Private Tours in Barcelona Spain – Review of Withlocals

Private Tours of Barcelona Spain - Tapas and Wine

When we decided to spend extra nights after disembarking from our Western Mediterranean Cruise, we wanted to feel the local vibe of the city. We thought that there’s a better way to have that experience than to leverage one of the private tours in Barcelona, Spain?

One of our friends recommended Withlocals based on their experience the last time they were touring Europe. So we decided to find out and experience it ourselves.

Company: Withlocals (founded in 2013)

Headquarters: Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Countries Covered: In 2019, more than 30 in Europe, Africa and Asia

Key People: Matthijs Keij (CEO), Marjin & Willem Maas (Co-founders)

Service Offering: Private Tours with Locals

How To Enjoy A City Like A Local

There are so many ways to experience and enjoy the local vibe of a city. You can walk around, “get lost” and explore local neighbourhoods. You can also cycle around like a local. Another way would be to go to authentic local food places and try out local specialties.

If you have a family or friend living in the city, that would be best. Sans those, a great way to do that would be to utilize a local tour guide – someone who knows the place well, adores it and wants to show the city through their lens.

Withlocals provides such a service offering. Localization is their specialty, and they achieve this by providing complete customer experience from the initial touchpoint to the experience with a host who speaks their language and everything in between.

WithLocals – A Scale-Up Company

The company offers a travel marketplace connecting travellers & verified local hosts in 80+ destinations around the world through personalized private tours and activities based on travellers’ passions like food, music and sports. Such allows travellers the opportunity to experience a city just like a local.

The company was founded in 2013 by brothers Marijn and Willem Maas in Eindhoven. It began operations by targeting a market for sharing home-cooked dinners across seven countries in Southeast Asia. Over time, the company has changed its focus on personalized tours and has grown dramatically.

The company’s growth has been enabled by a series of funding it received, with the latest one being Series B funding of €8 million. According to CEO Matthijs Keij, the funding will help Withlocals “connect people and cultures, offer a broader and more localized range of experiences and build a strong community of hosts.”

Its Reach – Continents and Countries Serviced

Withlocals dramatic growth has broadened its reach. In 2019, it was active with thousands of tour options in more than 30 countries, as shown below:

  • Europe (specifically Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, The Netherlands, Turkey)
  • Asia (specifically Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam)
  • Africa (focused on Morocco, South Africa)

The infusion of new capital will support the company’s objective of continuing to expand its presence in the above countries/cities and opening-up new destinations.

How It Works – A Simple Travel Marketplace

The company offers a travel marketplace connecting travellers & local hosts to experience the local vibe of a city. Locals only have to sign up as tour guides or ‘hosts.’ They get to show travellers their city through their eyes. Locals can host a tour crafted with the company, or they can create their own.

Travellers experience the city like locals and not as tourists. They can choose and pick a specific local for their private tour. They can also search for people sharing the same passion, such as food, music or architecture.

Travellers can connect with their local whenever and wherever. Just download the Withlocals app from either the App Store or Google Play, and you can instantly become part of the fastest-growing local travel community.

Before the experience takes place, travellers can exchange messages with the locals of their choice to curate you’re a customized tour if preferred. The communication also creates that feeling of having a friend awaiting you in the city.

Quality of Hosts – Safe and Trustworthy Service

One of Withlocals pillars of growth is its extensive community of local hosts who show travellers their city and their passion, generating a 9.8 out of 10 average ratings in customer happiness. To ensure the quality of its hosts and provide safe and trustworthy experiences to travellers, Withlocals follow three essential steps:

Quality check

Once a host signs up on their website, the company performs a thorough verification process from its headquarters. They verify necessary information, e.g. name, address, social profiles, phone number, ID, payment details and description of the experience.

Tight Connection

The company creates and nurtures an active community in every destination they have a presence. Company representatives tightly maintain a connection with the hosts and pay regular visits to the city to ensure that quality standards meet guests’ expectations.

Review system

Guests have the opportunity to review experience with a host. When multiple guests leave positive reviews, you are more confident you can trust the host and the service he or she offers.

Opening-up A New Profession for Locals

Withlocals has gathered from its research that most people’s travel plans are shaped by their passions like food, music or sports. If you love your city, its food, music, art, sports or architecture and is passionate about it, Withlocals provides you with a free platform to share it with the rest of the world.

What a better way to showcase your city and provide your guest with a one-of-a-kind experience? And to top it all, you earn money doing what you love! So why not be a host of Withlocals?

In Summary

During your travels, we recommend that you stay a bit longer to experience the local vibe of the city. Explore and be lost beyond the city center and the usual city highlights.

To imbibe and meaningfully engage with a city’s history, culture, food and especially with its people, our experience tells us that a good host is critical. We recommend leveraging Withlocals on your next trip.

Meanwhile, if you are a local and passionate about your city, showcase it to visitors while earning in parallel by being a Withlocals host.

Withlocals Image

Disclosure:  This website is a participant in affiliate programs and will earn a commission if someone purchases through the programs’  links on this site. 

We hope you enjoyed this review. If you have questions on the topic or would like to share any experience you may already have with this network, please feel free to leave your comments below.

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(18) Comments

  1. Dereck

    This is such a great service! I had no idea this existed before, it would’ve been real handy to use this when I was visiting Ireland a few years ago. Do you think they’ll eventually expand into South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, etc.) as I’m sure there would be plenty of demand for a service like this? Thank you for sharing your knowledge, this was great info to find out!

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Dereck,
      With their rate of growth and the new funding backing them up, we would not be surprised that they will eventually have presence in key South American cities with plenty of demand.

  2. Kathy

    This sounds a wonderful idea for both travellers and locals. Arriving in a strange city can be daunting, but having a local show you round is a great idea. Shared interests of music, food, culture, and art would make staying in a new place a wonderful experience. I can also imagine many long lasting friendships being formed

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Kathy,
      Yes, definitely a wonderful idea. Just having someone to connect with while planning your trip and have the comfort that there is somebody waiting for you to take you around help in taking the stress out. And if you are able to pick one who you have shared interests, that is really excellent. Indeed, that may be the start of a long-lasting friendship.

      Thank you for your comments and insights.

  3. Tom


    Great post, very informative and insightful.

    I am a very passionate citizen of Liverpool, and I definitely going to look into being a withlocals host, as you recommend. This is definitely a win-win for both the tourist and the host.

    I have always wanted to go to Barcelona. I have been to Madrid and other Spanish resorts but never Barcelona. I think it would be great to go the Camp Nou and see Barcelona play.

    Thanks for sharing.


    1. JRandZen

      Hi Tom,
      Thank you for your comments and we are glad you found the article informative and insightful. Indeed, this is a win-win for both the host and the visitor. The best part is that you can choose from a wide variety of hosts. Check them out for the opportunities of being a host yourself in Liverpool and your need for a local host when you visit Barcelona.

  4. Leslie

    This is an awesome idea. Usually, when you go on a tour with different groups, you get chartered from one place to the next with just enough time to take pictures that you can’t really enjoy the experience. We will definitely look into Withlocals on our next trip.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Leslie,
      Yes, this is one of our primary considerations when engaging with Withlocals as we typically would like to immerse ourselves into the local community and culture. Where do you plan to have your next trip? If they have a presence in the city you are visiting, we would highly recommend that you check them out. They may have an existing tour that would already address your requirements. Or you can always design with your host a tour that will work for you.

  5. MrBiizy

    I love traveling because it is fun, exciting and enjoyable too. However, I never imagined and never knew that there is a company like Withlocals. Thank you for sharing this helpful review of Withlocals. It’s something I’d want to experience; to get the local feel of wherever I travel to. This experience is superb and very much achievable too.


    1. JRandZen

      Hi MrBiizy,

      Thank you for your comments.  We are glad that you found this review useful.  Do let us know if you have any questions and need further information in this regard and we will do our best to provide.  All the best in your travels.

  6. shariful islam

    Many thanks to you for sharing such an excellent article with us. I travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal this summer with WithLocals and the trip was a joy to me. And with the WithLocals app, I’ve been able to connect with local people anywhere on the go. The hosts I got through this app were very polite and they were very trustworthy. And one of the things that made me phenomenal was that I searched for people to share my passion for music and I found them.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Shariful,

      We are glad to note that you have had a very positive experience with Withlocals during your last trip to Kathmandu.  We share the same positive experience.  And just like you, we were able to choose a host that loved the city, its architecture, food and art – some of the specific interests we wanted to focus on.

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

  7. Nate Stone


    So Withlocals sounds like a great idea, I much prefer the idea of giving the money to local people as supposed to some big faceless company, plus in my experience when you are fortunate enough to go somewhere you know local people, you always get to see “The real” city or area. 

    I’m planning a trip to Bruges in the summer, so will be checking this out for there. 

    I also have some friends in Nottingham who may want to look at this as supplemental income as well, so will get them to check this out! 

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Nate,

      Yes, we think Withlocals has filled the gap for travellers who wish to have somebody local (who intimately knows and are passionate about the city) to be their tour host.  We found that you learn more and get more insight into the place, its people and culture with a local as your host.  

      We are glad you found this useful and something you can leverage in your forthcoming trip to Bruges.  Surely, Withlocals has a presence there.  And yes, please do share this post with your friends who may be interested in becoming a host as well.

      Thanks a lot for your comments.

  8. Rhain

    This service would actually come in very handy. Like you mentioned, there are many ways to enjoy the local sensation of a city. Trying to find your way around the city is one of them but I’m not a fan of it I must admit. I’d rather have someone who knows the city show me around. That way, I’ll be sure that I’m not missing anything. Withlocals probably see the needs and are, therefore, trying to fill that gap. I also like that I can easily connect to the locals on the app before arriving. It’s such a brilliant idea. Thanks for sharing

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Rhain,

      Thank you for your comments.  Yes, explore the city on your own is one option and there are also tools to help you out on that.  However, there are situations where it would be better to have a local host take you around and Withlocals does this quite effectively

      Their app is indeed great.  It made it easier for us to communicate with our local host when we were trying to curate a tour that would work for us given our schedules and some other constraints.  It is very convenient.

  9. Lindsay

    What a fantastic idea! I had an experience like this in Paris many years ago – it was a family friend who took us around and we really got to experience the real Paris – of course we saw major sites but also many small and interesting places and restaurants that just aren’t on the map. It was an awesome couple of days. I really like the fact that the hosts go through a quality check and are open to reviews from people who have taken these “tours by local” – it does give you a sense of security knowing that the person you will be meeting up with is genuine. One question – is there a charge? Kind regards, Lindsay

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Lindsay,
      Thank you for your comments. It is great that you had the experience and can relate to the context of our post. Yes, to fully enjoy a city, we always consider it beneficial to immerse ourselves and experience the locals’ day-to-day lives. If we do not know anybody in the city, we always try to leverage the services of local hosts and we found Withlocals to be reliable in this space. There are fees, of course, you have to pay. They are dependent on the tours that you agree with the host – either the ones pre-designed by Withlocals or a custom tour that you and your host agree on. They are quite flexible and we found the fees very reasonable.

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