Raval: Everything You Need to Know About its Safety

Barcelona Travel
| | 5 min read |

Raval is definitely one of the most (in)famous neighborhoods in Barcelona. It is part of the Ciutat Vella district and it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Barcelona. In the recent years it has had a very bad reputation for being underdeveloped, dirty and unsafe.

But how safe or dangerous is it, really? Is it safe enough for a student? Let’s find out.

Raval​

Raval was originally a working class area where many factory workers and fishermen lived. Nowadays you would find many immigrants living and working there.

The area is home to several famous places. The MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art) presents modern art, while the CCCB (Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture) hosts exhibitions and cultural events. La Boqueria Market is a popular place for fresh produce and tapas. The Rambla del Raval is a pedestrian street with cafés and stores. The Palau Güell, designed by Antoni Gaudí, and the 10th century Romanesque church, Sant Pau del Camp, are also beautiful spots.

You can spend hours and hours walking around every street discovering beautiful murals and street art, vintage stores, international restaurants, bars, and plazas. It is a melting pot where you can find people from all over the world.

But is it safe to live there?

Safety​

Although Raval has had some of the highest crime rates in Barcelona, it is still considered a safe neighborhood for most people.

There are some parts of the neighborhood where it’s safer than others. In general, the two opposite sides close to Drassanes and Plaça Universitat are generally safer than the center.

The chances of being mugged may be higher than in other parts of the city, but regardless of where you are, you should pay attention to your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night.

If you are a student, we recommend you to look for accommodation in safer areas of the city, like Poble Sec, Sants, Poble Nou or Eixample. If you are on a very tight budget, consider el Gótico and el Born before. If you are a female, keep in mind that catcalling isn’t very unusual.

Studentfy is partners with some of the most reputable and affordable real estate agencies in Barcelona. If you are a student coming to Barcelona, check out our Housing form and our student-oriented Discounts.

Pros of living ​

There are lots of benefits to living in this region. Here are some of the reasons:

  • The area is very active all the time. There are people walking around, having a coffee in plazas, etc. There is always something to do or see
  • Rent is much lower than some other areas. This could be important to you if you have a tight budget
  • The port and the Barceloneta beach: 30 minutes by foot
  • Here you can find some great indoor and outdoor restaurants and bars, like The Old Irish Pub, the biggest chain of pubs in Northern Europe.
  • You can find plenty of grocery stores to buy fresh produce as well as Middle Eastern and Asian goods

Cons of living ​

In addition to the benefits, there are also negative points. Here are some of the reasons you might not want to live there:

  • The noise can be a bit too much. There are always people walking around and drinking and chitchatting until very late hours during the weekends.
  • Some flats and buildings are in very poor conditions and some don’t have proper ventilation or elevators
  • If you are a small girl walking alone at night, it might not be very safe
  • Public urination and fights are pretty common
  • Flats where many people visit only to do drugs, known as narcopisos, have pushed out many local residents out of the neighborhood.

Recommendations​

Whether you live in Raval or not, it’s best to know what to expect and how to stay safe when you are there. Here are some recommendations to stay safer in the region:

  • Keep your phone in your pocket. Never ever leave your phone on a table at a restaurant or bar. You never want to learn that the hard way!
  • Always keep your bag closed on your lap or right in front of you. You won’t believe how professional Barcelona’s pickpockets and thieves are.
  • Don’t look like a tourist.
  • Never carry valuable things in a backpack on your back. Always carry your bag on the front, make sure it’s closed and cannot be opened easily.
  • Do not handle a lot of cash in plain sight.
  • If you are wearing jewelry, don’t display them a lot in the street.

Conclusion​

Raval is a very exciting part of Barcelona that everyone should visit. Here you can find some hidden gems, important landmarks and beautiful architecture. However, we personally wouldn’t recommend having it as your first choice when you are looking for accommodation in Barcelona.

Do you have experience living in Raval? If yes, let us know what you think about it in the comment section below.

Are you a student looking for a flat in Barcelona?

We Work with reputable flat owners and agencies to help international students find their ideal flat in Barcelona.

Modern flat? Room with a balcony? We can find anything you can imagine!

Just fill out our housing form and we will help you find what you are looking for.

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