A Social Impact City Guide

Last updated: July 2017

The issues with tourism and Barcelona are now well documented – it’s easy to find reports about overcrowding and illegal holiday lettings, with reports of increased resentment of tourists from Barcelona’s residents now being backed up by anti-tourism graffiti on Barcelona’s streets. While some of the issues are partly due to the tourists themselves, it is possible to travel to Barcelona in a responsible manner. We have rounded up some of the organisations in Barcelona where you can give back to the community and have a positive impact on the city.

Travel responsibly and enjoy our Social Impact City Guide to Barcelona.

Check out all of our city guides here.

Social Good City Guide to Barcelona

Sign up to our newsletter

Be in the loop before anyone else, with exclusive access to our future stories.

No spam, guaranteed.



Volunteer with dogs

If you have a little more time, consider volunteering at the Centre d’Acollida d’Animals de Companyia de Barcelona (CAACB), a dog shelter in the North of Barcelona. The shelter needs volunteers to socialize with the dogs, help give them their walks and get their exercise, as well as caring for their hygiene and well-being.

Carretera de l' Arrabassada, 250, 08035 |

CAACB volunteering with dogs

CAACB volunteering with dogs (Photo:


Walking tour with homeless guides

This is a walking tour with a big difference – the tours are all given by former homeless people who have been given an opportunity to give tours in their home town of Barcelona. This is not your standard city tour – you will be shown a side of Barcelona that most tourists do not get to experience. We had a wonderful time with Ramon of Hidden City Tours . There are various tour options available (walking tours in the Gothic or Raval areas, food tours in the Boqueria) with prices between €10 to €20 per person. Read about our time at Hidden City Tours.

+34 655585156 |

Hidden City Tours in Barcelona - Meet the Team

The Hidden City Tours team, with founder Lisa Grace (Photo: Hidden City Tours)




This is a wonderful hostel that not only helps the community but also employs sustainable practices in its running. They are a non-profit organisation that employs people with disabilities to work in the hostel. They use clean energy from a biomass boiler, use LEDs to minimise energy consumption, and even upcycle and reuse furniture that is donated to them. Prices for rooms range from €12 – €30 depending on the season and the dorm room selected.

Carrer Major del Rectoret, 2 |

InOut Hostel, one of the places you can

InOut Hostel in Barcelona (Photo credit: InOut Hostel)


Eco youth hostel

Sleep Green is an eco-friendly hostel close to the Placa de Catalunya. It is the “first urban youth hostel in Spain that was awarded with the EU Ecolabel in recognition of its commitment to sustainable tourism and protection of the local environment”. Sounds great to us.

Ronda Universitat 15 |

Sleep Green eco youth hostel in Barcelona

Sleep Green eco youth hostel in Barcelona (Photo: Sleep Green)



Dining in the dark

This is definitely a unique experience – eating in the dark. Dans Le Noir look to create a “complete sensory experience”, by stripping away your sight and allowing you to fully enjoy the flavours of the food. This isn’t just about the food though, nor is it a silly gimmick – the restaurant employs visually impaired waiters, it’s all for a great cause and well worth checking out. This restaurant is part of a chain of 5 around the globe, with others located in London, Paris, St. Petersburg and Nairobi.

Passeig de Picasso, 10 |

Dans Le Noir? in Barcelona

Dans Le Noir? in Barcelona (Photo: danslenoir)


Mediterranean Restaurant

This is a restaurant that helps vulnerable women return to work. Like Mescladis, it is a training academy where the women are trained in the restaurant’s kitchen. It not only improves their skills for their future careers, but it also helps their confidence so they can get back on their feet again. Very close to La Sagrada Familia, be sure to check it out after visiting the church.

Carrer de la Marina, 240 | facebook

Dones De Foc in Barcelona

Dones De Foc (Photo: Tripadvisor)


Outdoor café

This quirky outdoor café in the El Born district is a social enterprise. They employ immigrants and locals in every aspect of running the café, by training them from the production of the vegetables through to the cooking of the food. Serving organic and fair trade food and drink, another of the organisation’s projects is to transform neglected public spaces by taking a soulless location and occupying it with art and life. A fantastic organisation.

Carrer dels Carders, 35, 08003  |

Mescaldis restaurant in Barcelona

Mescaldis restaurant in Barcelona (Photo: Mescladis)



Vintage clothing stores

Humana are an NGO who’s main aim is to promote environmental protection, as well as promoting community development. They raise their funds through their vintage clothing and second hand stores, of which there are many around Barcelona .They also accept clothing donations – drop in after visiting the Sagrada Familia church.

Multiple locations across the city |

One of the many Humana stores in Barcelona

One of the many Humana stores in Barcelona (Photo: humanacat)


Second hand shop

This store was started by the ACIS Foundation, a nonprofit institution created in 1962 for educational purposes. L’Encant De Gracia sell a wide range of second hand goods, with profits going towards the ACIS nursery, secondary school and adult learning centre.

Carrer d’Astúries, 44 |

L'Encant de Gracia in Barcelona

L'Encant de Gracia in Barcelona (Photo:

Let us know...

Do you know of any other organisations that deserve a mention in this guide to Barcelona? Contact us or tweet us and we will include them in our next update!