City Orientation Walk I, Barcelona (Self Guided)

According to legend, Barcelona was founded by mythological Greek hero Hercules on one of his expeditions, when his boats were hit by a storm. The first 8 boats managed to escape without damage, but the 9th one was lost at sea. Hercules found his lost friends some days later, along a small hill, all safe and sound. The crew was taken by the beauty of the coastal landscape, and so they decided to stay. It was there, on that coast that Hercules and his men founded a city which they called “Barca Nona” or the “Ninth Ship”.

Somewhere around year 15 BC, the Romans established a military camp here, on the hill adjacent to the contemporary city hall. Back in the Middle Ages, Barcelona merged with the Kingdom of Aragon to become its economic and administrative center and, later on, became the capital of the Principality of Catalonia. During that period Barcelona established itself as an economic and political center of Western Mediterranean. The city's Gothic Quarter bears witness to the splendor enjoyed by the city between the 13th and 15th centuries.

Today, Barcelona is an important cultural hub and a true tourist mecca renowned, among other virtues, for its architecture. The works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The abundance of world-class architecture, museums, historic venues, ample shopping and dinning opportunities, complete with the picturesque Mediterranean Sea, draw millions of visitors to Barcelona each year.

On this walk, we are going to visit some of the city's major landmarks, such as Columbus Monument, Guell Palace, La Rambla, Barcelona Cathedral, Picasso Museum, as well as pass through the historic Gothic Quarter, so as to get a general sense of the city. Overall, this tour covers 17 sights and takes roughly three hours to walk. To obtain directions to the sights in question, tap the sight's name on the screen and then tap it on the map at the bottom of the sight's information screen. The GPS navigation function will guide you to the chosen destination.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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City Orientation Walk I Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk I
Guide Location: Spain » Barcelona (See other walking tours in Barcelona)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Author: clare
Columbus Monument

1) Columbus Monument (must see)

The Columbus Monument is a 60m monument to Christopher Columbus found at the lower end of Rambla street in Barcelona. It commemorates Columbus's reporting to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella upon his return to Spain from the first American expedition.

The monument was built in 1888 for the International World's Fair held in Barcelona that year. The bronze statue of Columbus, crowning the monument, was sculpted by Rafael Atche. Originally, the statue was intended to point westward in the direction of the New World, but instead, it points east, reportedly, towards Columbus's home town of Genoa in Italy. Underneath the statue there is an inscription reading: "Tierra" (land). Down below are the series of sculpted images of the people related to Columbus, important scenes from his voyage to the Americas, the places he visited, as well as the scene of him meeting King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in Spain.

Nearby, there is an elevator to the viewing platform from which one can enjoy a sweeping view of the area. For that, visitors must pay an admission fee.

Take the time to go around the monument which has four groups of sculptures at the base, as well as a wine bar and a store selling some great souvenirs/gifts that aren't as mass produced as what you'll find at the street vendors. You can then take an elevator to the viewing platform at the top that charges admission for a panoramic view.
Sight description based on wikipedia
La Rambla

2) La Rambla (must see)

La Rambla is Barcelona's main thoroughfare packed with colorful shops, cafes, restaurants and just as colorful leisurely crowd. It is by far more than just a street but a live manifestation of Barcelona's adventurous and independent spirit. The street runs for 1.2 kilometers from the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell to Plaça de Catalunya in the center of the city, and is particularly dense at the height of a tourist season. The pavement cafes and souvenir kiosks, lining the street, attract numerous city guests much as the local pickpockets, beware, so it's always good to keep one's eyes open, just to be on the safe side.

The prices here are a bit steeper than elsewhere in the city, but then again, excitement does come at a price, you know, and La Rambla sure gives tonnes of it. One of Spain's greatest poets, Federico García Lorca, once said of La Rambla that it's "the only street in the world which I wish would never end." Ahh...

