We have visited Spain many times but unbelievably it was our first visit to Barcelona. From experience, we’ve found that the best way to familiarise yourself with a new city is a walking tour, preferably on the first day. They are a great way to get the feel of the city and check out the different neighbourhoods. They are also a good way to get a bit of fresh air and to clear your head after all the travelling and drinking too much airline wine.
This time we booked a ‘free‘ walking tour by NewBarcelona. What they exactly mean by ‘free‘ is that there is no fee but instead ask you to pay what you think the tour was worth at the end. They also try and sell some paid tours during the 20 min break but don’t be put off, we were not subjected to any hard sell.
Walking Tour Of The Gothic Quarter, Barcelona
The make or break of these tours is the guide, we were lucky to have Macu. Although not a Barcelona native he was very informative, funny and also very tall which helped in the crowded areas. The route led us through the winding streets of the gothic quarter from the Roman remains and medieval buildings around Plaça del Rei to the Gothic cathedral of Barcelona, the Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. Yes there were lots of imposing churches but with Macu’s commentary we didn’t get to ‘Gothed Out’.
It was interesting just wandering through the narrow streets and squares of the Gothic Quarter and old Jewish Ghetto. The area has been used as a location for many films and we passed through Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, a cafe location from Vicky Christina Barcelona. The tour ended in the the picturesque Passeig del Born which was originally the site for medieval jousting. After the tour we had time for lunch and a large sangria then back to the hotel for a siesta before the evening Tapas and Wine tour.
Tapas And Wine In La Barceloneta
Like the earlier walking tour, the success of the Tapas tour relied on the quality of the guide, we were lucky to have a Catalan local, Montse. She quickly got our group chatting and we were soon in the first bar. This was a paid tour at €20 each, although you could have done it slightly cheaper on your own it was great to have the insights and tips of a local. The quality of the tour also depends on the people in your group but as it is advertised as ‘Tapas and Wine’ I doubt if you’ll end up with a group from the local temperance society.
We visited 3 bars around the La Barceloneta area near the sea. Here we tried a local ‘bomba’, a ball of potato filled with meat and served with spicy sauce. Finally, acting like drunken tourists we also tried the ‘Porron’, the glass wine pitcher you pour into the mouth. Sensibly we first tried with water to get the hang of it, we didn’t want to pour red wine into our faces!
We had a great time with Montse and Macu earlier in the day. We would definitely recommend these type of tours during the first couple of days in Barcelona, it really helped us to get to know the city.
Have you been on any other city tours that you can recommend, then let us know in the comments below?
We flew to Barcelona with EasyJet, the first time we have used them for a number of years. You can see our quick video review on our YouTube channel.