How do you recruit your guides?
Our guides are recruited from social services, soup kitchens, and homeless charities, and then coached and trained by Hidden City Tours. We apply strict filters – fluent English, German or French, well presented, free of alcohol and drug addictions, good public speakers and a desire to work and form part of a very small but ambitious team! Our trained up guides have incredible knowledge of the city and can't wait to show you around, taking you to the touristy and not so touristy areas to show you the hidden secrets and stories Barcelona is bursting to share with you.
Do the guides receive training?
Each guide follows a thorough training program of between 40 and 60 hours, led by founder Lisa Grace. And for those guides that require additional support in English, there are weekly English classes run by our resident volunteer English teacher Karin.
I can´t see an address on the website. Where is your office?
We have no fixed office, in fact our weekly team meetings are held in a dfferent place every time. And all training is completed in the street as rehearsals.
How much do the guides earn?
The guides earn a fixed amount per hour worked in accordance to the regulations stipulated for Tour Guides. They also earn a performance related bonus paid twice a year which works as a kind of enforced saving programme for the guides.
All your guides appear to be male. Do you have any female guides?
Since 90% of Barcelona´s homeless are male our workforce represents the gender split of the homeless
Are the guides really homeless?
Yes, all our guides have been homeless and living on the streets of Barcelona. We currently have no guides who are actually sleeping on the streets (it is very difficult to hold down a job whilst sleeping rough). Some of our guides are still homeless in the sense that they may be living in social shelters provided by social services or other accomodation provided by a local charity or social services.
I´d like to make a donation. Is Hidden City Tours a registered charity?
No, we're a social enterprise and are unable to accept donations.
Can I tip the guide?
Yes, and please do! Tips are always welcome and recognition for a job well done!
Are there any volunteering opportunities at Hidden City Tours or at the Chiringuito de Dios soup kitchen?
No, there are no volunteering opportunities at Hidden City Tours. At the Chiringuito de Dios soup kitchen there are long term volunteering opportunities for Spanish speakers who are available for min of 3 months. Just a note on volunteering: there is no shortage of offers to volunteer especially in the homeless sector, a very visible but marginalised sector of the popualtion. However there are very few companies actually creating employment for the homeless, I know it´s a cliche but a hand up is better than a hand out. I think it´s important to help homeless people back on to their own 2 feet with an earned income and the self esteem and general well being (mental and physical) that goes hand in hand with being back in the work force. If you have taken part in a Hidden City Tours walking tour then you have contributed to helping the homeless without any need for additional volunteering.
Do the guides tell their story?
Yes, both our Classic walking tour and Streetlife walking tour include the guides´ story interwoven into the tour. And if there´s if something else that you wish to know please ask all the questions you wish, we love lots of questions! It makes for an interactive and interesting tour!
How long does the tour last?
The tours lasts between 1.5h (Streetlife) and 2 hours (Classic) but the duration of the tour depends on the pace of the group and the amount of questions asked!
What language are the tours given in?
Tours are available in English, German and Spanish.
Is there a lot of walking involved?
Not at all. If you are used to strolling around a beautiful city like Barcelona, you'll feel right at home! No special athletic abilities required!
Do you offer Private Tours?
Yes, for groups 15 people+ we offer special rates. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details
Are you official tour guides?
No. Barcelona is an open air museum. And that is just how we appreciate Barcelona during our tour - from the street. We are not official tour guides and as such do not enter any historic buildings
What´s the difference between a charity and a social enterprise?
A charity receives funds from public or private donations, they then distribute the funds as they see necessary, the users receive and give thanks. At Hidden City Tours it’s the guides that give a quality service, our clients that receive and give thanks. So there´s a shift of power. The guides are the stars, the leaders of the show. That’s the difference.
Does Hidden City Tours receive subsidies from the goverment?
No. We self finance ourselves from the tours we sell. We are independent and receive no funding of any description. We believe that a social enterprise must be sustainable, economically viable and above all profitable. Otherwise we would become just another burden on society!
What is your logo and who designed it?
Designed by local collage artist www.thisrosylife.com. We love this original collage view of Barcelona and it totally embraces our brand values of repurposing material,.... giving otherwise unused bits and bobs a second chance to shine in life
How many homeless are there in Barcelona?
There are estimated to be around 900 people sleeping on the streets and a further 2000 sleeping in shelters.
Why Barcelona for Hidden City Tours?
Barcelona has a fast growing homeless problem yet continues to flourish as a tourist destination, now being the fourth most visted city in Europe. Then why not offset one against the other? So we decided to tap into Barcelona's booming tourist trade and put it to work to help solve the city's homeless problems by offering employment to people who want to work their way to a better life.