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Ruta nocturna pel Cementiri de Montjuïc

21 of the best alternative Barcelona tours

Whack on your comfiest shoes and get to know the city on one of these out-of-the-ordinary Barcelona tours

By Abby Narishkin and Michael Marti
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It may seem obvious, but by far the best way to explore this sprawling the city is by jumping on a tour. Whether it’s Gaudí, the beaches or the whole load of top-notch restaurants that have drawn you here, walking, cycling or running your way round en grupo is your best bet to really get to know the Catalan capital. Our pick of the best tours in Barcelona packs in all the essential things to do here – a stroll down La Rambla, a quick stop at the Sagrada Família – but also some routes that’ll take you past the traps and off the beaten path, all with the help and direction of knowledgeable guides primed for questions and armed with answers.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Barcelona

Best walking tours in Barcelona

barcino

1. Old Town walk

Walking Planets takes you on a combination walking tour of the controversial and influential Raval neighbourhood, the historical streets of the Gothic Quarter and past the swanky gems in the Born. All of their tours are offered in English, Catalan, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Price: €85/group or €130/group (of any size)
Duration: 2h or 3h
Website: www.walkingplanets.com

The Barcelona Taste Tapas Tour

2. Tapas walk

For those who are intimidated by the millions of tapas bars lining La Rambla and peppered around Barceloneta, The Barcelona Taste's walk gives you a sample of three to four different family-owned jewels in neighbourhoods like the Gothic Quarter, Poble-sec and the Eixample. Here’s your chance to sidestep the crowds and learn about local cuisine from guides who really know their stuff. Tours available in English or Spanish.

Price: from €100/person
Duration: 3h-3.5h
Website: thebarcelonataste.com

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Horta

3. Forgotten neighbourhoods

Get a backstage pass to Barcelona with My Favourite Things, who offer themed or by-neighbourhood tours. If you want to get out of the city centre, try their Forgotten Neighbourhoods Tour that takes you through the influential and often passed-over Horta and El Carmel barrios. They also offer tours based around wine, gastronomy, street art, architecture and more in English, Dutch, Spanish, French, German and Italian.

Price: €120/group
Duration:
4h
Website: www.myft.net

Spanish Civil War Tour

4. Spanish Civil War tour

Led by your guide Nick Lloyd, the Spanish Civil War tour transports you to a time of bombings, anarchism and rebellions. Discover the Barcelona of George Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catalonia’ and learn about the scars that remain today from the turbulence of 1936 to 1939. Tours in English.

Price: €30 adults; €15 children (ages 11-15); under-11s free
Duration: 4.5h
Website: iberianature.com

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Sandemans Walking tour

5. Free walking tours

Rain or shine, follow the umbrellas on these free walking tours of Barcelona. Whether you go with Runner Bean Tours or Sandeman’s New Europe, you'll step into the rich history, bustling streets and everyday energy of this Mediterranean city. The passionate and enthusiastic local guides work solely on tips, so bear that in mind when it comes time to thank them at the end. Tours available in English and Spanish.

Price: Free
Duration:
2.5h
Website: runnerbeantours.com and www.neweuropetours.eu

Barcelona Guide Bureau Gaudi Tour

6. Gaudí walk

Experience Antoni Gaudí’s most iconic works in this comprehensive tour of the late architect’s life in Barcelona. Learn the folk tale that inspired Casa Batlló and the reason the Sagrada Família remains unfinished to this day. This is a must for anyone new to Gaudí, his style or modernisme. Tours in English. 

Price: €89 adults; €44 children (ages 3-12); under-12s free
Duration: 3.5h
Website: www.barcelonaguidebureau.com

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Secret City Trails

7. Play your way around town

Here’s a fun way to explore Barcelona: while playing a game. Secret City Trails offers five games in English (and one in Spanish) that take you around the Old City, the Raval, Gràcia or Barceloneta, and one especially for discovering drinking holes in Gràcia at night. Their app is your guide, and you follow instructions and solve riddles as you wander through neighbourhoods and uncover local secrets found by the game’s creators who have travelled the paths before you. Each game is suitable for between one and five players and has different suggested timetables, meeting points and amount of puzzles to solve.

