10 Tips to Avoid Pickpockets while Traveling by The Tyler Group Barcelona Travel Guide

For many, vacation time is right around the corner and the thought of the perfect getaway does not include being a victim of crime. While most vacations will go as planned, some will fall victim to petty theft: mainly purse snatching and pickpockets. Thieves target tourists because they are the ones with the money. In Barcelona alone, it is estimated almost 6,000 incidents happen daily–that is 1 out of every 4 tourists. So how do you protect yourself from becoming part of the pick-pocketing statistics? Here are 10 sure-fire ways to better your odds.

1) Wear a money belt – This is the most important thing you can do to lower the chances of being pick-pocketed. A money belt is worn under your clothing; this is where you keep your passport, extra credit cards and cash. Keep that day’s cash and a credit card in your day bag or wallet for easy access. You want to think of the money belt like a safe deposit box, and only get into your money belt when replenishing your wallet. When getting into your money belt, do it in a safe area like your hotel room, a bathroom stall or a changing room.

2) Do not put anything in your back pocket – The outline of a wallet in the back pocket is advertising to pickpockets to rob you, especially in crowded areas like metro platforms and escalators. Place your wallet in your front pocket and put an elastic band (like the rubber band that you find holding the broccoli in the grocery store) around your wallet. This will create friction in your pocket and make it just that harder for a thief to steal from you.

3) Valuables need to stay in your hotel room – Laptops, tablets and such are much safer in your hotel room than in the bottom of a bag on the streets. When leaving valuables in your room, put them away so as not to tempt the hotel staff. Better yet, leave them in a hotel safe or at the front desk.

4) Walk with purpose and confidence – Pickpockets look for the confused tourists–the ones constantly looking at a map, taking hesitant steps, having a “deer in the headlights” look on their face. Before leaving your hotel, restaurant or metro stop, check your surroundings and directions. If you do need to look something up, stop somewhere with a wall to your back. If that is not an option, get to a place that is wide open so you can tell if someone is approaching.

5) Secure your belongings – When sitting or eating, never put your purse/bag on the chair behind you or on the ground. Countless bags are stolen while people are in cafes and restaurants. Loop a strap of your daypack/purse around your arm, leg or chair leg. If you are in an airport or on a train and want to sleep, use a cable lock to secure your bags to the seat, luggage rack or even yourself. If you have a camera or smart phone don’t place them on tabletops where they can easily be snatched. Thieves are always looking for the easy mark, so even the most minor obstacle (a strap around a chair) can be an effective deterrent.

6) Carry a purse or bag with the flap against your body – You want to cut down the number of entry points into your bag so thieves’ fingers have fewer places to wander. If your bag has a long strap, carry your bag across your body. Never keep important items in any outside pocket.

7) Get to know your new money before heading out – If you’re traveling out of the country you will be confronted with foreign money. Become familiar with the local currency before you hit the pavement. Pickpockets observe travelers shopping, and then later know exactly where to lift their wallets. Count your change and put it away right there and then, and don’t be rushed by cashiers.

8) Stay clear of commotions and avoid crowds – A fight breaking out, someone dropping items, even people falling down are most likely a smokescreen for bad guys wanting to separate tourists from their money. Crowds anywhere, but especially on public transit and in markets, provide thieves with plenty of targets, opportunities and easy escape routes. Sometimes you cannot avoid a crowd, especially during rush hour on a subway. Try to go to the first car or the last car where there are typically fewer people. Avoid standing near the doorways of trains, as groups of pickpockets can rush at you when the doors open.

9) Know how they work – Get to know the local scams thieves use to rob travelers. Most guidebooks will have a section just on this. You will then recognize situations to avoid and keep your attention focused on your valuables, not on their intentional distractions.

10) Be unpredictable – If you get the feeling someone is following you, change directions. Go into the nearest shop/hotel/restaurant and wait a few minutes. Most likely they will move on; if not, call the police.

From the well-dressed businessman to the group of children with outstretched arms, it can be difficult to recognize a thief. But travelers can prevent the majority of common thefts by arming themselves with these 10 tips. Follow these time-tested tips and soon you will be enjoying your vacation and not worrying about pickpockets.

How to cut the cost of your holiday by The Tyler Group Barcelona Travel Guide

Guardian Money tells you how you can save more than £400 on credit and debit cards, foreign exchange, car hire and airport parking before you even leave for your next holiday

Credit and debit cards – save £99

Picking the wrong plastic to use while abroad could quite easily set you back £100 in fees and hidden commission, according to new research.

