The 21 Best Barcelona Tours

There's something for everyone on the Spanish coast.

U.S. News & World Report

The 21 Best Barcelona Tours

Best Barcelona Tours

La Sagrada Familia, designed by Antoni Gaudi, is the main attraction on the Barcelona Guide Bureau tour.(Getty Images)

With its stunning architecture, delicious food, sandy beaches, rich history and proximity to scenic mountains, Barcelona offers no shortage of things to do. To help you navigate the city's plethora of attractions, rely on the assistance of an informed local to help you make the most of your visit. Using both expert opinion and traveler sentiment, U.S. News identified 21 of the top tours in Barcelona. Whether on foot, by bike or aboard a boat, these tours will help enhance your Barcelona experience.

Barcelona Guide Bureau – Gaudí – The Sagrada Família Tour

This Gaudí-centric outing starts with a bus ride down Passeig de Gràcia, an avenue boasting two famed Gaudí works, Casa Batlló and La Pedrera. It then proceeds to the celebrated La Sagrada Familia, where tourists enter via fast-track tickets. Though the tour itself lasts for about 2 1/2 hours, the basilica and its museum are the last stop, allowing tour-takers to linger at the church longer if they wish. Travelers typically find the guides knowledgeable and personable. Tours begin at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday year-round. There's an additional 3 p.m. tour from April 1 to Nov. 2. Tickets start at 49 euros (about $54) and include entrance to La Sagrada Família. Barcelona Guide Bureau operates several other Gaudí-themed tours, as well as tours dedicated to artist Salvador Dalí.

Barcelona Segway Tour

You'll explore Barcelona's waterfront via Segway on this two-hour tour. Along the nearly 8-mile excursion, you can expect to visit Port Vell, Parc de la Ciutadella and La Barceloneta, the city's popular beach, among other key points of interest. Guides typically receive accolades for being both knowledgeable and friendly. Tours depart from the Arc de Triomf multiple times each day. Tickets cost approximately 60 euros (about $67) and include use of a Segway and a helmet, as well as bottled water and insights from a local resident. Groups are limited to six participants. The company also runs a tapas Segway tour and an Olympic-themed tour, among others.

Food Wine Tours – Walking Tapas Tour

These food-centric, three-hour walking tours in and around the Gothic Quarter and La Rambla involve stops at multiple cafes and bars, as well as specialty food markets. Samples could include meat, cheese and wine. Tour-takers say they enjoy the food and frequently laud the guides as passionate and knowledgeable about regional cuisine. Tickets cost around 70 euros (about $78) and include eight hot and cold tapas – the equivalent of a meal – and three drinks. Tours start at 5 p.m. every day except Sunday. Groups are limited to 15 people. For those with a sweet tooth, Food Wine Tours also offers tours of the city's best chocolate shops, bakeries and cafes.

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Photo Bike Tour Barcelona

This roughly four-hour trip on electric bicycles covers a lot of territory, from the waterfront to parks to celebrated landmarks to various neighborhoods with frequent stops for photos. Tour-takers effusively praise the guides for their enthusiasm, friendliness and knowledge. They also say that it is an incredible way to explore the city. Tours are offered daily at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets start at around 65 euros (about $72) for adults and 45 euros (about $50) for children. Tours conclude with a stop for tapas and beverages (for purchase separately). Among the company's other offerings are private biking tours and tapas walking tours.

Runner Bean Tours Barcelona – Gaudí Free Tour

The Gaudí Free Tour highlights distinctive sites around the city associated with the imaginative architect Antoni Gaudi. The approximately 2 1/2-hour walking tour includes stops at Palau Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, and the fantastical, and yet-to-be-finished, Sagrada Família, among other spots. The English-speaking guides consistently win praise for their knowledge about the buildings and their histories. Though tours are offered at no charge, donations are welcome. The excursion entails a couple of metro trips; tour-takers are responsible for their own fares. Tours occur daily at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. March through October. They run at 11 a.m. only November through February. Runner Bean also offers free tours of the Gothic Quarter as well as ticketed nighttime and family-oriented outings.

