If you are planning your first visit to Barcelona, deciding on where to eat can be a challenge. The city is bursting with literally thousands of bars, restaurants and cafes, all potentially offering the best food money can buy. Or not. I found a saviour in The Barcelona Taste Tour.
The choice of where to eat in Barcelona is overwhelming, and as a tourist in an unfamiliar city there is a tendency to either follow your Lonely Planet Guide to the letter, probably ensuring a pleasant trip, alongside your fellow panicked tourists who followed exactly the same recommendations.
Or the bolder, yet riskier approach, is to wander around aimlessly hoping to stumble on a hidden treasure, which, if successful can reap rich culinary rewards – but is fraught with dangers like ending up paying over the odds for frozen calamares and inedible paella. Somewhere in between these two extremes you will find the happy medium of The Barcelona Taste Tour.
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Not a ‘usual’ tour, this isn’t about following around a guide who lectures you for several hours on the history of the Boqueria Market while vigorously waving their umbrella to make sure the 30 tourists trailing behind don’t get lost. Instead, the Barcelona Taste Tour offers intimate tours for 6 people, which showcase the very best of Spanish & Catalan cuisine just like the Girona Tapas Tour in nearby beautiful Girona.
More like dining with friends than joining a tour, the food is clearly their focus, and the guide explained each dish with humour and enthusiasm, without shoving it down your throat. They allow time for you to taste each mouthful, and if you show interest, they will happily regale you with more stories and histories of food, Barcelona, and Catalan culture.
We visited four spots in the Gothic Quarter – three of which I had never been into before, so it was an eye opener for even a seasoned ‘local’ like me. I loved everything I tasted – all the food was delicious, and the accompanying drinks equally so. The variety of dishes was also impressive, so even if you weren’t keen on one thing, there was plenty more to choose from.
I won’t spoil the surprise and let on where we went on the Barcelona Taste Tour, but suffice to say I was impressed by every stop and ended the tour feeling thoroughly satisfied, and full to the brim of cheese, tapas and heavenly desserts. I drank red wine, vermouth, white wine, and cava – although all in moderation so thankfully avoided a hangover – and it was wonderful to sample all the options available.
I also learned more about the history of Barcelona & its food – although not a historical tour, the snippets of trivia were mostly new to me, and so I imagine thoroughly enlightening for my fellow tour members. The tours are conducted in English, and their key market seems to be primarily Americans, Australians & Canadians, although presumably they will get some of my countryfolk as well.
This isn’t the cheapest food tour you can go on, however, the small group size, well-selected venues and delicious food do make it worthwhile; especially for first time visitors to Barcelona who want to sample a the best variety of what the city has to offer. I’d also suggest doing this tour early in your visit, even on the first night, as the guides provide you with personalised recommendations of where else to try during the rest of your stay. They also give you a map with the locations of the places you visited, so you won’t need to wander the streets of the Gotico for hours searching for them!
Overall, highly recommended, and delicious! You can also try the Barcelona Taste tour in Gracia too, although I have yet to try that, if it is anything like the Gothic Quarter tour you’re in for a treat! The tours do book up pretty quickly so plan as early as you can to ensure a place on your preferred date.
Barcelona Travel Tips
- Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Barcelona. Barcelona El Prat (BCN) is the closest airport to the city.
- Public transport is the cheapest way to get around Barcelona, buy the Hola Barcelona transport ticket for unlimited use of the metro, buses, trams and local trains, including the train from the airport to Barcelona.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
- Use Hostelworld to find the best prices for hostels in Barcelona. Take a look at these recommended hostels:
Barcelona Tours and Activities
- If you're staying in a hostel, check out their tours and activities which are usually free or very cheap - and a great way to meet people!
- I use GetYourGuide to book skip the line entry tickets and tours in Barcelona
- Recommended Tours and Attractions in Barcelona:
Beware of pickpockets
- Although Barcelona is a safe city, pickpockets are a problem here, particularly in popular tourist areas and on the metro. Do not keep your wallet or cash in trouser pockets and keep your hand on your bags at all times.
- When you are eating at a restaurant or café, keep your bag on your lap, not hanging over your chair and avoid leaving your wallet or phone on the table – especially if eating outdoors. It only takes a second for someone to distract you and grab it!
Get Travel Insurance
- Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. I never leave home without travel insurance, so consider getting insurance for your trip to cover things like stolen items, adventure sports and activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
- Get a quote for your trip from True Traveller if you're based in the UK, or World Nomads or SafetyWing which both offer travel insurance for backpackers and long-term travellers. Alternatively, use a comparison site like Travel Insurance Master to find the best cover for you.
Check Your Travel Documents
HIRE A CAR IN BARCELONA
- While you don't need a car to get around Barcelona, if you want to explore more of Catalunya and the Costa Brava get a quote for car hire with Discover Cars who compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip.
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