothic quarter last week while in spain for business. By a guy handing out a card for some kind of music festival. Maybe the same guy as you but probably not because that city is lousy with thieves. I will never set foot or spend another euro in Barcelona again. Worst city in western europe, I've been to cartel controlled cities in Mexico where I felt safer.


  • Bren said

    Oh my god Richard. This same thing just happened to us this evening. Exactly the same scam where a guy kept trying to speak to you. I said no sternly and moved ahead but my boyfriend was extremely friendly with him. He was trying to sell us tickets to a football match (FCB vs Sev) which we already knew wasn't even happened in Barcelona but in Madrid, where we came from 2 days ago.

    Turned around and saw the guy trying to trip my boyfriend, at which point 2 other guys ran across the road and I ran back towards my boyfriend. I wasn't too far off when my boyfriend's wallet suddenly fell to the ground and 1 of the men who was from across the street managed to lift it before I could. Luckily I snatched it back immediately and there wasn't much money in it in the first place.

    Ruined an otherwise lovely night but I can only thank God nothing was lost. We were just returning to our airbnb which was 2 streets off Las Ramblas. Extremely brazen, there were people near us but nobody will help.


  • anonimito said

    I really like Barcelona.
    But I absolutely don't understand the police and system that cannot stop this massive and well organized crime. I think they should go to Vienna (Austria) or somewhere in Germany to get trained (the authorities in Spain, not the thieves.


  • Steve said

    My Experience: Just returned from Barcelona. Myself and my girlfriend were walking in the Gothic Quarter and had a guy come up and ask where we were from. Replied New Zealand and he got excited saying 'Football, Football' (bit of a warning sign, we aren't known for our Football!) and putting his arm around me and pretending to tackle/kick a ball.

    Both the girlfriend and I somehow realised he was making a grab for my back pocket/wallet and stopped what was going on. I was very surprised as he was small guy in comparison to me (6ft 4, 105kg) but he obviously wasn't afraid if I decided to defend myself, or get angry over it...

    We were much more alert the rest of the trip and bloody glad that we didn't experience a good pickpocket.


  • balu said

    Me and my wife are visiting Barcelona on 21st July 2016. I love photography and tasting street foods. Any advice regarding safe guarding my camera and lenses will be appreciated.


  • Louise said

    Just avoided 13 year old son being pickpocketed on Metro - saw it happening! We'd been in
    Barcelona for a week, after a week in Madrid. Group of 2-3 friendly men got on train with us at Jaume 1 - train very crowded & my husband said he was suspicious of a man who tried to separate him from us, & was carrying a coat over his arm (in 30 degrees heat- bit of a giveaway)! So when we changed to Line 5 we were already on alert. This time 2-3 new men got on with us & again very crowded. I had tight hold of my bag. Again they seemed to 'accidentally' separate us. One man scanning the crowd & my daughter said later he kept looking at my bag (I positioned it very securely). A couple of minutes later one put a black bag over his arm & began to reach towards my son's side pocket (he had sunglasses in it) - I shouted at the man & he pretended nothing had happened - the next moment they all got off the train. Nothing got taken; other travellers looked surprised but no one acted or said anything. It was disappointing to see but at least it was a very bad attempt! We've never seen this so blatantly in any other City including Rome, London, Johannesburg or Madrid. Otherwise had a great time in Spain! Enjoy but be aware.


  • Daniel said

    Wow... Right at the start of the Ramblas... Near the Santa Maria church. Had a coffee on its patio. Put my wallet back in my travel bag with two zippers. TADA! It's gone. Just like that. Lost 6 credit cards. My DL. And about 120E. And an expensive wallet at that. Go to the police station and file a report. A "nuncia" for insurance claims when. You get back home. American Express will overnight a new card to here. Every other bank takes their time. You can get extra cash through CC providers. Next time, leave your cards, passport, DL, in the safe. Only hold a little cash that you wil need and one CC. In the front pocket and wear tight jeans. I've traveled the world and to other shiesty cities, Rome, Paris, Moscow, Jakarta, Manila, Ho Chih Minh city, and never had an issue. Barcelona got to this NYC raised street smart kid. She got me!! That bitch.


  • Carolyn said

    I haven't been in Barcelona in a very long time, but for any travel (and I've been a female traveling alone for over 50 years) I have a Scottvest with lots of INSIDE pockets. I also wear a safety belt UNDER my clothes and at my back rather than my front. It may be a bit bulky, but better to be careful!


  • Ron Ablang said

    Thanks for the article but I'm going to skip visiting Barcelona until the laws toughen up on thieves. There's plenty of other beautiful places in the world to visit where you don't constantly have to worry.


  • Nancy said

    I am a really cautious person but was recently pickpocketed at a beach in Barcelona. How? I was having some food and beer alone and was approached by a raucous but friendly Italian male and Spanish female. My weakness? I was on a recent flight from Paris limiting one bag so gave up my hip pouch. I was tired and checked into a beach hostel, not having a locker lock so took my credit card stuff and euros and stuffed it in a rear pocket. The issue was my other wallet having license, some cash like $13 and my debit card and passport and my much needed bus ticket home in the U.S.
    I had a tiny sachel bag I was hand carryying the whole time, and my mistake was to put it down and give my facebook contact on his phone, which wasn't working properly. I should have known this was wrong, the female circled behind me... Luckily, my jeans were tight.
    Weirdly, as I went to pick the satchel up, he "helped" me pick it up with my cheese which he threw in the trash.
    I should have screamed because it felt immediately as if he took the wallet. Luckily, his expert hands left behind my passport. I cancelled debit card immediately but had a nightmare coming home.
    Use your instincts! I was convinced by the couple I had "lost" the wallet. Scream when you think you have been robbed. I wish I did.


  • Nancy said

    I am a really cautious person but was recently pickpocketed at a beach in Barcelona. How? I was having some food and beer alone and was approached by a raucous but friendly Italian male and Spanish female. My weakness? I was on a recent flight from Paris limiting one bag so gave up my hip pouch. I was tired and checked into a beach hostel, not having a locker lock so took my credit card stuff and euros and stuffed it in a rear pocket. The issue was my other wallet having license, some cash like $13 and my debit card and passport and my much needed bus ticket home in the U.S.
    I had a tiny sachel bag I was hand carryying the whole time, and my mistake was to put it down and give my facebook contact on his phone, which wasn't working properly. I should have known this was wrong, the female circled behind me... Luckily, my jeans were tight.
    Weirdly, as I went to pick the satchel up, he "helped" me pick it up with my cheese which he threw in the trash.
    I should have screamed because it felt immediately as if he took the wallet. Luckily, his expert hands left behind my passport. I cancelled debit card immediately but had a nightmare coming home.
    Use your instincts! I was convinced by the couple I had "lost" the wallet. Scream when you think you have been robbed. I wish I did.


  • Laura said

    Hi everyone,

    I AM ORIGINALLY FROM BARCELONA and I sadly have to admit all this is true. No one is safe from pickpockets, not even locals. My boyfriend and I got our bag stolen in the Barceloneta area (beach walk promenade). I am quite surprised this article is not warning about this area, which I think is a usual spot for pickpockets as well. That's why I'm sharing my experience here, as it could be useful for someone in a similar situation.
    We had just parked our car in the street but we didn't have coins to pay for the parking ticket. We had several cameras, laptops and other valuables with us because we were working as reporters. We took all our bags out of the car and left them all together in the sidewalk. My boyfriend was standing really close to them, carefully watching them, because we knew it wasn't a safe area. I went to a shop across the street to ask for change. I just took a couple of minutes, if so, and when I came back I saw him frantically looking for one of the bags in the car, thinking we had left it inside by mistake. But, guess what? It had been taken.
    He then realised what had happened. It seems that a guy wearing a barcelona football club t-shirt, baseball cap and sunglasses (looking back now, it is a pretty obvious tourist dress up...!) was talking very loudly on the phone while pretending to be lost. He then asked my boyfriend for directions and, in that same moment, someone else must have slipped from behind the car and grabbed one of the bags.
    Luckily enough, though, he took a bag with a laptop and my boyfriend's wallet but, at least, it was the bag that had less valuables in it. I guess he didn't have much time to choose, he just grabbed the bag that was closer to where he was.
    Lesson learned. We were really foolish by leaving the bags out of the car, even if my boyfriend was literally watching them.

    Being born and raised in Barcelona, I know it's better not to wear a backpack if I'm going to be on my own on the street. If there's two of us, the other person usually keeps an eye or a hand over the backpack while walking, specially when we stop at a traffic light or any other place. Of course, keep your valuables on your lap if you're sitting, even if it is inside a restaurant. And, I know it can be difficult if you come from countries with different climate, but if you're wearing a short dress when all the locals are still wearing light coats, you're a really obvious target.
    Best of luck to all of our visitors! Barcelona is a lovely city, don't let all these coments put you off visiting it. You just need to have some common sense and take good care of your valuables. They just take advantage of your lack of attention, but it is highly unlikely you'll be robbed with violence if you take good care of your valuables.


  • Terry said

    good post


  • rick said

    It's been years since I've visited Barcelona,where I had a wonderful time.
    I won't be going back again & will warn anyone else about the dangers that lurk there.


  • Chris said

    Got back from Barcalona today after 5 days.

    Either things have got better or we were lucky since nothing happened.

    We were cautious, aware of surroundings, planned where we were going and didn't stay out too late so maybe that helped.

    We noticed one person who seemed to be a bit shifty and looked like was following us but we went into a shop, waited and he went away.

    My advice would be try dress non tourist, similar to the locals. Don't go down deserted, narrow streets. Place wallet in front pocket. Don't carry loads of cash when possible. But don't let fear spoil the trip. I'd definitely go back!


  • T Le said

    My DH got pick pocketed today in the subway. I saw a guy almost breathing down my husband's neck and when I asked my DH to come towards me, the guy had already opened my DH's fanny pack and gotten his wallet with multiple credit cards, a bank card and some 200 euros in cash. I felt helpless. What a beautiful city ruined by these petty thieves.


  • RMB said

    Classic theft of my iPhone, if only I had read this article first!
    Last week on las Ramblas. Sat people watching with a hideously expensive glass of sangria. Guy came over with a piece of paper with writing on it, pushed it towards us saying 'read please'. We politely said no, he went away and so did my phone which I had stupidly left on the table.
    Social media, e-mail, health apps, all were logged in. The phone was pin protected but that was ok. Spent an afternoon changing log ins and passwords, trying to get the imie code from home, report to provider and the police. An excess of £100 on insurance makes it an expensive lesson.
    Beautiful city, but I won't go back. I don't go on holiday to be robbed however niaive I may have been.


  • Maria said

    To protect yourself from being robbed, you need to be not only careful but to choose the safest way of travelling. Firstly, choose a safe transport. We booked a car on so all our belongings were always with us, buses and public transport are not safe in these cases. Next is appropriate accommodation: hostels are cheap but you never know with whom you are living. So you always have to be on the alert, use safes if possible, keep all your money on credit card.


  • Dave said

    It is such a shame that Barcelona has become blighted by thieves. Visitors to this beautiful city deserve better. Cafe bar staff should be keeping an eye on their customers and reminding them not to leave valuables on display or on tables. My wife found it quite uncomfortable to eat with her handbag strapped across her front. We were constantly zipping up bags, turning them inwards and checking every time we were bumped into. We didn't take so many photos because we felt we were at risk of having things taken whilst we did.
    We saw several people who had been robbed, all of them very upset.
    It really took the pleasure away for us. We have been to Paris & Rome without this sense of unease, and really wouldn't return to Barcelona if it continues.
    A better police presence would deter thieves. Even 2 officers strolling up and down Las Ramblas would put them off?
    Whilst I understand the need to be vigilant, I don't want to be constantly worrying that I will be robbed or ripped off on my holidays


  • David Herz said

    one thing no one is bringing up, even though it is illustrated in one of the photos, is that people are so no- present, so distracted by their electronic devices that they don't even need to be distracted by professional pickpockets to be robbed. Most of the cellphone ipad gameboy or whatever bedazzled people would never even know what hit them until much later...


  • Grace Chung said

    "The crowded Metro scam" was exactly what happened to me in Paris on 12/19/2016. Lost my whole wallet. Pissed but I learned my lesson.


  • leeq said

    Every time I visit Barcelona, I get one of my belongings stolen. A camera, a smartphone, wallet, etc.
    With useless police system, Barcelona is definitely the pickpocket capital in Europe! :)


  • John said

    I was on the Metro, L1 between Espanya and Rocafort... shortly after getting on, I felt my jacket move slightly. Checked my pocket and my wallet was gone. A man shifted away, then got off the train at the next stop. I knew he had stolen my wallet, so my friend and I got off the train and challenged him. He denied everything, then started looking through bins and walked off... we followed him up the stairs then down onto another platform... he didn't realise we had followed him... when he thought he was all clear, he got my wallet out of his pocket! My friend immediately jumped in front of him and demanded he hand it over... caught red handed, he he handed it back... all I can say is keep your wallets in the safest place on the Metro and don't take large amounts of cash with you!!!


  • Chris Redman said

    Lots of very interesting and helpful tips here, but for the guys, have you never thought about putting several elastic (rubber) bands around your wallet? Makes it harder for the pickpocket and you are more likely to feel the tug. Or have the wallet on a piece of elastic or chain fixed to your trouser belt?

    My weakness is for a phone in my shirt pocket, so looks like it will be in the front jeans pocket on my trip next week.


  • Ramon said

    Este post es una mierda! No creais nada


  • Peter said

    My friend got his wallet stolen out of his pocket while getting a photo with some tiny munchkin man selling roses. First time there for us, just wish we had found this site before we went. Looks like he got the last laugh tho and thinking about it he was reluctant to have a photo first then came back later and was happy to. Live and learn but won't stop us going back. We will be better prepared next time


  • AA said

    Wife and myself were dragging our bags on the Metro while changing hotels and i could see we were easily identified as a tourist. A very western well dressed young couple also posing as tourists with the guy hanging a small blue backpack in-front followed us all the way into the train and stood behind me. As we were discussing what station to get off another elderly couple was standing infront of us. Basically we were now surrounded by 4 people. The elderly lady suddenly pointed towards my left arm which was somehow sprayed with some foamy liquid and then pointed it came from the vents in the roof. I got slightly distracted but since i already had a cheapo cell phone swiped the previous day INSIDE a restaurant i was being very careful. Suddenly i realized that the man (from the older couple) with her was pushing against me and i felt my upper chest zip of my jacket ( my so called safe pocket) open. I jumped away and saw that the zip was almost fully open but my wallet was still inside. I zipped it back and began yelling at the couple and pointing at them to tell people that these two are crooks, the lady then tried to divert our attention but i kept pointing at the two. Sadly no one even moved in the crammed subway or was bothered. The local people say that Police isnt bothered and that even of they do catch them they let them go in a few hours unless the crime was violent. So basically these crooks have a free hand to at least try and steal from you. In other words the spanish law gives them a license and incentive to steal.
    With the economy in shambles ..the EU with open borders and authorities least bothered about this type of crime its a win win situation for these crooks. The locals always say its people from other countries that come here and steal but from what i saw its clearly the locals themselves who are into this highly lucrative stealing working in large groups.
    Save yourself the hassle and worry...there are a lot of other countries in the world that have a lot more to offer other than criminals hounding you the second you step off the plane. Also if you slightly venture out of the touristy areas you will see how run down the city is outside the main center. I realized that things in Spain are quite bad economically, i found traveling to third world countries have been safer since the locals at least are more honorable and have a lot more values to at time rise above extreme poverty and have some self respect and honor than to steal or let anyone from guests in their country.
    Avoid this country and especially this city and save yourself from being bothered about crooks while on vacation.There's a whole world out there to explore other than this crooked place!
    I just find it funny that you need to do a billion things so that you look like a local..or do certain things to "protect" yourself...for god sake its supposed to be a vacation ..not a game called who can save himself in a city of thieves!...saw it once and wont ever come was an ok place to begin with...over hyped.


  • John said

    After I read so many horrible stories, I decide avoid Spain all together when I am going to Europe.


  • File said

    People who get robbed are usually oblivious to their surroundings. Have some street smarts. Not Barcelona's fault that you people are not aware of the dangers of travel.


  • Purveyor of workable ideas said

    If you can coat a dummy wallet with a lethal tactile poison, you can do your part to reduce the numbers of pickpockets and improve the city for everyone (except the families of the horrid pickpockets, of course).


  • RN said

    Got pick pocketed this morning on the Metro ! the assholes took my iphone - replacement will come but the hassles!! NO MORE BARCELONA for me and I was planning a family trip here soon !!


  • RN said

    Why come here ! too much crime and everyone is a suspect !!!


  • David said

    I guess when it comes to pick pockets issue in Barcelona, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, there are largely two camps of people - those who have been a victim and those who have not. I am leaving a comment here for two reasons - one, to make it clear to w*nkers like File (or whatever this w*nker's real name is) that it's not about one being careful/attentive and two, to contribute to the forum by sharing our experience of being the victim earlier today so whoever reads my comment will hopefully benefit so as not to fall prey to this kind of cowardly act.

    First, how do you expect a family with young children not become oblivious to what's happening around them, especially when their focus is not to be a nuisance to people, ie, by wheeling a pram over someone's foot? Besides, even it weren't a family, should you be on such high alert all the time in a city that you've come to relax and enjoy your holiday in? I can't believe something so obvious needs to be spelt out here, but what we are pointing out is a crime, not some bloody consequence of an unintended act. If a car ran over a pedestrian who happened to be crossing during a green signal, is it that person's fault for not taking enough caution?

    Second, my wife got her purse stolen by a pregnant Spanish-speaking b*tch who stood right behind her on an escalator out of Lessops metro station. My wife yelled to me when she felt a hand groping her nike satchel, at which point I just got off the escalator. The woman in question fervently shook her head in denial and tipped her bag upside down and even lifted her shirt to prove that she was innocent. I'm only surmising, but as soon as she took the purse out, she handed it to her team member who was walking up the escalator while we and our elder child were standing still. It seemed odd to me the way she over-reacted and what's even more intriguing is that moments later, two other women came and started defending her.

    Whether they were Spanish locals or some trash from elsewhere is not my concern. My concern is that three of our residence permit cards have gone missing as a result and that we're unsure whether my wife and the two children will be allowed entry to the UK tomorrow morning.

    I am sorry for saying this here, especially those law abiding citizens of Spain, but Barcelona is a sh*thole in terms of safety of your valuables. I think it's a second class city made worse by corrupted/lazy police.


  • Mark said

    Got done at bus stop 25 at Barcelona Airport. We aren't seasoned travellers and made the mistake of putting our rucksack down in the middle of all our other bags. Got distracted by our bus arriving and the bag was gone. Perpetrators were a 30 something woman with a 13-ish hooded child, never saw a thing even though I was keeping an eye on them (just didn't look right). 4 passports, house and car keys, money, tickets, trainers all went with the bag. Yes, I realise now the mistakes we made and can only offer the following advice. Make sure the bag the thief perceives as valuable is not where you keep your valuables. Emergency passports are £100 a shot (£400 for us) not including replacement items, so keep them zipped up in a front pocket along with car keys and wallets. Tickets should be put with hold luggage. If we ever go to Spain again, I'll be wearing an under clothes vest with zipped pockets and only carry a small amount of cash in a front pocket. We were insured but still ended up out of pocket to the tune of £500!! Expensive lesson.


  • Lisa Müller said

    Same here:

    travelled to Barcelona in April 2015 en route to Valencia. I took the plane to Barcelona because I a. never been there and b. the flight was cheaper than flying to Valencia directly. Had I known how much it would cost me, I surely would have done otherwise.

    I'm always a very cautious person. I known to always focus on my belongings and to where I'm currently are.

    After I arrived in Barcelona I had a few hours before my train left to Valencia. So, I took some time for sightseeing.

    Some people already warned me about the pickpocket-scam-problem Spain unfortunately has. So, I was extra-cautious. And for the record: I've been to many places and countries, and never got robbed.

    The moment I arrived, I sensed the danger (at the airport, public transportation etc.) and was extra cautious. I immediately walked away when someone wanted to talk to me etc.

    And when my friend and I explored Barcelona, I did the same. We never stopped in these spots where some people perform etc. for tourists, we didn't accept any flowers, or completed questionnaires.

    However, at a certain point it started to pour, so we decided to hide somewhere, and wait for the rain to stop. Looking back, I think that we should have chosen another spot to wait for the rain to end, but we didn't back then. Anyway, we spotted a nice Starbucks at la Plaza Universidad. Since it was raining cats and dogs the Starbucks was super- crowded, and I was sitting in the back of the Starbucks, so that I thought that I would notice if someone were to steal sth. from me.

    Across the place where I was sitting was a a group of nice looking young girls (and looking back, I swear it was them). Anyway, I set down. My suitcase to me left. My purse right in front of my feet, and my backpack right in front of my face (on the table). My friend went to the restroom, and I took the opportunity to check on my train, to search for my train ticket to check which time it was to leave. So, I bowed down to pick up my purse, opened my purse, noticed that my ticket was in the backpack. Put my purse back on the ground (all of this didn't take more than 1 minute) looked in front of me to reach for my backpack and it was gone. I looked around, I panicked, but couldn't find my backpack anymore. After a while some people had left the Starbucks (it was less crowded) including the nice looking girl right in front of me.

    Perhaps I should have hold onto my belongings, but I felt ridiculous sitting in a Starbucks with my backpack on my lap and my purse on my arm. But perhaps that's exactly what I should have done.

    The Starbucks manager told me that they have CCTV and that I should go to the police to file a report (and that they, i.e. the police) could identify the thieves because of the CCTV. So, I did. I even went back there from Valencia one week later to enquire how the investigation was going. They obviously couldn't care less.

    I'm a very un-well-off student, and they took my backpack with a brand-new laptop (which I needed for a presentation I was about to give), some external hard-drives etc. etc., which amounts to 1.000 Euros (actually more).

    Starbucks also couldn't care less. The manager told me that she kept the CCTV for a month or more ,but that the police never showed up. All I received were 2 voices for a free beverage for the same Starbucks in Barcelona a few months later. They could have spared themselves the effort since I sure as hell will not return to Barcelona.

    I'm a poor student with an enormous amount of student debt, and the stole what was most important for me.

    Never again. I agree with the other people writing here. It's not just the pickpockets .It's that the police couldn't care less. So. told me that they might work together with the thieves. Who knows?

    All I know is that if they were really interested in changing sth., if they would do sth. about it (e.g. more severe punishments) that things would certainly change. D.C. also used to be the crime capital of the US (for various reasons), and stopped being so, because people did sth. about it.

    I really feel for the poor locals, and for the unexacting tourists. I heard that they even steal medicine from elder tourists etc.

    So, my advice is: DON'T GO THERE, don't go to Spain, and in particular don't go to Barcelona or Madrid. This way, they might actually do sth. about it one day.


  • Lee said

    It's easy for thieves to get in and out of the metro because there's no need to scan the ticket to exit the station. I even saw tourists using the metro without tickets just by walking through the exit gates which swings both ways!

    All the thieves have to do is get in, steal and get out easily without anyone stopping them. They don't even need to go to the next station. And these thieves are not afraid. He had the audacity to pretend nothing happened although he was caught red-handed and standing right behind me on the escalator with his friend all the way down.


  • Ben said

    Come one, Spain is safe and Spanish people are so nice !!!! Don t blame the world because you re a victim. You must deserve it in a way ( robbers choose appropriate target ) so , just dont look or be a victim!!!

    Love Barcelona so much, its a great place.



  • Carlota said

    I've seen many of the comments here and there are people saying that they won't travel to Spain. I think that you shouldn't be so drastic... I have been to Madrid, Sevilla, Bilbao and other cities and nothing has happened. However, in Barcelona one must be extra-careful. One of my friends has been robbed everytime she went there. I have a trip arranged to go there and now I feel a little bit concerned. However, I will go and try to make the most of it (and always keep an eye on my stuff).


  • Bubba said

    Thanks everyone for the posts. Just got back from Barcelona and thankfully we didn't lose anything. Yes, you have to be vigilant at all times. Be careful at the Magic Fountain evening show. We were at the front by the ropes next to the fountain and got ambushed by two couples that use their kids to distract you. They showed up after the first song, they must circle the fountain after the show starts, looking for the easiest target. Their kids push their way in front to "get a better view" and then start whining and arguing with each other. Classic distraction technique. We kept all items close and I always keep my wallet and phone in front pocket of tight jeans despite the warm weather. They backed off when I took a picture of them (a good technique in general) and they left before the last song. Don't pack anything valuable in checked luggage. Anyways, it's a great city but you do have to be careful.


  • Cathleen said

    Story to be told from another who's learned their lesson....Be especially alert when purchasing Metro tickets at the machine. My guess is that is when I was "cased" as a target. Pulled out my coin purse (that unfortunately also had about 70 in euro bills) to buy a Metro ticket and placed the coin purse back in my shoulder, zipper bag. Got a bit lazy and just let it hang from my shoulder rather than across and in the front of me. Nothing overt happened for me to know when or how my coin purse was taken .... except for when we were making our way up the stairs and out of the metro at Espanya station. It was about 11 am and not that crowded on the stairs so I thought it odd that a young man suddenly decided to walk in front of me and behind my husband as we were going up the stairs. When I got to the top of the stairs, I immediately noticed how light my purse suddenly felt, looked down, and noticed it zipped wide open. Fortunately only my weighty coin purse was stolen and my phone, passport, and credit card wallet still remained. Our guess is that the guy intentionally walked in front of me slow me down and to set a pace going up the stairs so that someone behind me could unzip my dangling side purse. Hours later it still haunts me and I've refused to use the metro tonight to get dinner... would rather just walk somewhere a block or 2 from the hotel than reenter the world of fighting to keep my belongings! Thanks to everyone who have posted ---- next trip I'll be researching more than hotels and restaurants! And "purveyor of workable ideas" posted the best suggestion!! (I swore I would invest in a purse that contained a bear trap claw for the next wannabee thief.)


  • Sabah said

    Apart from the W Barcelona, all clubs on Barceloneta beach let in gangs of thieves and the bouncers work with them.


  • Victor said

    Not sure why people think Barcelona is beautiful overrated and full of thieves. Can't escape would never visit again this is what happens when you have open borders and thievery is not punished. Nicer areas in Europe Paris , Prague, Vienna where it is safe and tourists are not preyed upon. Barcelona should do something hopeless place can't relax because the place is full of thieves.


  • John said

    Make sure you keep your car/taxi windows up at all times thiefs on mopeds and peddle bikes tend to snatch phones/gold necklaces as cars stop at stoplights


  • james said

    My son went to the beach toilets to wear his swimsuit and stupidly forgot his expensive RayBan glasses on the sink, he came back instantly...the glasses were gone most probably stolen by a pretty old local Spanish white guy who was then next on the queue. Barcelona pickpocket capital of the world thanks for robbing us of nearly 500 euros we will remember you!!!


  • Korben said

    The claim that made by one of the commenters that street crimes is allegedly mostly carried out by immigrants is completely false. Majority of petty crime in Barcelona is done by locals who's been living there for multiple generations at least. The most important contributiong factor is massive unemployment among young people in Spain, regardless of their geographical origin - now pushing way over 50%. Additionally, while immigrants from the South are often involved in petty theft, people from Eastern Europe are not excatly known for participation in any kind of street crime.


