THE SECRETS OF THE CITY CENTER
Half day Barcelona walking tour
Do you like to walk? Do you want an overview of the city so you can continue exploring it on your own? Do you think a private guide adds up a lot to your sightseeing?
After our Gaudi tour, this is our other best-seller, perfect if you are an independent traveler that enjoys walking, but are afraid you’d miss too much on your own. Also, if you want to get a good orientation and a solid background on the city to continue exploring it on your own later, this tour will take you around the city center so you get a good understanding of the city layout and its history that allows you to take the most out of the rest of your time in Barcelona.
ADAPTING YOUR TOUR TO YOUR UNIQUE NEEDS
Our second most popular tour, it is great for anyone wanting to get a nice overview of what the city has to offer, as long as you are able to walk.
HINT: Add one or two extra hours to stop for lunch or see more sites.
If you are traveling with kids, this tour is a good choice most of the time, specially with teens. If you are afraid they’ll get tired with so much walking, consider booking a chauffeured tour instead.
If you have walking issues, this tour probably won’t work for you as it involves about 2 miles of walk with frequent stops but not always opportunities to seat. However, it is possible to cut the walk in half by taking a taxi from the Boqueria Market to Casa Batllo. Also, if you are slow but can walk longish distances, then adding an hour would also make it doable.
If you are on a wheelchair, this tour is wheelchair friendly as the Old Town is relatively flat and has no cobble-stoned streets. The Sagrada Familia is also adapted to wheelchairs, EXCEPT FOR THE TOWERS (which are anyway optional).
If you’d rather tour longer, check out our full day walking tour.
If you are on a cruise-ship and your budget won’t allow you to book a chauffeured tour, this tour is a great option. However, take into account that pier pick-up is not available for walking tours: you’ll be given a convenient meeting point in the city center (it should be easy to find a taxi at the pier to take you there).
If you are more than one day in Barcelona, this tour overlaps with most of our other itineraries: check our itineraries for Barcelona in two days instead if you need more than one tour, or consider taking a day trip out of town.
Our tours only include the towers upon request. You need to know that:
It is not possible anymore to just climb the stairs: the way up is now only possible by elevator. However, the number of tickets available is restricted to just a few every hour, for an extra fee.
If there is availability, you are given a specific time to get in the line for the elevator (either the one in the Passion façade or the one in the Nativity façade, but not both), and after a 5 to 20 minute wait you finally get in the elevator that takes you to almost the top of the towers. From there you must walk down: it is not permitted to use the elevator to go down anymore. The whole process takes almost one hour, so unless you are OK shortening the rest of the tour itinerary, you should book one extra hour to be able to do the towers.
Do we recommend the towers, though? Only for the adventure of climbing spiral stairs, but not for the views as you’ll get better views from many other city sites. After all, those towers were designed to be bell towers, not vantage points. Also, the way down is narrow and occasionally claustrophobic, and it is definitely not for people scared of heights.
Tour operators like us are only allowed to book tickets for the Passion Façade towers – should you be interested in the Nativity Façade towers you’ll have to go back to Sagrada Familia on your own some other day as those tickets are only available for individual visitors.
THE TOWERS ARE NOT ACCESSIBLE FOR WHEELCHAIRS, AND NOT SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE WITH HEART OR LUNG CONDITIONS, CLAUSTROPHOBIA OR FEAR OF HEIGHTS. CHILDREN UNDER 6 YEARS OF AGE ARE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE TOWERS.
REVIEWS FROM TRAVELERS LIKE YOU:
EEM1561 (Darien, Connecticut, USA)We had a fabulous half-day walking tour in Barcelona with Miriam. She was incredibly knowledgeable about history but was also very entertaining and relatable. We saw major landmarks and wandered through back alleys to see out of the way spots. All in all, it was a very enjoyable and worthwhile day. We couldn’t possibly have seen all of it on our own.
Mardee S. (New York City, USA)We really wanted to get a good sense of Barcelona and felt a walking tour would give that to us. I found ForeverBarcelona and Marta – What a great find.
DrAlan9108 (Potomac, Maryland, USA)Exceptional half day walking tour.
Jill P (Olathe, Kansas, USA)We absolutely loved our tour of Barcelona with Marta. We started at La Sagrada Familia where Marta was extremely knowledgeable about the history and architecture of the church. We then spent the rest of our time walking about La Rambla and Old Barcelona. Marta walked us through the food market telling us all about the types of food and about traditional Catalonian food. Old Town was amazing with surprises around every corner.
Maureen R.Our guide Miriam gave us a fabulous tour of the city centre. The tour had the right mixture of history and hints on places to explore at a later day! Wonderful day to spend a morning.
