The historic tour takes you through the city´s Gothic and Raval quarters, combining the classic sites with some off the beaten track sites. The tour aims to link history and social history with the present day and discuss the social reality of Barcelona´s old town with unique insight and stories from our homeless guides. “Our guides will show you the Barcelona you won´t read about in any guide book!” shares Lisa Grace, Hidden City Tours founder.
The tours launched just 6 months ago (5 October 2013) employing 1 guide and offering tours in Spanish with English translation. From 1 April 2014 Hidden City Tours runs tours in English, French and German and employs 7 guides.
Lisa comments “We ran a trial period of 1 month in October last year to judge the reaction of the market. We had over 200 customers within that 4 week period, which completely exceded our expectations. In addition, we observed that virtually all our customers were from overseas, mainly English speaking but also French and German customers too. Running the tour with translation into English worked well and our customers absolutely love the tour! However, we felt that the customer experience could be further enriched by offering tours directly in the language”.
Hidden City Tours has spent the winter months recruiting and training up a team of guides all of whom are Spanish nationals and have lived on the streets on Barcelona and so as well as Spanish, each guide offers the tour in either English, French or German.
Lisa, who has lived in Barcelona for over 10 years, explains, “Barcelona has more than 3,000 homeless but the moment you place 3 or 4 filters into your search – free of alcohol and drug addiction, confident speaking in public, fluent in English, French or German - you can count on one hand those who come out the other side!” To deal with this issue, Lisa widened her search for possible candidates from local homeless charities to also include social services and the city´s many public and private soup kitchens.
Hidden City Tours provides each guide with training of between 60 to 80 hours and there are on-going weekly English lessons for those guides running tours in English who require additional support and coaching.
Hidden City Tours´ guides are not just employees, they are partners in the company as they receive 50% of the net income from the tours.
The tours run in English, French, German and Spanish, priced 14/10euros adult/concession. Groups are small and personal. For more info and to book, go to www.hiddencitytours.com // END