You have to walk on Las Rambla to get to the famous La Boqueria market, which has tons of places to eat and many great options. However, if you want excellent food at half the price and to be able to actually sit and enjoy your meal, go to Mercado de Santa Caterina, which is a 10min walk from La Boqueria.
Palau Guell

3) Palau Guell (must see)

Palau Guell (or Guell Palace) is a town mansion in the Raval district, created by Catalonia's #1 architect Antoni Gaudi for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Guell. Gaudí was commissioned to the project in 1885. The construction began in October 1886 and the palace was opened in time for The World Exhibition of 1888.

A magnificent Modernist building, this is one of Gaudí's early works in Barcelona and is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as "Works of Antoni Gaudi". Designed as a multipurpose building, with flats, event and exhibition spaces, there were just 18x22 meters of floor space available to build it.

Some of the facade elements make it look like a Venetian palace. The interior is centered around the main guest room fitted with tiny observation holes, hidden in the ornate walls and ceiling, through which the owner could sneak peek at the guests, from the upper floor, prior to greeting them in person. The two large oval gates at the front, featuring iron-work in the form of seaweed, resembling a horsewhip, made it possible for the high-society guests to arrive in their carriages straight into the horse stables at the basement. From there, they could then climb upstairs.

Another key element of this building is the roof terrace with colorful chimneys installed in 1895 and decorated with broken tiles and mosaics, no two of which are alike! Altogether there are 20 chimneys, which also serve as ventilation shafts.

On a rainy day, the roof is closed, mind you, so you better check the weather forecast upfront so as not to visit here when it's wet outside.

Why You Should Visit:
Location just off the famous Las Ramblas and being less well-known means fewer tourists and a great way of saving time yet managing to see some nice Gaudí work right in the old quarter of the city.

The roof terrace is the pièce de résistance, with colorful chimneys, decorated with broken tiles and mosaics, and no two alike! Perfect on a sunny day, but don't go on wet days as they'll close the roof.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-8pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Mercat de Boqueria

4) Mercat de Boqueria (must see)

The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, commonly known as simply La Boqueria, is a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona with an entrance from La Rambla, not far from the Liceu opera theater. The first ever mention of a marketplace here dates back to 1217 when the stalls were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. Starting December 1470, for several years, there was a pig market called Mercat Bornet. After that, up until 1794, there was a straw market (Mercat de la Palla). Eventually, a purpose-built marketplace, mainly for fishmongers and butchers, was designated on La Rambla. However, it wasn't until 1826 that the market was officially recognized and the current facility construction began in 1840, run by architect Mas Vila.

La Boqueria is a great place to learn about Catalan traditional food, to enjoy light tapas lunch or buy culinary souvenirs to take home. There's also a sit-down counter/bar-like place, called Kiosko, that offers fresh fish cooked right there for you.

Why You Should Visit:
Great place to learn and taste Catalan traditional food ingredients. Good place for having a light tapas lunch or aperitif. The place to buy culinary souvenirs.
There's also a sit-down counter/bar-like place called Kiosko that has the freshest fish and once you choose it they cook it right there.

Explore deep into the market where some of the better stalls are. Try a little of everything and you won't be disappointed.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am-8pm; closed on Sundays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi

5) Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi (must see)

The church of 'Saint Mary of the Pine Tree' is a 14th century Gothic church on Placa del Pi located in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona. Its construction lasted from 1319 until 1391. Consistent with the Gothic style, the building lacks any form of ornamentation.

In 1936 it suffered great fire largely affecting certain parts of it which later had to be replaced. A distinctive feature of the building is a large-sized colorful glass rosette window (largest of its kind in Europe). Inside the church there is a statue of the Virgin and Child.

The surrounding area, developed over the years, now makes it practically impossible to view the church's ancient walls from the outside.

Why You Should Visit:
Very nice in its simplicity; a peaceful place to sit quietly and cool off while checking out the biggest colorful glass rosette in Europe.

If you come here early or late, the admission will be free (otherwise there's a few euros charge). For a few euros extra, you can climb the bell tower for a 360 degree view of the city, but do mind the timing, though, as it gets closed after dusk.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-8:30pm
Placa de Sant Josep Oriol

6) Placa de Sant Josep Oriol

Placa de Sant Josep Oriol is a cute little plaza in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona. It is named after Josep Oriol, a 17th-century priest who served community at the nearby parish of Santa Maria del Pi and dedicated his life to looking after the sick and needy. His statue tops one of the doorways overlooking the square, but is somewhat difficult to find. The square is always packed with buskers, street artists and tourists drawn here by numerous cafes, restaurants and craft shops lining the adjoining streets, and thus making it a lively spot to hang out.

This is even more surprising, given that the square sits on top of the church’s former graveyard.

There are several attractions here worth noticing, namely:
- a bronze statue of Angel Guimerà, one of the classics of Catalan literature, created by Josep Cardona i Furró;
- the 16th century building at Nº4 (commissioned by the Fivaller family) housing the Institut Agrícola Català de Sant Isidre;
- the del Pi Bar, one of the most iconic bars in Barcelona, set inside an 18th century building at Nº1;
- a commemorative plaque on the wall of the of Santa Maria del Pi Church marking the historic and rather lucky escape of the builder José Mestres who fell from the top of the church and miraculously survived, without serious injury; and finally
- the ‘Square of the Unknown Soldier’ inscription painted on the northern wall of the church by a soldier during the Civil War in 1939. Under Franco’s regime, the inscription was painted over but in 2009 was restored back to its original form.
Placa de Sant Felip Neri

7) Placa de Sant Felip Neri

Placa de Sant Felip Neri is a romantic quaint square in the Gothic quarter, one of the hidden secrets of Barcelona. Tragically, it is also place where, in 1926, the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi was struck by a tram and sustained injuries from which he died two days later in hospital.

The square lies on top of a medieval cemetery. In 1752, a baroque church was built here. During the Spanish Civil War, 20 children sought refuge within its walls one day, but were hit by a bomb before could reach cover and died. Today, the church, still bears scars from the bombardment and is a silent reminder of that tragedy. In today's peaceful life it is also difficult to imagine this square being ground for summary executions that took place here during the late 1930s, following the fall of Barcelona to the nationalist forces led by Franco.

Another historical attraction here is the shoe museum nearby, featuring, among other exhibits, the shoes of Christopher Columbus.
Placa Nova

8) Placa Nova (must see)

Placa Nova in Barcelona is a treasure trove for art lovers to feast their eyes on. The place reflects the history of Barcelona in its entirety depicted in the historical passageway on the wall. Among other notable things here are the sand cast friezes, designed by Pablo Picasso, adorning the famous Architects’ Association of Catalonia building. There are also beautiful pieces of Gothic art and architecture around as well.

The exact year of origin of Placa Nova, one of the four main entrances to the Roman City of Barcelona, is not known, although historians lean towards 1358 as the year from which its documented record can be traced.

Around August 16, the day of Sant Roc, the square hosts a festival reflecting unique local traditions.

Around August 16, on the day of Sant Roc, a feast is held that preserves many unique traditions and festive elements of Barcelona, making it one of the most unique celebrations of the city.
Catedral de Barcelona (La Seu)

9) Catedral de Barcelona (La Seu) (must see)

La Seu, or Barcelona Cathedral, is one of the most famous and celebrated religious sites in the city; a classic piece of 14th-century Gothic architecture.

Set upon an elevated ground, it is considered Barcelona's religious center. Historical records say this site was previously occupied by a temple and then a mosque before the cathedral was built.

Second only to Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in terms of fame, the Barcelona Cathedral is definitely second to none in terms of magnificence. It represents a tasteful blend of Renaissance and medieval styles, complete with a tall bell tower - a classic sample of Gothic architecture.

