Can anyone recommend a private guide for Barcelona and the Catalan region of Spain?
We used Forever Barcelona for a half day private historic city tour and full day Gaudi Tour. Both were well planned and excellent. The Gaudi tour took us to all the sites - all tickets/reservations were made for us where needed. The timings worked great - it was a long but very worthwhile day. Highly recommend working with Marta (owner). Website Link:
We also did a Tapas tour with Taste Barcelona (not Barcelona Taste - easily confused). Website link:
Another company I would recommend is Context Tours. We have used them several times in different countries. Tours By Local is also another source we have used.
I would caution folks who are interested in photographing the interiors of modernista buildings about paying for tours that go inside them. Although conditions may well be less crowded when things initially open up post-pandemic, the most popular Gaudi sights (La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila/La Pedrera) were packed enough in 2016 (basically selling out every time slot, it seemed) to affect ones ability to move through them at will, and extra time would have been required to get a reasonably clear photo of architectural features. I don't think it would have worked well to have been on a tour that strung together interior visits to all of those places (and possibly others as well), and you'd be paying big bucks for a guide to help you push your way through the crowds. Furthermore, those top Gaudi sights all have good audio guides.
I'd spend my private-tour money on sights where I'd get more bang for my buck, where it wouldn't otherwise be so easy to access background and historical information.
I have never used a private guide in Europe, but I would encourage the practice. On a cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong we used private guides, rather than the tours from the ships. The pricing was often less, for the two of us, than the cruise price and included more and we had a more intimate tour. Plus we supported the local economy.
At one stop, we arrived at the local fish dock in time to see, smell and experience the process of fishermen arriving and selling their catch. By the time we were leaving the activity was winding down and that is when the bus from our ship arrived. Their experience was completely different.
So support local whenever possible.
I used these guides while in Catalonia, and would recommend them. Not private, but very small groups.
Barcelona (in this order):
An inside guided tour from Sagrada Familia's site.
We have hired both private guides as well as group guides throughout Europe. We've never regretted hiring guides. So many positive experiences One of our favorite group walking tours in Barcelona was Runner Bean Tours. We took the free Gothic Quarter and Gaudi Tours. The Gaudi Tour ended near the La Familia Sagrada. www.runnerbeantours.com We chose to do a self guided tour of the Sagrada. We had purchased our tickets ahead so it was convenient to visit after our walking tour. We recommend visiting one of the Towers. The elevator takes you up and then the adventure ends walking down the stairs. No railings!
In 2017, we used Spanish Trails for both private and small-group tours: Tarragona, Priorat Wine Country, and Girona/Costa Brava. All three guides were excellent. The cost of each tour included a multi-course lunch with wine.