Price: €14-€24
Duration: 45 min to 2.5h, depending on the tour
Website: www.secretcitytrails.com

Devour Barcelona Food Tours, tapas and flamenco
Photo: Devour Barcelona Food Tours

8. Tapas & flamenco tour

If you want to immerse yourself in Spanish culture for one night, then this is your tour. As you enjoy a traditional aperitif, your Devour Barcelona guide explains the origin of arguably Spain’s most famous dance, the flamenco. Then, it’s showtime! You’re taken to a 17th-century palace, where you can enjoy to the fullest the spectacle of passion known as flamenco. Finally, your evening concludes with some delicious tapas, wine and dessert. All of this while you absorb the beauty of the Gothic Quarter at night. This tour offers a truly local experience and is presented to you by an English-speaking guide.

Price: €99/adult, €69 under-12s
Duration: 3h
Website: https://devourbarcelonafoodtours.com/

Best scary tours in Barcelona

Runner Bean Dark Past Walking Tour

'The Dark Past' night walking tour

On this history-based night-time tour, you'll start at the Arc de Triomf and follow Runner Bean Tours through Barcelona’s dark and creepy history. Although this isn’t a scary tour in the paranormal sense, be prepared to get a little shaken by some of Barcelona’s legends and historical truths. Offered only in English, the Dark Past night tour isn’t recommended for children under 14. Available year round except December 24 to March 14 when there are no scheduled group tours (private tours only during these dates). Also be sure to check out Runner Bean’s free city tours.

Price: €16/person
Duration: 2h
Website: www.runnerbeantours.com

Get your guide medieval torture and dark history tour

Medieval torture and dark history tour

Set against a backdrop of the Spanish Inquisition and medieval torture, this two-hour English-only tour walks you through Barcelona’s darkest legends. The tour is based wholly on historical facts, and the company Get Your Guide lets Barcelona’s dark history rattle you by itself.

Price: €16/person
Duration:
2h
Website: www.getyourguide.com

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Basílica dels Sants Just i Pastor

Forbidden tour

Barcelona is a city full of colour and light, yet it has a dark side too, which has been overlooked by so many. And yet it will always exist. This tour, organised by Sandeman, tells you the tales of torture, murder and even vampires that were rumoured to walk the streets of the city. Your local guide also shows you the site where the biggest brothel in town used to stand. This tour is the perfect opportunity for those who want to see a side of Barcelona history that you likely won’t find mentioned in guidebooks.

Price: €14/adult, €12/student
Duration: 2h
Website: www.neweuropetours.eu

Refugi 307

Underground bunker tour

One of the over 1,000 bomb shelters that were built during the Spanish Civil War, Refugi 307 is a monument to all the civilians who packed into its cramped corners and hoped that they would survive yet another wave of indiscriminate bombing. Indeed, the Spanish conflict was a testing ground for this type of bombing that would later be deployed during World War II. The shelter itself is nearly 400 meters of tunnels that are just over 2 metres high and between 1.5 and 2 metres wide. It also includes several basic facilities and allows you to imagine the sheer terror that people must have felt as the world above them was being obliterated by bombs. Guided tours are available in English at 10.30am on Sundays. (Optional group tours with advance booking available Monday to Saturday.)

Price: €3.50
Website: https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/

Best bicycle tours in Barcelona

Ciclo tour Barcelona night tour

Night bike tour

No reservations needed for this cycling adventure that runs from summer to autumn. Climb on one of their bikes and follow the red-shirted guide through Barcelona’s special night-time hotspots. Pass the Magic Fountains of Montjuïc, the nightlife of Barceloneta and finish up with a cool drink along the beach. Although mostly in English, Ciclo Tours also offers Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Catalan translations.

Price: From €22 (includes a bike, helmet and a drink along the beach)
Duration: 3h (starts 7.30pm; Jun 1 – Sep 30, Thu-Sun; Oct, Fri, Sat)
Website: www.barcelonaciclotour.com

steel donkey bike tour

Alternative bike tour

Interact with an alternative side of Barcelona in this innovative tour by Steel Donkey Bike Tours. You’ll get the well-known anecdotes, but these local guides will take you to the back corners of Barcelona to pedal off the beaten path. Schedule a private tour or opt for a small group tour. Most tours are done in English, but Spanish and Mandarin tours are also available upon request.