However, by being card sharp when you’re buying items and withdrawing money, you can get the bill down to a fraction of that – and, in some cases, reduce it to zero.

If you’re a Norwich & Peterborough building society Gold Classic current account holder, you’re sorted because this is one of the very few UK bank accounts that offers completely free debit card usage abroad, with no nasties lurking in the small print.

For the rest of us, the best bet may be the Halifax Clarity credit card, which charges nothing for foreign exchange, and doesn’t impose ATM fees either.

N&P’s Gold Classic account and the Halifax Clarity card came out top in a comprehensive survey of debit and credit card overseas charges carried out by Andrew Hagger of personal finance website MoneyComms.co.uk (see table).

Metro Bank – a relatively new player with branches mainly in the London area – also scored highly, as its debit and credit cards are free of fees, provided you are within Europe.

One of the big problems for consumers is that the fees and charges for using your plastic abroad are often bewilderingly complex, with stacks of jargon and small print. Someone using their debit card to withdraw cash from a foreign ATM may well find they are charged 2.75% to 3% of the money in hidden commission, plus a separate ATM fee that is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount taken out. For example, NatWest’s ATM fee is 2% of the value, with a minimum of £2 and a maximum of £5, whereas the recently launched M&S Bank current account doesn’t impose an ATM fee.

If you have a Halifax, Santander, Lloyds or TSB debit card, be aware that they all impose a fixed fee for overseas purchases in shops, restaurants etc – and that’s on top of the 2.75% to 3% they take off you for “currency conversion”. The fixed fee is £1.50 at Halifax, £1.25 at Santander and £1 at Lloyds and TSB. It is applied on each transaction – ie, every time you buy something. You can see why MoneySavingExpert.com’s Martin Lewis has dubbed them “the cards from hell” to be avoided at all costs.

Hagger says it’s important to check the charges that apply to your card before you head off. “At least if you understand the overseas charges, you can adapt your spending accordingly. For example, you don’t want to be making cash withdrawals or purchases of £10 or £20 if you’re going to be hit with £1.50-plus each time,” he says.

The Halifax Clarity card boasts that it has “no fee to use it anywhere worldwide”. It applies MasterCard’s exchange rate at the time you make the transaction, and does not add any “loading” fees or charges. In addition, it won’t charge for ATM withdrawals. But make sure you’re paying off your bill in full every month. There is no interest-free period on cash withdrawals, so you pay interest from the day you take the money out. However, the representative APR is a not-bad 12.9%, meaning a £100 withdrawal would cost just over £1 in interest at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, don’t fall for the “dynamic currency conversion” trap while you are away. If a shop, restaurant or hotel gives you the option to pay in sterling, rather than the local currency, insist you pay in the latter. The same applies to ATMs.

“I was asked if I wanted to pay in sterling at least half a dozen times while in Valencia a month ago,” says Hagger. “Although you may think it’s useful to know exactly how much you’ll be debited, the downside is that it gives the retailer the opportunity to use a poor local bank exchange rate, which could see you paying well over the odds – in some cases by 3% or 4%. Always choose to pay in the currency of the country you’re visiting.” RJ

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The best spots for art in Barcelona

There’s more to Barcelona than Antoni Gaudí and the Picasso Museum. The Tyler Group Barcelona Expat taps into its unconventional arts scene.

Esther Arias Galería de Arte y Taller

Everyone exits Metro Jaume and heads directly to the Picasso Museum via Carrer Princesa. But there is a much more attractive short cut that will take you past Esther Arias’s gallery in a warm and inviting 18th-century building. Although Arias often devotes a wall to a guest artist, this is her taller (workshop) and the paintings on display are her own: enchanting, colourful abstracts with a dreamlike quality. Along with the large canvases, there are some exquisite framed acrylics on paper at a good price. This is the perfect place to begin a walk through the Born with its many art and artisan shops.

• Carrer Cotoners 14, +34 93 268 2494, estherarias.com. Open Tue–Sat 10.30am–2pm, 4.30pm-7.30pm

Museu Frederic Marès

Housed in a lovely medieval palace next to the cathedral in the Barri Gòtic, this museum is often overlooked – people don’t tend to flock to see walls filled with crucifixes. But many of these sculptures painted or in plain wood, come from the 12th and 13th centuries, retaining the Romanesque separation of the nailed feet. They’re quite bizarre and utterly mesmerizing; one has Joseph of Arimathea clinging to Christ with a most curiously placed right hand. The wooden Madonnas are coarse rather than sweet, and the Christ child often looks old enough to be at university. The upper rooms house an astounding collection of objects, from hatpins to garters, gathered by sculptor/traveller/hoarder Frederic Marès.

