Barcelona is one of the most tourist filled cities in the world, with around 7 million tourists visiting each year, it is easy to spend your time visiting the typical sites, walking along La Rambla and eating in the tourist filled restaurants for your average paella and sangria.
Not that I say you shouldn’t do this, tourist spots are often touristy for a reason… the best and beautiful that a city has to offer, the easiest places to fill your bellies with local treats and a place to find other fellow travellers for a gossip.
However Barcelona has a new secret in town, a place to meet with fellow travellers whilst also experiencing the real Barcelona you can’t find in the guide books. To meet with locals in a way you would not normally get the chance to do and savour some of the areas of Barcelona saved only for those who really know it.
Last week I was lucky enough to experience the amazing hospitality of Lluis and his beautiful family in their gorgeous family home in north Barcelona. We were greeted with smiles, kisses and a large glass of wine. No better way.
We were lead out onto their terrace with views across the city as we chatted to the the couple and their son about life in Barcelona. All the while they were putting the finishing touches to a delicious array of locally sourced true Catalan style dishes.
We spent a blissful afternoon in the sun on their balcony, chatting, eating and drinking, washed down at the end with one of Lluis’s famous Gin and Tonics. I am not usually a G and T fan but this one was to die for. I watched as Lluis stirred the ice, then squeezed the lime and stirred again, poured the gin and stirred again, added the tonic and stirred again and last but not least a final squeeze of lime around the edge of the glass. It really was a perfect way to end an amazing afternoon.
Before lunch we had been on a tour of the Gothic Quarter and parts of La Merce Festival with photographer Joan. This was a tour with a twist and instead of Juan taking photos of the amazing architecture he was taking photos of us taking photos of architecture. It took me a while to understand what was going on as I wondered why he kept photographing us with our phones out tweeting and instagraming our surroundings. Half way through he informed us we would get a copy of each of the photos and the penny finally dropped.
What an original idea for tourists wanting a professional keepsake of their time in Barcelona. Not only do you get a private tour around some of Barcelona’s most spectacular areas but you also get personal photographs by a professional to take home with you. Often far better than your typical ‘selfie’ tourist shots. Juan was really friendly and knowledgable on the history of the area.
Both the tour and the lunch with Lluis were trips organised by Trip4Real and made up one of my favourite days in Catalunya. If you are looking for a unique experience in the city then look no further.
Their tour to Lluis’s house includes shopping for and cooking your meal with the family and is priced at €100 per person.
The photography walk with Joan lasts 1.5 hours and costs €35
You can see loads of photos of my trip and where I went on TravMonkey. Lots more posts about Catalunya to come.
My experience with Trip4Real was part of a bigger blog trip with Agencia Catalana de Turisme. Though my trip was paid for it was my choice what I write about and how and so all of the above is true to my personal opinions and first hand experiences.