Free tours of the Barri Gòtic and Gaudí’s greatest hits are offered daily by Runner Bean Tours (www.runnerbeantours.com). Seasonal ghost tours and a special family itinerary are also available. Guides expect a tip, and most participants give generously. The website gives meeting places and times.
Discover Walks (www.discoverwalks.com; tel. 93-181-68-10) are led by Barcelonans eager to share their enthusiasm for their city. These personal and often quirky walks are held daily from spring through fall (Fri–Mon in winter) and advance booking is recommended. There’s a free Old Town tour that leaves at 11am daily from the Cathedral (tips are expected). The Gaudí tour (22€) departs from the front of the tour of Casa Batlló. The Rambles and Barri Gòtic walk (19€) departs from in front of the Teatre del Liceu at 3pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. A good way to see a real neighborhood, Grácia, is to pay 55€ (39€ for kids under 18) for Discover Walks’ 2-hour Barcelona’s #1 Food and Beer Tour, which meets at the Fontana metro stop Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:30am.
Barcelona Eat Local (barcelonaeatlocal.com) offers rich 3-hour culinary tours of other neighborhoods, like the Gothic Quarter and colorful Le Raval, which emphasize wine pairings. They cost 75€, 55€ youth, 35€ kids.
If you are comfortable riding a bicycle in big-city traffic, several firms offer guided bike tours. Barcelona Ciclo Tour (www.barcelonaciclotour.com; tel. 93-317-19-70) has a 3-hour tour for 22€, departing from the Plaça de Catalunya daily at 11am and also at 4:30pm from mid-April through October. A night tour for the same price is also offered Thursday through Sunday from June through September, and Friday and Saturday in October, at 7:30pm. A free (tips expected) bike tour run by Free Bike Tour Barceloneta (www.freebiketourbarcelona.com) leaves the Barceloneta metro station daily at 2pm and lasts 3 hours.
If you’d rather enjoy the city lights and cooler evening air in a more leisurely fashion, the Barcelona Bus Turistic offers 2-hour tours from 9am to 7pm in the winter and 9am to 8pm in summer. It costs 30€ adults, 16€ children, 25€ seniors, and departs from Plaça de Catalunya. It’s a good way to get oriented on your first day, and you save a bit per day by getting a ticket for 2 consecutive days (40€ adults).
For a tour that picks you up in your hotel lobby, consider the 4-hour city tour (59€) in 12-passenger vans from Barcelona Day Tours (www.barcelonadaytours.com; tel. 93-181-52-87). The same company offers a half-day tour to Montserrat for 69€ or full-day options that combine Montserrat with a city tour (99€) or with a visit to the sparkling wine region (89€).
Escorted General-Interest Tours
There are many escorted-tour companies to choose from, each offering transportation to and within Barcelona, prearranged hotel space, and bilingual tour guides and lectures. Expensive and luxurious tours are run by Abercrombie & Kent International (www.abercrombiekent.com), Trafalgar Tours (www.trafalgar.com) offers a number of tours of Spain, with Barcelona on several itineraries. Insight Vacations (www.insightvacations.com) has an 9-day "Highlights of Spain" tour that begins in Madrid and sweeps along the southern and eastern coasts, stopping in Barcelona. Tours from Petrabax Tours (www.petrabax.com) travel by bus and feature stays in paradores (high-standard, state-run hotels -- some modern, some in historic buildings).
The Barcelona Information Office (www.barcelonaturisme.com) provides several detailed walks covering different architectural and aesthetic aspects of the city (Gothic, modernisme, gourmet, and Picasso).
More personal and expensive walking trips are arranged by My Favourite Things (www.myft.net). These cover more offbeat and idiosyncratic aspects of Barcelona and cost from 30€ per adult.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.