  • Jozef said

    Thursday August 3rd I was at the beach with my wife and kids. We were about 50 yards from the outdoor training spot, not far from the casino. It was sunset time, must have been around 8PM, my kids were playing on the monkey bar-rope climbing structure. At that time very few people were at the beech, only the strugglers, so it was relatively peaceful. We had our stuff setup right next to it, with our flip-flops, towels and a bag. I was about 2 yards from our setup and kept watching the kids and our things. Two young well dressed guys standing about 10 yards from us where "taking pictures" of the sunset as well. All of the sudden one of them comes up and grabs our bag. A lady next to us yells that he stealing it. In hindsight, very unwise, my wife literary jumps on the guy's back, and takes our bag back. He says "sorry, sorry" and tries to walk away. He does not speak Spanish, best I can tell it is Portuguese, definitely not Arabic, and definitely not Spanish . I grab him and put him in a hold. I speak OK Spanish and I know how to ask for help. Since (now I know) they work in groups his backup (an older looking dude 60 year old or so) comes up and pretends to be concerned and "calls" the police. I keep holding the guy and he keeps getting more aggressive. I take him up to the boardwalk (Passeig Martim) and again ask someone to call the police. A local Spanish Speaking lady with a kid does so. We wait for the police about 25 minutes. Not a single police car, police man, or any kind of security in sight. No one cares but that lady with a kid but I can tell she is scared as well. Meantime the guy I am holding is combative and I had to put him in a cobra hold. And while I wait all his thief buddies start showing up because his backup keeps calling them. A crowd of about 10 to 12 young guys (all well dressed mind you in they early 20's) talking what I think is Portuguese is now standing about 10 yards from me and things are not looking good. Now I am not a small guy and I know how to fight, so they keep waiting for something. Finally 2 more dudes on bikes come up (dudes in their 40-ties probably the bosses) and tell them to attack. They rush me and free their friend. Then just like that all of them run away toward the park (Parc de la Barceloneta). Good thing nothing happened to me, I kicked the thief's behind, and no one from my family got hurt. Bad thing it can happen on anyone, and the Barcelona police does not care, in fact the next time I saw a policeman was 2 days after:) But wait there is more...
    It is now Friday August 4th, high noon. So now we are a little bit paranoid but I need to exchange some money. We are now in the Gothic quarter on the main drag of LaRambla, corner of Placa de Joaquim Xirau, getting my money exchanged at CaixaBank outside window. So I am at the money exchange window when a what looks like a junky tries to get money from me standing inches away from me. I tell him is proper Spanish to get lost (I know how to say that for sure). This time I think he is Spanish, but I could be wrong. He comes back with 2 more “fiends” and try to ask me again, after which I start yelling at them to get the f**k out, but they only back off a little and again no one cares, although the guy at the exchange window said "I did the right thing". No kidding:)
    All in all Barcelona is full of hustle, crowds, overpriced services and of course thieves. I give it a one star because it is sunny, but that is about it:)


  • adam said

    Nice! Barcelona is one of my dreams when I go on holiday with my friend. Valuable information. In addition I will also provide an interesting recommendation for you, when you come to the island of Komodo, prepare your comfortable break at


  • Adela said

    Me and my husband went from London to Barcelona for a 4 days holiday to celebrate his birthday. I was prewarned by my colleagues and friends to be very careful and I alse red the comments on this website about pickpockets. On our second day of holiday in Barcelona we had bookings to see the Sagrada Famiglia. After we have seen the Sagrada Famiglia we went to Pannus Delicatessen to have a coffee and some pastry. While I went to find a table to sit my husband has been paying and took the tray with the coffees to bring it at the table. We think this was the moment when his wallet was stolen. He had his wallet in his left coat pocket with the zip up. He had all his cards there, driving licence, £50 and 10 euros, not too mich money, but it was enough to ruin our holiday, had to go to the police, waiting there for a couple of hours etc. My advice is to be extra careful. We knew about pickpockets, we tried to avoid it but they are a lot and everywhere


  • Joan Miquel Cuiner said

    Smaller cities and towns of Spain and Catalunya are rather safe. Just be careful during crowded fiestas, parades, or processions.

    Barcelona's police cannot protect tourists from pickpockets for various reasons. An arrest cannot be made without proof of theft, which can be avoided by passing any loot to a swift partner, so that the primary perpetrator (who may intentionally saunter for police to apprehend) will have nothing to prove theft. Unless a theft involves more than €400, which only a few tourists will have on their person, a perpetrator will pay only a nominal fine. The accused may be minors or have no assets. The cost to jail (or deport) pickpockets would far exceed the financial loss associated with any individual theft. The "carteristas" (pickpockets) vastly outnumber the uniformed police and recognize most of the under-cover police who mingle in tourist spots. No young cop will earn any promotions by chasing suspects the system cannot arrest, convict, or deter. More likely, it would lead to dismissal or penalties for alleged excess of zeal or harm to "innocents." Hence, for all the "denuncias" files by victims, there are few, if any, convictions or jail sentences.

    Catalán old-timers grumble endlessly about suppression during the Franco years. Of course, they are right--mostly. But they also admit (if grudgingly) that, before 1975, street crime was very unusual.

    Habeas Corpus and judicial due process are important principles, but Barcelona's leniency towards pickpockets who are repeat offenders needs to be reviewed. The impediments are: 1) tourists don't vote or determine Catalán laws; 2) the local economy fails to provide sufficient legitimate jobs; 3) neither visitors nor tourist trade associations find it cost-effective to engage the court system or legislative authorities to pursue the matter; 4) tourists (why insist they be soldiers!) are inherently relaxed or distracted; 5) too many Cataláns (not the world's only xenophobes) are presently disposed to blame outsiders (Romanians, Bosnians, Moroccans, Madrid), rather than local incompetence or demagoguery, for social problems; and 5) according to some polls (see La Vanguardia, local section, 6-Nov-17), many locals resent the impact of massive tourism on rents, congestion, and prices in general--notwithstanding the jobs tourism engenders. Let there be fewer tourists! Hence, there is every reason for the "carterista" problem to persist or get worse.

    Best advice: either be very vigilant, carry little (or carefully conceal) items of value, or visit (the many) safer parts of Catalunya and Spain. The best beaches are further south. Smaller towns and offer plenty of charm, history, the same wine, and lower prices.


  • Jim Gallagher said

    I have been to different parts of Spain almost a dozen times. Barcelona is definitely the worst with prostitution drugs and pickpockets. They work in groups as high as 10 people. Ages 3 to 75. Strollers to wheelchairs. Once they spot you a simple group text will have them after you. I from NYC was always well prepared. The only time it Olmsted happened was one guy was following me and I zigzagged across the street. He was wearing a baseball. Cap and sat on a bench behind a bush and I waited for him to get up. Three minutes later still sitting. I started walking to my right and wow. Right in front of me was the guy. I looked back at where he was. He slid his hat off his head right onto the bush behind him to make it appear as if he was still sitting. I extended my hand to shake his and I told him you are the best I have seen so far. I have told some guys come here. I want to buy you a drink. I would then tell them that the Knapp sack I am carrying is not see through and he should be careful. I said you may take my wallet but o may take your life. He didn’t finish his beer. I told another guy. I am 50 years old ugly but from newyork so tell the two girls rubbing up Behind me to get the f””” out of hear before I start hitting you till I can’t swing anymore. I put a fake wallet in my back pocket wrote the word nothing written in bold letters. When this guy took it and was a block away I yelled hey what did you get. He turned the corner and read the note. He came back threw it at me and yelled something in Spanish. Everyone works together. Waitresses venders etc. the police should stop this and make arrests. I will say that I have never seen violence involved ever. Believe everything you read and be careful. Also be careful of the beutiful women. As the kinks song Lola dictates. “ walks like a women but talks like a man”


  • KenUK said

    Funnily, well not too funnily, we went to Barcelona a couple of years ago. I kept telling my partner, mind your wallet, just about every few hours, especially when we had been out drinking. First night there we saw a woman get her bag snatched from an outdoor restaurant.

