Hello travelers! In this week’s #ExperienceOfTheWeek series we travel back to our favorite Barcelona, Spain.
This dynamic city is often on the radar of many tourists because of its friendly people, fun-filled activities, and interesting places to see.
If you don’t want to miss out on the best spots to visit in Barcelona, follow our latest interview with Sevag, the founder of a local private tour platform The Barcelonian, who is ready to guide you through this magnificent city with his eyes closed. Let’s get started!
Q1: Hi Sevag, how are you doing?
Hello! I’m doing fine thanks for asking.
Q2: Tell us more about the story of The Barcelonian. Where did the idea come from?
I moved to Barcelona in 2010, and everything was fascinating to me. From its urban planning, architecture, festivals, as well as local traditions. Being a person who loves to walk and bike, I discovered numerous corners away from the hustle and bustle of the touristic landmarks of the city.
This was during a time when tourism was growing at an exponential rate in Barcelona. And all thanks to the famous landmarks such as the Sagrada Familia as well as world-class events such as the mobile world congress.
Over 3 years-time, me and my friend, who is very attached to the Catalan culture, realized that much more can be done in order to show that Barcelona is not only 4 landmarks and the beach. Neither the concept of sustainable tourism nor quality tourism was sufficiently discussed in an environment where the tourism economy was growing fast. And it seemed that no serious limits were being imposed on the amount of harm it could do for the coexistence of locals and tourists. We created The Barcelonian to give a quality service in an environment that can keep the harmony between locals and tourists.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t take our visitors to Gaudí’s famous landmarks. However, we designed private itineraries that combine commercial and non-commercial activities that gave even further satisfaction than the average visitor who books a tour in Barcelona. It is also important to note that we have had reduced groups since 2012, in order to maintain the quality and communication between the guide and the visitors.
Q3: Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and I bet there are dozens of things to show to fellow travelers. How big is your team? Are you all locals?
Yes, Barcelona being the largest Mediterranean city in Europe, offers quite a few attractions and activities that can be done in and around the city. Our team is a diverse group of 22 between office and guides. We are not all from Barcelona, however, we all do consider ourselves locals. The term “locals” for us is not necessarily having been born here, but more importantly having learned, appreciated, respected, and to a certain extent, adapted to the local culture and lifestyle of Barcelona.
Q4: Your selection of experiences is literally endless – you offer everything from day tours to food & wine experiences to private boat trips. What are the most popular activities among travelers who visit you?
As you may have noticed we offer tours within the city as well as excursions around Barcelona. Our most famous 2-hour walking tour is “The Secrets of Barcelona” which has proven to be fun and educational for many friends and families.
Moreover, our top-selling 4-hour excursion has been the “1-Day Wine & Cava Experience” which includes a short trip to an organic family winery.
Q5: At the moment, you’re launching your 360º Virtual Reality tours together with Globetrotter VR. Can you tell us something more about this new collaboration?
We were approached by Globetrotter-VR with the idea of using 360º VR content for some of our tours that we were still running during the beginning of 2020 ( prior to Spain’s official lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic ).
As the situation in Spain worsened after the 15th of March, like many others, we had to sit down and reflect. Reinventing ourselves was easier said than done. However, we knew we had a technological opportunity with Globetrotter-VR for two reasons:
- Adapting our products to the current situation ( many activities were shifting virtual)
- Giving an opportunity to individuals who would not be able to visit Barcelona in the near future (not necessarily during times of pandemic)
With this objective in mind, we worked hand in hand in order to convert our best-selling “Secrets of Barcelona” walking tour, into a virtual 360º experience. This was also done with the help of one of our most passionate guides for this tour. We are very excited to see the world’s feedback on this virtual experience. It could be the start of many others to come!
Q6: Today many people travel and plan their itineraries on their own. Why would you recommend booking one of your experiences to our travelers?
I am not against people planning itineraries on their own. In fact, many individuals (especially European visitors that do not come from far destinations) don’t tend to book tours on a regular basis. Nevertheless, where we do stand out is when it comes to the quality of the tour, and by quality I mean:
- Transparent communication prior to the tour
- A comfortable environment with your tour guide -Personnel who will adapt to your cultural norms and make you feel at home
- Locations and places that will give the authentic experience
- An overall experience that you will talk about after you get back home (of course in a positive way :))
Having complied with these promises since our start has grown the trust of many families as well as travel agent partners that we have worked with throughout the past years. We are proud to say that we are not one of the biggest tourism companies in Barcelona, but one of the most trustworthy in terms of quality. For us, that is the objective.
Q7: Last but not least, what is your favorite spot around Barcelona that you’d take your friends to see or experience? Tips from a true local are always worth it 🙂
Being a lover of nature, whenever I have a friend or family visiting this beautiful city I would never miss taking them to the “Parc Natural de Collserola”. This is a hilly natural reserve park protected by the regional government that overlooks the whole city and the Mediterranean sea. My love for this place is magical since I can admire breathtaking views of the city, and enjoy its natural habitat at the same time.
Book some of the most popular experiences by The Barcelonian here: