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Park Güell
Photograph: ShutterstockPark Güell

A Barcelona neighbourhood has wiped a bus route off Google Maps to fight overtourism

Locals have been complaining for years about public transport being inaccessible, but now they seem to have it back to themselves

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

Tourism is an economic necessity for plenty of destinations – but plenty of others are getting pretty tired of it. Some are even asking visitors to stay away all together. One Spanish neighbourhood has taken a rather creative measure to tackle extreme tourist influxes – by removing itself from Apple and Google maps. Well, sort of.

La Salut, a neighbourhood in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, is home to Park Güell, the city’s second-most popular attraction after the Sagrada Familia. It’s a stunning 17-hectare outdoor space that features sprawling mosaics designed by pioneering Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí – and it is quite the display. 

However, the site’s popularity has meant the area is a nightmare to navigate for locals – elderly residents in particular have been complaining about struggling with the crowds and not getting a seat on public transport for years. 

So, La Salut has been removed from the internet – well, at least a bus route has. The 116, which many residents rely on to get home, has been particularly overrun with visitors. Given Carmel Hill (where Park Güell is located) is visited by nine million people per year, no wonder getting a seat is so hard. ‘Before, the bus was so full even people with walking sticks couldn’t get on,’ Luz López, 75, told

But now, the city council has seemingly arranged to have the route deleted online. ‘We laughed at the idea at first,’ César Sánchez, a local activist, told the Guardian, ‘But we’re amazed the measure has been so effective.’

Hopefully locals reap the benefits of this new measure. 

Tackling overtourism

Plenty of places have been introducing fees to curb the crowds over the last few months – Mount Fuji, the Hagia Sophia and the Plaza de España have all upped or added the price of entry, to name a few. 

However, much like hiding a bus route, some destinations are getting a little more innovative with their overtourism measures – Milan took to banning late-night food spots to control noise, and Amsterdam launched a (slightly bizarre) interactive campaign

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