Getting around a new city can be a challenge; you don’t really know the lay of the land when you first arrive and if you are traveling with children or have mobility issues, the challenges only increase. So, to get you started, we have developed a handy mobility guide.
Barcelona is a picturesque city, boasting stunning views, medieval pedestrianized streets, breathtaking architecture and creative street art. In an effort to make Barcelona a more livable and user-friendly city, much of the most historic districts are also largely pedestrianized - most notably the Gothic Quarter and Born neighborhood - inviting you to take a pleasurable stroll through their charming streets.
There is so much you can miss without a guide to show you the history-filled nooks and crannies through these areas on our walking tour. But, to ensure you make the most of your vacation time and are able to see all the fabulous things the city has to offer, without suffering from sore feet, you will no doubt need some additional transportation. So, we offer a variety of tours with different types of transportation to make your time in Barcelona as enjoyable as possible!
Barcelona on Foot
With only 39 square miles of livable space, Barcelona is on the small side for a major European city, so walking is always a viable option. The labyrinthine Gothic Quarter is a captivating place to wander at leisure, however, without a guide it is easy to pass many of its wonders unnoticed. How many neighborhoods can claim Roman ruins, a cathedral, a Jewish quarter, civil war battlegrounds, a royal palace and medieval architecture?
In order to appreciate the rich history, a knowledgeable guide is highly recommended to reveal its treasures and share with you its many stories. Travelers can choose from a variety of walking tours, which include the Gothic Quarter or focus solely on this history-rich district. For families, we offer this tour with family friendly, age appropriate scavenger hunts that get everyone involved, having fun and learning!
Thankfully, walking isn’t the only way to visit the landmarks and marvels of Barcelona’s pedestrianized areas though. Using sleek chauffeured pedicabs, these large pedestrianized areas open themselves to travelers of all ages, including those not so fond of walking! Individual earbuds enable travelers on pedicab tours to hear their guide perfectly as they share with you the stories and histories of Barcelona’s most culture-rich districts.
Our Gothic Quarter by Rickshaw takes place at 9am and 5pm, when the streets aren’t quite so busy, and stops are made along the way for photo opportunities and close-up looks at all the important places.
Rickshaws are a great way to get around the city, even when you are not on tour! There are plenty to be found - you just need to flag them down. A wonderful treat when your feet just cannot take any more walking!
Biking is big in Barcelona, a bit like the Amsterdam of southern Europe if you will, and is a great way to cover more ground in a short amount of time. Using electric bikes, with their gentle propulsion aid, allows you to easily navigate Barcelona outside of the tangle of streets in the Gothic Quarter. In a casual half-hour, your whole family can easily traverse the main beach front and inner harbor of Barceloneta, where your guide can demonstrate the tremendous changes which came with the 1992 Olympic games and the massive urban renewal the city implemented. Also easily seen by bike tour are the Arc de Triomf, Parc de la Ciutadella (both home to the 1888 Universal Expo), the Olympic Village and the Mercat del Born - all of which are best witnessed from the saddle.
For school aged kids, we recommend that families enjoy this tour from the comfort of a chauffeured rickshaw and leave the driving to a professional. Though a very bikeable city, Barcelona can also be a hectic urban hubbub of activity and we’ve found that some travelers find it more relaxing to sit back and let someone else take the saddle!
Barcelona Taxis & Chauffeured Vans
When setting off to explore the Gaudi sights, taxis and chauffeured vans are your best bet, allowing you to see as much as possible. The extension district, known locally as l’Eixample, covers a broad area of Barcelona, but few tourists have the chance to familiarise themselves with this carefully planned, turn of the century area of town, loaded with architectural gems (Gaudi & Company).
Chauffeured vans are ideal for groups with more than four travelers or for those arriving in town on cruise ships. They allow you to see all the highlights from the comfort of an air conditioned, modern van, equipped with big windows. Stops are made at every landmark and key location to guarantee an up-close and personal experience (we leave drive-by visits to the hop on/off buses).
For travelers on a tighter budget or for groups of up to four travelers, taxis are a great option for tours. Working with a fleet of brand new, well maintained taxis and friendly drivers, the taxis are organized in advance for tours. For travel outside of tours, we highly recommend downloading My Taxi App. It functions just like Uber, which is not readily available in Spain, and takes the headache or uncertainty out of taxi travel.
Author: Charlie Bush
Sara Siddeeq: Born and raised in Buckinghamshire (England), Sara is a recent graduate from the University of Leeds. She primarily works in digital marketing and PR, however she is also a journalist in Barcelona, contributing to over half a dozen websites in the city alone.