•Plaça Sant Iu 5, +34 93 256 3500, museumares.bcn.cat, adults €4.20, children, concessions free; free Sun 3pm-8pm; all day first Sun of the month. Open Tue–Sat 10am–7pm, Sun and holidays 11am-8pm

Galería Artevistas

The posh uptown galleries, mainly along Consell de Cent, showcase known artists with several zeros attached to the price. To enter, you must buzz, wait to be let in and it’s a rather stuffy exchange, though you will find some superb art. For an altogether different experience, head to the Artevistas, which features young artists, some of whom have definitely arrived. It’s very near the Ramblas but secluded from the entire tourist bustle, as it sits in a covered passageway. Here the doors are wide open and you step into a burst of color. It’s a happy place, and you might well find a budding talent.

• Passatge del Crèdit 4, +34 93 513 0465, artevistas.com. Open Mon 2pm–9pm, Tue–Sun 11am–9pm


Carrer Enric Granados is a tree-lined pedestrian street in the Eixample, beginning just behind the University of Barcelona and sloping gently upward to Avinguda Diagonal. Filled with cool outdoor cafés, restaurants and well-established art galleries, such as N2 Galería, ADN Galería and Ego Gallery, this is the place to stroll for art and maybe catch an opening on a Thursday night. Cosmo café & galería de arte sits at the bottom of the slope and is a super place to begin or end your walk. It’s a fun and lively bar/café with good music, and there is a large exhibition space in the back where Catalan designer/multimedia programmer Jaume Osman Granda is showing (until 12 June).

• Carrer Enric Granados 3, +34 93 453 7007, galeriacosmo.com. Open Mon–Thur 8.30am–10pm, Fri–Sat noon–10pm, Sun 2pm–10pm

àngels barcelona

For a more experimental art experience, visit àngels barcelona in the heart of the Raval. Internationally known artists, such as Catalan conceptual artist Joan Fontcuberta (Googlegrams), experimental German documentary filmmaker Harun Farocki, and the British installation artist Richard T Walker are just part of the impressive repertoire of this gallery. Typically, you’ll encounter an abstract installation, a visual creation space and a film/video downstairs with seats for viewing.

• Carrer Pintor Fortuny 27, +34 93 412 5400, angelsbarcelona.com. Open Tue–Sat noon–2pm, 5pm– 8pm

Taller Creativo Bencini

This gallery/workshop is located behind Santa Caterina Market, which is worthy of a look for its postmodern architectural design and its vividly multicoloured, wavy roof. From here, head to Federico Bencini’s, where you’ll find a bright space full of his magnificent monotype prints created on wood and metal. He will be glad to explain the process to you if you are unfamiliar with it. Sharing the taller is Raúl Pernia, a sculptor who creates amazing organic set pieces. Together they can transform an interior into a cutting-edge wonder. Turn left upon leaving and have the pleasure of getting lost in the art haven of El Born.

• Carrer Semoleres 10, +34 68 631 5053, bencinibarcelona.com. Open daily 11am–2pm, 5pm–8pm

Eat Meat

Located in the Gràcia, an area chock-full of boho shops, trendy cafes, and few tourists, is Eat Meat, a non-profit cultural organisation dedicated to the principle of “art for laying bare contemporary obsessions [which include] mutations of form and essence, hybridisations, new visual engineering, the sickness of the soul, other rituals, the monstrous, the transgeneric and alterities”. Camping Cannibal was the most recent exhibition by sculptor Nico Nubiola, whose stunning wood relief pieces, without being macabre (trust me), depict mutilated human bodies “like chickens in a supermarket”. Take a walk on the dark side and confront the depths of the human psyche.

• Carrer Alzina 20, +34 93 284 2894, eatmeat.cat. Open Thur–Fri 6pm–9pm, Sat noon–2pm, 5pm–8pm, during exhibitions

Ulls Blaus and NIU

How deep into the culture are you willing to go? It will help if you speak Spanish or Catalan but the young people who hang out at Ulls Blaus welcome everyone, not that you will be greeted at the door, simply accepted. This hidden taller obert sits at the end of an uninviting, rundown passageway in Poblenou. Most everything here is made of recycled material and begs a closer look – don’t miss the WC. On Friday evenings at 8pm, emerging visual artists and/or musicians offer entertainment in the small sala. Not far from here is NIU, another alternative multi-art space for upcoming artists where electronic music is the norm but anything is possible. Bars at both locations.

• Ulls Blaus, Passatge Caminal 13 (off Carrer Pallars 175, +34 66 912 2586, ullsblaus.com. Open Tue–Sat 5pm-10pm. NIU, Almogàvers 208, +34 93 356 8811, niubcn.com. Open Tue–Sat 5pm-10pm.

Palau Dalmases

There is no sign at the entrance, in the heart of La Ribera, only a doorman. You peek into a gorgeous 17th-century courtyard with a richly carved staircase behind. Is this a bar, and can I enter, you wonder. Yes, it is, and yes, you can. Stepping through the heavy wooden doors into Espai Barroc, you feel as though you have wandered into a baroque film set, with candelabras, fat cherubs, reproduction paintings, kitschy tableaux and the odd surrealist touch. The palace itself is rich in history, and worth a look around. Stick to wine or beer at €6, and feel transported to an era of sumptuous extravagance.

• Carrer Montcada 20, +34 93 310 0673, palaudalmases.com. Open Tue–Sat 8pm–2am, Sun 6pm–10pm

Day Tour in Barcelona

Barcelona is a city so rich in history, culture and cuisine, with so many places to shop and a constant whirlwind of activities and events that it is easy to forget that Catalonia is so much more than just its magnificent capital city. When the city walls become too cramped or the urban noise too deafening, the time has come to head out into the country and see the many splendid things that Catalonia has to offer, from the celebrated beauty of the Costa Brava and the sandy beaches of the Costa Dorada to the mountain scenery of the Pyrenees and the historical villages in Osona, Girona or Alt Empordà. Time isn’t a factor as there are plenty of incredible day trips, such as a visit to the coastal town of Sitges or the mountain and monastery of Montserrat, as well as many relaxing weekend getaways that are bound to please history and culture buffs, gourmets and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Day Tour in BarcelonaVisitors seeking a cultural experience have an almost infinite array of options. Catalonia is home to an immense wealth of architecture ranging from the route of Romanesque monasteries and churches, the medieval town centers of Girona and Vic and the Jewish baths in Besalú to the picturesque villages along the Costa Brava, awash in white and blue.

In addition to the many, glorious monuments that allow visitors a glimpse into Catalonia’s rich cultural and historical heritage, the region is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors, fans of adventure sports and connoisseurs seeking out fine wines and dining. The sea and the mountain rivers invite more daring souls to try their hand at an adrenaline-fuelled kayaking or rafting adventure. The Pyrenees are an excellent place for rock climbing or canyoning through waterfalls and caves or mountain biking down steep, treacherous slopes. Those who prefer a more gentle experience of Mother Nature can choose from a number of beautiful hiking trails through the rugged, verdant mountain landscape of the Pyrenees, the strange monoliths of Montserrat or along the picturesque coastal regions. Many of these areas can also be explored on horseback or bicycle.

As you can see, Catalonia is a place where people with the most diverse interests can all find something to enjoy, be it culture, history, sports or nature. In fact, the region has so much to offer that one article could not possibly encompass every available option. If even the short articles that follow strike you as overwhelming or if you are not of an impulsive persuasion, preferring well organised trips to simply hopping in the car and dashing off into the unknown, then you might enjoy one of our selected excursions, arranged and led by local experts.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta

With a touch of Italian physiognomy, this park is home to the oldest garden in the city and is an example of the neoclassical gardens of the 18th century. Its name comes from the labyrinth of cypress bushes that is located at the lower part of the park.
It is possibly the most beautiful park in Barcelona. The gardens, the structure and the architecture make it the perfect place to lose oneself. Next to the famous labyrinth, the park has other small delights: views, places for reflection or for rest. Here we can find the Boxwood gardens, with their topiary art (figures); the Domèstic, which has a planting of camellias; the Molses (mosses); the Petit Laberint (small labyrinth); and the Romàntic, which, interestingly enough, closes its area with a false cemetery. Also worth noting is the romantic channel, at the end of which is the “Illa de l’Amor” (Island of Love).

The Parc del Laberint is laid out on three levels, or stepped terraces. On the top level is a reservoir that collects the water used to water the gardens. On the middle level are the temples with cupolas supported by Tuscan columns. And on the lower level is the labyrinth, the focal point of the park.

Acces of payment. Consult tariffs to the site www.bcn.cat or calling on telephone of civic information 010. Dogs banned from all the park.

Art and Architecture

At the centre of the labyrinth is a statue of Eros, which represents playful and carefree love. Here there are also symmetrical classical temples dedicated to Danaë and Ariadne. Also worth mentioning is the neoclassical pavilion, an elegant, austere rectangular structure where social events are held. Together with the reservoir, a statue of the water nymph Egeria stands over it all.