Free Walking Tours Barcelona – Free Gothic Quarter Tour

The Free Gothic Quarter Tour explores its namesake neighborhood and weaves through popular destinations in the city, including Roman ruins, the Picasso murals, Las Ramblas (Barcelona's best-known boulevard) and the Jewish Quarter, among others. The guides are generally deemed personable and well-versed in local history and architecture. The approximately 2 1/2-hour tours begin at Plaça de Catalunya at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Tours can be booked with English-, Spanish- or Italian-speaking guides. Compensation for the tours is donation-based, meaning you can give your guide what you feel the experience is worth at its conclusion. Free Walking Tours Barcelona also offers fee-based food- and art-themed excursions, bicycle tours and customizable private tours.

Along this tour, participants will sample local cuisine and experience the Gracia neighborhood.(Courtesy of David Saenz/Devour Barcelona Food Tours)

Devour Barcelona Food Tours – Gracia Neighborhood Food & Market Tour

Visit eight independently owned tapas bars, specialty shops and delis in the Gracia neighborhood – just north of the city center – with this tour from Devour Barcelona. During the 3 1/2-hour excursion, participants will indulge in a few treats at each stop, including cava, cheese and ham, for a total of 10 samples. Patrons tend to enjoy experiencing places they might not otherwise have discovered and praise the guides as helpful and knowledgeable. Tours generally run in the morning a few times daily Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tickets cost approximately 69 euros (around $77) for adults with discounts for teenagers and children 12 and younger. Devour Barcelona also offers a tapas tour of the Sant Antoni neighborhood and several private tours, among others.

Julia Travel – Fast Track Sagrada Familia Guided Tour

This guided tour of Barcelona's famous Roman Catholic Church, La Sagrada Família, helps visitors interpret the symbolism of the columns, stained-glass windows and other decorative elements of this elaborate structure. The tour also provides skip-the-line access to the church and access to the on-site museum. Guides win accolades for their entertaining and informative commentary. Travelers also appreciate the sound system with headphones that made guides audible in the crowded space. The roughly 90-minute tours take place several times a day. Tickets start at 45 euros (roughly $50) for adults and 28 euros (about $31) for children. Julia Travel also offers daytrips to Montserrat and a few adventure parks that originate in Barcelona.

Barcelona Day Tours – Barcelona & Montserrat Tour

See both the city and nearby Montserrat with this eight-hour tour from Barcelona Day Tours. Highlights include several sites designed by Gaudí, including Park Güell, the National Museum of Art of Catalonia and a variety of monuments, parks and plazas. After touring the city, participants will be taken to Montserrat to see its monastery, incredible rock formations and spectacular views. Drivers double as guides and offer insightful and amusing commentary on the area's history, according to reviewers. Tickets cost about 99 euros (about $110) and include pickup and drop-off at area hotels, the cruise port or the airport. In addition to this standard tour for groups of four to 12 people, Barcelona Day Tours provides various other tours, some of which include stops at a winery.

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We Barcelona – Barcelona SkyWalk: Old Town Walking & Helicopter Flight with Sailing Upgrade

A combination of three tours in one, this We Barcelona excursion includes a guided walk, a helicopter ride and a short sail along the Mediterranean Sea. Travelers begin this trip with a walking tour through the Gothic and Jewish quarters before taking a helicopter ride over the city and a boat ride along its shoreline. The multilingual guides receive high marks for their knowledge and professionalism. The 3 1/2-hour outings occur twice daily at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Groups consist of no more than 15 people. Tickets cost approximately 110 euros (around $122) for adults and 50 euros (about $55) for children. Sailing tours, daytrips and cooking classes are also available to book through We Barcelona.

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Fat Tire Tours – City Bike Tour

Spend four hours navigating Barcelona's streets by bike with Fat Tire Tours. During the ride, you'll stop outside several key destinations, such as Plaça Sant Jaume (the starting point), La Catedral, Palau de la Música Catalana and Parc de la Ciutadella. Tourgoers often rave about the fun and informative guides. Reviewers also report the ride is relatively flat and safe and that the bikes are in great condition. Morning tours begin at 11 a.m. and last about four hours (including a stop for lunch at your expense); afternoon tours start at 4 p.m. and last about 3 1/2 hours (with no meal break). Tickets start at $33 and discounts are available for students and children. The price includes use of a bicycle and a helmet but not lunch. Groups are limited to 16 cyclists. Fat Tire also offers private tours, tours using electric bikes and an evening bike tour, among others.

