Areas to avoid in Barcelona
- Lower half of Ramblas (from the Liceu Opera House to Columbus Monument)
- El Raval area.
- Dim-lit alleys of Gothic Quarter
These are all touristy areas which are busy in the morning, but at night are frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers.
Barcelona is safe
- According to Economist Intelligence Unit compiled Safecities index, Barcelona is the 4th safest city in Europe, ahead of Paris and London. Be assured that in Barcelona, you will not see any gun toting criminals walking the streets.
Tripadvisor lists Barcelona at #1 in top 10 places worldwide to beware of pickpockets.
Travel+Leisure magazine called out 18 cities in the world, that are best places for women to travel solo. Yes, you guessed it right, Barcelona made it to the list of safe cities in the world.
Safe Areas in Barcelona
As far as a recommendation on safest areas in Barcelona goes, I recommend staying in L'Eixample neighbourhood. L'Eixample is bang in the center of Barcelona and busy at all hours of the day.
If you want an off-beat and very safe locality, consider Gràcia. Gràcia neighbourhood in Barcelona is quieter, more local with excellent atmosphere.
L'Eixample and Gracia are extremely safe and swarmed with hotels and short term vacation apartments.
Is Barcelona safe for a woman on her own?
Absolutely. Barcelona is a great, safe city for a girl to visit solo. My advice to single women travelling to Barcelona on her own, would be restricted to basic advice like staying in a good, decent hotel (not an apartment), not taking the metro late at night, and staying away from areas like Las Ramblas at night.
My other general advice is to be careful with the clothes you wear. Try not to attract attention and dress appropriately at all times so that you mingle with the crowd.
Also be suspicious of anyone being too friendly and don’t react to calls at all. As an extreme precaution and to be extra safe and secure, use the age old trick of wearing a ring and pretend to be married to feel safer.
As far as night-outs in Barcelona are considered, be aware that in Barcelona there is a safety in numbers. Barcelona takes pride in its active nightlife. Most streets of Barcelona are full of people well past midnight and the crowds taper only at around 2 AM.
Thus, while in Barcelona, take precautions against petty crime and pickpockets by protecting your purse, carrying only one credit card and just the copy of your passport, while the original passport is safe in your hotel.
It is always good to take precautions
That said, the incidence of pick-pocketing has reduced in Barcelona after the courts decided that if anyone is caught a second time for the petty crime, the sentences will be harsher.