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18 Mistakes to Avoid to Do in Barcelona

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Like in every country and city, there are things to don't do in Barcelona. Is better if you avoid doing these mistakes and be aware of them, to make your trip to Barcelona a success.


So here is my list of things tourists should never do when visiting Barcelona.


15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

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15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

1. Don't be surprised by long queues outside every museum:


That is why I always advise you guys to book your skip-the-line tickets in advance. You can spend 2 hours waiting to visit La Sagrada Familia and not only that.


There are queues everywhere, to visit every museum. Barcelona is a very famous and highly tourist city, so listen to me. Check my articles about "72 Unmissable Places to See in Barcelona" and my "43 Wonderful Museums to Explore in Barcelona" to find out all the most amazing things to see and do in Barcelona and where to book them.


15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

2. Don't underestimate pickpocketers:


Pickpocketers in Barcelona are the best in Europe. They are so fast you cannot imagine. A friend of mine got her bag stolen from her side while talking to her sister while sitting on a bench.

They didn't notice anything.


They will try to steal from you anytime and everywhere, so please keep your guard up and be constantly vigilant.


Also, buy an anti-theft backpack or an anti-theft purse to ensure they won't steal your belongings.



Do you want to know more about Barcelona?

Check out all my articles in the "Most Complete Guide of Barcelona" and get all the information you need to make your next travel a success.


15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

3. Don't have an English Breakfast while in Barcelona:


English breakfast is good and gives you a lot of energy to start the day, but there is so much delicious breakfast food in Spain that you cannot miss it.


They have pastries made with almonds and homemade jam, ham that will melt in your mouth like butter and much more.


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15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona
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4. Don't act like you are still in your country:


You are not home, you are in Barcelona, and I highly recommend you to live like a local.


Respect mealtime, don't have lunch at noon and dinner at 6 pm. Restaurants open for lunch at 1.30 pm and for dinner at 8 pm.


If you want to eat earlier, you will probably end up in a tourist trap, where they will serve you warm up frozen food that has nothing to do with authentic Spanish food, and it might also be overpriced.


If you are hungry, just have a coffee and a little sandwich or a pastry to keep your stomach quiet and trust me that in a couple of days your body will get used to living like a Spanish while in Spain.

 
Do you want to see everything Barcelona has to offer and save money at the same time?

15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

5. Don't drink only Sangria:


There is not only Sangria to drink in Spain. Sangria is most of the time made with cheap wine, spices and fruits to make it taste better. Of course, it is delicious (I love it and drink it every time I go to Spain), but there are so many delicious wines and beers in Spain that you have to try them.



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15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

6. Don't expect people to speak English:


Not all Spanish people speak English. Actually, in most bars and restaurants I have been to (not tourist traps but local places), they speak it just a little.


It was an excellent idea for me to learn basic Spanish before visiting Spain, and going out to dine was a good excuse to practice.


15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

7. Don't speak too loud about personal things:


Yes, you are in Spain where they speak Spanish, so if you speak English, probably no one will understand, you would think, wouldn't you?


Absolutely wrong. The city is full of English-speaking tourists (English is one of the most spoken languages in the world after all), so be careful about what you say.

 
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15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

8. Don't eat Paella for dinner:


Spanish people eat Paella mostly at lunch because it is a pretty heavy meal and because they have dinner pretty late (after 9 pm), they tend to choose something lighter.


This is more of a piece of advice for you guys. You can eat it for dinner if you want to, but don't complain that you feel too full and have problems digesting it.


15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

9. Don't eat in Las Ramblas:


Las Ramblas is a famous street, probably the most famous in Barcelona. That is why all the bars and restaurants there are overpriced, and some of them are tourist traps.

So be aware of it and avoid them.


Look for local tapas bars and restaurants where you will enjoy real Spanish and Catalan food.


15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

10. Don't expect to have a fast lunch or dinner:


Spanish people love to have their meal at their own pace, like Italians. A lunch or dinner will last at least 2 hours between ordering and leaving the restaurant.