La Monumental, a bullring, is one of many sights you'll see on the city bike tour from Sandemans New Europe.(Getty Images)

Sandemans New Europe – Barcelona City Bike Tour

Explore Barcelona's top attractions, including the 1992 Olympic Village, the beach, various historic monuments and a bullfighting ring, by bike on this 2 1/2-hour excursion. The company's English-speaking guides, who offer commentary regarding the city's history and its culture, are considered exceptionally informative, according to reviewers. Guides are also known to give helpful dining and sightseeing suggestions. Rides commence at 10:30 a.m. daily. Tickets start at around 18 euros (approximately $20) for adults and 6 euros (about $7) for children 2 to 13 and include use of bicycles. Sandemans New Europe also leads walking tours in Barcelona that focus on food and stories of the city's scandalous history, among other topics.

Bus Turístic – Hop-on Hop-off Barcelona

With its hop-on, hop-off tours, Barcelona Bus Turístic allows travelers to tailor their sightseeing. The company operates three color-coded routes (blue, green and red) that wind through different parts of the city. Riders can disembark at designated stops to explore on their own for as long as they choose before getting back on a later bus. Aboard the buses, audio guides are available in 16 languages. While some travelers appreciate the hop-on, hop-off feature, others complain that Barcelona's traffic prevented them from seeing much of the city in a reasonable time. The blue and red routes last around two hours; the shorter green route lasts about 40 minutes. Buses operate from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (or 7 p.m. in winter) and frequent stops every five to 25 minutes. Tickets cost about 30 euros (about $33) for adults, with discounts for seniors and children. Two-day tickets are also available.

Generation Tours – Gaudí Tour Barcelona

Gaudí and his contemporaries in the Catalan modernism movement made an indisputable impact on the look and feel of contemporary Barcelona, and Generation Tours celebrates that impact with this 2 1/2-hour walking tour. The tour takes participants to several of the structures and spaces designed by Gaudí and his peers. You'll also learn about Gaudí's life and the cultural movement as a whole. The tours are free – the guides depend on tips – but tour-takers generally find the guides exceptionally knowledgeable and entertaining and more than deserving of payment. Tours begin every day at 3 p.m. While free, this tour requires one metro ticket at your own expense. Generation Tours offers private tours (with variable pricing) as well as other free tours, including an exploration of the El Born neighborhood.

Steel Donkey Bike Tours

Steel Donkey Bike Tours prides itself on offering participants a local's perspective of Barcelona. The rides do not stick to a preordained route; instead, they meander through backstreets to off-the-beaten-path attractions. Stops may include flea markets and cemeteries, as well as beaches and churches. Many riders appreciate the chance to visit areas of the city they might have otherwise missed. Others applaud the informative guides. Tour prices start at approximately 35 euros (about $39) and include the use of bikes; you can rent an electric bike for an additional fee. Rides, which start at 10 a.m. daily during summer and on select days during winter, generally last about four hours and typically include a break for drinks and snacks (purchased separately). Groups are restricted to eight cyclists. Private tours are also available.

BrightSide Tours – Barcelona Highlights Tour

You choose the sights you want to see on this customizable motorcycle tour. During the three-hour ride, you and up to one other person will ride on the back of the motorcycle or in its sidecar. Because the tours are designed by participants, the trips run at a leisurely pace and include plenty of stops for photos. Each vehicle can accommodate one driver/guide and two passengers, who communicate via intercoms mounted on helmets. While tourists usually praise the knowledgeable, friendly drivers, they express the most excitement over the fun ride itself. Groups are limited to 10 passengers (i.e. five motorcycles). Pricing depends on the number of passengers per bike but typically starts at about 100 euros (or $111) per person on a motorcycle with two passengers. Excursions run in the morning and afternoon each day, with departure times dependent on the season. BrightSide also operates full-day sidecar tours and van tours for larger groups.

Montserrat makes a great daytrip from Barcelona; Castlexperience Wine Tours will not only take you there, but will also help you to experience the region's wine.(Getty Images)

Castlexperience Wine Tours – Montserrat, Food & Wine

Explore Montserrat, a mountainous region located about an hour northwest of Barcelona, with this 12-hour excursion from Castlexperience Wine Tours. Following an hourlong tour of the monastery, you'll have a couple hours to explore the area, perhaps by viewing Dalí and Picasso paintings at the local museum, taking a short hike or listening to the Escolania de Montserrat Boys' Choir (schedule permitting). Following lunch at the Oller del Mas winery, you'll explore parts of the winery's namesake castle and receive a tour of the property. This excursion is highly regarded as well-organized, with beautiful scenery and very competent guides. Tickets cost approximately 95 euros (around $105). Tours depart daily. Shorter Montserrat tours are also available.

Food Lover Tour – Picoteo Lover Tour

A food-focused bar crawl, the Picoteo Lover Tour travels through three neighborhoods – Poble Sec, Raval and Sant Antoni in the Eixample district – with stops at five restaurants and bars serving tapas and drinks. Over the course of the three-hour stroll, guides provide background regarding regional cuisine and Spanish culture. Patrons enjoy both the variety of restaurant styles and the storytelling skills of the tour's informative guides. Tours take place at 6 p.m. every day except Monday. Tickets cost approximately 65 euros ($72) for adults and 45 euros (about $50) for children and include 10 to 12 tapas servings, the equivalent of a meal, as well as drinks. Groups consist of at least four and no more than 10 people. Food Lover Tour also offers a brunch-themed tapas tour and a market tour, amongst other offerings.

Barcelona Architecture Walks – Barcelona & Gaudí

If you're looking for in-depth conversations about the history and ideas that helped give rise to the city's famous structures, the Barcelona & Gaudí Tour is for you. Along the way, you'll pass by Casa Calvet and Casa Batlló, among other Gaudi designs. Professional architects and architecture critics lead the tour and are routinely described as extraordinarily knowledgeable, insightful experts regarding history, architecture and engineering. Tickets for the three-hour tour start around 38 euros (about $42) per person and children 12 and younger tour free. Tours start every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Groups are limited to 20 architecture enthusiasts. Barcelona Architecture Walks also offers tours themed around urbanism and Barcelona's newest architecture, among others.

Spanish Trails – Costa Brava & Medieval Girona Day Trip

The Costa Brava & Medieval Girona Day Trip conducted by Spanish Trails takes visitors from Barcelona to the "rugged coast," famous for its secluded beaches and fishing villages, and to the medieval walled city of Girona. Costa Brava features unrivaled views of the Mediterranean Sea, while Girona boasts historic structures as well as an impressive cathedral and the Museum of Jewish History. Guides regularly earn accolades for their informative and entertaining storytelling. Travelers also praise the gorgeous views in Costa Brava. Groups range from two to eight participants. Tours depart Barcelona by van at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and return to the city around 7 p.m. Tickets start at 105 euros (about $116) or 125 euros (around $139) with a three-course lunch at a restaurant in Girona. Spanish Trails also runs a hiking tour in Costa Brava and several tours in Barcelona.

Explore Catalunya – Three Countries in One Day: France, Andorra and Spain from Barcelona

This tour from Explore Catalunya packs stops in multiple countries into a single, roughly 12-hour journey. The tour focuses on small villages, including Bagà in Spain, Ax-Les-Thermes in France and Andorra's capital, where travelers are encouraged to shop or hike. Reviewers routinely praise the stops along the tour, particularly enjoying the thermal spa in Ax-Les-Thermes. Additionally, guides are regularly lauded for their insights regarding the various medieval towns and mountainous peaks on view during this tour. Tickets start at 129 euros (roughly $143). Excursions start at 7 a.m. daily. Group size is restricted to 20 participants. Explore Catalunya offers a variety of tours that depart from Barcelona, including a tour of Costa Brava and the Pyrenees Mountains.

John Rodwan, Contributor

John G. Rodwan Jr. has written about arts and entertainment, food and beverages, hospitality ...  Read more

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