With FREE walking tours, bike tours and bar crawls in Barcelona, the team at Original Europe Tours make the dazzling Catalan capital even more fun and affordable than ever.
Barcelona is now the fourth most visited city in Europe, with almost 8 million people from all over the world coming every year to explore this spectacular city.
The average stay of tourists and travellers alike is just 2 nights, and many people – like me – find themselves trying to squeeze in as many activities as they can into just several days.
In Barcelona, there are 55 museums, over 200 beautiful churches and thousands of restaurants and bars in this city – you could spend a lifetime here and still find something new and interesting to do every day.
But what can you do when you’re short on time, but want to see as much of Barcelona as possible? Original Europe Tours is offering people a new and unique way to explore some of the city’s most interesting gems.
“Perfect pace, perfect bits of history…highly recommend if you’d like to get a snapshot of this beautiful city if you only have a couple of days here, like me!” ~ Jenny, NYC (TripAdvisor)
The company launched in Berlin several years ago, and have recently decided to expand and start offering tours in Barcelona. They currently offer two tours – a free walking tour which explores the main sights of the city’s old town and a bike tour which goes further afield to see some of the city’s modern gems.
I decided to go for the walking tour first. I met my tour guide, Vladamir, at the top of La Rambla at 10:30. He is a certified tour guide from Serbia who specialises in G0thic history, and has lived in Barcelona for several months carefully developing a tour to showcase the city’s Gothic charm. It was clear that history is really his passion, and he loved sharing his knowledge with us.
I had done walking tours in a few different cities around Europe, but this tour was more personal than the others I had done. We wondered down tiny side streets, hearing myths and legends about some of the ancient buildings surrounding us.
We covered 2000 years of Catalan history, beginning with the very origins of the city at an ancient roman graveyard and ending at the incredible Ciutadella Park, built just 130 years ago.
The tour zig zags through the city, passing spectacular churches and buildings that you could easily miss wondering the city alone. Vladamir did a great job of giving everything we saw a clear historical context, and giving us a brief but detailed overview of how Barcelona came to be, and the events that have shaped the city.
My personal highlight was the world famous market La Boqueria, which the guide rightly described as “a photographer’s dream”. Unlike other walking tours, this tour really lets you experience the market – we could stop to try some of the delicious local produce while hearing about the market’s fascinating history and origins of the local food.
The tour was so relaxed and intimate, and I really felt by the end that I could better understand what makes Barcelona so special. Vladamir was really helpful in recommending different bars, restaurants and cafés to us, which is why the rest of the tour group and I decided to grab some lunch with our guide in Arc de Triomf.
We enjoyed the 2 hour tour so much that three of us decided to do the afternoon bike tour. It was explained to us that the bike tour lasts longer and covers a very different route, touching on different parts of the city’s history – that’s why I was intrigued to see what it would entail.
“The guide was full of enthusiasm and willing to share all his Barcelona knowledge with us. We could see way more by bike than by foot, I can really recommend this Bike Tour to get a first impression of this beautiful town!” ~ Peter, Berlin (TripAdvisor)
At 2:30pm we headed to the same meeting spot at the top of La Rambla, where we met our guide Bow, from the UK. He has been living in the city for 2 years, and was great at giving us insider advice on the best attractions and places to go. We walked about 10 minutes to the bike shop, where we each tested and hired a bike of our choice.
It cost us 12 euros each for the bike hire and a bottle of water, but it is still a free tour – meaning that the tour guides don’t get paid and it’s your choice what you pay them.
I hadn’t ridden a bike in a long time and was a bit nervous, but the guide was great at making us feel safe and keeping the tour at a sensible pace. We followed some of Barcelona’s 200km of cycle tracks on a route that covered around 18km and passed some of the city’s most famous landmarks.
“We felt the bike tour was an excellent way of seeing quite a bit of the city in a short time. The guide was very friendly and informative. Overall I would strongly recommend it.” ~ David, Adelaide (TripAdvisor)
Heading north of Arc de Triomf we passed La Sagrada Familia – Spain’s most visited tourist attraction – where Bow gave us all the information we wanted about the church and was happy to give us time to explore the outside of the church and take photos.
Like the walking tour, it was very personal and the guide kept it interesting throughout, despite the route and format being completely different.
We covered landmarks that were further afield and learned more of the city’s modern history, looking into the dark stories surrounding Barcelona’s role in the Spanish civil war and the Franco dictatorship.
We also checked out some of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, like La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, while learning interesting facts about the life and works of the modernist architect.
After soaking up the city’s atmosphere and seeing dozens of amazing sights I didn’t even know existed, we finally arrived at the beachfront. We cycled past some of Barcelona’s most modern art and architecture while enjoying the cool Mediterranean breeze. One of the last stops was Port Olimpic, where we stopped to appreciate the amazing view and ask Bow for insider tips on how to spend our evening.
We arrived back at the bike shop after 3 hours. In just 2 tours I had seen and learnt more about Barcelona than I probably could have in a week on my own.
Make it Happen
Visit the Original Europe Tours Barcelona website to choose and book your free tour and make the most of your time in the Catalan capital of cool!
Original Europe Tours is growing in popularity, and I can see why. They have taken the free tour concept, and made their tours a personal, informative and unique experience which I would recommend to everyone visiting this amazing city. Its friendly guides, great routes, interesting stories and useful advice make this tour a special and unique way to spend your time in Barcelona.