    A few nights later we were out in the Gothic and Al Born areas, had had a few drinks (well quite a few) and were walking back towards the apartment we rented. Some guy said, you watch futbol today? (there was a big football game on that day). Stupidly I stopped and I said no, not into football. He said, everyone loves futbol and started doing a kick about with his feet getting closer to me. (Meanwhile my partner had walked a few steps ahead not realising I had stopped). I didn't think much about it and said alright and was walking away. Instinct told me to check my FRONT pocket, where I was keeping my slim wallet only with some cash and my bank card. And it was gone. I immediately started yelling at the top of my voice, "he's stolen my wallet" pointing and the guy and giving chase. While another guy stopped my partner and asked what is happening. Actually trying to distract my partner but neither of us were having it and got right up in the guy's face and screaming to drop it. Good thing a lot of tourists / locals were stopping and watching. He took it out, threw it down and ran off.

    It pissed me off but was only in a small way my fault for stopping when I knew I shouldn't.

    Barcelona is a beautiful city and I would go back but be very wary of those around you and don't stop and talk to strangers on the street.

    The real locals are very friendly, it has great bars and restaurants and I wouldn't let a**holes like pick-pockets put me off. Saying that if the a**hole had gotten away with it, I might feel differently.


  • Residence Advice. said

    I am not local here but I am currently working in Barcelona. Yesterday, my wallet got stolen in a shoes shop I think it was Carrer de Ferran. Well... luckily the shop have several security cameras and owner was very nice. The works checked the records for me and I see one couple, they even didn't hide their face. When I took off my sneakers for and tried to put new one, my crossed bag moved my right side. In this short moment, the woman who sit on my right side put her backpack over my purse and took out my wallet. The guy was my left side watching it over... I asked the copy of video, the shop owner told me only the police can get it and I received the name card.

    Now the real story begins, I went to total two police stations. First one sent me second police station. The second police station gave me also dame excuses. This pissed me off so much. I am not even tourist. I have a lawyer. I told the police that I have everything you need to know from me. The shop owner will proved the video, I have NIE. I can call my lawyer. Then the police officer gave me the 3rd police station address : Carrer Nou de la Rambla 76-78.

    If your belongings were stolen go to this address directly, but don't expect so much. Even my lawyer told me that forget and don't waste of my time. In Barcelona, it's not considered as crime if the amount of stolen money is less than 300 euro. Even if the police catch this pickpocket couple, the police will give them such a warning and that's all. This made me so pissed off so much. so much. even now. I am South Korean. Residence in Switzerland, I have been transferred in Barcelona. My husband is Catalan. I had only 10 euro in my wallet because I am not stupid. This is not my first time but still I have lost Korean credit cards, Swiss credit cards and my Spanish card. This is fuc*** pain in my.... fuc*** pain!!!
    The police are worst. I have the evidence to prove, I even have a lawyer and I speak Spanish. There is nothing I can do. This really makes me so pissed off and all of my international coworkers told me to move on... I really just can't go out alone in the center... Also the fact I am Asian.. This stupid pickpocket people always come to me... I am sick and tired of dealing with it.

    Advice: You ID and Passport always in your hotel.
    Address of the right police station : Carrer Nou de la Rambla 76-78.
    If you lost your ID, no matter what you need to go to police station and report then they give you a piece of paper. It might take you up to 5 hours.

    My lawyer friend advice: If you didn't lose you ID, forget about it and move on.


  • Cari S said

    We went to Barcelona in 2016 for a week and had heard about all the pickpockets before getting there but after a while, completely forgot about it. We did not see one person being robbed and felt perfectly safe the entire time (and we looked like typical tourists with bags and cameras around our necks!). Barcelona is a fabulous city and I'd go back in a heartbeat. We're going to Madrid in a month and will be cautious but will not let it ruin our holiday.


  • David Homer said

    The problem with Barcelona is the police could not care less.

    I got robbed on the Metro helping a guy in a wheelchair off the metro, and they used him as a decoy. I was then robbed from a locker while kayaking when the staff at the munipial sailing club gave my keys to a thief, and had to spend the night on the streets because they took everything except the clothes I had on on the water.

    The Spanish hate tourists as had made the press a lot lately, and the police were rude and shouted at me for falling alseep even though they'd kept me waiting 5 hours (which I was thankful for their uselessness else I'd have been out on the streets sooner).

    To be honest I just think people shouldn't visit Spain and spend their tourism money somewhere where you'll be treated better.


  • Roberto said

    I learned you always have to be cautious in Barcelona. I almost got pick pocketed on the metro, they tried the crowed metro scam. Three young males split me and my wife up then targeted me. I was wearing pants with zipper pockets and had my wallet in the front pocket. I caught the one of the guys hand in my pocket. I called him out on it he seemed not to care. He looked a little scared because I am 6'6 and 265 and was staring him down. His freinds seemed angry that he got caught. Should I have beaten his ass?


  • John said



  • anon said

    Ignore the comments saying "Barcelona is safe", most of which are in Spanish - as these are likely thieves themselves.
    It is the thief capital of europe.
    The statistic is around 6,000 pickpocket incidents a day. If you are hyper-vigilant you can reduce the risk, but really the police should be cutting the nerves to the hands of perpetual thieves as that is the only way they will stop.
    Carry as little as possible, don't stop to talk to or engage with anyone, travel in a group and use a money belt under your clothes for your passport and a credit card.
    Don't use your map or phone in public areas, have body contact with all of your possessions at all times.
    Wear your backpack on your front in crowded areas.


  • Cory said

    OK, let me add to this sad, long line of victim entries.

    I traveled to Barcelona, Spain the first week in December, 2018, for a business conference. I had decided to stay one extra day after the conference ended so I could see a bit of the city before I left back to the United States. So on Thursday, Dec 6, I headed over to the metro station about 10:30am and bought a one-day travel pass. I have used subways in many cities, including Berlin, so I am familiar with how they typically operate. In general, they can be great ways to get about the city and see different sights, and most are fairly safe, particularly in daylight hours.

    I had already been warned about the crime in Barcelona, with emphasis on the rampant problem with pickpockets and other thieves, so I was definitely on-guard for this type of activity. I had my valuables in my front pockets – wallet, phone, and passport (in hindsight I should have locked the passport in my room safe, but I know of many folks who say you should keep it on you at all times). I also carried a small backpack, so I could more easily carry any souvenirs I purchases, as well as a place to put my lightweight jacket (I found that the temperature variation between anything inside and anything outside to be kind of extreme in Barcelona, so I was constantly taking off my jacket anytime I went inside). Whenever I was in a crowd, I took the backpack off of my back and either carried it by the handle in one hand or I carried it in front of my body. I was well aware of what the thieves can do to a backpack on your back.
    I decided to go to the Sagrada Familia church first. I took the L9 to the Torassa station, and then the took the L1 to Catalunya, where I got out and walked around. I went to an ATM and took our 100 Euros. I got back on the L1 line and went to the La Sagrera stop. I got out there briefly and then realized this was not close enough to where I wanted to go, so went back into the metro. I took the L5 to the Sagrada Familia stop and went to the surface. I purchased a ticket for the self-guided audio tour of the church and went through that, taking about 2 hours. I then walked around outside the church and bought a few items from the vendors there.

