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Spanish Trails: The Full Story

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Since 2001 Spanish Trails has been organising authentic small group and private tours in Barcelona and Catalonia. But where did it all start and how did Spanish Trails become the company they are nowadays? To celebrate over twenty years of success, hundreds of tours and thousands of satisfied customers we want to tell you more about how this family business was founded and take you on the Spanish Trails journey with us!


The very start of Spanish Trails

When Charles and Tracy, the founders of Spanish Trails, moved from America to Spain, Charles first worked as a tour guide for other companies in Catalonia. Back in those days the tour operators only offered multi day package tours, but no day trips yet. This is how in 2001 Charles and Tracy came up with the idea of organising day trips in Barcelona and Catalonia. In the very beginning of Spanish Trails the day trips were organised from their hometown Girona. To start the company, they invested in one van and guided all the tours themselves. To get exposure for their start up, Charles took a table in the van and set it up with a catalogue and some pictures to tell people about the tours they did for example at the beaches of Barceloneta. People started to get to know about the amazing, new kind of day tours Spanish Trails was offering. In 2002 Spanish Trails got more and more clients, which eventually led to the need for an office. In 2004, Spanish Trails opened their first office near Plaça Reial in Barcelona. Charles and Tracy used to live above this office, working all day to promote the tours and keep the company growing. Fun fact: this office was also the first store in Barcelona where you could buy Havaianas flip flops!

a man and a woman sitting on a couch

Growing the business

The hard work started to pay off and around 2008 the business kept growing. In the meantime, Charles and Tracy also started their family, and it was time to hire an extra guide and get a second van to be able to keep up with the higher number of tour requests. After two years there even was the possibility to hire a second guide. Spanish Trails also started to organise tours for the students of the study abroad program ALBA, which is a sister company of Spanish Trails since 2014. Around 2012 the business was thriving and there became the need for a manager for Spanish Trails and other employees to keep the business growing.

In 2017, the company moved to the current office at Avda. del Portal de l’Àngel. At this time the office was located on the fourth floor of the building, together with the ALBA classrooms. After a few years the second floor of this building became available, which was perfect to create more classrooms and a Spanish Trails office. This floor needed some redesign and fresh paint, and became the office of Spanish Trails and has some classrooms for ALBA. When the second floor was finally ready to use, the COVID pandemic hit. Obviously there were no tourists coming to Barcelona, and the Spanish Trails tours were forced to stop completely. This situation was going on for 1.5 years, but luckily after the pandemic the business recovered and we can offer our exciting tours again!

Nowadays, the number of tours is back at the pre pandemic level. The season of 2023 became the best year Spanish Trails ever had, and our tour guides keep excelling in every tour they do. The plan for the future? Keep the same level of attention and love for Catalan and Spanish culture, so we keep delivering the best tours and experiences you can find in Barcelona and Catalunya.

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Do you want to be a part of this story? Contact us today and book a small group or private tour with one of our amazing, knowledgeable guides!