Free Tours are a fantastic way to get an introduction to a city. The guides are friendly, knowledgeable and fun and they go out of their way to help visitors with recommendations to make their stay a memorable one. Nowadays you can find them all over the world so, as you can imagine, Free Tours in Spain are also very popular. In the big cities, there are quite a few on offer but… how do I choose the best one?
Most companies have great reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, the tours are running at similar times, the duration is also between 2 and 3 hours… But there is one big difference that a lot of people seem to miss. A lot of these Free Tours are organised by companies that offer their tours in different cities and disguise themselves under the umbrella of “local guides”. But only when you choose a local company will you:
- Get the local flavour that only a homegrown business that lives and breathes that city can give you
- Be sure that your money will end up supporting the local economy and the local residents instead of ending going out of the city or country
So how do I know that the company I choose is a real local one? Just answer one simple question: Do they offer tours in other places? If the answer is yes, this is not a real homegrown business and the profits will end up somewhere else and not in the community you are visiting.
We have prepared a list of the best Free Tours in Spain where you can be sure that you get that local feel, as well as the knowledge, the fun and the friendliness while supporting a more responsible type of tourism. These are all good friends of ours, we have been on their tours and they all offer fantastic experiences so you can be sure you are in good hands.
Let me introduce you to Barcelona (us) but also to Granada, Madrid, Málaga and San Sebastian as they can explain about their Free Tours in Spain better than anyone else.
- Barcelona Free Tours (Runner Bean Tours)
- Granada Free Tours (Walk in Granada)
- Madrid Free Tours (OGO Tours)
- Málaga Free Tours (Explora Malaga)
- San Sebastian Free Tours (Go Local)
Barcelona Free Tours (Runner Bean Tours)
Barcelona is a city where everyone wants to go to. We have the sea, the hills, the food, the history, the culture… This Free Tours project started in 2010 making it the first one of its kind in the city. Even after so many years, we still enjoy showing visitors the marvels of our city. You can find free tours, scheduled fixed-price tours and private tours but this post is about the free tours so take a look at the 2 we offer in Barcelona.
Some people get quite surprised when they discover that Barcelona is a city with over 2,000 years of history. From its Roman origins to modern times, passing through its medieval splendour, this is a place that has seen a lot of action.
On our Barcelona Free Tour of the Gothic Quarter, we will unveil the secrets of the stones in the narrow streets, secluded squares and medieval churches of the area but we also learn about the legends of Barcelona and traditions of the Catalan people. This is a must for a lovely introduction to the city!
- When: Every day at 11am & 4:30pm (Mar-Oct) & 11am (Nov-Feb)
- Where: Plaça Reial
If there is one name that is linked to Barcelona, that has to be Antoni Gaudí. Not only did he revolutionise the architecture of the 20th century but his buildings are just a delight on the eye.
On our Gaudí Free Tour, we use a combination of walking and metro to cover the long distances in between the buildings. Not only do we enjoy these wonderful creations but we also learn about the man behind them. His life and death, his patrons and friends, his unusual approach… There is room for everything in this walk to try to understand the mind that came up with masterpieces like La Pedrera or Sagrada Familia.
- When: Every day at 11am & 4:30pm (Mar-Oct) & 11am (Nov-Feb)
- Where: Plaça Reial
Content written by Gorka Regidor, co-founder and tour guide of Runner Bean Tours Barcelona
Granada Free Tours (Walk in Granada)
Granada, home to one of the most visited monuments in Spain, is a must-see during your visit to Andalusia. Get amazed by the greatness of the Alhambra, enjoy a day skiing in Sierra Nevada during the winter season, relax enjoying free tapas and discover the secrets of the Albayzín and Sacromonte with us!
We are Walk in Granada and started in March 2015 with the idea of offering a different type of tourism that respects the residents of our local neighbourhoods where we visit on tour. After more than 3 years, we can proudly say we are one of the top companies in Granada offering historical and cultural tours. Join us on a free or customised tour. We cater to every traveller’s needs.
An ideal tour to get your bearings if you are here for a short amount of time in our city. Come along and be introduced to the melting pot of cultures that co-existed here many centuries ago and are still present nowadays, making Granada the multicultural city it is today.
Walk around the Old Cathedral and then to the Royal Chapel, burial place of the famous Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. Discover the old bazaar of Alcaicería, find out what Christopher Columbus was doing here and wander through the labyrinth of streets to get a taste of the old Muslim quarter of Albayzín.
- When: Every day at 11 am
- Where: Plaza Nueva
Got a taste for the Albayzín on our historical tour and want to continue discovering the most iconic neighbourhood of Granada? Get lost with us through the ancient streets of the old Muslim Quarter. This hill was the origin of the Granada that we know today. It still retains a neighbourhood atmosphere with its small friendly shops, twisted alley-ways, cobbled-stone streets, picturesque squares, and, of course, the wonderful views of the Alhambra.
In the Albayzín you can feel the history of this magical city that was the capital of Al-Ándalus. Our guides will reveal all the secrets and emblematic places on a journey that nobody should miss!
- When: Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday at 6 pm (Apr-Sep) and 4 pm (Oct-Mar)
- Where: Plaza Nueva
A tour like you have never done before! This walk combines just the right amount of history, hiking at a medium level and the best views of the city. Learn about the origin of the caves, the gipsy community and, of course, the essence of flamenco!
