Whenever I visit another country I detest the idea that I might come across as the stereotypical tourist, they always make me cringe. Accordingly, I have written about the five things not to do if you want to avoid being an annoying tourist in Barcelona.
1. Wear an appropriate attire
When it’s 13 degrees outside, don’t wear a vest and shorts. It seems that half of the tourists visiting Barcelona, especially from Britain, have little concept of seasons and believe it stays hot all year round; well it doesn’t. So don’t wear flip-flops in January or wear sunglasses when it’s overcast. Please, use some common sense because you’re giving all of us Brits a bad name!
2.Don’t just speak in your native language
This is mostly aimed at the Brits and Americans who seem to find it difficult to acknowledge that Spain is a different country with a different language. In fact, Catalan is a region of Spain with their own ancient dialect. Catalonians are proud of their culture and both Spanish and Catalan are important parts of this. So please don’t just bark English when ordering food or asking questions in a supermarket. Locals don’t expect you to learn Spanish before you visit but at least give some basics a try. I know it’s an obvious cliché that English tourists just speak louder and slower, and it’s a fairly common joke. But trust me, the locals don’t find it funny.
3. Don’t spend your whole visit on Las Ramblas!
Barcelona is a big place, and it has a plethora of bars and restaurants serving authentic Spanish food and drinks in beautiful and idyllic settings. Las Ramblas is the street that everyone heads to, but in fact it has very little authentic Spanish food and drinks and is full of American fast food chains and souvenir shops. Whilst it would be unfair to say that there are no good places to eat or drink on the famous street, 99% of them are tacky, overpriced and are ridiculed by the locals. So please, when you visit Barcelona, don’t sit on Las Ramblas with a giant glass of Sangria or a giant glass of beer and instead make an effort to seek out the local gastronomic delights buried within the city
4. Give Spanish food a try
When eating out, try local drinks and food and refrain from simply ordering food found in your own nation. As a Brit, I hate seeing tourists order food or drink in Barcelona that they can eat back home. In Spain there are a number of famous drinks and traditional dishes, so don’t go in a restaurant and order Guinness, or worse go to McDonalds and buy a Big Mac! Instead, try something Spanish, perhaps some paella and cava? Also, for the love of all that is holy, don’t spend your entire visit in one of the millions of Irish pubs around the city!
5. Respect the local inhabitants
Finally, recognise that the city is full of people who are trying to live and work here. So please don’t stop in the middle of a busy pavement to take a photograph or get a map out in the middle of a road! Think about the things that tourists do which annoy you back home. Have some respect for Barcelona and its local inhabitants and they will make your stay much more pleasant!