Best Tours in Barcelona - Barcelona Travel Guide

  • By Anthony Dominguez
  • Last Update: July 3, 2020

If you’ve ever wanted to visit a fine and cultured Mediterranean city, there’s no better place than Barcelona. It’s the only city on the planet to receive a Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Read on to find out more about the best tours Barcelona has to offer.

Best Tours in Barcelona

Here is a handpicked list of 14 great tours you can use to make the most of your time on any trips to Barcelona. We’ve included tours on foot, by boat, by bus, by helicopter, and by bicycle, as well as tours featuring special experiences. You’ll be sure to find one that suits you, and all the details are provided below.

Hop-on Hop-off Barcelona Tour

Bus tours are a great way to explore the city whilst on the move, and this one lets you stop off at a whole list of carefully placed bus stops that cover all the major attractions in the city, such as the Sagrada Familia cathedral and the Casa Batlló house.

If you’d like to skim the surface, you can take the whole tour in one go, but if somewhere in particular appeals to you then you can depart the bus and explore it up close and personal. That’s because, with a single ticket, you can step on and off the bus as many times as you want.

You can even make plans to see several places over a day thanks to a free map handed to you upon boarding. The convenience of the bus route makes sure you’ll always be able to get back to your room after a long day out in the city.

And if you don’t understand something, the audio commentary will help you make sense of it all. Plus when you’re on the bus you’ll be able to use free Wi-Fi, and receive a complimentary discount booklet for use in a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and monuments. The buses run daily from 9 am to 7 pm every 5-25 minutes.

Skip the Line: Park Guell and La Sagrada Família Guided Tour

With this tour, you can experience two masterpieces of the famous Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí, who also designed Casa Batlló. For the tour, you’ll be with an expert guide in a small group of no more than 12 to learn about the history of La Sagrada Família cathedral and take in the natural beauty of the Park Guell collection of gardens and small parks.

These command enormous numbers of visitors throughout the year, and sometimes the queues can take hours to get through. But with this Skip the Line tour, that won’t be a problem. You’ll be fast-tracked, thanks to your booking. And with a 4-hour program, you’ll get just as much value for money as if you walked around yourself, whilst having pre-arranged private transport between the two venues.

This means you won’t need to worry about getting lost or taking up time to find the venue. The whole tour will be in English, so there won’t be any need to wait to hear your language, and by capping the group at 12, you’ll get more time to ask the guide questions and find out everything there is to know about Antoni Gaudí, Sagrada Família, and Park Guell.

Camp Nou Experience: F.C. Barcelona Museum and Tour

If you’re a fan of football, then you’ll want to take a tour of the Barcelona Football Club Museum and the Camp Nou Stadium, home of the club. This stadium is also the largest in Spain and Europe and the 3rd largest in the world. There’s also a special area dedicated to Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of the best football players of all time, who has been based at Barcelona F.C. for his whole career.

You’ll also get to feel the experience of walking through the tunnel and on to the pitch, whilst also being granted access to the most iconic parts of the stadium, including the dressing room and press box. Getting to look at the trophies in person is another perk you’ll get on this walking tour.

This makes it a great way to explore football behind the scenes. You’ll also have a tour guide to walk you through the most important events in the history of the club and the stadium. Because the museum can become so easily crowded as a result of its popularity, the best way to get the most out of this tour is to visit at 3 pm.

360º SkyWalk: Land, Sea & Air

This is an all-in-one tour that lets you enjoy the landmarks of Barcelona in three different ways. A walking tour of the Gothic Quarter and the Jewish Quarter, accompanied by a tour guide who will take you to see the Church of Saint Philip Neri, a hidden gem for tourists, and then onwards to see the Town Hall and the Palace of the Generalitat de Catalunya, where the regional government is based.

Then, you’ll walk through La Rambla, a street lined with trees, before passing the La Boqueria Market and boarding a boat. You’ll then sail along the coastline taking in beautiful views of the city skyline. Afterward, you’ll be transferred to the heliport for your helicopter ride, and you’ll see the statue of Christopher Columbus en route.

Once up in the air, you can catch a glimpse of the Olympic Village, Port Vell, and much more. This comprehensive tour of Barcelona usually takes place in the morning as part of a small group. It will take between 5-6 hours, and don’t forget you’ll need to show ID to board the helicopter.

Barcelona Tapas Tour in El Raval

For those of you who get excited by the thought of trying out some exotic food, this 3.5-hour eating experience will be right up your street. It will take place in the cultural hotspot of El Raval, which was once a no-go area, but has been rejuvenated in recent years and is now packed with places to go.

A tour guide will accompany you for an evening of tapas and wine, one of the most popular activities of Barcelona residents. You’ll receive 4 glasses of wine and 4 plates of tapas at 4 venues. That means you’ll have lots of tapas and wine to try out because every tapas and wine dish has been carefully chosen for this tour.

