I visit Barcelona for a few days every year for work, travelling solo, which normally means a couple of quiet nights at the hotel by myself watching Catalan TV. This year, I thought I’d mix things up a bit, and try to learn more about the city from the locals, starting with a Thursday night Vegan Tapas Tour. Joining an organised tour saved me from the awkwardness I would normally feel at dining out alone, as our little group visited four restaurants around the Gothic quarter, sampling delightful locally sourced dishes and learning about the history of the area from our guide.
For my final morning in Barcelona, with a few hours free before I needed to return to the airport, I had booked myself onto a running tour of the city, which sounded like the ideal way to combine sightseeing and some exercise.
My guide for the morning was Oriol, a journalist who has lived his whole life in Barcelona. We met at my hotel in the city centre at 8am, and started to make our way around some of the main streets, pausing to admire the elaborate Gaudi architecture before making our way over to Barcelona’s most iconic sight, the Sagrada Familia cathedral. It was wonderful to hear about how the cathedral is constantly evolving. I must book a tour of the inside for my next visit!
Next, we made our way down through the old Olympic village towards the beach. It was a beautifully sunny and fresh November morning, peaceful with only other runners around along the expansive stretch of seafront. Finally, we made our way back up through the twisting narrow streets of the historic Gothic quarter, spotting remnants of Roman walls, before finishing the tour on Oriol’s rooftop terrace, enjoying some spectacular views of the city with a well earned drink!
What I loved most about the running tour was spending time with a local, someone clearly passionate about his city, which gave you so much more of an insiders viewpoint.
Also, this trip I’ve definitely learnt that travelling alone doesn’t mean you need to miss out! I’ll certainly be looking out for more opportunities like this in my future travels.
If you find yourself in Barcelona any time soon, why not think about a running tour? Tour guides are always able to tailor the pace and distance to your abilities, so there is never any need to worry about keeping up. You can find more information about Oriol’s Running and Culture tour on the AirBnb experiences site here. And drop me a line if you’ve ever tried out a running tour in a new city!
On a different note I’m delighted to say that Monday Running has been nominated for best personal blog at the 2020 Running awards! If you’ve enjoyed reading, I’d be absolutely honoured if you would vote for me on the Running Awards website here, in the Blogs -> personal Blogs category, it only takes a second to register. Thank you so much!