What is the first thing you do when you schedule a trip somewhere in the world? Besides booking your flight and accommodation, you start searching on the web for information about what to see, what to do, where to eat, what can’t be missed. You may buy a guide book or ask around for some good local tips.
On the one hand, you don’t want to organize your trip with a group tour and on the other, you may get a bit lost trying to put together all the new information and decide how to go about your daily schedule.
Does it sound familiar? Well, let me introduce you to Eteoklis Nikolaou, the Greek tour guide who lives and works in Barcelona and arranges tour activities based on your needs and wishes.
Eteoklis [or Teo] recently founded the ETEOBCN, a company that focuses on creating customized travel experiences in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain. After living for a while in the city, the young entrepreneur realized that there is a gap in the market when it comes to Greek travelers.
“Greeks enjoy tours in Greek only if they book the whole trip with a tour office. All the rest who want to travel by themselves and do not have an option in their language.”
How it all began
Eteoklis’ studied Journalism and Mass Media in Athens and then continued with a Master’s degree in the UK. Meanwhile, he noticed the Erasmus students exchange program in Portugal.
“The crisis in Greece actually helped me work at BBC, CNN and Financial Times, as media was searching for Greek journalists back then. I came back to Greece to work for a private channel and then I spent six months in Buenos Aires working on a documentary around the Greek and Argentinian economy. In July 2015, on the day of the Greek referendum, I traveled to Berlin in order to work for the National Channel of the Russian government.”
During this life adventure, Barcelona was an unexpected wish for Teo.
“It was a wonderful city that I’ve been to in the past but never managed to explore the way I wanted. Life and work in Berlin was really tough so I decided to leave my stressful job and move to Barcelona for a while, and see what happens.”
During his stay in the delightful Spanish city, Eteoklis realized that if he knew well how to do one thing, that was narrating stories and making visitors feel intimate with the city. “At this point, Donkey Tours came along and trusted me as a tour guide.”
While working as a tour guide in Barcelona, Eteoklis took under consideration the aforementioned gap for Greek travelers. “That’s when I decided to found ETEOBCN. Initially it was just me, but later on I found support from two Greek companies which wanted to export their products; a company with cameras and one with bikes made in Greece.”
One of ETEOBCN aims was to become a carrier of Greek entrepreneurship in Spain.
How ETEOBCN works
“What I didn’t want to do was, deliver boring and common tour guides. My aim is to offer customized and personalized experiences, based on a visitors’ background and this is why I always ask for some information in advance.”
Visitors that choose ETEOBCN can select a variety of guides. Old town walk, tapas and wine tour, sightseeing tour, walking around the city, and soon people will be able to ride with their ‘made in Greece’ bikes!
“I also want to prove that Greeks who live abroad love their country and try taking interesting initiatives even if they don’t live there.”
All tours take place outdoors, in public spaces, with great respect of the European Laws. “We do have access to a few archaeological sites; it depends on the permissions we have from the authorities.”
Regarding the costs
“We adjusted the costs according to the current financial situation in Greece. The cost for all private tours is normal and makes absolute sense. Moreover, we did launch the free walking tours; group tours where at the end each participant decides the amount they are going leave.”
“In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful European city. It can be compared with a Greek city but the difference is Barcelona is much more organized and clean. It’s most special characteristic is its amazing energy; maybe because it’s home to many young people from all over Europe’.”
The best part of this job
The contact with people, says Eteoklis. “I fell in love with talking every day with many and different travelers.”
“The constant engagement with travelers from all over the world also changed me deeply as a person. My biggest wish is to bring closer different cultures and personalities. I want them to enjoy their time, have fun and explore a new place in the best possible way.”
Lastly, Eteoklis highlights the fact that as a ‘citizen of the world’ he knows how to tell stories in an engaging way, staying away from the uninspired classical tour guides.
“I really want to make you love Barcelona, see its beauty with your own eyes, through interesting experiences.”
So, are you planning a trip to Spain and more specifically to Barcelona? Great! You now know who to contact. ¡Vamos!