Barcelona Small Group Tour | The city explored in-depth
Small group journeys from one of the best small group tour companies Europe that delve into Barcelona's history, culture, and cuisine. Daily itineraries for couples and solo travellers with like minded people. An escorted tour of Barcelona based in an apartment with local guides sharing authentic experiences and knowledge.
- 1. A wine tasting tour where we travel to two different local wineries, Vallformosa and Cava
- 2. A guided tour of Montjuic Castle, along with a visit to the Jardins del Mirador, which offer a spectacular view of the city
- 3. Explore the Fiesta de la Mercè, the city's largest street party. See illuminated buildings, amazing costumes, and awesome parades.
- 4. A few days at leisure to relax explore and discover Barcelona on your own!
|11 August 2023 |
Ends 31 August 2023 • 21 days
|08 April 2024 |
Ends 28 April 2024 • 21 days
|16 August 2024 |
Ends 05 September 2024 • 21 days
Living In and Exploring The City of Barcelona | Small Group Tour
This escorted small group tour in and around Barcelona city is tailored for those who like to spend a little extra time getting to know a place. This tour allows time to explore and discover the geography, culture and hidden gems that are often invisible at first glance. You will have the opportunity to get to know a major European city in a completely different way and see for yourself how the history and culture of Barcelona has shaped the city it is today.
Barcelona has over 2000 years of history, having been ruled by Romans, Visigoths and Franks. The city itself was founded as a military camp by the Romans at the end of the 1st century and named Barcino. It is now the sixth largest city in Europe, a dazzling seaside city alive with culture, colour and cuisine . The city itself is home to around 1.7 million people, and the province of the same name contains nearly 5 million. Until the Barcelona Olympics were held in 1992, the city was largely an industrial hub, but the global event transformed the city's reputation as a tourist city, and saw an increase in hotel room capacity of 200% from 1990 to 2004. Today, the city is one of Europe's and Spain's most popular destinations, yet retains its unique culture and lifestyle.
Barcelona City Explored
This tour is designed with a mix of escorted guided portions and free time, during which you can relax and recharge, or head off the beaten path to go exploring on your own. We stay in self-catering apartments for the duration. This approach gives you a base from which we can explore the city on foot and on public transport including high speed rail.
Throughout the tour, we delve into Barcelona's history, culture, and cuisine, and take day trips to some of the most wonderful nearby locations, such as Andorra, the magnificent port city Tarragona , Girona and the beach resort town of Sitges. You will experience the Fiesta De La Mercè (a huge city festival), discover the wondrous architecture of Antoni Gaudi at La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, take wine tours, learn to cook Catalan food, see the first church dedicated to Mary in Zaragoza and visit the Picasso Museum and the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres. We also visit the Santa Maria Monastery of Montserrat.
This trip is a rare opportunity to discover what is below the surface of one of Europe's most complex and beautiful cities.
For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
This tour is just one of many tours offered to Spain. You can also read our country profile and view all tours of Spain. We also prepared a suggested reading list for Spain.
The April and August dates for this tour are timed to finish to allow you to then join Odyssey's tours of Spain & Portugal each May & September.
Enjoy Odyssey's long stay return to explore city programs
Since 2012 Odyssey has offered long stay tours based in some of the greatest cities of the world. It began with exploring French history by rail inspired by Ina Caro's book.
Since that first long stay city tour Odyssey had added the following great cities to the list:
- Berlin walking tour
- Discovering Berlin
- History of France by rail
- Contemporary Japan
- Lisbon & Barcelona
There are more programs to follow that have a similar style. They are centred on cities where you have indicated that you would like to return to explore further. They are places of cultural and historic importance where in a different life or different time you would have enjoyed a period of living in these cities. So whilst you may not be able to live here today, you can spend 3 weeks living as a local exploring with a local guide all that each city has to offer. A chance to return to explore some of the greatest and truly fascinating cities of the world.
Articles about Spain and Barcelona published by Odyssey Traveller
The following list of articles published by odyssey Traveller for mature aged and senior travellers to maximise their knowledge and enjoyment of Spain when visiting;
- 15 of the best places in Spain to visit.
- Travel notes for Barcelona
- Ten of the best books published on Spain
- Ten of the Best art galleries in Europe to visit.
- Discovering Spain (and Portugal )
External articles to assist you on your visit to Barcelona and Spain
Day 1: Barcelona
We will arrive at the apartments by our own arrangement.
After settling we’ll come together in the evening for a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Because we’ll be spending a significant portion of the tour exploring Barcelona itself, on arrival you’ll be issued with a 30 day zone 1 Barcelona Public Transport card.
