Tourism Is Killing Barcelona: A Local’s View

Christa Adams
4 min readJul 16, 2019

I’m writing today from my balcony in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. It’s summertime. It’s hot. Tourism is at its highest. I look out below as selfie sticks extend, sunburns worsen, and loudness takes over.

Living in the Gothic Quarter has been one of the best, yet worst decisions I’ve made while living in Barcelona. I’m surrounded by beautiful architecture, fantastic shops are at my doorstep, and my favorite coffee shop is just around the corner. However, also at my doorstep are hundreds of tourists. I can’t even exit my building without stumbling into a pack of loud men celebrating some lad’s bachelor party or a squad of girls in flip flops heading towards the sea.

Every day I have to pass — nudging through swarms of tourists — several major tourist attractions such as Plaça Sant Jaume, the Barcelona Cathedral, and the infamous La Rambla. Today Sant Jaume is full of group tours, the queue for the cathedral is already wrapping around the local vintage market nearby, and La Rambla offers no breathing room as you navigate among the chaos of people overcrowding the once-upon-a-time luxurious street.

I can only imagine how many selfies and photographs I’ve appeared in the background of at this point.