There are hundreds of city tours services with several tour guides who are ready to show you Barcelona’s most famous sites. But none are more eager and knowledgeable about the streets of this city than those who have had to sleep in them.
A couple of years ago, Lisa Grace was feeling disenchanted with the world of market research, where she had spent years helping corporations to get ahead on the markets. She felt it was time for a change. That’s when, searching for voluntary work, Lisa learned about a social enterprise in the UK that offered walking tours with homeless people as their guides.
The concept made sense. Going through serious economic hardships due to the European financial crisis, many people had been reduced to poverty, some even becoming homeless. So why not use tourism, one of the most lucrative sectors, to help them get back on their feet?
Jobs for homeless people
That’s how Hidden City Tours was born: a company that creates jobs for homeless people, who guide visitors through the streets of the Gothic barrio.
The team is comprised of four tour guides: José Baquero, a former architect who, in 2012, lost his home; Ramón, a former chef who lived and worked in France and the US and who, after coming back to Spain, found himself sleeping in the streets; José F., a former translator for a number of publishing houses, who ended up losing his home; and Juan, who lived in Germany for 30 years with his family, but ended up being deported due to problems with the law.
Hidden City Tours has offered each of their tour guides a new chance, awarding them with a new purpose and a life that can be lived with dignity.
The tours offered by these guides present a , where visitors not only discover hidden sites, but also get a better understanding of the economic and political situation of Barcelona. The formerly and presently homeless tour guides go deep into the city’s history, offering a unique view on how homeless people experience each neighborhood.
Hidden City Tours offers three different tours: The Hidden City Tour Classic Walking Tour, The Hidden City Tour Street Life Walking Tour, and The Boqueria Tour and Tapas.
If you are interested in a tour, be sure to get in contact with Hidden City Tours to make a reservation at least 12 hours before the start of the tour.