The best way to enjoy delicious Spanish food is to do it slowly, get a couple of tapas with a glass of wine, get your main course, wait a bit for the coffee, and maybe share a dessert with your travel mate (unless you travel by yourself).


Don't be in a rush, you are on holiday, after all, enjoy Spain!

 

Plan Your Vacation in Barcelona in the Best Way

Check out all my articles in the "Most Complete Guide of Barcelona" and get all the information you need to make your next travel a success.


15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

11. Don't expect to receive the bill without asking for it:


Spanish people are much more relaxed than in other countries, and as I said, lunch and dinner may take more than a couple of hours.


Even if you asked for a coffee to enjoy after your meal (as proof that you are done and about to leave), they won't bring you the bill unless you ask for it. So when you are ready to go, just say "la cuenta, por favour" (the bill, please).

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15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

12. Spanish speakers don't constantly repeat "please" and "thank you":


I don't speak Spanish perfectly. I just know the basics for ordering food in a bar/restaurant or buying something in a shop/market, and I constantly repeat "muchas grasias" and "por favour" in every sentence, like when I speak English.


But a friend of mine, that is Spanish told me that Spanish people prefer to talk more kindly instead of constantly repeating "please" and "thanks" in every sentence.


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15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

13. Don't expect to go shopping on Sundays:


Sunday is the rest day, and most shops and supermarkets are closed in Spain.


If you are staying in a flat and need to buy food, don't forget to buy it on Saturday or you will end up being without breakfast (also on Sunday most of the bars where to have breakfast open very late).


Most bars and restaurants will be open, but the opening time might be different from the other days of the week.

 

Plan Your Vacation in Barcelona in the Best Way

Check out all my articles in the "Most Complete Guide of Barcelona" and get all the information you need to make your next travel a success.


15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

14. When meeting with a local in the afternoon, you will primarily meet up to drink a coffee:


You have to remember that in Spain everything happens at a different time. They have lunch around 2-3 pm and dinner after 9 pm.


So if you meet a local after lunch around 5 or 6 pm, you will probably meet up for a coffee and maybe something sweet and not for a beer or an aperitivo like in other countries. Don't forget that aperitivo/tapas time starts around 8 pm and dinner after 9 pm.

 

Planning to visit 6 Museums?

A great way to save money in Barcelona is by purchasing the Barcelona Museums Pass, which will allow you to skip the line at every museum and save a lot of money!

15 Things You Shouldn't Do While Visiting Barcelona

15. Don't go crazy about tipping if you cannot afford it:


In Spain, people don't use to tip like in other countries. If you go to an expensive restaurant, a tip is welcome. Still, if the service has been excellent in a bar or a local restaurant, people usually leave just a couple of euros.


Leaving a tip is very important, but if you cannot afford it, there is no need to leave 20% as in the US.



16. Don't buy anything in las ramblas:


Las Ramblas is the most famous boulevard in Barcelona. A visit to Barcelona is not complete if you don't walk up and down this street.


That is why you better avoid buying anything in the shops around this street if you are on a budget. Prices are higher than in other streets in the city.



17. Don't show up at La Sagrada Familia without a ticket:


La Sagrada Familia is the most visited attraction in Barcelona, so unless you want to spend hours in a queue in the middle of summer, you better purchase a ticket in advance to save a lot of time and energy waiting to visit it.


18. Don't eat tapas in a restaurant with a stock photos menu:


Eating local food is one of the reasons travelling is so nice and fulfilling. In Barcelona, as in many other touristic cities, there are many tourist traps. You can recognise these places by the menu outside in the street.


If the is a huge menu with stock photos of different kinds of paella, do not enter that place. Those paellas are frozen, they just warm them up for you in a microwave. The original paella is always served in a paella pan (the original pan where the paella is cooked).



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About me

Hi! I'm Valentina,

but you can call me Vale.

I'm an Italian with a passion for well-planned travels and food.

In my Travel Guide, you will find everything you need to plan your perfect travel around the world.

Valentina

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