While Barcelona is great for independent wandering thanks to its walkable Gothic Quarter alleys and shopping promenades of La Rambla, sometimes you might just want to get under its skin a little more, so take a tour as it’s an excellent way to gain a different perspective. Here are 15 tours in Barcelona that will help you find out more about the Catalan capital.
This food-focused tour of Barcelona’s El Raval neighbourhood is a great way to sample traditional tapas, washed down with plenty of local wine and cava. Along the way, your enthusiastic guide will show you some hotspots in the barrio and regale you with stories of the past and everyday life of this once-notorious area. Although always fun to enjoy in a group, a food tour is particularly good for solo travellers. With three hours of indulgence ahead, make sure you arrive hungry!
It’s estimated that more than 3,000 people are living on Barcelona’s streets, and Hidden City Tours was set up to support the homeless by tapping into tourism. All of the tour guides are, or have been, living on the streets – and who better to show you around the alleyways of Barcelona than someone who has lived on them? These tours are great for those looking to see the city from a different perspective while leaving a positive mark after their trip by creating a job and, hopefully, a better future for a homeless person.
If you’re going to go inside the Sagrada Família (rather than just admire it from the outside), the best way to fully understand this perplexing masterpiece is on a guided tour. This tour offers an in-depth journey through the cathedral’s history and architecture, as well as some of the stories behind Antoni Gaudí’s inspiration. Architecture fans will be delighted to learn about the craftspeople, architects and artists over the years who have had to learn how to bring Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece to life. Those who take part in the tour also get to skip the entrance line.
While the Spanish Civil War may be one of the country’s darkest periods and not one that many Spaniards like to talk about, it’s an important part of recent history, the effects of which are still felt today. Nick Lloyd is the passionate guide leading the Spanish Civil War tour, offering great insight into how the events leading up to, and during, the war unfolded in Barcelona. It’s a very hands-on tour, with various artefacts that display the untold stories of that tumultuous time.
Montjuïc is a rare patch of green space in this packed city and, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a haven for the wildlife who also call Barcelona home. A must for nature lovers, the Green Barcelona tour takes you on a walk to discover the flora and fauna living on Montjüic. On route, a biologist highlights a host of fascinating information, from how Gaudí was inspired by local nature when designing the Sagrada Família to the shanty towns that once covered parts of Montjuïc. This tour is a fascinating way of getting to know more about Barcelona’s non-human residents.
If a walking tour isn’t your thing but you still want to be able to stop, look around and take photos at your will, then Photo Bike Tour Barcelona is for you. Guide and passionate photographer Alfredo has designed a route through some of his favourite spots in Barcelona. On the way, he will not only show you the culture and scenery of his beautiful home city, but he will also put you front and centre of the experience by snapping high-quality photos of you and your travel companions.
If a walking or biking tour sounds a bit too much, how about a leisurely cruise around the Port of Barcelona? You’ll board a classic wooden boat for a 40-minute jaunt that takes in the city’s monuments and landmarks from the water. Some of the highlights of the tour include the Maremagnum (a shopping centre), the Porta d’Europa Bridge, the Torre del Rellotge (clock tower) and the Sideroploide (an abstract sculpture). On route, you’ll get superb views of Montjuïc and the city’s still-in-use lighthouse that dates back to 1906, as well as pass by many docked merchant and luxury cruise ships.
What better way to get to know central Barcelona and take advantage of the city’s temperate weather than on a walking tour? This reasonably priced excursion is perfect if you want an introduction to the history and architecture of some of the city’s most famous neighbourhoods but don’t fancy spending lots of money. The three-hour journey takes you to all the classic sights, including La Rambla and the hugely popular La Boqueria, the largest market in the city.
Enjoying a cold beer on a sunny afternoon is one of the great pleasures of visiting Barcelona, so imagine trying them where they’re brewed. On this exclusive guided tour of the 140-year-old Estrella Damm brewery, you’ll learn about the beer manufacturing process, including the art of turning malt, hops and rice into a refreshing-tasting beverage. Of course, there will also be time to sample four Estrella Damm beers. Cheers!
While most architecture lovers know of Gaudí – the mastermind behind the Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló and other Modernisme (Catalan Modernism) buildings – not everyone is as familiar with the work of Lluís Domenèch i Montaner, another prominent Modernisme architect. His Palau de la Música Catalana is one of the city’s most impressive landmarks, and it’s open to the public for guided tours every day outside of performance times.
Take a customised tour from Hi. This is Barcelona to go beyond typical tourist activities and see the real Barcelona. As well as visiting the city’s well-known sights and learning its history, the tours will also take you to some hidden corners to unearth secret gems that have taken guides years to discover. Furthermore, the company invites you to tell them about your interests ahead of the tour so that they can show you the places that will really excite you.
Beautiful landscapes await beyond Barcelona’s city limits, and this half-day tapas and wine tour in Montserrat will please oenophiles, nature lovers and history buffs alike. You’ll be taken to a 1,000-year-old Medieval castle in the foothills of Montserrat, home to the family-run Oller del Mas Winery, which produces some of the best wines in the region. On the tour, you will gain knowledge of vinification, stroll through the vineyards and sample six delicious wines paired with locally made cheeses. During the experience, you’ll also get the chance to see the 11th-century Benedictine abbey of Montserrat, one of Catalunya’s most important spiritual sites.
Although the great Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, he spent his formative years in Barcelona. And despite actually living most of his life in France, Picasso considered Barcelona, perhaps more than anywhere else, his true home. On this Picasso walking tour, you’ll follow in the artist’s footsteps to explore his old neighbourhood and favourite haunts, such as creative hang-out Els Quatre Gats. Afterwards, you’ll skip the line at the Museu Picasso and enjoy a guided visit to see Picasso’s earlier work.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Tara Jessop.
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