Barcelona Tours & Trips
There's a lot more to Barcelona than lying on the beach, and if you want to make the most of your time in the Catalan capital and get a real insight into the city then you won't regret in investing some of your travel budget on a tour of the town. Tours of Barcelona come in all shapes and sizes, such as traditional walking tours, where a well-informed guide talks you through top sites like the Gothic Cathedral, La Sagrada Familia and the Ciutadella Park (to name but a few!), to more energetic bike tours, where a bit of pedal power will help you see the best of the city in little more than an afternoon. Meanwhile lazy bones can opt for motorised tours, either by scooter where you do battle with the Barcelona traffic in between attractions, or by the hop-on hop-off tour bus service which enables you to take in the city at your own pace. If you really want to go for broke however take a helicopter ride and see the city from above?
Scroll down to the bottom of this article for a list of providers who can make all the above and much more happen...
Above: the view from the terrace of Gaudi's stunning Park Guell
Those fiercely independent travellers who prefer to tackle sightseeing with just a map and a guidebook might not be tempted by tours of the main attractions, but Barcelona has a vast range of tour companies who offer some truly original trips, activities and experiences in and around the city – many are well worth considering. Tapas and other food-tasting tours in the evening, pub crawls at night, alternative tours of the 'real Barcelona', specialist artistic tours, hot air balloon flights over Catalonia, and day trips to the likes of Montserrat, Tarragona, Sitges and the Penedes wine region (where you can sample some tasty Cava). And of course fans of the city's famed Modernista architecture needn't leave the city disappointed as their are nearly as many experts offering Gaudi-themed tours as there are sands on Barceloneta beach.
Many tour companies now offer experiences which, whilst not technically tours, can seriously enrich your time in Barcelona. Cooking classes in La Boqueria Market, hiking in the beautiful St. Miquel del Fai nature sanctuary, sailing trips on the Mediterranean or watching the sunset over Barcelona are just a few examples; whilst adrenaline junkies will also find tour providers offering them go-karting, paintballing, gun shooting, off-roading, sky-diving and even deep sea fishing – all popular activities for stag nights and hen parties.
Barcelona Tours & Tour Operators
Below you'll find a useful list of Barcelona tours and tour providers (hint: you can also search by 'tours' in our entertainment section to find the top rated). Click on the bold blue links for full descriptions, reader reviews and contact details on Barcelona-life.com, or use the direct links to head straight to their respective websites.
Barcelona Guide Bureau
Established way back in 1990, these expert city guides have given more tours of Barcelona than you've had hot dinners! Take an air-conditioned bus to all the essential sights, opt for a Gaudi-themed excursion or discover Picasso's Barcelona on foot. All this and much more.
A fresh new venture launched by an officially-accredited Barcelona guide, Walking Planets is the antidote to stuffy tours of the predictable sights. They'll take you for a walk on the wild side of Barcelona, such as the vibrant Raval district where you'll discover the city's maritime and industrial history and learn about the contemporary art projects that have helped lift the once undesirable area. The Walking Planets project really gives you the inside picture of both historic and contemporary Barcelona. They also have tours of Barri Gotic and El Born and private artistic tours.
Hola! Barcelona Tours
Hola! Barcelona Tours have a little something for everyone, starting with walking tours of El Gotico to their signature City Tours of the entire metropolis that take in every essential attraction, from Gaudi to Poble Espanyol, via comfortable private transport. Also on offer are tapas tours, flamenco shows and even 'sight-jogging'. Hola! Barcelona Tours also specialise in cruise excursions for those who are only coming onto terra firma for a few hours! An international set up, they pride themselves on their customer service.
Barcelona City Tours
These travel experts have grouped all of Barcelona's best experiences under their expansive umbrella and a quick browse of their website reveals a host of tempting options, from bus tours of the city's most famous monuments to themed walking tours tracing the footsteps of Gaudi and Picasso. Also on offer are a host of day trips to exciting destinations such as Tarragona, Sitges and Vic. Fancy something a little different? How about private hot air balloon ride?
Purveyors of exquisite and original experiences, Lifestyle Barcelona specialise in arranging a tantalising mix of romantic, action-packed, sporty and luxury days - and nights - out. Chakra hot stone massages, deep sea fishing, abseiling and acrobatic plane flights are just some of the memorable activities on offer. So whether you're a couple on a romantic break, a group of lads/girls enjoying a last weekend of freedom or a corporate team in need of entertaining you'll find yourself well catered for.
Local-based passionate travel consultants, BCN Travel can help organise everything to do with your trip to Barcelona from your airport transfers to your accommodation - and of course your entertainment and sightseeing itineraries. A great service particularly if you're travelling in a large group! Their website has plenty of excursion ideas, or drop them a line with your requirements. BCN Travel are wholly committed to responsible tourism, so you can discover Catalonia with as small a carbon footprint as possible.
Steel Donkey Experience
Looking for something a little bit different to do? You may have just found it! Proponents of 'alternative toursim' the friendly folk at Steel Donkeys are all about sidestepping the well-beaten tract and exploring the untouched corners of this fascinating city. They only travel in small groups (2-8 people) and go by bike, meaning they can show you the likes of Gracia, Poblenou and Poble Sec all in one day! There's a strong emphasis on the experiential element of travel, so expect not just to listen and learn but also stop off at markets, tapas bars, vintage shops and forgotten parks.
What's cheaper and more ecological than a coach? And funkier than your feet or a bicycle? Funky Cycle three-wheel rickshaws, that's what! Hail down one of these brightly-coloured beasts and you can explore the city without lifting a finger whilst your expert (and extremely fit) driver points out all the main points of interests, and tells you a few entertaining stories about life in the Catalan capital besides. There's no fixed itinerary, or length of time, making Funky Cycle an extremely flexible option for sightseeing the city.
As the name suggests, Baja Bikes specialise in two wheel tours, but they've also got a few walking excursions, if you're not too confident in the saddle, or simply prefer to see the city literally a step at a time. Whilst they offer some excellent introductory guided trips around the city, some of their most interesting offers are the themed excursions... and whether you prefer tapas, football or exploring lesser known districts they've got something perfect for you. Watch out for them in other major cities such as New York, Berlin, Vienna and Madrid.
Wine lovers will want to check out this company which transports the thirsty traveller out of the city and whisks them to the breathtaking Catalan countryside for an adventurous day out. Each of the company's three main excursions focuses around a visit to a 1,000 year old castle in nearby Oller del Mas (45 mins drive), where guests are invited to tour the premises' vineyards and wine cellars - before sampling some of the good stuff. Depending on the tour you choose, there's also the option to pay a visit to the magical Montserrat mountain, and play a round of golf at the castle's pristine 18-hole pitch and putt course.
Take a ride in a nifty yellow car - which is also an expert on everything from the Casa Batllo and La Sagrada Familia to Camp Nou and the Torre Agbar! These talking machines are the perfect way to get about the city, at the same time as you get to know it. An unforgettable day out and a great mix of tourism, fun and adventure.
Barcelona Bike Tours
Maybe it's the perfect weather? Or perhaps its the nice flat terrain? For one reason or another Barcelona is chock-full of two-wheel tour providers. Check out the best trips and excursions on our article on bike tours in Barcelona and the surrounding countryside.
Barcelona Culinary Tours
If you're more interested in the taste sensations than sightseeing tours, then head over to our page on gastro-tourism, where you'll find a range of food and wine tours to please the palate. Day excursions to local vineyards, Cava tasting, cooking classes and much more are on offer.