Behind the high altar, inside the cathedral, there is a beautiful alabaster sarcophagus of its patroness, Santa Eulalia, who is also considered a co-patroness of Barcelona. According to historical documents, Santa Eulalia was burned at a stake by the Romans for her firm Christian faith that opposed Roman pagan beliefs. It is now a tradition for visitors to leave a coin here for Eulalia.

The Cathedral is free to visit before 1pm and after 5:45pm (weekdays), with different schedules for weekends and public holidays. For a €3 fee, you can take a lift all the way up and get a fabulous view over the rooftops of Barcelona.

Why You Should Visit:
A very nice mix of church, mini park, place to relax, place to pray...

Free to visit before 1pm and after 5:45pm (weekdays), with different schedules for weekends and public holidays.
For a €3 fee, you can take the lift up and get fabulous views over the rooftops of the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Placa del Rei

10) Placa del Rei (must see)

Barcelona is known for its abundance of historic sights in general and those of Roman era in particular. The Gothic Quarter is one such place in which the most picturesque and oldest site worth exploring is definitely Placa del Rei (or King's Square).

Some historians reckon it was here, on the steps fanning out from the corner of the square, that in 1493 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella received Christopher Columbus and his crew upon their return from the first successful voyage to the New World. The history associated with this particular building is truly spell-binding as you try to imagine the scene that might have taken place, right on this very spot, centuries ago.

Apart from this, there are other interesting sites here that the architecture buffs would find worthy of attention, including centerpiece of the plaza, a banquet hall called Salo del Tinell, constructed in 1362. Another site nearby is the so-called Lieutenant’s Palace. Adding much character to the location is King Martin’s Watchtower built in the 15th century. To the right is the admirable Royal Chapel of St. Agatha. There are also traces of Roman and early Christian settlement here, the underground ruins of which can be seen.

Why You Should Visit:
Very interesting walk through the Roman era of Barcelona.
Not only describes the history of Roman and early Christian times but goes underground to show you Roman ruins from the earliest settlement.

Enjoy a cervessa, tapa or a mojito at this quaint plaza!
Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar

11) Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar (must see)

The Basilica of Santa Maria by the Sea is an imposing church, dominating Barcelona‘s Ribera district, a more authentic (and not so touristy) part of the city. The church was built between 1329 and 1383, during the heyday of Catalonia as a maritime and commercial power. It represents an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic architecture and is equally beautiful both outside (where it appears massive and severe) and inside (producing the impression of lightness and spaciousness). Inside, the basilica is a huge space literally filled with peace and tranquility, adorned with beautifully painted windows, stone carvings, statues of saints, and big organ. There are three aisles forming a single space with no transepts and architectural boundary between the nave and presbytery. The simple ribbed vault is supported on slender octagonal columns and abundant daylight streams in through the tall clerestory windows.

Climbing to the top of the church is possible and will greet you with an amazing view of Barcelona. Still, the most captivating thing about this church, perhaps, is just sitting here listening to the holly mass in Catalan. You don't even need to understand a word of it to feel divine. Even without touring the Basilica itself, it will be just as magnificent experience.

Make sure you are properly dressed though, otherwise the guards at the entrance may turn you away.

Why You Should Visit:
Very grand and very well preserved; offers a lift to the roof, small "art gallery", the crypt, beautiful stone carvings, choir gallery, and the most astoundingly peaceful courtyard with a large pond.
Lots of local cafes with outside tables so a lovely area to wander around.

It's possible to take part in a guided tour up to the roof, which is actually very interesting and combined with some of the most exciting views over Barcelona.
Make sure you are properly dressed to enter, though, as there are guards who may turn you away if you're not.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-8:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museu Picasso

12) Museu Picasso (must see)

The ultimate place to observe early Picasso is the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Opened in 1961, this museum showcases over 4,300 works of the great master at his early stage, reflecting intimacy of his relationship with Barcelona, the city that shaped his personality and largely influenced his art.