You’ll work your way through ancient winding streets as you move from venue to venue, and stop to look at various landmarks and cultural attractions. As part of your night out, you may even find yourself chatting with the locals. Every time this tour happens, it’s a little bit different.

But some of the fixed parts involve wine-tasting with ham and cheese and having a traditional Spanish omelet. It will begin at 5.30 pm outside the Art Centre Santa Monica. You’ll want to make sure you bring a good pair of walking shoes for this tour too.

Spanish Civil War Tour

To get a more serious understanding of Barcelona’s place in Spain and the world, there’s nothing more suitable than a tour all about history. With an expert guide on hand to teach you everything you need to know, you’ll come away feeling informed about topics like anarchism, the international brigades, George Orwell’s account of the events, daily life, and the reality of the bombings.

Put briefly, there was a revolution in July 1936 that wasn’t resolved until April 1939. It became a pivotal moment in Spanish history, and Barcelona was at the heart of it. On this walking tour, you’ll have the chance to see hidden symbols on the walls of the city and stop at two bars to reflect and buy some drinks and light refreshments.

The tour runs throughout the week on most days and you should set aside around 2 hours for it. The Civil War has left its mark on the city, and it’s still a topic of discussion among the locals even today, so when you learn about it you’ll form a deeper connection with Spanish culture and society.

Flamenco Show at City Hall Theater

If you’re looking for some entertainment during your stay, then the best option is to experience the musical heritage of Spain with a flamenco show. The show at City Hall is widely known as one of the best available in Barcelona. It features a whole hour packed with dance, singing, and guitar.

The heart and soul of flamenco are transmitted from the performers to you in a live performance. Elite flamenco artists who are some of the best in the industry have come together to offer this show on a vintage preserved stage, complete with Victorian lightbulbs and a velvet curtain.

Every aspect of the show has been choreographed to perfection, so you’ll be sure to receive an authentic and powerful performance. There are three shows every single day of the week, beginning at 6 pm, 7.30 pm, and 9.30 pm.

You’ll also be able to purchase souvenirs from the flamenco shop, and if you’d like to fit the show in around a meal, you can get a special deal with the nearby restaurant Cullera de Boix either 90 minutes before the show or immediately after.

Photo Bike Tour Barcelona

The quickest and most efficient way to document your trip is by taking photographs on a half-day tour with an electric bike. The electric engine takes away a lot of the peddling effort so that you can focus on sightseeing and capturing memorable moments, whilst its portable size means it can reach many Barcelona tour attractions that larger vehicles like buses and vans simply cannot get to.

As part of the tour, you can get as many professional photographs as you like, taken along the way from any of the best viewpoints. This tour is also tailor-made, so you can choose the places you’d like to visit during the half-day tour. To help you make good decisions, a PDF of recommendations is also provided when you purchase this tour.

You’ll be in a small group of no more than 8 people so that the experience is as individual as possible. It is also a guided tour which means you’ll be able to learn about the places you visit as well as exploring them. And as a small treat, each tour includes a free meal and drink at a tapas restaurant when you’ve finished.

Barcelona Skyline and Beaches Boat Tour

If you’d prefer tours in Barcelona that don’t involve the hustle and bustle of the streets, then you can get away from it all using a boat. This tour is run by a company called Las Golondrinas, which means The Swallows, and it allows you to observe the harbor and coastline of Barcelona without all the noise of the city.

You can relax as you feel the cool sea breeze and watch the land steadily drift by in front of you, and you can use the opportunity to take some special photographs. It will take 90 minutes and begins by leaving from Port i Litoral and traveling into the open sea.

You’ll pass by famous places including the Olympic Village and the Olympic Port, along with some stunning beaches including Nova Icària, Bogatell, and Mar Bella. The catamarans used for the tour have a lower deck for buying drinks, and a glass floor which lets you see through into the sea for a magical experience you won’t forget.

As you gently cruise through the water, you’ll also be able to see some great views of the Barcelona skyline thanks to the top deck having no roof, but remember to wear sun protection if you’re taking the tour in the summer.

Palau de la Música Guided Tour

If something more musical is to your liking, but the flamenco show doesn’t appeal, then there’s also the option of a guided tour of the Palace of Catalan Music, a feast for the eyes. Architectural splendor awaits as you enter this magnificent structure, and an expert tour guide will talk you through everything you need to know.

Mosaics, sculptures, stained glass, and ironwork are all to be found inside the Palace. It is such an important structure that UNESCO has designated it as a world heritage site. It is designed in the modernist style and was opened more than 100 years ago.

One of Barcelona’s most important architects at the time, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, was responsible for its unique and valuable appearance. It was then modernized in the 1980s, but still retains much of its classic charms. This is worth exploring, but if you want to be sure of having a chance to do so, be aware that you can only get guided tours, and they sell out fast.