Price: €35/person in regular tour; max 10-12 people (bike included)
€65/person in private group tour; min 2 people (bike included)
Duration: 4-5h
Website: www.steeldonkeybiketours.com

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Gaudí Bike Tour
Photo: Barcelona Turisme

Gaudí bike tour

If you’re looking to explore the many creations of Antoni Gaudi while staying active, then this bike tour is made for you. During this adventure, you see some of the most iconic buildings designed by one of the greatest 20th-century architects, including the Sagrada Família and Palau Güell. Plus there are bonus stops in some of Barcelona’s most famous locations like Plaça Reial, where you find out what Gaudí contributed there. Finally, all of this done at a relaxing pace with plenty of rest stops, and the tour is offered in English.

Price: €27.50
Duration: 3h
Website: https://bcnshop.barcelonaturisme.com/

Best running tours in Barcelona

bcn run

Montjuïc/Olympic Park Tour

Since 2009, Go! Running Tours Barcelona has shown visitors the city in their running shoes. Test out your athleticism with their 8km Montjuïc Hill/Olympic Park Tour. On this tour, runners are rewarded with spectacular views over Barcelona and the 1992 Olympic venues. Stop for explanations and pictures of the Magic Fountain (which you can go back to at night to enjoy) and the Palau Nacional  / MNAC museum as you make your ascent. If you’re looking for a lighter jog, the company also offers some easier routes for early risers or modernisme enthusiasts. Or try your luck at a tougher route through the Old Town or Collserola.

Price: From €65/person
Duration: 1.50-2h
Website: www.runningtoursbarcelona.com

Best cemetery tours in Barcelona

El petó de la mort, cementiri del Poblenou

Montjuïc and Poblenou cemetery tours

Use the QR codes scattered throughout the Barcelona cemeteries of Montjuïc and Poble Nou to take yourself on a tour of these cities of the silent. Wander through the haunting mausoleums, in-earth graves and family tombs that stand today as classic examples of funerary art. Available in English, Catalan, Spanish and French.

Price: Free
Duration: Self-guided, determined by you
Website: www.cbsa.cat/montjuic-route (Montjuïc); www.cbsa.cat/poblenou-night-route (Poble Nou)

Best art and shopping tours in Barcelona

raval street art

El Raval street art tour

Known for its colourful accents, trendy shops and once-seedy past, the Raval is the backdrop of this open-air gallery in the heart of the city. Barcelona Street Style guides spend an afternoon showing you the masterpieces of Barcelona’s urban art talent. This tour of graffiti culture is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. Daily tours are offered in English, and Spanish, French and Catalan tours are available with advanced booking.   

Price: Free
Duration: 2-2.5h
Website: barcelonastreetstyletour.com 

Picasso & Dalí's Barcelona Tour
Photo: Artspace Tours

Picasso and Dali’s Barcelona Tour

More than just a simple walking tour, this experience is a must for fans of art or history to discover more information about two of Catalonia’s most famous sons – Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Yes, we know Picasso was from Málaga, but he left his heart in Catalonia. You’ll see everything from the buildings and squares that inspired these two geniuses to the various bars and restaurants they frequented with their contemporaries, and even each other. Other attractions include the unmissable Barcelona Cathedral and narrow backstreets of the Born neighbourhood. This tour is available in English.

Price: €26/person
Duration: 3h
Website: https://artspacetours.com/

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shopping

Shopping tour

If you love shopping in foreign countries but can get overwhelmed when deciding where to go for what you want, Forever Shopping Tours is for you. Their guides will design a custom tour around what you're looking for, taking you through Barcelona’s trendy fashion districts, and they'll help translate and direct you throughout the day. Choose one area of the city or hop between multiple neighbourhoods on a day filled with shopping fever.

Price: From €335
Duration: 4h
Website: www.foreverbarcelona.com

The treasures shopping

Shopping treasures tour

Attention shoppers: while you’re in Barcelona, get in touch with The Treasures for shopping-spree ideas, and let them tailor-make the perfect day of splurging just for you. Specialising in local flavour, your Treasures tour guide will take you to smaller, lesser-known charming boutiques and design studios.

Price: Varies
Duration: Determined by you
Website: thetreasures.es

 

Need more sightseeing inspiration?

50 unmissable attractions in Barcelona

Attractions

From the indescribable beauty of the Sagrada Família and other Gaudí wonders to the city’s world-famous beaches and parks, Barcelona has it all. Loaded up on tapas and drinks and want to see the sights? Here’s our guide to the 50 attractions you shouldn’t miss.

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