The park is on the grounds of an estate of the duke of Llupià, Poal and Alfarràs, a very erudite man who commissioned the work to the Italian Domenico Bagutti, who worked on it until 1808. French gardener Delvalet designed the plantings, with the Catalan master builder Jaume Valls supervising the work. The Desvalls family maintained the property until the 70s, when it was bought by the Town Council. It was opened as a public park in 1971, and a major restoration in 1994 transformed it into a garden museum.


There is a great variety of trees, most of which are catalogued. Some of these are: Holm Oaks (Quercus ilex), Tasmanian Blue Gums (Eucalytus globulus) and Strawberry Trees (Arbutus unedo), among many others. Especially noteworthy is the group of African Lilies (Agapanthus umbellatus), called the flower of love, whose blue flowers fill the Jardí Romàntic with colour. The camellias (Camellia sp) give the Jardí Domèstic colour, and the red cyclamens (Cyclamen sp) add a touch of colour to the park’s entry.

Two Best Cities You Must Visit in Spain

Barcelona, the city of constant renewal, is without doubt the most cosmopolitan and economically most active city in this country. It is located at the Mediterranean sea in the north of Spanish Coast. It is an old city with an old history but has always attest its modernization by following the latest international tendencies and even outstanding them. This is reflects in the general approach to life in this lively city.

The most reason why Barcelona is famous to tourists the old city’s architecture, and there are monuments of Romanesque. quarter and Renaissance periods or still before, but most characteristic is what has been built more or less 100 years ago, truly living its history and culture. You’ll find Europe’s best-preserved Gothic.

Enjoy the modernist architecture is distinguished specially by the works of genial Antoní Gaudí, who together with his great contemporaries gave new and exciting looks to it, but has remained since then at the top of modernity. La Sagrada Familia, considered Gaudi’s masterpiece, is one must seen in Barcelona. Stroll Las Ramblas and enjoy Barcelona’s unique blend of Catalan culture, distinctive architecture, lively nightlife and trendy, stylish hotels. Your tour will not be complete if you wont visit the rambunctious La Boqueria market, where you can stock up on local delicacies.

From Madrid to heaven, the capital of Spain since 1562, is located at the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula. Because of its central location and high altitude, the climate of Madrid is characterized by warm dry summers and cool winters. Even though Madrid is far from the sea, visitors to Spain’s capital can still find Madrid Beaches in and around the area. Madrid has no natural sea beaches to call its own. However, beaches can be found just 3 or 4 hours away as well as by the riversides in Madrid. Not to worry, an artificial beach called the Madrid Rio Project is now in the pipeline. With its warm summers, Madrid can be a great summer fun. Families enjoy boating in Retiro Park and visiting the zoo and the amusement park in Casa de Campo. After eating paella and tapas and watching flamenco, night owls can dance at clubs that are open until dawn.

Madrid is a city of great monuments. Among its tourist attractions are the medieval centers dating back to the Habsburg Empire and the Prado Museum. But Madrid is not just a cultural destination. It is also a lively metropolis with many pubs, cafes, discotheques and nightclubs open late into the night. Don’t be surprised if you get stuck in a traffic jam at four in the morning, and the people you meet are not necessarily going off to work. So this will serve as a warning, beware of scammers.

There are many scammers wherever you are in the world. Wandering through Madrid is a great way to see the generous Royal Palace, the 16th- century Puerta del Sol (Sun’s Gate) marking the center of Spain, the old Moorish quarter of Moreria and much more. Art enthusiasts flock to the famous Prado, Thyssen- Bornemisza and Reina Sofia museums. Warning! Always travel with guardians! Security first.

Parking your car in Barcelona

Parking your car in Barcelona can be a problem and expensive.

The Tyler Group Barcelona expat connections suggest avoid bringing a car into the city center. Instead try using the public transport system. The Barcelona metro system can take you almost everywhere that you need to go. If no metro goes to your destination then buses or taxis are easily available and offer a low-cost transport option.

But if you definitely need to park your car in Barcelona, then we give you some recommendations and a number of options:

Are you driving a foreign plated car?

Bear in mind that these cars are more often targeted for robbery. When driving makes sure that your doors and trunk are locked and windows closed or at least not wide open so someone could reach in and grab something of value.

To give you some peace of mind it is best parking your car in a car park with some form of security surveillance, even though car parks do not give guarantees of security.

