Tourists slam crowded Spanish destination and say it has ‘lost romantic charm’

Barcelona is one of Europe’s top destinations and many tourists landing in the Spanish city head straight to Las Ramblas. The busy pedestrianised street stretches for 1.2km from the heart of the city to the port.

The famous tree lined street is a popular spot for street performers and mime artists. Tourists will find restaurants and cafes with lively terraces on both sides of the street.

However, the top destination also has a reputation for pickpockets and was named the worst spot for theft in Europe in a recent study. But it’s not just pickpockets that are ruining the experience for tourists.

A tourist wrote on Tripadvisor that the popular street had “lost its romantic charm”. They said: “The quiet romantic feel has been replaced by bawdy bachelor and bachelorette parties coming from out of Spain.

“Sex shops, tacky obscene t-shirt tops and paraphernalia shops are now commonplace and when I was there in June, there were many groups of men and women drinking to get drunk, resulting in very smelly streets the next morning.”

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Another tourist wrote: “Don’t bother. Las Ramblas is a horrid tourist trap with nothing decent to see, eat, drink or buy. Save the time you would spend on this awful street.”

‘CS24’ wrote: “I came to Las Ramblas around 20 years ago and I remember the street being vibrant and full of energy and life. I visited the street today and the soul has gone.”

While Las Ramblas definitely wasn’t for everyone, some tourists said they had enjoyed their experience on the street.

One said: “There is so much to see around here. Such a beautiful street with street artists later on.”

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Tourists who want to visit Las Ramblas should try to keep any valuables concealed to avoid drawing the attention of pickpockets. It’s a good idea to leave expensive items in a hotel safe.

Pickpockets may try to distract tourists using tricks so travellers should remain vigilant particularly if someone is trying to attract their attention.

While Barcelona has struggled to cope with the number of tourists, there are still several quieter spots to explore. Tourists could check out Els Encants flea market, the city’s oldest.

If the famous La Boqueria food market is too crowded, there are several other similar spots to try. Santa Caterina market has fresh produce for sale without the crowds.

Barcelona has taken steps to reduce tourism and from October, cruise ships will no longer be able to dock in the city centre.

However, even some of the UK’s top attractions are struggling to cope with high numbers of tourists. Buckingham Palace was recently named England’s most crowded landmark.

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