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How to be a responsible tourist in Barcelona

Sustainability in tourism isn’t just about re-using that hotel towel a second day. It’s thinking deeply about how visitors get in and out of a destination while doing the least harm“, says Jason Clampet, co-founder of Skift who published a very interesting article about Overtourism and the Struggle for Sustainable Tourism Development. So how should visitors behave in a city where the tourism boom comes at high cost?


We want to help our guests and anyone visiting Barcelona to have a good time, learn things about the local culture and get to know people, all whilst respecting the local environment and its inhabitants. Here are some tips:


Dress Code
Dress like you would at home if you had the same temperature, and make sure to put suncream on the parts that don’t see the sun so often. Red skin is neither sexy nor healthy! Carry a hand fan with you in the summer months.

Photo via Don’t Be A Tourist


Use the bins (they are hard to miss although some people still manage to), preferably the recycling bins. Blue is for paper, green is for glass, yellow is for packaging and brown is for organic waste.


Even though you are in the land of the fiesta, people also need their sleep and not everyone is on holiday. Drink sensibly, even if you find the price of alcohol low; that way you get to enjoy the next day hangover-free and don’t piss anyone of.


Find some culture
Visit the lesser known places, and whatever you do, do not eat on Las Ramblas! Or anywhere that has photos of paellas outside. Instead of Sangría, order a local cava, and go see a Rumba show rather than Flamenco.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash


Eat local
There is no reason to stop at a Starbucks or Mc Donald’s. Local food is easy to find and comes in all budget ranges. Also avoid the tropical readily cut fruit from the Boquería; instead, buy seasonal fruit without packaging. It tastes better and has a much lower environmental footprint.


Don’t hire a silly vehicle and if you must, please keep your t-shirt on and don’t drive on the sidewalk.

Photo via Facebook/dontbeatouristinbarcelona


Shop local
Unfortunately more and more Zaras and H&Ms are opening everywhere in the center. All the more reason to support the local economy and the independent shops! Take a bag to avoid plastic bags. If you stay with us, you can grab one of our traditional straw bags ​and we are happy to recommend shops like Mica and the Coshop to you.


Rent fair
Check if the apartment you want to rent is legal, and if you book a hotel, check their environmental policies and social commitments.


Top Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash