Barcelona safety, Las Ramblas

Mar 15th, 2012, 11:58 AM
  #1  
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Barcelona safety, Las Ramblas

We have booked an apartment in the second to last lower block of La Ramblas for 3 nights prior to a cruise. I choose it primarily for it's location and has all the basic amenities we need. Nothing fancy but practical. It is right across from the Metro stop and a block away from the cruise docks shuttle. Also a short walk to the old city etc. I have been to Barcelona before and stayed in the Eixample area and wanted to be closer in. We are 2 ladies in our early sixties who are very experienced travelers. We certainly are aware that the are picpockets everywhere and always keep our valuables secure and our eyes open.
However, today I read this on www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com.........

"Dodgy areas at night - Areas to avoid at night. Parts of the Raval area ( to the left of the Ramblas as we look northwards), Parts of Barri Xines, and the Southern most end of the Ramblas and streets off it. Any small dark empty streets - but this is common sense - if you want to be much safer try to avoid quiet empty streets and if you do have to go down them then try to ensure you are with someone"

Does this me we just have to keep our eyes open and be careful or does it mean we shouldn't venture out at night at all? I am wondering if we should change our location. It won't be easy or inexpensive to do so at this point but I do not want to feel like a prisioner in the apartment either. Any advice from those familiar with the lower Ramblas would be most appreciated.
Boomiev is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 12:08 PM
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No do not shut yourself up as many parts of Barcelona suffer from lots of street crime, including muggings, rare in the rest of Europe IME - do not attract a thief's interest by wearing the family jewels, fancy watches or flashing i-phones or expensive cameras around - leave them in the hotel at night - unfortunately any bag on your back could attract a thief's interest - a relative of mine was violently mugged in Madrid, which suffers from the same type criminal activity - always done by immigrant drug addicts it seems - anyways she was dragged down into the gutter on a Sunday morning - early just outside Atocha station - and from all reports though this was several years ago the situation has not gotten any better in Barcelona or Madrid - there have been numerous threads here with many personal attestations about being victimized.

In my relative's case she was wearing a day pack and the thief wanted it, thinking something of value may be inside - there was nothing of value and my relative, a thin smallish gal desperately wanted to get the pack off her back and let the thief have it but could not. So she ended up all bruised and bloodied - shopkeepers opening up nearby did nothing.

Now this means that you should be prudent - do not carry such a bag or anything a thief may want and be able to sell. On several past threads there were plenty of folks who have said they have been to Barcelona many times and never been victimized - so the chances of it happening are not great - but knowing the problem and taking proper precautions greatly lessens the problem IMO. And others will no doubt call me a Casandra for repeating once again what happened to my dear relative but I feel strongly that everyone should know there is a real problem in those cities that local authorities either let go on or are powerless to do anything about.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 15th, 2012, 01:28 PM
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The lower part of La Rambla is OK during the day but unsavory at night. Lots of dark and seedy streets. So are parts of Raval though Rambla del Raval is OK and quite trendy.
I would not stay there and would to find something closer to Plaça de Catalunya.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 05:31 PM
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Pvoyageuse, Thank you for the advice, we are reconsidering or location. When you mentioned "unsavory at night" do you mean after dark? Or very late? We are definitely not night people but want to feel comfortable going out for the evening.
Boomiev is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 06:22 PM
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Barcelona is a late night town -- lots of people out on the streets enjoying restaurants and bars and entertainment. Dinner is much later than we are used to, but as we'd been in Spain for several weeks when we got there, we were comfy going out after 9PM for dinner, but noticed that because there are so many tourists, and it is an international destination, there were also people dining at 7. I would stay around the upper part of Las Ramblas, closer to Placa de Catalunya, because it is busy and active and probably no "worse" than mid-town Manhattan. In fact, we DID stay just below the Placa Catalunya when we visited Barcelona for a week several years ago, and we were out every night without incident (and we are just regular ol middle aged folk).
uhoh_busted is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 06:34 PM
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barcelona -las ramblas- it's the only place we have ever been pickpocketed after decades of travel(so far---poo-poo-pooh). entirely our fault for wandering away from the crowds. wasn't even quite dark. we wandered off the main drag-- just 20 feet down into the closed market area so that i could show my husband something i was reminiscing about.