Picasso Walking Tour & Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Pablo Picasso remains one of the world’s most famous artists, and he lived and worked in the city of Barcelona. The tour is guided, and you’ll be told many anecdotes about the life and times of Picasso. The tour also involves visits to some of Picasso’s favorite locations, such as Els Quatre Gats Café and Carrer Avinyó.

You’ll also get to see his first studio. There is a museum dedicated to Picasso that contains more than 4000 of his works, meaning they’ll be plenty for you to see during the tour. You will be taken to the museum after the tour has finished, and you will be able to spend as much time here as you like.

That’s because the entrance fee is included in the price of the tour. Groups in the tour are kept to a size of 8 or less so that the experience is more personal for both you and the guide. It runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 3 pm for approximately 2 hours, and you’re required to arrive 15 minutes early for a briefing before the start of the tour.

6 Minute Helicopter Flight Over Barcelona’s Coastline

For those moments when you’d like to go on a quick adventure without taking up hours of your time walking around or sailing, this whirlwind helicopter tour could be exactly what you’re looking for. It is called The Costa Tour, and it gives you the chance to get an aerial view of Barcelona.

You’ll see a large number of important landmarks including the World Trade Centre, the Maremagnum shopping mall, and the Statue of Columbus. This is one of the most eyecatching tours in Barcelona, simply as a result of the amount that it allows you to see in such a short period.

All of the flights for this tour are scheduled with the weather in mind, and you’ll be able to take your pick of either a morning slot or an afternoon slot. One day before your flight, you’ll receive details of the specific departure time. And for those with a taste for more, there are longer helicopter tours too, like the 12-minute Sky Tour and the 40-minute Montserrat tour.

Paella Cooking Experience with Boqueria Market Tour

When you don’t just want to eat food, but make food yourself, it can be difficult to do it anywhere else than in your kitchen. But this tour was created with just that in mind, and now you can practice your paella-making skills in the famous La Boqueria market. This cooking experience is certainly one of the tastier tours of Barcelona available.

You won’t be left on your own as you’ll be cooking in a private school with your very own personal chef. All of the equipment and ingredients will be right there ready for you to get started, including cooking aprons. They are public classes, so the number of people cooking with you may vary, but they give you a unique opportunity to create classic Spanish dishes like Seafood Paella.

The tour also includes a visit to La Boqueria, the well-known public market, before the cooking. This event can be booked at 1 pm or 6 pm every day, and it will take between 2.5-3 hours. Once you learn how to cook Paella, you’ll be able to practice at home and keep a little piece of Barcelona with you.

Old Town and Gothic Quarter Walking Tour

For a dive into ancient history, there is no better tour of Barcelona than one that takes you through the Old Town and the Gothic Quarter. The history of Barcelona stretches back thousands of years to Roman times. These parts of the city include medieval monuments like the Plaça del Rei, a public square.

You’ll have a dedicated guide on Barcelona tours like this, and they will be able to tell you the stories that you can’t see just by looking. You’ll explore some of the Christian features, like Barcelona Cathedral and Santa Maria del Mar. You’ll also be able to walk along La Ramblas, a lively and entertaining street that often has street performers, and continue into La Boqueria marketplace.

Barcelona tours on foot like this one allow you to feel like a local, walking the same streets and visiting the same places as they do in their everyday lives. The tour will be as part of a group with no more than 12 people and will last for around 2.5 hours.

Conclusion

This guide to 14 Barcelona tours should give you all the information you need to explore the city to your satisfaction. Whether you’re interested in art, history, music, architecture, food, beaches, or landmarks, you’ll find a tour that suits you. All of these Barcelona tours have been established for a long time and have received a lot of positive feedback. So whenever you’re thinking about Barcelona tours, rest assured that this list is here to help you make the right choice.

FAQs

Out of all the different bus routes and tours available throughout the city, the best one would have to be the Hop-On Hop-Off tour I mentioned at the start of this article. It is flexible by allowing you to step on and off at a wide range of bus stops spread across the city. It is an open-top bus so you’ll get some fantastic views whilst you travel. The buses run frequently for most of the day. Plus the audio commentary and free Wi-Fi means you can get an education and do further research all whilst you’re on the move. This makes it an unbeatable bus tour and thus the best in Barcelona.

The main things that the city of Barcelona is known for are its stunning architecture like the Sagrada Familia cathedral and Palau de la Música, famous football heritage thanks to Barcelona F.C. and Lionel Messi, and beautiful beaches like Bogatell and Mar Bella. It also has unique food offerings with an assortment of tapas dishes. And a large number of bars and performance venues provide you with late-night entertainment and celebrations.

You can purchase the tickets online and present them to the driver of any of the signature red buses when you’re boarding anywhere in the city. You can get them from a wide variety of websites, such as here and here.