    Sometime around 3:30pm or so I went back into the metro station and took the L2 line to the Passeig de Gracia stop, and switched to the L4 line. My goal was to go down to the harbor, getting off at the Barceloneta stop – just 3 stops away. Now my mistake at this point was moving my phone from my inside front pocket to my right side cargo pants pocket, which is lower down on the leg and not as tight. When I was sitting in a seat I was using the map application on my phone and a paper subway map to make sure that I was going the right way to get to the harbor area that I wanted to explore. Since I was sitting it was just easy to drop my phone into that pocket when I switched to view the map.
    The metro tram was crowded. Apparently many folks had the same idea of heading down to the harbor on what was a nice day weather-wise. Temperatures were in the low 60’s (F) and it was mostly sunny. All seats were taken and there were many folks standing. I was near the door. A dark-haired, middle-aged woman got on at the next stop and was by the left side of the door. At the next stop a large middle-aged man got on and stood right next to her. I was holding a handrail that was to the left of the door. The woman was pushing fairly hard against my arm, which I thought was a little odd given that there was not really much in terms of the tram motion to warrant that. At that point I thought these two might be up to no good, but I felt like I was far enough away that I was ok at that point. I knew I was getting off at the next stop and it had to be just a minute or two away, so I decided just to hang on for a moment. When the tram stopped and door opened, I was ready to get out and on with my exploration. However, the guy just stood there as if he was unaware that the door had opened and that people might want to exit. I said “excuse me” as I went for the door. He didn’t move. I said it again and I knew that there was not much time before the door closed again, and I would miss my exit. I was thinking that they were either purposely being rude, or they wanted to keep me on the tram for further shenanigans. I knew I could shove past him, so I went to his right, not wanting to be between the woman and him and dealing with both of them at the same time. So I pushed him on the right side, chest to chest, and made my exit. The doors closed behind me immediately as I stepped down to the platform. I walked a few steps and instinctively put my hands in my pockets, to make sure I still had everything after that encounter – thinking that I should be fine based on the body positioning and short time involved. But no, as soon as I reached into the right side cargo pocket, only feeling the map, I knew I had been fleeced. Of course the tram was long gone, along with my phone.

    My mind raced to think if I could catch the metro tram at the next stop or maybe one after at some intercept point, but I quickly realized how futile that would be. Not only would they get off at the next available stop, but the phone would have likely been handed off to an accomplice. And of course no way for me to prove anything. Screwed! So I walked up to a police officer who was standing there and explained what happened. He may have just been more like a metro “guard” than an officer. I used as much Spanish as I could. He pulled in another gentleman who was in a metro office nearby. This guy said to go to the police station and file a report, and he gave some directions to get there. I knew the odds of the police being able to get my phone back were remote, but I thought I could at least make the report so that my case went into their log book, and I could describe the perps to add to whatever else might be pending against these scum bags.

    I walked to the police station near the harbor. This was not far from the metro stop and along a street that paralleled the water. While this was a small station, I was hopeful that I could get some help and file a report. They had to “buzz me in” through a locked door. There were a few others in there trying to get help as well, and quite a few more came in behind me as well. I talked to a lady behind the counter about what happened. She said that they did not have the facility to take a report, particularly if I could try to identify the perpetrators, and so I should go to another station to do that. She did assist me to make a call to my phone, which went to voicemail (the thieves had obviously turned the phone off). She gave me a hard to read printout that showed how to get to the other police station. On my way out I asked a few of the folks waiting why they were there. Several didn’t speak English so I didn’t bother trying to discuss their situation (why complicate their bad day). There was an English-speaker who told me his wallet was stolen. Clearly there were more people having the kind of day I was having.
    So I set out to find the other station. The map was hard to decipher. I laughed to myself because I kept reaching for my phone to use the map application. I walked about 20 minutes and figured I was close, but could not be sure based on the map I had. And it was sinking in that the odds of the police really being able to help was pretty minimal. And I was probably better off making it back to my hotel and getting some phone calls done to my wireless carrier.

    Final thoughts: Reading online, there are hundreds of similar stories to mine. Which, based on standard reporting statistics, means there are thousands of folks who this has happened to in Barcelona. Apparently the authorities are not doing anything concrete to put a stop to this type of crime. I am thinking some sting operations would net these thieves in droves. Fine them and give them some jail time, or enforced community service, to try to make it a little more painful to try to live this life of leeching off the populace. I can tell you that I will not ever go back there for vacation. And if I go for a work conference (and I will try to dissuade my company from ever going back), I will certainly not be roaming about spending money in the city’s shops and attractions (I will stay near the conference center). Since this crime hits tourists more heavily, and they refuse to bring it under control, as tourists we should take our time and money elsewhere. There are plenty of places to go that do not have this kind of crime problem. And for all those people who this has not happened to, and think they avoided it because they are just so awesome that they could never have this happen to them, I have to laugh. I have read the stories where even the street-savvy locals have had this happen. So it is more a matter of luck and time. And victim-blaming in this case is no different than the folks who want to blame rape victims for what happened to them. While you can always point to something maybe you could do better to avoid it, the criminal is still responsible for the crime. If there is an accomplice, it is the authorities who are doing nothing to get this behavior under control in their city.


  • Dharmita said

    Hi everyone, unfortunately in the run up to Christmas pick pocketing figures soar! I came across this Body Pocket (from It's a small pouch that you can wear under any coat when heading to busy crowded places. As it sits under your coat, it's difficult for thieves to get to so you are pretty safe and it's big enough to hold your phone, cards and other small items. Hope that's helpful.


  • David B said

    My quick story is i was just robbed of 350 us dollars while walking towards the gothic quarter. I was approached by a man in his 20s who somewhat tried to trip and leg lock me several times. I told him no but he was persistent. I realized he had taken my wallet and took all my cash inside only to return the rest. What is scary was that this guy approached me with a card to look at, and his buddies that were also handing out cards were following me for blocks until i found police officers. I The locals didnt seem to care and I am not sure if anyone can help.


  • H C said

    My shoulder bag was stolen at a restaurant with a zillion valuables in a Barcelona suburb. The police here are worthless. What are they being paid for?
    Some Spaniards think thievery is a legit profession. The police with their drawn machine guns are here to put away political opposition but thieves appear to be of no concern to them.
    They need a Saudi style justice system. The first time chop a hand and the second time chop their head. They can sell tickets and use the bull fighting arena for the application of justice. The victims can render justice if they have the stomach for it.

    Crime will flourish without Punishment. We need to tell the whole world to stop coming to Spain until they clean up their act. Once tourism $$$ dwindle, they will wake up


  • Denis said

    Been a victim of crime in Barcelona twice - wild horses wouldn’t get me there again - Policia do nothing


  • bla said

    how about wearing a fake wallet with one or two razor blades neatly tucked inbetween some monopoly bills?


  • Verena said

    My SO and I have just returned from a trip to BCN during the off-season. We thought that we were prepared, having read about the pickpocketing, having spoken to everyone we knew knows BCN beforehand. Unfortunately, our friends and colleagues just told us that "Barcelona is not different from any other large city in respect to pickpocketing". Boy, was this information misleading us.

