It is more than difficult to get around the block that contains the Sagrada. People are standing around, and others taking pictures, while others are waiting in line to get in. Either way, it is near impossible to walk around the block that houses the church, so we used the adjacent block to walk more freely; but not much more. In addition, the tour buses come and park right on the street to allow pics, or pick up/drop off passengers. There were at least 10 buses doing that while we were there
Throughout the whole of the city, there are nothing but people shoulder to shoulder. It made me feel uncomfortable and cramped all the time. The other uneasy feeling is that is crowds there is a greater chance of getting attacked, or pickpocketed. Either way, it is tough to get around, and you are unable to avoid the crowds. We were here in October. I cannot imagine how bad it is during summer months. Estimated 7 million tourists come here annually and cram into 101 kilometer area of the main sector of the city, which already has 1.6 million in the core of the city.
Density is the highest in the world at 16,000 per square kilometer, or 41,000 per square mile. WOW; that is cramped.
Don't hang around too long about the "life statues" on the Ramblas and beware of the giving away free flower people or that somebody says you have dirt on your back. These pople work normaly in a tam and are pick-pockets.
Be very aware and dont be silly into the subway stations
my reccomendations are below
keep your luggage in front of you
dont drop from your hand your video or photo cam
try to avoid when open doors be in the center ...its likely a crapy hand push your wallet off
bag snatchers use to act in stations as Liceu and catalunya... mainly in he city center
In my opinion we got to The Sagrada Familia "reasonably early" well aparently not.
We did most of our tour with no major problem or crowd. Plenty of time for the audio guide, and to take a step back and contemplate.
When we decided to go up the bell- towers the story was another. It took literaly for ever. There are lift for those who choose to avoid the narrow steps, but the lift does not take you to the very top. Instead it takes you to a middle level where you join in the que going up. Never the less there is no staff coordinating the line. And of this is not enough, you find every single tourist in front of you wanting to take a picture as soon as they reach the exterior, they compleately forget the line that is behind them and wish to take more than one picture with each single camera in their posesion.
Unfortunately, the only way out is through this passage to the exterior and in to the other bell.
Honestly it was a nightmare, by the time I reach the top and exterior I could not bother to have a look at the view.
When we visited Barcelona at the end of June we discovered that there was a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Rally being held that weekend.
It was estimated that over 15,000 bikers were in town and I think I either saw or heard about half of them. They were a well behaved group, from all around the world, but they made a lot of noise and they really clustered themselves around the La Rambla making it very congested.
Cruise ships often stop in this port as well and with one end of the La Rambla near the port it attracts a lot of attention.
If you want to visit the Sagrada Familia be there early. By the time the busses arrive you should be in the top of the tower, and look down on the crowds waiting to get in...