16 Things Locals Hate About Barcelona

El Ravel | Michael & Tara Castillo / © Culture Trip
El Ravel | Michael & Tara Castillo / © Culture Trip
Photo of Tara Jessop
8 September 2017

The Catalan capital may seem like the perfect place to live – there’s Spain‘s famously infectious party atmosphere to enjoy, tapas to be eaten and cervezas to be drunk, not to mention the city’s museums, history and culture. That said, there are still a few things which get under the skin of locals. Here’s a list of what Barcelona residents most begrudge their city.

Sometimes the constant sunny weather can get a little boring

There are on average only 55 days of rain per year in Barcelona, and many of these involve a brief burst of rain followed by sunshine. A little grey sky wouldn’t do any harm once in a while.

Knowing which music event to attend at the weekend can be a headache

As if it wasn’t enough that clubs like Razzmatazz, Moog and Apolo have some of the world’s biggest DJs on nearly every night of the week, to complicate matters there’s also the likes of Brunch Electronic on every other weekend too.

Dj in a nightclub CC0 Pixabay

The World Mobile Conference is a wake-up call

Sure, it brings over 100,000 visitors to the city spending money on hotels, restaurants and souvenirs… but it also makes getting around the city that week at the end of February and beginning of March a total nightmare.

The food scene has never quite been the same since Ferran Adrià

Ever since the world-famous Catalan chef started using spherification, foams and other molecular gastronomy techniques, it’s been harder to get your hands on a good old-fashioned Spanish tortilla without it being deconstructed on your plate.

A spherified olive | © Kent Wang

Rain puts a real dampner on things

So little does it rain in Barcelona that when it does, the entire city seems to come to a gridlock. Getting a taxi becomes virtually impossible. All social plans get cancelled. There’s pretty much nothing else to do than to lock yourself away at home.

The Festa Major de Gràcia tests your party endurance

A week-long street party with free music concerts and live performances every night might sound like a great idea, but it can be hard-work keeping up.

A correfoc at the Festa Major | © Ajuntament d'Esplugues de Llobregat

The tap water tastes like disinfectant

Though Barcelona may only be located a few hundred kilometres away from the Pyrenees, the water that runs through the city’s taps is by no means mountain fresh.

When FC Barcelona loses, it’s like someone died

It’s practically cause for national mourning as far as Barça supporters are concerned. Especially if it’s against Madrid.

The Camp Nou stadium CC0 Pixabay

The smell of drains is enough to put your off your lunch at times

It seems that the sewer systems of Barcelona are about as old as some of its most famous monuments, and as a result aren’t so efficient at evacuating their contents.

You have to fight for space at Barceloneta beach

Many locals still remember a time when the Barceloneta beach wasn’t even a beach yet, but rather a run-down shanty town. Since then it’s mostly become a tourist hot-spot where you’ll struggle to find a place to lay your towel.

The Barceloneta beach | © Jorge Franganillo

July is madness

Even though locals get a lengthy holiday in August and escape the city, most people are still trying to go about their daily lives when the tourist season hits full peak in July.

Beware the guiris

They’re the tourists you don’t want staying in the flat above you because they make noise all night. Or the tourists you don’t want in the bar next to you because they’re so drunk they can’t walk. Or the tourists that think it’s acceptable to walk around the city centre dressed as if they were on the beach.

Not all tourists are well-behaved | © zoetnet

Bureaucracy can drive you bonkers

The thought of having to book an appointment at the hacienda (tax office) or the social security office is enough to immediately strike fear into anyone.

Sant Joan is a cause of contention

This is actually a love-hate relationship, depending on how old you are. For those of school age, Sant Joan on June 24 marks the end of the school year and is a cause for celebration. For anyone else, it means a night of fireworks loud enough to make your eardrums burst and marks the beginning of a summer of teen debauchery and having to look after your kids all day.

A typical Sant Joan firework display | © Pau

Rent prices are rocketing

If the crisis knocked rent prices back a bit in the Catalan capital, they didn’t take long to start climbing again thanks to demand from foreigners and financial speculation. What you could rent a three-bedroom flat in Sant Antoni for five years ago won’t get you a studio in Poble Sec anymore.

Pan con tomate all the time is tiresome…

Just kidding! This is pretty much the national dish in Catalonia, and is considered an essential accompaniment to any meal. Crisp, toasted bread rubbed with fresh tomato and lashes of fruity olive oil. Perfect.

Pan con tomate | © Jennifer Woodard Maderazo