Special parking rates
Multiday Rates (parking at Plaça Fòrum)
The parking B: SM offers parking for stays of 1 up to 5 days for only € 36.20, and for each additional day per 7 €.

Rate per day (parking in Estació Nord Barcelona)
This rate is ideal for travelers who intend to start their journey in Estació d’Autobusos (bus station) Barcelona Nord.This is a fee of € 17.05 per day. It is ideal for its location, near to Arc de Triomf.

Rate multihours (parking in B: SM Ona Glories – next to Les Glories shopping center)
If your stay is from 2 to 6 hours of parking you will pay the same amount as if it was 2 hours, only € 5.65. If your stay lasts between 6 up to 24 hours is applied to the equivalent of 6 hours of parking, which means € 17.10.

Camping Cars
There is a fully serviced camping car parking at the entrance of Barcelona (Ronda Litoral Exit 24 Diagonal Mar) that for just 30 Euros per day you can have your camping car secured. The area is called the Forum.
In addition, B: SM also offers 3 parkings for campers/caravans and large vehicles:

- Mar Bella: Avinguda Litoral, 86 – capacity for 224 vehicles. WC Service.
Contact: +34 667 78 13 26

- Consell de Cent: Consell de Cent / Cartagena (41.4041 ° N 2.1834 ° E) – up to 24 vehicles capacity. Electricity service, disabled access, WC, card payment. Contact: +34 610 405 338

- Garcia Faria: Faria Pg Garcia, 71 – capacity for 178 vehicles up to 4.5 m in height. Utilities: electricity, safe, pay by credit card, disabled access, WC.
Contact: +34 93 356 09 17

Parking at the Airport
The T1 Barcelona airport has approximately 11.911 parking spaces and 12.500 for the T2.

Time Price
Until 30 minutes €0,70
31 minutes to 60 minutes €1,11
1 hour €1,81
2 hour €3,62
4 hours €7,23
5 hours €9,03
6 hours €10,84
7 hours €12,64
8 hours €14,45
9 hours €14,45
Maximum price for up to 4 days €18,30
Maximum price for more than 4 days €14,65

Barcelona Art hotels

If you are looking for style, beach location, and a guaranteed peaceful nights sleep Hotel Arts Barcelona is an excellent choice especially if you can afford the room rates! You will benefit from a modern hotel with rooms of a high standard. You can also be rest assured that the Barcelona Arts Hotel is worthy of its 5 star Luxury hotel rating – something that cannot be said about some other 5 star hotels in Barcelona.

If you are coming to Barcelona on a special occasion like a wedding anniversary or honeymoon then the Arts hotel is ideally located in one of the most romantic areas of Barcelona (after the Cathedral area -the top romance spot). You can walk along the sea front promenade at night with soft lights, palm trees, and the sound of the sea washing up on the sand.

In summary, if you choose to stay at the Hotel Arts you will benefit from a modern hotel worthy of the 5 Star luxury rating, in a quiet location of Barcelona near the beaches and marina area.

The views from the four sides of The Arts Hotel

You will have one of three possible views from the hotel depending on which side of the hotel your room is situated.

The first is of Barceloneta beach if you are at the front or the left side of the hotel as you look at the hotel from the picture at the top of this page (Hotel Arts is the building on the left side in the picture above).

Situated in the marina area of Port Olimpico the Hotel Arts is only a few minutes walk from the beach.

The hotel location, although in the city center, is not in the very heart of the city center. For many this is not a problem as the metro is only 5 minutes walk away and you are only 4 stops (10 minutes journey by metro) to Passeig de Gràcia and the very center of Barcelona. If you want to walk along the beach to the city center you have about a 30 minutes walk, or a 10 minute journey by taxi (Approximately €5.00).

Some people prefer their hotel to be situated only minutes walk away from where all the action is. If that is what you want you may need to consider another hotel closer to the Ramblas or Plaça de Catalunya instead.

There are advantages to Hotel Arts Barcelona location apart from the beach and marina being close by. You will have a quiet room which means a peaceful night’s sleep. Before I moved to Barcelona I came here on holiday at least once per year for the past 10 years (I usually have 2 holidays per year so I always went somewhere else for the second break). As a result of those visits I stayed in hotels in many locations in Barcelona city centre. I can tell you that the very heart of the city center is noisy – especially at night when the city comes alive. If you want to be guaranteed of a quiet night’s sleep without noise from the street it’s recommended you stay in a hotel outside of the very center or at least away from busy roads. In which case the Arts hotel Barcelona is in a perfect location.

Many internet hotel reservation sites claim that city centre hotels are soundproofed however from my experience this is not always the caseand you will have to take what they say with a pinch of salt. By choosing a hotel away from all the hustle and bustle you can be sure of a quiet night’s sleep.

Tapas bars and restaurant in Barcelona

There’s nothing more synonymous with Spanish cuisine than tapas, the tradition of eating small dishes as an appetizer, snack or in combination to form a main meal of the day. The latter has become a growing trend worldwide in recent decades, and that should come as no surprise to food-lovers: after all what could be better than mixing and matching all the glorious taste sensations of Spain for supper?

The word ‘tapa’ in Spanish means ‘lid’, and ‘tapas’ is simply its plural form. There are many cited origins for the tradition of eating tapas, and how they got their name, with the most romantic featuring King Alfonso X in a starring role. The King, also known as Alfonso the Wise, was gallivanting around his kingdom many moons ago, when he decided to visit an inn and duly ordered a beer. The innkeeper served this refreshing pint of ale with a small complimentary dish of food on top of the glass. The King thought it was such a good idea that he ordered all inns throughout Spain to serve food with any alcoholic drink by decree of law. A great legend, although perhaps a more probable origin is that these ‘lids’ were a custom used by Andalusian folk to keep the flies off their sweet sherry.

Find a list of typical tapas dishes from Spain and Catalonia below, followed by a guide to some of the best tapas bars and restaurants in Barcelona, and some suggested food tours.

Typical Tapas Dishes

Tapas is such an integral part of Spanish culture, than almost every rudimentary bar will have some basic tapas on the counter, whilst many restaurants have a tapas menu or specialise solely in the saucer-sized snacks. Here are some of the favourites up and down Spain.

Olives! The Spaniards, including the Catalans, are mad about olives, and if there’s only one tapa available it’s sure to be aceitunas. Some delicious Spanish varieties include manzanillas, arbequinas and empeltres.

Cod is a mainstay of Catalan cuisine and so naturally enough available in tapas form. Well-salted and usually served on bread with tomatoes.

Boquerones en vinagre
Done well these are simply divine. Fresh filleted anchovies in vinegar. Some joints clearly just pull them out of a tin however…

To the uncultured eater, calamares resemble onion rings, but are in fact circles of squid in batter. Chewy but delicious, and best with a squeeze of lemon.

Chorizo al vino
An editorial fave, and no wonder if you consider that a) Spanish cured sausage is the best in the world b) what could be better than adding a slosh of red wine?! In some parts of Spain you can also try chorizo al sidra, or sausage cooked in cider!

Ensaladilla rusa
‘Russian salad’ is a firm favourite in Spain, and typically one of the only tapas with a high vegetable count – so good for balancing all those meat dishes. Potatoes, eggs and mayonnaise are the main ingredients with beans, carrots and chopped gherkins common additions.

Pa amb tomaquet
A remarkably simple dish that occupies a place in all true Catalans’ hearts, pa amb tomaquet is simply rustic bread rubbed with tomato flesh and sprinkled with salt, olive oil and perhaps garlic. It can be served as an accompaniment to a meal or often with cod or ham as a tapa.

Patatas bravas
Chunks of potato chips served with spicy mayonnaise, this decidedly unhealthy snack is an essential side plate for any meal in Spain.

Pimientos del Padron
Pimientos are peppers, whilst Padron is the region in Galicia where these particular thumb-sized fruits come from. Fried in oil and salted, you should be careful – one in five are very hot!

A typically Basque dish (known as ‘pintxo’ in its region of origin), the pincho, or ‘spike’, is a dish of meat skewered on a toothpick and served on a slice of bread. Yum!

There are plenty more delicious varieties of tapas served up in bars around Spain, and we’ll add a few more munch-worthy morsels next time we update this page.

Barcelona Tapas Restaurants & Bars

Despite being a typically Spanish dish, the tradition of tapas is still rife here in Catalonia (where other Spanish traditions such as bull-fighting and flamenco are not considered part of the culture). Whereas many venues specifically choose to dub themselves ‘tapas restaurants’ you can find great snacks in many places that don’t. So here is the tyler group undiscriminating (in the good sense) guide to where to eat tapas in Barcelona…

Cal Pep
A near legendary venue in El Born, presided over by none other than the eponymous Pep. The succulent fresh seafood tapas is said to be the best in town, although you will have to queue – and pay – for the privilege.
Placa de les Olles 8

Famed for its eclectic selection of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, Kabara has recently added a delicious selection of tapas with a twist to its menu. As well as pinchos and patatas bravas, diners can sample shrimps in sesame sauce or smoked beef from Leon (one of the only places in Barcelona to serve it!) with pa amb tomaquet.
C/Junta de Comerc 20

Sol Soler
A local favourite with the people of Gracia, this unfussy and friendly restaurant specialises in vegetarian tapas.
Placa del Sol 21

El Tropezon
Don’t expect friendly customers service. Do expect platter loads of delectable tapas, from baby octopi to specially-prepared mushrooms. Popular with boisterous groups of cheapskate friends!
C/Regomir 26

Gilda By Belgious
Refined tapas, often with a Belgian twist, at this restaurant in Gotico. Sauteed shrimps with garlic and white wine, artesan ham croquettes with spinach and pine nuts, and Flemish beef stew are amongst the offerings. Don’t miss the signature bravas with with aioli, dried tomato chutney and a dash of coffee and cinnamon.
C/Ample 34

Quimet i Quimet
Another Barcelona legend, Quimet i Quimet is a family owned affair in the vibrant yet untouristy Poble Sec district. There’s a touch of class to everything from the mussels to the montaditos.
C/Poeta Cabanyes 25

Can Paixano
A xampanyeria (champagne bar) and charcuterie in one, Can Paixano is one of the most popular eateries in Barcelona and packed – really and truly and uncomfortably packed – every night with locals who come for cheap cava and fantastic mini-sandwichs and other dishes.
C/Reina Cristina 7

La Boqueria Market
This is where all of Barcelona’s best ingredients are delivered so it makes sense to try some tapas right at the source… there are a good dozen or so tiny restaurants in and around the market, and lunch at La Boqueria is something you won’t forget in a hurry.
La Rambla 89

Tickets Bar
The humble tapa is elevated into an art form at this Adria-run establishment that builds on the world-renowned culinary creativeness of El Bulli. You will need to book exactly 3 months in advance to grab a table.
Avinguda Paral lel 164

Remember you can find the exact locations of all of the above on our rather ‘spiffing’ Barcelona restaurants map (find the venues, plus others, in the relevant search box on the left!).

Barcelona Tapas Tours

Need a bit of help exploring this culinary realm? Enlist some professionals to guide and inform you! We’ll bring you some more experiences soon…

Flamenco With Tapas Tasting
What’s better than one great Spanish tradition. Two of course! During this rich introduction to Spanish culture you’ll first be regaled by some of the country’s leading flamenco artists in a top tablao in Barcelona’s most scenic square. Then you’ll retire to a nearby restaurant for a tasting session of up to 15 of Spain’s most famous tapas. Click on the link for more info or simply email us to reserve. Runs every night of the week and costs 27 euros per person.

Meanwhile if you’re interested in finding out more about Catalonia’s and Spain’s food culture then we strongly suggest you head over to our article on gastro-tourism and explore the possibilities of cooking classes, tapas and wine tours.

Crime & Safety in Barcelona

In comparison with other western countries, violent crime is relatively uncommon in Spain. In fact, one of the attractions for expats is the sense of safety that many feel when walking around cities such as Barcelona. However petty street crime is rife in the city and precautions should be taken to make sure you don’t fall victim to a mugging or bag snatch incident. Common sense behavior such as not carrying large amounts of money or ensuring bags are securely closed are as important here as any other city. Pickpockets work in groups, and are experts in diversion techniques. If someone tries to attract your attention or bumps into you, be especially aware as this could be a purse snatch in action.

One particular scam is to throw a liquid similar to bird droppings on a person. This person is then approached by an apparently well-meaning passer-by offering to help to clean off the offending liquid, and then the victim discovers later that items are missing.

There are also areas of Barcelona that it is wise to avoid after dark, in particular the southern end of Las Ramblas, which although is not dangerous, can be dark and insecure. Other areas of Las Ramblas stay busy throughout the night and are relatively safe, bar the obvious pickpocket menace.

Should you be unfortunate enough to fall victim to a crime, the main emergency number is 112, where you will be directed to the relevant emergency service. To personally visit a police station, you need to report to the local Catalan police service The Mossos d’Esquadra, the police body responsible for dealing with crime within the city and monitoring large public events. There is a police station in Las Ramblas (where more pickpockets occur than anywhere else) which can be found at Calle Nou de la Rambla 76 – 78.

You can also call the relevant emergency service direct using the following numbers:
Mossos d’Esquadra 088
National Police 091
Local Police (for local issues, noise etc) 092
Ambulance 061
Guardia Civil (for issues outside the urban area) 062
Fire Service 080