It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert traveler or it is your first time traveling to a foreign country, you are more than likely to make common mistakes simply because you are not aware of the local customs and culture. Because Barcelona is a popular tourist destination all year round, it is important to remember some tips on how to avoid some of the common mistakes when traveling to Barcelona for the first time.
Staying in the wrong location
Sure, you may save a few extra bucks by booking your accommodation outside of the city, but in reality you will be wasting valuable time and money taking the bus or hiring a taxi into the city. It may be slightly more expensive to stay central within the city, but if you only have a few days to explore, it is worth budgeting more on accommodations in exchange for more time to enjoy the streets of Barcelona. Some popular neighborhoods to stay in are the Gothic Quarter, El Raval, El Born, Eixample, and around Barceloneta.
Tipping way too much
Depending where you’re from, you may be accustomed to tipping a certain way. For example, the suggested tip when dining at a restaurant in the United States is 15-25% of the total bill depending on the service you received. However, in countries like Spain, it is not a custom to leave a tip because tax and tip are already included in your total bill. If you insist on tipping, you may leave your change from the bill or if the service was extraordinary, you may tip 10%.
Spending too much time downtown
Since most of the major tourist attractions are on La Rambla and around the Gothic Quarter, it’s not a surprise that people spend most of their vacation in these areas. While there is plenty to see in the Gothic Quarter, there is so much more to explore farther out such as the famous hot-spots like La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Mercado de La Boqueria, as well as the beautiful beaches. The greatest beauty about Barcelona is that no matter what street you end up on, you will surely come across something unique that catches your eye.
Not buying tour tickets in advance
It is always recommended to purchase your desired tickets prior to your tour date, you’ll be glad you did. Wait times for the box office can range from 30 minutes to over an hour during tourist season. Don’t waste your precious time waiting in line in the summer heat when you could be exploring the city. Also, some attractions have been known to sell out for the day so save yourself the stress and book in advance. Most tickets may be purchased on the tours official website or an official third-party website.
Always be on the lookout for pickpockets
Theft is a common issue all across Europe, not only in Spain. Since Barcelona is a top tourist destination, it's not a coincidence that pick pocketing is very common around the city. Always remember; never take your eyes off of your belongings, even just to give the waitress your dinner order. Thieves will scope out the perfect moment to quickly snatch any item without you noticing, especially that shiny iPhone sitting at the edge of your table.