Day 2: Barcelona
We meet in the morning for a half day tour of Barcelona’s main tourist sites; this will help us find our bearings in the city and visit some of the city’s most popular attractions, before we begin to dig deeper in the coming days. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore or relax as you wish.
Day 3: Barcelona
Today we have a full-day sightseeing tour based around the works of Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926). Gaudi is known as the master of Catalan Modernism, but his style was sui generis and wide-ranging.
Barcelona is an architecturally wondrous city and perhaps the greatest influence on the city’s style was architect Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi’s style is distinctive and striking. One of his most famous works is the Casa Batlló, a strange skeletal house that is extraordinarily beautiful both inside and out. The Batlló family, who commissioned the house, put no limitations on the architect. It is now open to the public. On this tour we also see the famous Sagrada Familia, along with a number of other spectacular buildings.
Day 4: Barcelona
Today, we delve into Barcelona’s rich history with a full day guided “Spanish Civil War” tour. A local guide will take us through a series of sights relating to the war, explaining their relevance and the enormous impact of the conflict on Barcelona itself.
The Spanish Civil War began in 1936 and continued until 1939, when the fascist leader Francisco Franco defeated the Republican forces and declared victory. Barcelona was one of the final cities to fall to Franco’s rule, after his invasion of Catalonia. It was a site of much violence.
Day 5: Barcelona
The morning is at your leisure. In the late afternoon, we enjoy a trip to the Picasso museum. This museum is dedicated to one of history’s greatest artists, with a permanent collection that includes a lot of his early work and a number of his masterpieces.
Then, in the evening, we take a trip to Casa Mila (Gaudi) for an evening audio-visual presentation on Gaudi, with a dinner either before or after the show.
Day 6: Barcelona
Spanish wine is among the world’s finest, and the country has 2.9 million acres of wine producing land. Today, we enjoy a full day of wine tasting tours.
We visit two different wineries. First we visit the Vallformosa winery, a winer that has operated for 140 years, and is run by fifth-generation winemakers. Then, we visit a Cava winery before returning to Barcelona.
Day 7: Barcelona
After a fairly packed first week, today is entirely at your leisure. Recharge, return to a place you particularly loved, or do some more exploring. Whatever you feel like!
Day 8: Barcelona
Today, we embark on a day trip to Zaragoza, setting off from Barcelona Station. One we’ve arrived at Zaragoza, we visit the Palacio de la Aljaferia and Our Lady of the Pillar Basilica.
Zaragoza, the capital of its province is a beautiful city with much history. One of its primary landmarks is Our Lady of the Pillar, a magnificent building, said to be the first ever church dedicated to Mary. The present building was constructed between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Its origins go back to the Saint James in the year 40AD, which tells that while praying on the banks of the Ebro river, Mary appeared and told him to build a church in her honour. It is believed that he built a chapel on that spot.
Day 9: Barcelona
This morning, we take an excursion to Montserrat Basilica to see the Black Madonna. We will ascend to Montserrat in cable car for panoramic view.
The Basilica itself is a truly spectacular building, a Gothic monastery in a marvelous location and also a strong symbol of Catalonian nationalism during Franco’s rule. The primary function of the Basilica is to house The Black Madonna or Virgin of Montserrat. The statue was likely created in the 12th century. Often, a line of pilgrims wait to stand before the statue and its altar. In 1844 Pope Leo XIII pronounced the sculpture to be the patroness of Catalonia. It is considered one of Spain’s most significant religious symbols.
In the afternoon, we return to Barcelona and the rest of your day is at leisure.
Day 10: Barcelona
Today, we take a full day art tour focusing on renowned surrealist Salvador Dali. We travel to Figueres, the location of the Salvador Dali Museum, before heading to Púbol, to the Salvador Dali Castle.
The museum contains paintings, drawings, sculpture, installations, precious stones and jewels, and more. There are many works by Dali, and works from his own collection.
The castle is constructed around a building that was originally built in the 11th century. Dali bought the castle in 1969, and it was, at the time, in a very poor condition. Dali renovated the building based on his own vision. The castle has a permanent collection and showcases a variety of exhibitions.
At the end of the day we return to Barcelona.
Day 11: Barcelona
It would be crazy to spend time in Barcelona without paying attention to the marvelous food scene, so today is dedicated to a local food tour!
In the morning, we have a guided visit of La Boqueria (Barcelona food market) before lunch in local tapas restaurant. In the afternoon we take a cookery course where we prepare traditional Catalan food for dinner!
Day 12: Barcelona
We have a day at leisure.
Day 13: Barcelona
Today is a full day guided tour of the Gothic and Jewish quarters. A local guide will then take us on a walking tour of the city to view the old medieval squares.
The Gothic quarter offers a mix of old and new, with much Roman architecture. The Jewish quarter, located inside the Gothic quarter, and includes Spain’s oldest Synagogue (also one of the oldest in Europe). The quarter is distinguished by narrow streets and historic buildings, some going back to the fourteenth century.
Day 14: Barcelona
Today we have a full day trip to Tarragona to visit the Roman Museum and the Roman ruins. Tarragona is a port city with a long and fascinating history. The city was once fortified as a Roman colony, and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, was held by Vandals and then Visigoths.
The Roman ruins of Tarraco are nearby, and designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. These include an Ampitheatre, walls and an aqueduct.
Day 15: Barcelona
Today set out on a full day Military tour. A local guide takes us to Montjuic for a tour of the Castle, with a stop at Jardins del Mirador, which includes a spectacular view of Barcelona. Built in 1640, Montjuic Castle was built to have the best possible views of the surrounding area. More recently, the building was used as a military prison, and then an army base. In 2007, it was given to the Barcelona City Council, so is now owned by the people of Barcelona.
In the evening, we enjoy a tapas dinner and a flamenco show.
Day 16: Barcelona
Today we have a full day coach excursion to Andorra. This includes a guided tour of City Hall, and free time to explore the Historic old town. The old town has cobblestone streets and beautiful houses, and some excellent restaurants. The town hall was built in the early sixteenth century as a home, and is positioned beneath magnificent mountains which add to its medieval majesty.
Day 17: Barcelona
Today, we are free to explore the Fiesta de la Mercè, one of Barcelona’s biggest festivals. The Fiesta includes such spectacles as human towers and giant puppets. During the festival, there are around 600 events spread throughout Barelona, and the city’s metro trains run through the night.
Day 18: Barcelona
Today we take a full day trip to Sitges to explore the quaint fisherman’s village, and visit San Sebastian beach. Primarily a tourist destination, Sitges is known for its Film Festival and Carnival. With speciality cuisine, a number of museums and 17 beaches, the city has no shortage of sites and attractions.
Day 19: Barcelona
Today is a free day to explore Barcelona at your leisure.
Day 20: Barcelona
On our last full day, we take a full day trip to Girona to explore the Arab baths and the Jewish museum.
The Museum of Jewish History documents a long history of Judaism in the city, which flourished in the 12th century. It also tells a fascinating story of the city’s history. The Arab Baths are a Romanesque 12th century construction, which has great historical value. Also, some scenes form Game of Thrones were filmed there!
We have some free time to explore Girona before heading back to Barcelona for a farewell dinner.
Day 21: Barcelona
The tour concludes today. Check out from the apartment in the mid-morning.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 20 nights of hotel accommodation.
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Service charges and gratuities.
- Touring by local public transport.
- Transport and field trips as indicated.
- Services of a Tour Leader.
- Detailed tour information booklet.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return international airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive international travel insurance.
- Items of personal nature like laundry, phone calls and meals not included in the tour.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, moderate walking on uneven surfaces between 3 - 5 kilometers per day. Suitable for most fitness levels
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Written in the same tradition as John Julius Norwich's engrossing accounts of Venice and Byzantium, Richard Fletcher's Moorish Spain entertains even as it enlightens. He tells the story of a vital period in Spanish history which transformed the culture and society, not only of Spain, but of the rest of Europe as well. Moorish influence transformed the architecture, art, literature and learning, and Fletcher combines this analysis with a crisp account of the wars, politics and sociological changes of the time.
Beginning in the year 711 and continuing for nearly a thousand years, the Islamic presence survived in Spain, at times flourishing, and at other times dwindling into warring fiefdoms. But the culture and science thereby brought to Spain, including long-buried knowledge from Greece, largely forgotten during Europe’s Dark Ages, was to have an enduring impact on the country as it emerged into the modern era. In this gracefully written history, Richard Fletcher reveals the Moorish culture in all its fascinating disparity and gives us history at its best: here is vivid storytelling by a renowned scholar.
By Richard A. FletcherAmazon
Spain: A Literary Companion
Spain has one of the richest cultures in the world - and one that has inspired writers throughout history.
Anyone visiting the country will want to know more about its literary heritage.
Jimmy Burns's 'Spain: A Literary Companion' is the perfect travel partner, a book that will open your eyes and allow you to view the country afresh - and introduce you to aspects of Spanish life you never knew existed.
Part personal travelogue, part anthology, this literary companion will surprise, entertain and, on occasion, move the reader.
It is a wide-ranging and incisive portrait of a country and its people: starting with the Roman poets, it journeys through Cervantes to Orwell and Hemingway.
Highlights include: the enduring nature of regional identity; the joys - and pitfalls - of Spanish food and wine; tributes to Spain's three cultures - Christian, Jewish and Muslim; the passions of flamenco and bullfighting; battlefield experiences from Wellington to the Civil War; and the changes to the country wrought by tourism.
"A fascinating portrait of a country that writers have always loved' - Robert Avon, best-selling author of 'Diary of an Angel'.
Jimmy Burns is an award winning journalist and author. His books include the internationally acclaimed 'Hand of God: The Life of Diego Maradona' and 'Barca: A People's Passion'. Born in Madrid, he has reported for the Financial Times, London Observer, BBC and the Economist, and was the FT correspondent in South America in the early 80s and his book on Argentina and the Falklands War, 'The Land That Lost Its Heroes', won the 1988 Somerset Maugham Award for non-fiction.
By Jimmy BurnsAmazon
A Short History of Spain
The history of Spain dates back to the Early Middle Ages. In 1516, Habsburg Spain unified a number of disparate predecessor kingdoms; its modern form of a constitutional monarchy was introduced in 1813, and the current democratic constitution dates to 1978. After the completion of the Reconquista, the kingdoms of Spain were united under Habsburg rule in 1516. At the same time, the Spanish Empire began to expand to the New World across the ocean, marking the beginning of the Golden Age of Spain, during which, from the early 1500s to the 1650s, Habsburg Spain was among the most powerful states in Europe.
Written in an engaging style, Mary Parmele’s concise study A Short History of Spain introduces readers to the key themes that have shaped modern Spain.
By Mary Platt ParmeleAmazon
The New Spaniards
A fully revised, expanded and updated edition of this masterly portrayal of contemporary Spain.
The restoration of democracy in 1977 heralded a period of intense change that continues today. Spain has become a land of extraordinary paradoxes in which traditional attitudes and contemporary preoccupations exist side by side. Focussing on issues which affect ordinary Spaniards, from housing to gambling, from changing sexual mores to rising crime rates. John Hooper's fascinating study brings to life the new Spain of the twenty-first century.
By John Hooper
Passionate, evocative and beautifully written, Spain is a companion to the country: its people, its history - and its character. First published in 1964 and no less compelling today, Jan Morris's classic work is back in print, bringing Spain, its glory and its tragedy, vividly to life.
Jan Morris's collection of travel writing and reportage spans over five decades and includes such titles as Venice, Coronation Everest, Hong Kong, Spain, Manhattan '45, A Writer's World and the Pax Britannica Trilogy. Hav, her novel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
'The most evocative book ever written about Spain.' Independent
By Jan Morris
This is not a proper guidebook. Think of it as a checklist scribbled on a napkin by a friend who lives in Barcelona and would like you to see the best of the city. Quickly plan your itinerary here – museums, coffee stops, lunch and dinner, a bit of shopping – and hit the streets well-prepared. We’ve included more than 180 tips on restaurants, bars, cafes, landmarks and things to do, a primer on Barcelona and Catalonia, a few gift ideas, basic travel information and several beautiful maps to get your bearings right.
Forgotten Places: Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War
A guide to Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War, beginning in the 19th century with the conditions and movements which led to the revolution of 1936, and ending with the fall of the city on 26th January 1939 when Franco's tanks drove down the Diagonal and set about destroying everything the Republic had built. Stories from the aftermath of the war, the exile and the Franco regime are also included.
In addition with dealing with the more obvious themes such as anarchism, the Spanish Republic, Catalonia, George Orwell, the aerial bombing, and the May Days, etc, the book also looks at themes such as the Zoo during the Civil War, the American Sixth Fleet in the city, Barça, urbanism, Nazis in Barcelona, Robert Capa, the Spanish in the Holocaust, poster art...
Intertwined in the text are contemporary quotes and a few personal stories of people I have met who experienced the war or its aftermath. There are also biographies of characters such as Andreu Nin and Lluís Companys.
By Nick Lloyd
Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective
How much does the world know about Catalonia and its role as a great medieval empire and one of Europe's first nation states? In Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective author Simon Harris takes the reader through 1,000 years of Catalan history focusing on the Principality's often difficult relationship with Castile-dominated Spain. This insightful and balanced history gives an insider's background to the current political situation and why Catalonia is engaged in a process for deciding whether it wants to be independent from Spain.
By Simon Harris
Barcelona Small Group Tour | The city explored in-depth
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