As you probably know by now, I love taking food tours. All over the world, I explore a destination through its food, on a food tour in Mexico City, a farmers’ market tour & cooking class in Bogota, and a chocolate making workshop in Belize, among others! The downside with guided tours is they can be expensive for budget travellers, so when I heard about the self-guided food tours from Bitemojo I wanted to give it a try. As soon a I booked my flights back to Barcelona I arranged a Bitemojo self-guided food tour in Barcelona – read on to see how I got on.
How to Use the Bitemojo Food Tour App
Bitemojo’s self-guided food tours are available in several cities in Europe, Israel, and Asia, including Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Rome, Tel Aviv and Singapore. These food tours are similar to guided food tours, in that they take you around various stops in an area, to sample delicious food, and tell you some information about what you see on the way. How they differ, of course, is that you are alone. Doing a food tour on your own, or in a small group, without a guide means much more flexibility, as you can choose when to do the tour, how long to take, and if you want to detour along the way. You can also stop part way through the tour and come back to it another time. Before you buy the tour, the app lists the bites, or food samples, that you will try along the way, and some extra information about the route, and when the route is available, i.e. when the shops and restaurants will be open, and the bites will be available.
The Bitemojo Food Tour in Barcelona
There are currently two self-guided food tour options available in Barcelona; one in the Gothic Quarter, and one starting on La Rambla at the Boqueria Market, continuing into the Raval area. I lived in the Gothic Quarter for four years, so decided to try the Market and Raval tour to see what new hidden gems in Barcelona I could discover!
The Boqueria Market in Barcelona
The most famous market in Barcelona, the Boqueria, is an excellent place to start any food tour. You could spend hours wandering around, enjoying the sights and smells of the busy market. The two stops on the food tour were towards the back of the market, away from the main entrance where tourists tend to gather to take photographs, so it was nice to see more of the real market. The first stop was a fish stall, selling all types of bacalao (salted cod). The bit here was a portion of buñuelos de bacalao, salt cod fritters, which are one of my favourite tapas dishes. This was a great start to the food tour, the fritters were freshly cooked, crispy on the outside on deliciously soft on the inside. The second stop in the Boqueria Market was a cheese stall, where I spent some time admiring the many different types of cheeses on sale while the owner served another customer. The bite was a portion of manchego cheese and fuet cured sausage, which I happily devoured. The tour had started very well, and as I munched I read the extra information in the app about the owners of the stalls.
Exploring El Raval in Barcelona
The next stop on the app was a point of interest, the gegants. Gegants are oversized models of people dressed in traditional clothes which are used on parades and local festivals. Unfortunately, the building where they were was covered in scaffolding, so I couldn’t really see the gegants properly. I had wandered around the plaza several times trying to find them, when I finally realised where they were.
I continued the food tour, following the app to the next stop. The bite I was expecting here was a Mexican-style pork tapa, but when I went into the restaurant the staff were confused about the tour and didn’t know what I was talking about. The owner was out of town, and apparently hadn’t passed on the information about the bites, and without authorization from the boss (understandably) they didn’t want to give away any ‘free’ food. Disappointed, I left to head to the next stop.
I had more luck here, at a café bar in a square I had walked past a hundred times but never investigated. The bite was a tapa of artichokes and a beer, but the owner kindly switched the beer for wine as I don’t drink the brown stuff. The artichokes were delicious, and the wine was crisp and dry, a perfect accompaniment. I sat on a stool by the window and watched the world go by for a while. Here was a good place to take a rest, the previous stop also had space to sit down, but I’d been on my feet since I started the tour, so also made use of the bathroom here too.
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Feeling fully refreshed, and the wine settling nicely on my stomach, I set off to find the next stop, which would be a sweet bite. It was 7 minutes’ walk away according to google maps, so I set off, trying to take in more of the world around me instead of staring at my phone. The route took me through the Rambla del Raval, where the famous Botero statue of the fat cat has its home.
When I found the next stop, it was closed. The shutters were down and there was no sign of life. I checked the details of food tour on the on the app, thinking that I had got there too late, or mixed up the days. Nope, according to the app it should have been open. With nothing else I could do, I continued to the final stop, hoping I would have more success!
