When on holiday, do you see yourself as a traveller or a tourist, or a bit of both maybe? If you’re seeking a more in depth knowledge of a fascinating city like Barcelona, prefer sampling the local cuisine to the usual hotel fare and want to immerse yourself in Spanish culture, there are plenty of opportunities to explore Barcelona with local people keen to share their insider knowledge with you. Lovers of art and architecture, history or gastronomy can discover the hidden treasures of Barcelona on foot or by bicycle, enabling them to reach areas not accessible by coach or bus. If it’s your first visit, it’s worth “playing the tourist” for a couple of hours by going on a guided walking tour geared towards your particular interest.
Fans of Picasso can visit his old haunts (mostly bars!) and this walk includes entry to the Picasso Museum where visitors can see how his style evolved over the years. Barcelona also has many impressive examples of 19th century modernist- art nouveau buildings like the stunning Palau de Musica Catalana and Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, which you will see on the Modernisme tour, and a Gourmet tour is must for foodies – you won’t go hungry as you munch your way through samples of pastries, chocolate, and tapas in the Gothic Quarter. This area is fascinating, with many buildings dating from medieval times.The Gothic Quarter is home to the Barcelona Cathedral and the ancient synagogue of El Call, the old Jewish Quarter. Remains of the old Roman wall can be seen and many narrow lanes open onto charming little squares.There is also a maritime tour focusing on the importance of the sea in Barcelona’s history, taking in the Christopher Columbus monument, old fisherman’s quarter, the waterfront and the maritime museum.
Barcelona has a lot of pedestrianised streets and cycle lanes, and you can cover a lot of ground on the 3 hour guided bicycle tour, seeing all the major sights and stopping for refreshments on the beach. The city’s coastal climate means that it’s never too hot for wandering about or cycling, and once you have done a trip or two with a knowledgeable guide you can decide which areas you want to revisit at your leisure, and take advantage of the hop-on/off bus system to get you there from your hotel. It’s also worth buying a Barcelona Articket which gets you into 7 popular museums and art galleries, so you can spend as long as you like learning about Barcelona’s rich artistic heritage. Arrive as a tourist, go home as a traveller, and share your Barcelona secrets with friends.