Safe in Barcelona and Madrid?

Jan 18th, 2004, 04:00 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 135
Safe in Barcelona and Madrid?

I was reading posts about all of the muggings in Barcelona and Madrid, about how the police are numb to the problem, and about how violence is often used. Then I noticed that most of these posts were written in 2001. Can anyone comment on whether things have gotten better? Obviously I know to be careful and aware, but I could avoid these two cities if I thought they were unsafe, as I will be traveling with two children. Thanks for your opinions!
breathe is offline  
Jan 18th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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Hi Breathe,

My wife & I just got back from a few days in Barcelona last week & like you I was a little bit spooked about posts on crime before I left. I realise that January might not be typical of how things will be in high season, but we didn't feel the least bit uncomfortable & in fact there was a very visible police presence in the main tourist areas.

Hope this helps.

JJBhoy is offline  
Jan 18th, 2004, 05:54 PM
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We were in both cities about a year ago and felt perfectly safe. However, we did take some precautions--I never carry a purse (keep a few euros in the inside of my jacket) and my husband wears a money belt (and he's 6'2"), but I really felt just fine (much safer than in many places in the US).
artlover is offline  
Jan 18th, 2004, 09:52 PM
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Breathe - I'm a female in my early 20's and spent about two weeks (alone) this past summer in Barcelona and Madrid. As the other posters have suggested, use precaution. However, having said that I didn't experience any problems and felt quite safe even in the evenings.
One Barcelona native gave me the advice not to carry more than about 20 euro in my pocket. Other than that just make sure that you are aware of your surroundings - I found that a bag with a strap that goes over the shoulder and across the chest and hangs under the opposite arm is a good idea...

You will absolutely love these cities, Barcelona is especially unique and not to be missed.
Have a wonderful trip!
_Julie_ is offline  
Jan 18th, 2004, 10:07 PM
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We were there in 2000 with two kids and had no problems whatsoever. I tend to be on the paranoid side, but maybe it's because I live in L.A. that I figure it just has to be safer most anywhere else. In any event, I felt fine walking alone in Madrid on my own during the day, and walked on my own at night in Barcelona. I just do what I do at home -- be aware of my surroundings and don't walk down dark alleys. If you are still afraid, remember that a purse sized bottle of hairspray can be almost as effective as mace!
Surfergirl is offline  
Jan 19th, 2004, 01:59 AM
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i frankly felt more comfortable in madrid than barcelona over this past christmas time. the ramblas and parts of the bari gothico have a lot of unsavory looking street people hanging about.

that said, there are also tons of other folks walking about at all hours and there is certainly safety in numbers. i did not (contrary to an earlier poster) see much of a police presence in either city other than outside government or large commercial buildings.

i, personally, would avoid the southern end of the ramblas particularly the west side late at night and the metro during those hours. i wouldn't get too far afield from crowds, again at night.

i'm sorry to seem negative, particularly since almost all the barcelenos we encountered were friendly and helpful, but that's how i saw it.

subcon is offline  
Jan 20th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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Thank you all for your replies. I will still go, but plan to be cautious. Now can you recommend the best area to stay in for 4 nights in each city? Thanks very much!
breathe is offline  
Jan 20th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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For some reason, Spain gets a lot of bad rep for safety... I don't think that it is any worse than Paris or Rome... I usually feel that I have to be much more aware of things in those two cities than in Spain.

That aside, and to your question, try to stay on or around Passeig de Gracia. Beautiful area near all the major sights. The Condes de Barcelona is a great hotel.

If you're travelling with children, you may want to think about going to the aquarium in Maremagnum (it is really good) and to Parc Guell. Or anything by Gaudi for that matter, like Palau Guell, Sagrada Familia or La Pedrera... I've seen that children really enjoy Gaudi's buildings...
Jean_Valjean is offline  
Jan 20th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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I agree Spain seems to get a particularly bad rap. I was in Madrid last summer and NEVER felt threatened, even taking money out of the ATM at night near the busy Puerta del Sol. Just use big city sensibility and be conscious of your wallet. I wouldn't even suggest that you need a money belt - I kept my wallet in my front pocket.
The only two times that I ever felt like I was being sized up by a pickpocket were in Amsterdam and Paris, not once in Madrid or Seville. The key is not to look lost or confused. Always look like you know where you're going, even if you don't.
martytravels is offline  
Jan 20th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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I was in Madrid on business for a week in November and never had any reason to feel apprehensive. There are lots of people on the streets in central Madrid even late at night.
itswoody is offline  
Jan 20th, 2004, 11:20 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We were in Barcelona in September/October this year. We stayed for 8 days with the intent of making a couple of day trips but never left the city, there was so much to see and do. I agree with the advice to stick near people at night, some of the narrow old streets off the Ramblas etc. can feel a bit iffy but it might just be an effect of their narrow, dark nature. We had no problem, we walked a lot at night (in those narrow, dark streets) and were perfectly safe. I did not take the metro at night however, mainly because we did not need to, not because of safety concerns. We stayed in the Hotel Colon, overlooking the Cathedral. This was a pleasant hotel in a very good spot. It was my husband's turn to pick so it was a more expensive hotel than my selections tend to be!
LynnP is offline  
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