Picasso always wanted to “imprint himself” through artwork in the tapestry of Barcelona. That wish fortunately materialized, courtesy of his colleagues and friends, particularly Jaime Sabartés, adorning the city with the works of one of the greatest artists ever lived.

Although most of the pieces presented here are Picasso's first attempts at art, the overall collection looks quite impressive. It spans the period from 1917 and includes one of Picasso's best-known series, Las Meninas. In 2008, the museum put on display a large collection of Picasso’s prints.

If you take interest in Picasso's work and want to see his progression from a very young age to adulthood, manifested in paintings, sculpture, ceramics and other forms, do visit this museum. And if you do, make sure to explore the museum shop. Some of the items offered here are quite interesting and not available anywhere else.

Why You Should Visit:
Incredibly interesting to see the progression of Picasso's work from a very young age into adulthood and the unusual work we are more familiar with.
In addition to paintings, there is sculpture, ceramics and other works.

Don't miss the museum shop, as many of the products are not available anywhere else.

Opening Hours:
Mon: 10am-5pm; Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun: 9am-7pm; Thu: 9am-9:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Parc de la Ciutadella

13) Parc de la Ciutadella (must see)

This beautiful park in Ciutat Vella, the no. 1 district of Barcelona, has been in place since the mid 19th century. The name Ciutat Vella translates from Catalan as the "old city". There was a time when this park was the only patch of greenery in Barcelona - boasting both seasonal and annual plants - and, as such, enjoyed much popularity with the locals (and it still does, actually).

The park covers an area of 70 acres and incorporates a lake and a fairly large zoo, accommodating over 7,000 animals. Among them, once, there was a world-famous attraction, “Snowflake” - the albino male gorilla, who used to live here until his death in 2003. Another prominent sight within the park is the humongous Cascada fountain designed, back in the 1880s, by Josep Fontsere assisted by the then student of architecture Antoni Gaudi. Apart from that, the park is also home to the parliament of Catalonia.

Locals and tourists alike, enjoy spending time here, and especially those with kids. The park is well equipped for picnics and public holidays, plus caters for sports, such as jogging, cycling and boating. Boats and bicycles are available for hire here at a small price. The park itself is free to enter and is well worth a visit no matter how long you stay in Barcelona!

Why You Should Visit:
Escape and relax without leaving the city centre!

The park is free to enter so is well worth to visit no matter how long your stay in Barcelona.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Barcelona, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Barcelona

Create Your Own Walk in Barcelona

Creating your own self-guided walk in Barcelona is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Barri Gotic Walking Tour

Barri Gotic Walking Tour

The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona seems like a cut above the rest. It boasts a number of famous buildings, cathedrals and monuments. The area has many peaceful squares where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings. Take this tour to travel back in time and discover all the secrets of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 km
El Raval Walking Tour

El Raval Walking Tour

El Raval is a district in Barcelona which features many worth visiting attractions. The neighborhood is known as Barri Xinés, which means "Chinatown". El Raval is very lively during the day and quite awake all through the night, so visitors will always have something to do and see here. Be one of them and enjoy yourself in El Raval.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Shopping Walk

Shopping Walk

Set among the world's prime cultural destinations, Barcelona is en route to becoming one of Europe's top shopping spots as well. Fashionable designer stores are filling the streets of Barcelona with each new day, from well known international brands to local start ups. Barcelona is also an excellent gourmet destination, offering plenty of goodies to try on the spot or take home with you....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Antoni Gaudí's Barcelona Walking Tour

Antoni Gaudí's Barcelona Walking Tour

Gaudí is admired around the world as one of the most distinctive architects of the 20th century. The unique technique and use of natural forms make his creations stand out from the pack. La Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Casa Batlló and other masterpieces will definitely take your breath away with their beauty, forms, colors, and overall design. Take this tour and enjoy the sight of...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.8 km
Ciutat Vella Nightlife

