5 of the Best San Antonio Missions Tours

by Oliver Stallwood  |  Published April 19, 2024

San Antonio Missions is a National Park Service site with 300 years of history and the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas. Take a tour to see it at its best.

(Photo: Getyourguide.com)

There is 300 years of history in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Four different mission sites are a step back through the centuries – these were where the city of San Antonio grew around in the 1800s and now stand 10 minutes from downtown. San Antonio Missions is a National Park Service site and the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas. It is an important site to learn not just how the colonial Texas grew but also how native people forswore their traditional lives and took on a new religion and way of life. To find out more with the help of an expert check out five of the best San Antonio Missions Tours.

San Antonio: Mission San José Guided Walking Tour

For anyone short of time or who may feel a little overwhelmed by long and complex tours, this trip is perfect. At just 1.5 hours long it focuses on the Mission San José with the knowledgeable guide sharing  fascinating facts and history of the site. You’ll get to understand how the Mission system ruled the area in the 18th century and how it changed over the years. There is also a chance to explore the streets of the Mission San José area of San Antonio and learn about the neighbourhood’s history. From € 37.65.

Book at Getyourguide.com

Historic Spanish Missions Bike Tour – 3 Missions Tour

(Photo: Getyourguide.com)

A bicycle is the best way to see as much of the San Antonio Missions as possible. Over the space of four hours you’ll see three missions – Mission Espada, Mission San Juan and Mission San Jose – travelling the scenic Mission Reach Hike and Bike Trail as it winds along the San Antonio River. In total it is 13 miles so a reasonable level of fitness is required. At each mission the experienced tour guide takes you through the  grounds and explains the 18th-century Spanish Colonial period. In addition to the Missions, other points of interest along the tour route include the historic Espada Dam, the Whispers public art installation, the historic Espada Aqueduct, the Arbol de Vida public art installation and the mission acequia systems. From €80.

Book at Getyourguide.com

San Antonio: UNESCO World Heritage Missions Tour

This 3.5 hour tour visits Missions San José, Concepción, San Francisco de Espada, and San Juan, as well as one of the nation’s oldest and longest-running irrigation systems, Espada Aqueduct and Acequia. This is a really relaxing tour, taking in wildlife and birds on the way, as well as checking out the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Visitor Center. This tour includes a hotel pickup and drop-off at downtown area hotels as well as both live and recorded narrations of the history of San Antonio and the Spanish Missions. There is also the opportunity to watch the award-winning film “Gente de Razon”. From €61.18.

Book at Getyourguide.com

Historic Missions Bike Tour – 2 Missions Northern Route

(Photo: Getyourguide.com)

At 3.5 hours this is a slightly shorter bike tour, taking in Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose and other captivating stops. It’s only 12 miles but again it’s worth noting that this is not suitable for everyone – there are a few hills that can be challenging on a bike. Following the Mission Reach Trail you will follow the San Antonio River, on the way learning about how the missions transformed the daily lives of the inhabitants, as well as impacting the surrounding communities. The tour guide also has good knowledge of the natural area, explaining the importance of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek to the region. From €61.18.

Book at Getyourguide.com

Private UNESCO Missions Tour in San Antonio

This tour is top rated and for very good reason. It’s a private two-hour excursion with a historian guide and the level of insight is hard to beat. You’ll be heading to the Espada, San Juan, San Jose, and Concepcion missions, with the guide regaling you with the history of the structures and how the Catholic outposts were built to spread Christianity to the local natives. It’s not a lot more money than a group tour and you will potentially learn a lot more – if you are a history buff this is the one to take. From €104.22.

Book at Viator.com