I had mixed success. The next stop was also a sweet bite, of a chok, or donut. There are two different shops which have the same brand name, and I went to the one that was listed in the app, only to be told it should have been at the other one, another 5 minutes’ walk away. Off I went, only to be told there that I was right the first time, and I should have had my bite at the first stop where I had just been. Luckily, she took pity on me and gave me my donut, which I happily took. I sat on a bench in a nearby square, and munched on the delicious donut.
What I loved about Bitemojo self-guided food tour in Barcelona
The food was delicious, and the bites included a variety of different foods to try.
I thought I knew Barcelona pretty well, I lived here for three years, and have eaten a lot of good food here, but this self-guided food tour took me to places I have never been to, and might never have found without the Bitemojo app.
The freedom to choose when you start and end the tour, and how long you take.
If you don’t get chance to complete the tour, you can convert the remaining stops, or bites, into credits to use against other bites in Barcelona or anywhere else the tour is available.
What I didn’t like about the tour
Having to be on my phone the whole time made me feel quite self-conscious, and at times I felt I couldn’t really enjoy the surroundings as I was concentrating on not getting lost. I know from past experience that Barcelona is rife with pickpocketers, and having my attention on my phone all the time felt like I was more vulnerable to this. However, on a normal food tour, groups of tourists also draw attention, so it probably makes no difference, it was just here I was alone.
There are some operational issues that a traditional guided food tour in Barcelona would have avoided. For example, one of the points of interest along the way was covered with scaffolding, and I spent a good five minutes trying to find it before I realised it was hidden away. A human tour guide would have known straight away.
There was also some confusion in two of the stops, and with a real guide this could have been avoided as they would be more familiar with the route and if they couldn’t solve the problem they could have perhaps come up with an alternative. I also think it has to do with the app being quite new, as not many people have taken this tour yet. I imagine that as the tour gets more popular, the staff will be more familiar with the requirements and how it all works. In the other three locations which were open I had no problem at all, it all worked smoothly.
One of the stops was closed when I took the tour. Again, with a guide, they would probably have known the stop wasn’t going to be open that day, or could have taken me to an alternative stop – as I had already paid for the tour at this stop, and I didn’t know the area there wasn’t an alternative to go to. The app does allow you to save your unused bites to use another day, or in another location, which is useful if you are around for another couple of days.
So Do I Recommend the Bitemojo Self-Guided Food Tour in Barcelona?
Overall, I love the idea of a self-guided tour, the freedom and the lower cost compared to a normal tour have obvious benefits to a budget traveller or people backpacking Barcelona. The food I tasted was delicious, and once the tour becomes more popular, I’m sure the operational challenges I came across will be solved. This isn’t the fault of the Bitemojo, it seemed to be miscommunication in the restaurants and shops themselves, so that should be solved the more popular the tour becomes. When walking around, be mindful of your surroundings, and don’t just stay glued to your phone – this way you will enjoy the tour more, and reduce the risk of pickpockets.
Top Tips for a Successful Bitemojo Self-Guided Food Tour
Check the times and days the tour is available before you book, to make sure you have time to fit in your schedule.
Take the tour early in your trip, so if you don’t manage to complete the tour on that day, you still have time to use any unused bite credits during the rest of your trip.
Take a bottle of water with you. There was a drink included in one of the stops, but the others were just food, so take a drink with you or buy one along the way.
Make sure you have plenty of battery left in your phone. Being on wifi, and using the location settings and app used quite a lot of my battery. You may want to take a portable phone charger with you if you plan to be out sightseeing all day.
Make sure your phone plan includes wifi for Spain, or take a portable wifi hotspot with you, otherwise the app won’t work – you need to have access to the internet to open the bite vouchers.
What do you think, would you take a self-guided food tour in Barcelona? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Accommodation in Barcelona
I stayed at Fabrizzio’s Petit Hostel in Barcelona which was fabulous. There are plenty of budget hotels in Barcelona, as well as everything from hostels to luxury hotels.
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My self-guided food tour in Barcelona with Bitemojo was complimentary in exchange for a review, but as always all opinions are my own.
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Tales of a Backpacker is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.Last updated: March 10, 2018