Barcelona is a beautiful and vibrant city, and as a result, tourism is very common. If Barcelona is your dream destination, then pack your bags and get on a flight! There’s no place like Barcelona and it’s the perfect travel destination for any time of year. But before deciding to plan a trip here, we suggest that you do some research. In this blog post, we have included some common tourist mistakes that you might make when visiting Barcelona.

Proper Clothing Attire

Barcelona is known for its beaches and sunshine, and if your’e from a colder climate (like myself), it’s easy to get a little too excited about the warm weather. Although it might be negative zero degrees in Chicago, that doesn’t mean that it’s not still winter in Barcelona and that you should strip down to a t-shirt and shorts. Clothing choices like this will make you stick out as a tourist, and the goal is to blend in. So ditch the sandals for a pair of boots…..well, at least until it’s a bit warmer.

Shopping in Barcelona

Barcelona is in Catalonia

You’re walking around La Plaça de Catalunya at noon, and your’e wondering why the shops are still bursting with customers. Isn’t everyone supposed to be taking a siesta? It is important to recognize that there are vast cultural differences between Catalonian culture and Spanish culture. A lot of stereotypical depictions of Barcelona include things like siestas, bullfighting, and Flamenco dancing, but it is important to recognize that these are STEREOTYPES!

Although Barcelona is apart of Spain, it is in Catalonia, and the customs in Barcelona will differ from other cities in Spain. For instance, in the South of Spain, siestas are more typical, while in Barcelona, siestas are nonexistent. While tapas may be popular in Madrid, they are not a traditional Catalonian food. Although you will see many tapas bars dispersed throughout the city, they are primarily there for tourists. There’s nothing wrong with tapas, in fact they are quite tasty, (my personal favorite is Patates Braves), but while your’e here, don’t be afraid to try some traditional Catalonian meals!

Gastronomy in Barcelona
You will see tapas restaurants like these all over the city even though they are not a traditional Catalonian food.

Obnoxious Drunkness is Ugly

In the U.S. taking five shots of tequila and blacking out might be considered “fun,” but here in Barcelona, the people know how to handle their liquor. Being that loud, drunk American at the bar will not earn you brownie points here and people WILL judge you. This type of behavior will also make you an easy target for pickpocketing, so instead of chugging your drink, we suggest that you sip slowly.

Proper Restaurant Etiquette

The food here is a-mazinggg, and there are so many cafes and restaurants to choose from. At restaurants in the U.S. it is common to tip your server after a meal, but in Barcelona, tipping is not necessary or common. It is also very common for the server to take a while to bring you your check, because eating is a very social activity in Barcelona, and people like to sit and chat for a minute after their meal. Don’t be angry at your server for not waiting on you every couple of seconds, and instead, take the time to reflect on the delicious food that you just devoured. If your’e looking for some restaurants to go to, check out our post on excellent go-to restaurants.

Restaurants in Barcelona
Tipping at restaurants is not necessary.

We know that was a lot of information, but do not be overwhelmed! The people in Barcelona are extremely kind and accepting, and you will find your way in no time. If your’e planning on visiting, we hope that these tips were helpful. Remember that it’s always good to research a place before going, and never be afraid to ask questions. If you’re looking for activities while your’e here, take a look at some of our other posts.