A unique neighbourhood in which you will discover what it is like to live in a cave, its advantages, disadvantages, and its relationship with the history of Granada in the 15th and 16th centuries. The breathtaking views of Sierra Nevada, the Alhambra and the Albazyín is just the perfect backdrop.
- When: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 6 pm (Apr-Sep) and 4 pm (Oct-Mar)
- Where: Plaza Nueva
Content written by Eric Zint, co-founder and tour guide of Walk in Granada
Madrid Free Tours (OGO Tours)
We are Javier and Tatiana and we founded OgoTours in 2013 driven by the passion we feel for Madrid and its history. Since then, our small family business has grown to become one of the top-rated tour companies in Madrid. However, being a family business makes us different from other large companies. This advantage allows us to keep the personal touch of a small business and offer an authentic local experience, away from the clichés.
When you think of Madrid, tapas, sun, football and shopping come to mind. However, Madrid’s heritage is truly exceptional, combining both historical and modern treasures. Few cities in Europe have such a concentration of world-renowned museums, palaces and historical sites. Immerse yourself in the history of Madrid and discover the city in a different way with our local guides. After our tour, we are sure that you will feel like a genuine “Madrileño”.
During our 2.5-hour tour, we will walk through the narrow streets of the Old Town, visiting emblematic places such as Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the majestic Royal Palace, Town Square and the Almudena Cathedral. A historical journey from its Muslim origins through to the turbulent times of the 20th century. All this accompanied by legends and interesting facts about history, culture, traditions and gastronomy. This tour is the perfect introduction to discover Madrid and its wonderful cultural heritage.
- When: Every day at 10:45 am
- Where: Plaza de la Puerta del Sol (equestrian statue of King Carlos III)
Content written by Tatiana, co-founder and tour guide of Madrid OGO Tours
Málaga Free Tours (Explora Malaga)
Málaga is a lovely destination to visit. 320 sunny days a year with wonderful beaches and landscapes. Most people might be tempted to think that’s all Málaga has to offer, but not really. We have breathtaking monuments, 37 museums and 2,800 years worth of history. Our company, Explora Malaga, was created by two enthusiastic graduates in tourism from the University of Málaga. As licensed tour guides, our goal is to spread the word of the cultural, historical and artistic heritage of our city through fresh eyes.
In our short lifetime, the feedback received by customers far exceeded our expectations. We are pleased to have been awarded the Certificate of Excellence of TripAdvisor and of being the number 1 cultural activity in our city since 2016.
The Free Walking Tour passes by the most important monuments of Málaga’s historical centre. Come and learn about the most important events in Malaga’s history. The birth of the city with the arrival of our founders, the Phoenicians, then on to the Carthaginians and the Punic Wars. View the remains left by the Romans and Visigoths, ponder over the interesting Arabic castles with their ingenious defence systems and how they were changed after the Reconquest.
Explora Malaga offers tours daily in English and Spanish. This is the most interesting tour you can experience in central Málaga. Find out how the real city comes alive when you are guided by the right person.
- When: Every day at 11am
- Where: Plaza de la Constitución
Málaga was under Muslim control for almost 8 centuries, but their legacy will last forever. Discover all about the Moorish period in our city by circling the most influential fortress/palace of its time: The Alcazaba.
Between the historical city centre and the sea, this fortress has seen Málaga growing and changing for almost a millennium. A free tour where you learn about the Muslim legacy in a city they inhabited for 8 centuries while listening to the unbelievable story of a castle that became a neighbourhood. Learn about the Christian reconquest and the never-ending battle of 1487 while taking in the breathtaking views of our town and the bay.
- When: Thursday & Saturday at 5:30 pm (Apr-Oct) and 4 pm (Nov-Mar)
- Where: Alcazabilla Street, 2 (entrance of the Alcazaba)
Content written by Luis Jiménez, co-founder and tour guide of Explora Malaga
San Sebastian Free Tours (Go Local)
Donostia-San Sebastian, a small city full of history, folklore and secrets ready to be discovered. The best way to start your exploration of our city is by the guiding hand of locals. Go Local was born in 2012 with the intention of showing tourists that our city is not a postcard but quite the opposite. This is a dynamic and lively city that deserves to be walked. Go Local believes that everyone has the chance to be a local in Donostia. This is our signature and that is why we are well known for our small group Free Walking Tours.
Our Free Tour is the best way for visitors to explore the two most popular districts of the city while taking in the history and culture of Donostia along the way. The true backbone of the city is its citizens so we include many anecdotes that help give an insight to the Basque people and maybe change the way you view our city.
We are extremely conscious about the environment and the impact of tourism, so we offer alternative ways of visiting, compared to the more traditional ones. If you would like to join us and have a great time during your stay in Donostia, book your place on one of the many tours that Go Local offers: Free walking tour, E-bike tour, pintxo tour…
- When: Every day at 10:30am & 4pm
- Where: Plaza Sarriegi, 9
Content written by Iñigo Ansa, co-founder and tour guide of Go Local San Sebastian
I hope you have a wonderful trip to Spain. We are all looking forward to welcoming you and showing you our cities!