WE HELP YOU CHOOSING THE BEST OPTION FOR YOUR PRIVATE TOUR
In my experience, often travelers need help deciding whether a walking or a chauffeured tour is the right choice for them. While some itineraries clearly prefer one option over the other, in other tours the difference is not that clear.For instance, the Old Town of Barcelona is a pedestrian area, so our Barri Gotic tour is definitely best done walking. Instead, most day trips out of town can’t be done by public transportation, so a private driver is absolutely required. In such cases, we already state in our website what transportation option works best.
These are the most important aspects to consider:
A chauffeured tour allows you to cover more sites in less time, that’s why they work great for cruisers, or travelers wanting to get a quick overview of the city so they can revisit their favorite sites later on their own.
However, chauffeured city overviews are somehow superficial compared to walking tours where you get in a more intimate touch with the city. That’s why walking tours work great to get oriented and learn how to move around.
Chauffeured tours are intrinsically more expensive than walking tours because they involve more elements: the tour guide, the driver (see here why tour guides don’t drive in Spain), plus the vehicle maintenance, gas and mileage expenses.
That extra cost can vary a lot from a city or a country to another, so don’t be frustrated if you can’t always afford a chauffeured tour: focus in all the advantages of walking tours instead.
A walking tour can be quite energy demanding, whereas a chauffeured tour gives you the opportunity to rest between the sites. That’s why chauffeured tours usually work best for seniors, kids and people with walking issues, but also for anyone jet-lagged taking a tour right after landing from a long overnight flight. Also, the lower stamina, the shorter your tour should be.
Luxury and comfort
Booking a chauffeured tour you get an awesome Mercedes minivan (at least, with us!), air-conditioned, roomy and with leather seats. For some people, this small luxury is a treat that adds value to their vacations. Instead, walking tours sometimes require taxi rides and then… let’s face it: you never know how the vehicle will be.
And it’s not just about luxury: when touring in the summer having a driver can make a big difference: it’s soooo nice to get back to the cool minivan after being outdoors visiting the sites sweating under the summer sun!
A driver can pick you up anywhere, no matter if you are at the airport, at the cruise pier, or in a hotel far from the city center. But if you book a walking tour, you’ll probably have to meet your guide in the city center unless you are already staying somewhere convenient enough for your itinerary (or are fine wasting some precious tour time on a taxi ride to the city center).
AND BONUS! Does the size of your party matter?
How many people are you?
While 2 to 3 travelers fit in nicely in a taxi, 4 or more will probably have to split in two or more taxis whenever a ride is needed. Instead, a minivan fits in upto 6 of you, plus the guide and the driver (and larger minibuses can be provided if you are more people). Splitting in taxis means that only some of you will get to be with the tour guide during the ride (and rides are a great opportunity to make questions).
Families with young kids might have issues splitting up, and for 3 couples of friends traveling together sharing the taxi costs will be trickier. That’s without counting that the more taxis you need to move around, the more tour time is wasted getting organized.
So should you book a chauffeured tour or a walking tour? There is really no right or wrong answer: there are as many answers as there are travelers.
Consider carefully your needs, goals and expectations for your tour, and compare them to the points we disclosed in this post: how much time will you be in town? how much are you willing to spend in your tour? do you really need a private driver or you are OK with taxis? Are you and your family ready to walk for the whole tour length, if needed? Weight your answers to find out what is the best choice for you.
And if still in doubt, make sure to share your thoughts with us and we’ll be delighted to recommend what will work the best for you.
Are you a chauffeured or a walking tour person?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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