Andrew MOur family of 6 (2 adults and 4 children aged 9-14 years) took a 4hr tour of Barcelona with Marta – it couldn’t have been better! We walked at a comfortable pace through quiet backstreets to see all the highlights of Barcelona, finishing with the amazing Sagrada Familia. Martha was able to adapt the tour as we walked, keeping both adults and children engaged throughout. We took the tour in our first full day in Barcelona and it set up the holiday perfectly, as we then had a good grasp of the city (including how to use the public transportation system), with recommendations from Martha on what else to see and where to find the best tapas, churros and gelato! The tour was very personal and whilst it is not cheap, we felt it was worth every euro.
Fraser M. (Toronto, Canada)Miriam was fantastic!
Within minutes we felt like old friends and she understood exactly what we wanted to learn about Barcelona. We did a four hour walking tour that included a lunch stop at a restaurant that served pinchos. Delicious open face sandwiches.
I can’t think of a better way to get to know this fascinating city. And I can’t imagine that there would be better guides than Forever Barcelona!
Alice M (Ann Harbor, Michigan, USA)Miriam did an amazing job explaining the history of the construction of the Gothic Quarter and surrounding areas before we set out on foot. The website makes it look like the tour has to be either all about history or all about architecture, but it is your time and your itinerary can be and should be customized. Our tour was have about history and have about architecture.
George TWithout a doubt this has been the best our that we have taken in a long time. We have been on many different tours in our travels and found this one to be very exciting and educational. Our guide, Javier, was able to describe events to us in a historic fashion where by we were able to visualize what had happened in different points of history in Barcelona. We covered lots of ground by walking and also a couple of taxi rides. This was important to make sure we could see everything that we wanted to see. The Sagrada Familia was one of the most spectacular pieces of church architecture you could imagine. But it was 100% better when Javier was able to describe to us the intricacies of this marvelous structure.
Moth082 (Sidney, Australia)My wife and I were recently in Barcelona and arranged to have a private tour with ForeverBarcelona. Best money ever spent. Our guide Miriam was fantastic. Our tour took in the old section and Jewish quarter of Barcelona. The Gaudi sights just amazing and we end our tour with Miriam and us visiting a fantastic tapas bar. Magnificent memories we just can’t thank Miriam enough.
Debra SternMarta gave us a wonderful walking tour of Barcelona! She is super knowledgeable and enthusiastic – a terrific guide.
Diane LautzWe were able to cover all of the highlights in Barcelona, as well as spending time both inside and outside of the Sagrada Familia (Gaudi Cathedral that was awe inspiring). And we did not have to wait in line because they had prearranged hour tour! We touched on both abroad views, as well as the few close and personal and would recommend it to everyone.
Maxine A (Williamsville, New York, USA)It was our first full day and Miriam was our guide. She was so friendly and got my teenagers involved in all of the activities that we did. We had a four hour tour with Miriam and we did a lot of walking and she stopped and told us so many stories and really brought everything from the past to life. She took out a map and before the day was out highlighted everything that we needed to see, do and where to eat for the next three days!
Mike SWe need a walking tour of the city, Begoña was amazing, her knowledge was unbelievable, this was the best part of our 5 days here.
Richard P (Sand Diego, California, USA)We have been to Barcelona several times, but always felt that we were missing something. Decided to ask ForeverBarcelona to guide us for an afternoon. Marta was responsive, prompt and accommodating. She arranged a tour with Marga. This lady really know her stuff. She took us where we wanted to go, pointed out places we would have missed on our own. She was quite knowledgeable and communicated very well. We were able to see the Gothic Quarter, Call, Boqueria and the Sagrada Familia all in the same afternoon, without feeling rushed. I had worried about tickets for the Sagrada Familia, but that went without a hitch.
MP_Corey (West Palm Beach, Florida, USA)Miriam planned an amazing day for my wife and I while in port in Barcelona. We avoided lines at Familia church and then did a walking tour of the city. She catered to us and improvised once I told her we were foodies. We stopped at some of her favorite stops for small snacks (xuxo de crema was one of the best things I have ever eaten). We had also lunch at a great place for pintxos.
Lilianna HusseiniMy sister and I spent four days in Barcelona. It was her first visit so I wanted a guide to provide a really terrific overview of the city without the typical scripted anecdotes or landmark stops. Javier was AMAZING! We started out with a short recap of the origins and history of the City, then set off for four hours walking down the Rambla, thru side streets, into “the locals entrance” for the Boqueria, a few more stops before we took on the Sagrada. Having worked there, Javier knew EVERYTHING. I had been before but his stories and explanation showed me so much I had missed in the past!!
Jennhaber (Washington DC, District of Columbia)Marga was a dream! We booked a 1/2 day walking tour of the Old City including Sagrada Familia. It was amazing. We covered a lot of territory with my 12 & 16 year old boys. She tailored the content, kept everyone interested & with sure I still got the level of local insight but I was hoping from a private guide. From Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter to la Pedrera, we cross crossed the city and got more detail and insight than we ever could have our own!
We avoided lines – esp important in August meet with teenagers – and took advantage of all her other suggestions. We trusted her with a lunch reservation following the tour and it was one of our best.