We spoke to Marta Laurent Veciana, a private tour guide in Barcelona, about the city she knows and loves, and this is what she had to say:
I love it every time that I get a client who didn’t really know what Barcelona was going to be like. When they discover the variety of the city and its beauty, their expressions of fascination and surprise are great! We’ve got old and new, seaside and hills, sport and museums, great food, fine shopping… But if I have to choose one thing, the Gaudí architecture is what surprises everyone the most, even those who already knew about it!
The best way to see as much as possible in little time, and get to understand and love what you are seeing at the same time, is hiring a (good!) private guide – someone that has experience, speaks the local language(s) and has plenty of good reviews. You’ll be taken by the hand by a local and be able to ask as many questions as you want. Your guide will know the shortcuts that make your itinerary the most time-efficient, and most likely he/she will be able to cut the lines into museums and attractions.
Reviews are important, but above all, trust your gut and chose someone whose style you like. Choosing the right person will totally determine how much you’ll be enjoying your tour!
If a visitor to Barcelona could only eat one thing… only one? No way! There are so many things to eat! Super thick hot-chocolate with churros (top it with whipped cream to make a “suís”!), a wonderful rice dish by the port, “pa amb tomàquet” (tomato bread) with jabugo ham or some wonderful local cheese, a glass of cava sparkling wine… can’t just chose only one!
My favorite park is still the Parc Güell, even if I go there almost every day with clients, because it is so colorful! It takes me to those fairy-tale lands of my childhood (but if you can, go in the afternoon to avoid the crowds). My second favorite park, La Ciutadella, is full of people in the weekend relaxing, outdoor dancing, and sunbathing. It’s a great place to hear the city’s heartbeat. My third favorite park is El Laberint d’Horta. Not many tourist get there, but it’s a secret gem and easy to get to by subway. It’s so much fun entering the little cypress-tree maze and getting lost for 5 minutes before you find your way out!