Barcelona Travel Advice

Security travel advice for Barcelona

How safe is Barcelona?

Threat level: Low-Medium

Barcelona is a relatively safe city by European terms, but the current political situation is a cause for concern, following the Catalan Independence Referendum that occurred on the 1st October 2017, and where Catalan declared Independence on the 27th of October 2017.

Further to this, Madrid took control of the region judging illegal the referendum and a regional election took place in Catalonia last December, with pro-independence parties holding a renewed majority in the Catalan parliament.

The current political situation is tense and is seen by many as one of the worst political crisis in nearly four decades.

On the 20th of August 2018, a man entered a police station in Barcelona and attempted to stab police officers. He was shot dead by police forces.

On the 17th of August 2017, a van drove into pedestrians in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, killing 13 persons and injuring about 130 others. The man responsible for the attack fled the scene and was found a few days later and shot dead by the police. This tragic event was treated as a terrorist attack by the local authorities and was followed by another attack carried out by a terrorist group in the same region in Cambrills, injuring several persons and claiming the life of one person.

In the past, the Basque terrorist organisation ETA carried out several deadly car bomb attacks in Barcelona. However, they are no longer considered a major threat, after they declared a ceasefire and announced a definitive cessation of their armed activities. For Travel Advice for Spain in general, see: Travel Advice for Spain.

The national terrorism alert level (NAA) was set as 4 on a scale of 5 and remains unchanged since June 2015, despite the terrorist attack that happened last Summer in Barcelona.

Although, Barcelona is one of the safest city in the EU, petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching is common. Thieves in Barcelona are very crafty in stealing handbags, wallets and phones without the owner noticing. They would usually distract their victim and may use the help of an accomplice.

We would recommend being extra vigilant in crowed places such as La Sagrada Familia and Barcelona’s beaches, leave any valuable items at your hotel, and carry little amount of cash with you. Also, avoid leaving your belongings unattended while you are at the beach.

Restaurants and the metro are also notorious for petty theft, so keep your bag close to you at all time on your lap or stored in front of you.

Besides, the Ciutat Vella District and Las Ramblas are places in Barcelona that tourists should avoid at night, as they are infamous for late crime. It is also safer to avoid walking in these areas of Barcelona on your own as thieves can work in groups.

Travelling around Barcelona

Barcelona is well served by public transport. Thus, the tram, metro and FGC are practical and are convenient ways for tourists to get around Barcelona easily to visit tourist attractions.

The metro is the quickest way to travel around the city and runs from 5am to midnight - Mondays to Thursdays, 5am to 2am on Fridays, 5am to 12pm on Saturdays and non-stop on Sundays. A single journey costs €2.15.

Buses usually run from 4.25am and end at 11pm depending on their route. The price of a single ticket costs €2.15.

A Travel Pass (HolaBCN or T-10) to travel around the city via public transport, is a more cost-effective solution to buying single tickets and can be used to travel by metro, bus, tram and train. Travel cards can be purchased from the ticket vending machine at the entrance of the metro.

Alternatively, Taxis can be found all around the city and are black and yellow.

Emergency services in Barcelona

Emergency services: 112
Emergency services: 902 102 112 (English speaking)
Tourist Police: 34 932 903 000 (Barcelona)
Fire emergency: 080 or 112
Medical emergency: 061 or 112

Barcelona Overview

Official languages: Spanish and Catalan
Religion: Christianity
Currency: Euro
Time now in Barcelona:

Useful websites

Tourist information: Barcelona Tourist Guide
Tourist travel card information: Barcelona Travel Card (Hola BCN Card)
General safety in Barcelona: Barcelona Tourist Guide

Consular information for Barcelona

U.S. Consulate Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
08034 Barcelona
Telephone: +34 93 280 22 27

British Consulate Barcelona
Avda Diagonal 477–13
08036 Barcelona,
Telephone: +34 93 366 6200

French Consulate Barcelona
Ronda Universitat
22 bis 08007 Barcelona
Telephone: +34 932 703 000

For further embassy information and locations please see our live travel map below.

Healthcare in Barcelona

If you ever require an emergency treatment in Barcelona, please note that all foreigners are entitled to the same care as nationals in public hospitals. In order to avoid being treated privately, it is recommended to call 112 to ask for an ambulance and receive assistance in English.

If you hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can benefit from other medically-necessary treatments that could be required during your temporary stay, at a reduced cost or free of charge. In contrast, non-EU members would have to pay for non-emergency treatments.

On the other hand, it is advisable to always purchase a comprehensive medical insurance to be covered in case you need to be repatriated.

Alternatively, if you judge your condition as non-life-threatening or not too serious, some medications are easier to get hold of compared to other countries and can be purchased without a prescription from a doctor.

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      You are responsible for your own safety abroad and for making the decision to travel.

      The information contained in this Travel Advice for Barcelona is provided for information only. Whilst care is taken to ensure that this country brief is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, it is provided on an "as is" basis without any representation or endorsement made and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Intelligent Protection International Limited does not assume responsibility and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.