I always appreciate a great street art walking tour and try to incorporate one whenever on offer at a destination city. As a result I have taken part in similar walks in several cities around the world. This one undoubtedly ranks as one my favourite experiences so far.
It is often when things don't quite go to plan when a business or experience provider truly reveals whether or not they are deserving of a five star review, and I can happily report that Artspace Tours could not have been more accommodating if they tried. Despite some last minute complications with my reservation (no one's fault, just circumstance), Kat, the founder and CEO of Artspace Tours, went out of her way to ensure the tour went ahead as planned, going so far as to take on the role as guide herself - something she apparently doesn't get to do much being busy CEO-ing in the office. Her passion for, and knowledge of, Barcelona's street- and contemporary art scenes - as well as for the city itself - was immediately evident when we met up at the starting point of the walk.
Over the subsequent ~2,5 hours we wandered through the streets of Barcelona's El Poble-Sec, El Raval, and Barri Gòtic neighbourhoods finding both easily accessible street art pieces and plenty of hidden gems (new and old). All the while Kat provided informative and insightful commentary, both about the city's art/artists, but also about how the city itself has shaped the art scene and ethos that has since spread from there to other parts of the world. In the constantly changing world of street art we also came upon some brand new and fresh pieces, exciting Kat as much, if not more, as it did me. We even encountered a couple of the artists along the way - one working 'wildstyle', and one dressed and living as a dinosaur (?) for the week... as one does.
The walk concludes with a visit to the Base Elements Urban Art Gallery for a well earned drink; a meet and a chat with Rob, the passionate owner; a look at some amazing gallery artworks (many available for purchase); and a tour of the awesome workspace it offers to artists in the basement, which is also used for regular special events and gatherings. Apparently it used to be the basement of a royal palace above ground (demolished long ago) and even has some impressive remnants of 1st/2nd century CE Roman brickwork in its foundation.
As an extra bonus, I was shown around the brand new dual purpose Artspace Tours head office slash very cool gallery in the making, which I understand will eventually become officially incorporated in future tours.And they even run workshops, for children and adults alike, where you get to try to create some street art yourself.
Overall this was an absolutely excellent street art tour that I cannot recommend highly enough, whether you have an active interest in street art or it's a brand new world for you. Additionally, Kat was very affable and great company throughout the walk (as I am sure her team of guides also are), adding to the already positive impression I had of the tour itself.