Pickpockets and scams to look out for in Barcelona

Unfortunately most large European cities in recent years have been blighted with an increase in pickpockets and bag snatching and sadly Barcelona is no exception. So we urge all of our clients to be vigilant and keep all valubles close and safe especially in crowded areas such as the airport, metro and busy streets such as the Ramblas.

If you are flying in to Barcelona airport and collecting a hire car and heading up to Girona or the Costa Brava you also have to be vigilant. We know at least two people who have been robbed on the roadside and the pólice say that it happens everyday. If you hear a loud noise coming from the car while you are driving and then a car at the side pointing to the rear of your car ignore them and don’t stop! This scam involves three people in the other car, the driver, a woman passenger and one hiding in the back. What they do is target hire cars (they can spot them a mile off) approaching from behind where the person in the back fires a catapult at your car and then hides on the back seat. Then the car draws level and the woman passenger points to the rear of your car indicating something amiss with the car. You pull over and the other car also stops in front of you. The driver stays in the car with the engine running while the woman gets out and takes you to the back of your car. While you are looking under the car either she or the third person grabs valubles from the car and then speed off.

If you stop at a motorway service station on the way between the airport and your destination it is advisable that one person stay with the car while the others use the services as we have also heard stories of people losing all their belonings. The thieves can easily spot hire cars and know that travellers will have a lot of valuble possessions with them in the car.

At the same time while we urge our clients to be vigilant we also don’t want you to be over careful or paranoid and as a consequence not get the most out of the beautiful city during your time here. Just try not to carry too much cash around with you and keep wallets and purses well out of reach and you will be fine.

It is a good idea to prepare photo copies of Passports and other important documents before you travel. You should also keep a list of important phone numbers such as Banks or credit card companies that you can call to cancel cards in case of theft.

If you are unlucky enough to be a victim of crime while in Spain the first thing you will need to do after cancelling your cards is to make a report at a Police station. In Catalonia there are various types of police; Guardia Civil, Guardia Militar and Mossos d’Esquadra. To make a police report it is necessary to speak to the Mossos d’Esquadra. This report will be necessary for insurance claims.

If your Passport is stolen you will need to make an apointment to visit your Consulate. Here is a list of all the Consultes in Barcelona

Guided tours in Barcelona

The Catalan city of Barcelona is without doubt one of the most loved and visited cities within Europe and welcomes more than seven million visitors each year.
Sagrada Familia, The Ramblas, Park Güell, Casa Battlo are some of the better know attractions of the city and although they are a “must do” there’s so much more that the city has to offer the seasoned traveller.

There’s countless guide books you can read about the city which will give you some great pointers but to find those off the beaten track gems you really need an insider’s help to get the most out of your time in the city. Again, there’s lots of guides out there to choose from but we highly recommend the British Ex-Pat Simon Harris. Simon has been living in Barcelona since 1988 and knows the city like the back of his hand. Fluent in both Catalan and Spanish Simon is the man behind the website http://www.barcelonas.com/

The website lists ideas of places to visit and things to see but Simon is also available to give private guided tours and can be contacted from the website. Let him know what your interests are and Simon can arrange a bespoke itinerary best suited to your interests and Schedule.

For those of you interested in history Simon is also the author of the book “Catalonia is not Spain” which gives a detailed account of over a thousand years of Catalan history up to the present day. I truly believe that in understanding the history of the often troubled relationship between Catalonia and Spain visitors will appreciate more their time in Barcelona and Catalonia.

Golf courses on the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava is not just about the amazing beaches and award winning cuisine. Here you will find some of the best Golf courses in Spain with no less than eight courses to choose from.
The first golf course to be built on the Costa Brava was at Pals, close to Begur, in 1966 and is still a firm favourite with many golfers. The PGA Catalunya resort has two courses, built in 1999 and 2005 respectively and is perhaps regarded as the best golf course in Catalonia, if not the whole of Spain.
Here is a map with the locations of all the golf courses indicated: