Top Tips for First-Time Visitors to Barcelona

By Spanish Trails – Expert Tour Guides

Barcelona is internationally known for its architectural beauty, rich history, the contemporary Mediterranean lifestyle, culinary culture, and positive vibes – among many other things. This is why it attracts millions of travelers every year, looking for the best day tours in and around Barcelona

What to do?

The quantity and quality of attractions, services, and events make it difficult for those that arrive for the first time to decide what to do. Especially when the time available is limited, one needs to make choices and …and narrow down their list of must-sees and must-do’s… Let’s be honest: there is no easy way to do it! The best way to get the most out of this amazing part of the world is to stay here until you feel like you have seen and experienced everything. But this can be a very long time and, therefore, is not an option for everyone.

Let’s see then… What are the best solutions for those travelers that are planning to visit Barcelona for 3-5 days. 

Booking a couple of tours during the very first part of your trip can be absolutely the best decision you can make!! If you choose wisely, not only will you visit and learn about the main highlights (and/or taste the local food!), but you’ll also become acclimated to the new environment, get ideas for places you’d like to return to on your own and…the city will immediately feel more familiar and welcoming.

Barcelona Day Tour

Who with?

The question of who to book with can be daunting. Nowadays there are dozens, if not hundreds, of options. At first glance, companies and individuals offering day tours in Barcelona may all look alike, more or less. But beware: they are absolutely not!

Barcelona Day Tour

These are some of the things you should check before choosing who is going to be taking care of your precious short time in Barcelona:

  • Choose a certified Travel Agency or Tour Operator. There are many companies out there that they are not. In some cases, they are not even a registered, legal company! Every certified Travel Agency has an official license number issued by the local Government. Ask for it!
  • This one you know: check their reviews online. Tripadvisor is a  very famous platform, but Google and Facebook are also excellent sources of information.
  • The size… matters! Make sure you get a really small group. For a quality day tour, the group should never be bigger than 6-8 people (including you!).
  • Look for authentic experiences. In the business of tourism, there are many ways to deliver authenticity, but it is not through the easiest or cheapest way. Choose those tour companies that ARE local to the city, and that rely on smaller, local providers, venues, restaurants, etc..
  • Vehicles must be in excellent condition: it is not only a matter of aesthetics. It’s a matter of safety!

Guides play a crucial role in all of this. They must be professional, passionate, fun and charismatic people. They must be knowledgeable and know how to deliver their knowledge in an interesting way. They must be empathetic, hard-working, personable and able to quickly adapt to changes. They must be safe drivers, customer-service oriented and have a very high level of spoken English (as well as any other local languages). Basically….superheroes! We all know that superheroes are few and far between outside of the movies, but good tour operators are always on the lookout for “superhero” guides, and when they find them, they train them, take care of them and value them for all that they continually provide to their clients.

The above mentioned are some basic aspects you should consider when choosing the company that will organize your day tour in Barcelona.

Barcelona Day Tour

One final tip:

If you are in Barcelona for more than three days, don’t miss out on a day tour outside of the city to one of the countless enticing destinations the region has to offer. There are options to suit all tastes: hiking in the Pyrenees, visiting medieval villages, superb wine regions, and wineries, exploring the Costa Brava, the Roman heritage of Tarragona, the ancient monastery of the Montserrat Mountain, and a continuing list of extraordinary hidden gems.

Which local tour operator tops our list of suggestions to best handle all of your adventures in and around Barcelona? Spanish Trails, of course!!

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