before we knew it-- 3 trannies surrounded him. one grabbed his balls, one grabbed his ass, one thumped hard on his chest-- all very slick-- as they went through corresponding pockets. about 5 seconds-- and i was screaming at them, while clutching my bag and trying to pull one of them off of him! luckily, he was wearing a moneybelt around his neck, under his clothes. but-- a minute later-- we discovered that they had actually gotten $20euro he had tucked inside hs Zippered-inside-travel-jacket-pocket. wow. zippered secret inside pocket! impressive!!!!

it could happen anywhere-- and we continued to stroll at night along las ramblas... though it took us a day to get our sea-legs back. we never should have wandered off the main drag. i think that on the main streets, you are ok. just always be alert and stay where there are plenty of people.
kawh is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 09:35 PM
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Some streets off the lower Ramblas are very well lit and full of people late at night.


Where are you exactly?
danon is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 12:13 AM
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" When you mentioned "unsavory at night" do you mean after dark? Or very late? "

I mean after dark AND very late. Diner starts at 9 or 10 pm in Spain. Try to find something near the upper part of La Rambla (from El Liceu theater upward) or in El Born district which is quite nice. Plaça de Catalunya is a good location (good public transportation - metro and buses). La Rambla itself is not what it used to be and IMO not very interesting apart from La Boqueria market.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 03:03 AM
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Thanks all for the input.The address of the apartment is Calle Santa Monia. ent 5. It is at the intersection of Carrier del portal de Santa Madrona and
Calle Santa Monia. It is directly opposite the Metro stop Drassanes. We are New Yorkers so used to city life. My traveling compainion is thinking you are saying the area is like any NY street at night where caution is important but one need not be afraid. I am getting that you are saying that is the case on the upper Ramblas but the lower area is like a place in NYC that you would not go to at night at all.
Boomiev is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 04:01 AM
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Exactly, Boomiev. The Rambla is a favorite place for pickpockets because there are so many tourists. The upper part is fine but you must be careful about your belongings just as you would be in any large city. I would not say the lower part is dangerous or a troublespot but it is unsavoury at night (hookers, dealers, drunks) and some streets are seedy. I would not stay there. No problem during the day though and the Drassanes museum is worth a visit
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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I was in the area around 8-9 at night and seemed fine, don't know about later.
during the day....no problem. Drassanes metro stop has been mentioned as a place to be carful.
Ramblas is very well lit at night.
If you are coming home late at night, you could always take a taxi.
Ther e is something about the location on trip advisor
danon is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 09:56 AM
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Seconding the taxi. For three nights, you can afford it -- take a taxi back to the hotel each night.
boyreporter is offline  
Mar 17th, 2012, 09:52 AM
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Thanks for the heads up folks. We were able to change to another apartment in another safer area. I am not convinced that we were necessarily in danger there but who wants to feel uncomfortable on vacation?
Boomiev is offline  
Mar 17th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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Good move!
uhoh_busted is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Boomiev, can you tell me which is the safer area which u have chosen? I was also just about to finalize one apartment in Las ramblas and now re-thinking having read this post. i will be with family (wife, three children of 12,11 and 1 years)...
bijusamuel1970 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 07:38 PM
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After hesitating for sometime after reading this post, i have gone ahead and booked one apartment in Las Ramblas. this is the owner's description about the location, "in the heart of Gothic area, it is opposite to the Boqueria market,next to Liceu Opera house, 3 minutes walking distance to Barcelona Cathedral and Born area". How much should one be worried about this location in the light of the safety issues discussed above?
bijusamuel1970 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 08:01 PM
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Interesting thread. We were in Barcelona for five nights. We used the Drassanes stop every night around 11. There were a zillion people on the street. I always worried about pickpockets but definitely not about someone grabbing my ass.
colduphere is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 08:29 PM
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Liceu and Boqueria are on the same side of Ramblas...
..not sure where the apt. is
located.
I dislike the narrow streets bellow Ferran at night...
danon is offline  

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