    After our arrival at the airport, we opted the metro. We needed to go to Rocafort at first in order to pick up our keys, then travelling to Catalunya to take another metro to Lesseps. So we went to Universitat by foot, with each of us carrying a trolley bag, a backpack, and a shoulder bag. Since I wasn't feeling well on this day, I had needed to take some light pain medication and was a bit disoriented. My boyfriend carried both of our trolley bags down the stairs to the metro, and this was when I first saw the group of three young women, about 25, all of them with long hair, watching us with interest. In my naiveté, I didn't think much of this. They arrived on the metro platform before us and stood by the vending machine, still watching us and talking to each other. At this point, I was still thinking they merely found it odd that my SO was carrying all the heavy bags while I descended the stairs with just my bag and backpack on me. Then the train arrived. The three women and we first went to the first waggon, but as this was rather full, my boyfriend and I went to the second waggon instead. The three women followed us so. Still, I didn't think much of it at this point (I try blaming the pain meds). As soon as we were inside the waggon, I could not see my boyfriend anymore, was I was confined right by the door, facing the metro windows, my backpack facing the inside of the waggon. I could not move one millimeter. At first I was very confused and tried to move or wiggle my way out of the situation, and I kept thinking, oh boy, are there many people in this train. Then I caught a glimpse of the space next to the woman who was crowing me: there was space right next to her, space enough to move, so she did not have a reason to crowd me. Instinctively, I pulled my shoulder bag closer to myself and wiggled myself free just enough to look inside it: it was open. Still naive, I was thingking, oh my god, I left my bag open! Just as the train arrived in our station (all this was happening during one station), I saw that my wallet was missing. At this exact time, my boyfriend had fought his way through to me and told me that we needed to exit the train, since this was our station. I stumbled onto the platform and told him, "my wallet is gone. my wallet is gone. They stole my wallet", pointing to the three women. My boyfriend stopped the closing doors and confronted the women, who were just as irritated as we were at this point. One of them just looked at him and had her hand behind her back, and this was when my SO saw she had my wallet in her hand. He tried to grab it, startling her, so she dropped it to the cabin floor. My boyfriend took it and returned to the platform, where I was watching our other bags. Once I had it in my hands, I immediately checked for my IDs, bank card etc., which was all there. But just as the metro doors were closing, I realized that they had snatched my 100 euro - too late to do anything at this point, and I was more than glad that I still had all my important cards.

    So just a few notes on what we did wrong, as I do not want anyone to repeat our mistakes:
    - We shouldn't have traveled by metro with all out luggage. A cab would have been more cheaper (in retrospect)
    - At the metro station, I had taken the metro ticket out of my wallet. My mistake there was: never have your metro ticket where your money is. Never take your wallet out of your pocket at a public place.
    - We were clearly disoriented, looking around at the metro plans, discussing our route etc. We might as well have carried a large flag saying "WE'RE TOURISTS, PLEASE ROB US".
    - My shoulder bag can easily be opened, so I usually have it in a certain position where I would notice anyone trying. With the separate-and-lock-in-tactic that they use, I wasn't able to move enough to have my bag in sight. So my mistake was to put my wallet in there.
    - We were both naive and should have noticed what was going on once we had been physically separated.


  • J&K Milwaukee said

    It was a good time and almost a bad ending in Barcelona travel. The "door trafficked jam" modus operandi got me. The pickpocket got our passports (me and husband) and my US Greencard.
    We were on our way to the airport to catch our flight back to Chicago. We were savoring the moments of great fun we had in Barcelona. We catch the L5 train from Verdaguer station to Collblanc St to take the L9 train to the airport. Two stations prior to Collblanc (Placa de Sants Station) enters a young mother with her baby pram/stroller with her baby on it, then there comes along a young Asian man and a middle aged woman (south east asians) they are doing small talks. The train was not fully packed at that time but the young mother keeps blocking her stroller @ the exit door. My traveled wallet was at @ my side pocket, which I thought was securely secured. When the train approaches CollBlanc Station the young mother re-positioned her stroller again and the young Asian man was standing next to her so the path of exiting the door makes it so narrow that we have to lift our luggage. When the train door opens, the young man literally blocked my way and the stroller mom keeps on pushing her stroller back and forth. With my broken Spanish I uttered "excusa me." At that point I was on the verge of irritation (since the train door will close in any seconds and my husband was already outside the platform) and I told the Asian man "what the f...mman, common." He smiled. I exited the train.
    A few steps towards L9 escalators, that hubbab bothers me and I checked to see if all my belongings were traveled document wallet was gone. I started panicking. I was in shocked and fear sinks in. The documents (passports and greencard) were in that wallet. "WHAT SHALL WE DO."
    It was Saturday (6/1/2019) Canadian Embassy and US embassy might be closed.
    We decided to continue our way to the airport and will asked on how to do the process of passportless travel. On the L9 ( @ Can Tries Gornal Station) enters a guy wearing a TMB gray uniform. My husband instinctively approach the man and told him about our predicament. He was asking detailed when/where and what) infos. He did make calls and 5 minutes of that call he mentioned that they found our traveling wallet. It was a surreal news. My adrenaline (fight or flight mood) was so high that I cried.
    The TMB agent (which he did not give us his name) told us to go back to L5 train to Pubilla Cases Station ( 1 station over Collblanc) and another agent confirmed our identity and give back our passport. We were lucky.
    So, to those who plan to travel to Barcelona keep in mind that it is a beautiful city with tremendous kind hearted Catalans but don't drop your guard. Be wary but do enjoy.


  • javier said

    The real issue with what is happening in Barcelona and to a lesser extent in Madrid as well is that, how to say it, it is not politically correct to prosecute those criminals. Both cities had very leftist governments in their councils in the last few years (after the last local election Madrid not anymore but Barcelona still has) and public opinion rages on social media everytime law enforcement tries to act against those criminals in an effective manner.

    Those thieves are not usually from Spain, that's the truth and the main issue here. It might look like they are for a foreigner who can't tell the difference from a spaniard and a moroccan or a romanian gipsy, but for us it is very obvious that they are not. Unemployment is much higher in smaller cities, but those are still much much safer places than Madrid or Barcelona. We can't blame unemployment, there is not even a correlation, crime rate is going up every year despite Spain's economy growing consistently during the last few years. Barcelona used to be a pretty nice place to live and visit 20-30 years ago, when it was much poorer than now, very safe. We all know what happened since then but everyone is afraid to say it, or living in denial.

    But take me wrong, I don't blame migrants as a whole, not even those who commit the crimes. The thing is a lot of people in Spain believes that we should let be thieves be because, you know, they are refugees trying to get a better life, and they have no other way to survive. Poor them, who do we think we are trying to protect our wallets? Fascists, Franco supporters? Or something along those lines.

    So in the end, responsibilty is ours. But if you are not politically correct, you can still survive in Barcelona. Stay safe.


  • SC said

    As a local I warn you, the situation has worsened much in recent months there is more and more crime, less police and more violence, special attention with a group of women dressed as tourists in the subway and especially with groups of teenagers from Morocco, to Spanish law it makes them unpunished and local authorities protect them, the situation is bad, be very careful.

    I'm ashamed of my city


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  • MVS said

    Barcelona is quite attractive, but at the same time full pickpockets. I was also a victim of them on my tourist trip to Barcelona. They stole my wallet. After telling my story, I also heard several other experiences, told by colleagues, about experiences of this type to tourists who go to Barcelona. In the vast majority of cases they work in groups; while one or the other distracts your attention, the other one steals your belongings. You usually only notice what happened afterwards. The tip is, leave your valuables in very safe pockets, preferably in the inner pockets of your coat, on the front of your body.


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