Ciutat Vella Nightlife

It is safe to say that Barcelona is one of those cities that never sleeps. Whatever kind of nightlife entertainment you may think of – a classy music joint or a swanky club to have a drink in and more – you will find it all in Barcelona. This walking tour takes you to some of the best discos and bars in the Ciutat Vella district.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
City Center Museums Tour

City Center Museums Tour

Barcelona abounds in museums with rich expositions that are both informative and entertaining. The city's 55 museums cover a plethora of subjects, from art to history to architecture to science to sports to war. Take this tour to explore the most acclaimed museums and galleries of central Barcelona

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Barcelona Souvenir Shopping: 17 Uniquely Spanish Things to Buy

Barcelona Souvenir Shopping: 17 Uniquely Spanish Things to Buy

Spain, in general, and Barcelona, in particular, are a treasure trove of all things exciting. Set your foot in Barcelona and you'll be spoiled for the choice of things worth trying and taking home. Before your head starts spinning, check this guide out to put yourself in the right...
Top 10 Spanish Foods and Drinks to Try in Barcelona

Top 10 Spanish Foods and Drinks to Try in Barcelona

In the countries like Spain, food is a national heritage and cultural attraction in its own right. The latter is even more true of Catalonia in general and Barcelona in particular. Presented here are the 10 staples of Catalan food tradition, missing which would be a gastronomical...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Barcelona for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Barcelona has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money getting around Barcelona and visiting the city's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as iVenture Card, Hola Barcelona: Transport Pass, Barcelona Pass, and Barcelona Museum Pass.

These city passes combine all or multiple Barcelona's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Barcelona hotels that are conveniently located: Iberostar Paseo de Gracia 4* Sup, Catalonia Plaza Cataluña Hotel, Olivia Plaza Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Barcelona, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour of Barcelona typically costs between around US$15 and over US$80 per person:

- Hop on a “hop-on hop-off” double-decker and enjoy sightseeing of Barcelona from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for both).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Barcelona on a 3-hour bike tour visiting the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each (for 5-20 minutes) to get rest, watch the surroundings, and learn much about the city from an informative group leader.

- If you're an arts and architecture buff, with a keen interest in Catalan modernism of the late 19th century, then you may definitely enjoy a 2-hour guided stroll around the Quadrat d'Or (Golden Square) in Barcelona's Eixample borough to explore in-depth the works (buildings) of the celebrated pioneers of modernism: Domenech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch and, of course, Barcelona's most acclaimed architect Antoni Gaudí. As an extra bonus on this tour, you will get a 20% discount on a guided tour of the Palau de la Música Catalana (Music Palace), discounted entrance at Casa Batlló, free admission to the Museu del Modernisme Català (Catalan Modernism Museum), plus savings on admission to Casa Batlló. Great value and tons of information for the money spent!

- If you don't find tales of the supernatural terrifying, and if the gruesome details of witchcraft, exorcisms and paranormal activity, told after sunset, make your hair stand but only with curiosity, then why not treat yourself to a 2-hour “ghost” walk to discover sinister secrets of Barcelona, visiting some of the city's haunted places, entertained along the way by an informative commentary from an expert guide.

- Have the taste of Catalonia’s gourmet culture on this 3- to 4-hour tour of Barcelona's tapas crawling some of the city’s most prominent bars and cafes in La Rambla, La Boqueria food market, and the Gothic Quarter led by an expert food guide. Apart from savoring a variety of traditional Catalonian cured meats, cheeses and breads, as well as drinks, you will also learn how to order these iconic bar snacks in style, like a true local!

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Barcelona, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Costa Brava, Pyrenees mountain range, or Tarragona and Sitges. For as little as US$90+ to US$190+ you will get a chance to observe the picturesque villages and dramatic cliffs of the nearby Mediterranean coast, get high up in the Pyrenees Mountains visiting the historic town of Vic in the north of the country with optional hiking, horseback riding or boating excursions, or discover historical highlights of the Roman city of Tarragona complete with a seaside leisure at Sitges. All these trips start and end at your hotel and you'll be carried by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan, accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide.