• Sagrada Família
  • La Pedrera in Barcelona
  • Retiro Park in Madrid
  • Tapas in Madrid
  • Prado Museum
  • Toledo

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Barcelona & Madrid in 8 Days Tour

from $2,295 + Air

Optional Single Supplement $625

See Tour Dates

Rick Steves' Best of Barcelona & Madrid tour combines Spain's top cities to create a sparkling, full-bodied eight-day adventure. First, you'll experience the pride and energy of Barcelona — rambling on the Ramblas, digging into delicious seafood, and marveling at architecture and art by Gaudí and Picasso. Then, we'll hop a high-tech train to Madrid for its terrific tapas, masterpiece-packed Prado Museum — and a day in historic Toledo. You'll come home with more memories than you ever thought possible in a week-long getaway. Join us for the Best of Barcelona & Madrid in 8 Days!

Dates & Prices

2015

    • Jun 21–Jun 28 (Su-Su)
    • $2,895 + Air

    Sale $2,695! Save $200 on new bookings (use SPEC15)

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    • Sep 6–Sep 13 (Su-Su)
    • $2,795 + Air

    Filling Fast
    • Sep 13–Sep 20 (Su-Su)
    • $2,795 + Air

    Filling Fast
    • Sep 20–Sep 27 (Su-Su)
    • $2,795 + Air

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    • Sep 27–Oct 4 (Su-Su)
    • $2,795 + Air

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    • Oct 11–Oct 18 (Su-Su)
    • $2,795 + Air

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What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Barcelona and Madrid come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 18 group sightseeing events • Ramblas orientation • Sagrada Família tour • La Pedrera tour • Gothic Quarter walking tour • Barcelona Cathedral • Picasso Museum tour • Barcelona panoramic bus tour • Museum of Catalan Art tour • Madrid panoramic bus tour • Madrid walking tour • Royal Palace tour • Prado Museum tour • Reina Sofía Museum tour • Toledo day trip and walking tour • Santo Tomé Chapel (El Greco's The Burial of the Count of Orgaz) tour • Toledo Cathedral tour • Sinagoga del Tránsito tour • Wine tasting…and more
  • All group transportation from Barcelona to Madrid
  • 7 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves Spain guidebook, Spanish phrase book, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2015
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Barcelona

Barcelona, the proud capital of Catalunya, may be the most festive city on the Mediterranean. Meet your guide and group around 5 p.m. at our centrally located hotel for an orientation meeting — then we'll join the party with a stroll along the surprise-filled, people-packed Ramblas boulevard before having dinner together. Sleep in Barcelona (3 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Gaudí Day

Today is devoted to the swirling, Modernista architecture of Antoni Gaudí. We'll tour the greatest works of Barcelona's master builder, including the towering, dizzying Sagrada Família church and his La Pedrera apartment building. The remainder of your afternoon is free to explore more Gaudí delights throughout the city. This evening we'll wrap up our day learning about what goes into Catalan cuisine including a visit to the lively, legendary La Boquería market, before setting you free for dinner on your own. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Barri Gòtic and Picasso

This morning, we’ll visit the Picasso Museum, Europe’s best collection of Picasso paintings, where we’ll trace the story of this hometown boy-genius’ art as he evolved from a kid who painted like an adult…to an adult who painted like a kid. We’ll end our tour in Barcelona’s maze-like Gothic Quarter, exploring its Roman foundations to the spires of its candle-, relic- (and geese-!) strewn cathedral. This evening we'll toast to our last night in Barcelona with dinner together. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: Montjuïc and a Speedy Train to Madrid

We'll start today with a panoramic bus tour of Barcelona, beginning atop the historic Montjuïc Hill. After a visit to the Museum of Catalan Art, it's "all aboard" for one of Europe's speediest trains (the AVE) to Madrid. Upon arrival we'll meet our bus for a tour of Madrid's major monuments and classy boulevards. Once we've settled into our hotel in the heart of Madrid, we'll take a neighborhood orientation walk, ending with a tapas-style dinner together. Sleep in Madrid (4 nights). Train: 3 hrs. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Madrid's Royal Palace

Today, we'll take a historical walking tour starting at the very center of Madrid, the bustling Puerta del Sol. From there we'll walk to — and through — the sumptuously decorated Royal Palace. With 2,000 rooms, tons of luxurious tapestries, and a king's ransom of chandeliers, this is truly one of the great palaces of Europe. You'll be free for dinner on your own tonight, but first we'll prepare your taste buds with a Spanish wine tasting. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 6: Masterpieces of Madrid

This morning we'll tour one of Europe's premier art museums — the masterpiece-packed Prado — where you'll see paintings by Velásquez, Goya, El Greco, and others. Then we'll visit the Reina Sofía, Spain's greatest modern art museum, home to Picasso's Guernica. The rest of the afternoon is yours to stroll through the majestic Retiro Gardens (Madrid's most popular park), do a little shopping, and maybe even catch a performance of flamenco. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 7: Toledo

A short bus ride after breakfast will take us to Spain's old capital city of Toledo (and back in time about 500 years). We'll take a traffic-free walking tour that includes Toledo's magnificent cathedral, the historic Sinagoga del Tránsito and El Greco's The Burial of the Count of Orgaz in Santo Tomé Chapel. This afternoon you'll have time to enjoy the winding medieval streets of Toledo. We'll catch the bus back to Madrid for our final dinner together to share travel memories and toast new friends. Salud! Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 8: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Madrid's airport is an easy bus or taxi ride away — or you may want to continue your Iberian adventures on your own. Hasta luego!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Barcelona & Madrid in 8 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate in cities on your own.

Reviews

Mary Ellen

Gloucester, MA

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip of a lifetime. Being part of the tour was a blast. Our group gelled right away. We were led by Frederico who is an absolute delight. He is knowledgeable, funny AND he knows everybody in Madrid. I loved Barcelona and did not want to leave until I got to Madrid. Loved them both. I could definitely skip Toledo and spend an additional day in Madrid. I felt it was a tourist trap. The Cathedral was beautiful but the art and cathedrals in Barcelona and Madrid were spectacular.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of the art museums and the wonderful art history lessons taught by Frederico."

Georgiann

Celebration, FL

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour, the guides, the friends we made, made this so enjoyable. Cannot say enough good things about Federico. He was outstanding. Really knew his stuff! The museums, churches, dinners, extra presentations just for us made this a most memorable trip. Hotels were outstanding. Perfect locations and quite comfortable with wonderful breakfasts. Would take another Rick Steve's trip in a heartbeat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have been telling everybody that at all locations we had tickets for, we were extremely well received and usually went to the front of the line. I felt Rick Steve's tour had a lot of "clot"!"

Jenny

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good tour. Tiring!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagre Familia!"

James

Denver, CO

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour, would recommend it to many. The cities are a bit crowded for our taste, and both Barcelona and Madrid are like giant shopping malls. Our group was great, everyone friendly and cooperative, no one was a drag.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I went mainly for the art museums. The tours were excellent and informative and I had the opportunity to return to the Reina Sofia and the Prado and spend as much time as needed. Monday at the Prado is less crowded (we stayed an extra couple days). All the meals would rate as wow moments."

John

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good tour. Could have had more free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gaudi experience."

Mary

Ravenna, OH

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found the tour to be very educational--which I love.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia was certainly a wow moment! It was so impressively beautiful."

Norman

Lexington, OH

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As usual, very enjoyable Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Also as usual, too many. I did enjoy Barcelona a little more than Madrid especially walking through the old town portion."

Alan

West Lafayette, IN

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First RS tour. Took high school granddaughters for their first visit to Spain and to practice their Spanish. Sights well chose. Time well spent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit to Picasso museum."

John

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great except for the rainy weather the first few days which no one could control. If anything, it seemed a bit hurried. As usual, the guides were very well informed and entertaining. The food was terrific and our guide went out of his way to find interesting restaurants and good food to give us a wonderful food experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It actually had nothing to do with the tour directly, but my wife and I ended up attending a Catholic Mass at a medieval church in Madrid. It was a guitar Mass with a choir of about 15 members and was very spiritually uplifting even though all of the lyrics were in Spanish (which we did not understand. The feeling of welcome and the spirit of God in the church was magnificent. Definitely the highlight of our trip and our best encounter with the locals."

Susy

Brentwood, CA

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The sites visited in Barcelona and Madrid were rich in culture, art and history. We got a good feel for the special aspects of both cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona was the most impressive discovery... along with the art in Barcelona and Madrid museums."

Deanne

Oregon City, OR

Tour: 03/22/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

clean cities- nice people safe and varied

Favorite "WOW" moment

"toledo and segovia"

Fred

Leicester, NC

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was the first time we have ever gone on a group tour. We normally use our own travel savvy to get by. But, for this first trip to Spain, we (wisely, as it turns out) chose a tour to get us comfortable with the language and logistics. The tour showed us the heights and sites of Barcelona and Madrid in fine fashion and gave us the perspective and comfort level to go on and enjoy a week in Andalusia on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day visit to Toledo was a singular moment for both of us! Toledo's layers of social, cultural, religious history and art... El Greco, the synagogue, traces of Moorish art and the stunning power of the Catholic Church (for good and ill) embodied in that massive cathedral! All made vivid by an excellent guide with a lifetime's knowledge of the city and great communication skills! Slam dunk! Overall, the tour gave us the bearings to wander around old neighborhoods with abandon!"

Jane

Longwood, FL

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amanda was a wonderful guide. She was attentive, kind and knowledgeable. She always stayed behind when the group had free time to help us to negotiate where we wanted to go or what we wanted to see. The balance between together time with the group and free time was certainly adequate for me, and for my travel partner. It was interesting that Amanda set a particular guideline up at the beginning, that if anyone was acting poorly, she would call them on it. I liked that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm not sure I had one. Other than seeing the machine gunned police when we got off the train in Madrid, and then all over Madrid! And I suppose the hotel in Madrid being so close to the Royal Palace was indicative to me just how well run these tours are; close to everything. I LOVED that we were rarely on a bus!! We clocked our walking and it was over 68 miles! The wine tasting was very nice."

Elena

Ann Arbor, MI

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always, great Rick Steves tour! A wonderful variety of activities, from visiting all the important sights/museums, to visiting local stores/restaurants/markets, to taking a cooking class!

John

Lagrange, IL

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent job of taking care of the logistics from admissions to the museums to the travel around town and between cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The story behind "Las Menenas". Fascinating stuff."

Steven

La Jolla, CA

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Weather, rain almost daily, was the only thing that made the experience less than outstanding. Amanda and Kevin were great and kept us moving and informed the entire week.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia was clearly the outstanding feature visited during the week, although for me The Prado was a close second."

Robert

Ukiah, CA

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Amanda, our guide, Accommodations, Transportation and Meals were Perfect. I couldn't ask for better. Maybe the Weather. That's a different agency. The only thing is that my Wife and I are trained lifelong artists and the Guides in the museum tried to tell us what Picasso or Goya or Gaudi were thinking. No one can tell you what an Artist is thinking. Ever. On the Next Tour we will self-guide in the Museums.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Família without a doubt. Unexpected reaction to it. I've always discounted it but now I think it is because it cannot be photographed. It has to be experienced. Far too large and complex to explain. Hard to believe Humans created it. Hope we make it to the completed work. Got to mention the other folk on the tour. They were great. A real cross section. Birds of a Feather. Rick attracts a certain crowd, I guess! One person was a bit surprised Rick Steves is Pro-Ganja!"

Gregory

Chapel Hill, NC

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves' tour. All of them have been an outstanding experience and this one was very much so. Everything ran so smoothly that it made the trip seem effortless. The sights were very interesting, the guides extremely knowledgeable and the company of our fellow tour members most enjoyable. The only disappointment was that it seemed to end all too soon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I found the trip to Toledo to be the most memorable experience of the tour. The view of Toledo, perched on the bluffs above the river, was breathtaking and the views of the surrounding countryside from numerous vantage points within the city were equally impressive. Wandering the streets led one to one historical site after another with the cathedral rivaling the Vatican. Toledo enlightened me on so many aspects of Spanish history - the Moors, the Spanish Civil War and the Catholic Church."

Michele

Ravenna, OH

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was full of "once in a lifetime" experiences and truly highlighted some of Spain's brightest gems and culture with the help of an amazing tour guide, Amanda. We came back with a richer connection and deeper appreciation for the people and spirit of Spain. This tour was not just about seeing the amazing tourist sites but also about the experiences that connected us with our tour members, the locals, and our tour guide, Amanda – a local herself! We are forever changed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tourist Sites: By far, La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell were just incredible works of art to see in person. Also, the Madrid nightlife is just simply - fun! Experiences: We bought homemade cookies from the Nuns in Madrid, watched an emotional Flamenco show, learned how to cook our favorite Spanish dishes, and enjoyed a wine tasting event."

Philippa

Damascus, OR

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour with your company and we were more than pleased. It was so well organized and the fellow travelers were very compatible. Hotels were great. Good location so we could walk everywhere on our free time. Exceptional guides who were very knowledgeable. We will definitely do another tour with you. Thank you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona. Amazing amazing."

Carole

Lexington, SC

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It has to be standing in the square in front of the statue of Don Quixote and his side kick Poncho Via with Frederico singing "Dream the Impossible Dream"! It was emotional the way he welcomed all of us to Madrid with his amazing voice and his outstretched arms to His City. I will always treasure this moment! Thank you Fredreico and Rick Steves."

Steven

Tampa, FL

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great introduction and first exposure to Spain. Can't wait to go back. Enjoyed the off season travel- avoiding the crowds and lines.

Shannon

Round Rock, TX

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 4th Rick Steves' Tour and it was amazing as always! This tour was a wonderful introduction to Spain, and I loved every minute. Great guide, great group, GREAT wine! Can't wait to go back to Spain!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia was a 'wow" moment for me because it was such a beautiful and unique church. I'm so glad I went there with the tour, because our local guide helped bring all the little details to life that I know I would have missed otherwise."

Vernette

Davis, CA

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great itinerary, super guide, the hotels,the diversity of sightseeing, with lots of recommendations from the guide for the "free time". I think that everyone enjoyed the group dinners, whether they were part of the trip or we paid [INVALID]they brought the group together for just a nice social evening. Frankly, Federico was just so much fun as well as so knowledgeable, not only about whatever we were viewing, but the history and even the geopolitics. I liked the high level activity.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite? That is difficult to name. I loved the trip. Came home so refreshed. There was so much to see. I am not a great fan of art, but I certainly learned a lot and actually enjoyed the museum tours and seeing the vast art collections. A "wow" would be the intensive information about very specific, and significant pieces of art."

Robert

Manchester, CT

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was fabulous. We spent just the right amount of time in each city. The tour group got along very well, and it was nice running into familiar people as we walked around Barcelona and Madrid. We gained an understanding of Spanish, history, culture and politics through Federico, our outstanding tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia was a "wow" destination for me. I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the Royal Palace in Madrid - I liked it better than Versailles."

Carol

Wellsville, NY

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely amazing with many thanks to our fantastic guide Federico, our congenial tour members, and terrific Spanish history and art!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. The first steps into the Gaudi and Toledo cathedrals - each in its own unique and contrasting architectural style and decor along with history, whether age-old or current century. 2. Guide Federico's unique and detailed explanations of various Spanish artworks. The paintings came alive and were revealed as his creative storytelling helped me really "see" and understand the artist's purpose."

Ernest

Damascus, OR

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire experience was exceptional, the timing, the food, the interface with the others in the group, the museums, the history and the architecture of the cities we visited, and most of all Federico, our guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to say Federico. This guy knows his stuff, the history, the architecture, the art history. He went all out to assure we all had a good time, and we certainly did."

Gary

New Albany, OH

Tour: 02/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first tour ever and we loved it. Learned so much more in such an entertaining way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. So impressed with its history and the ideas of the architect. The idea that he constructed the outside to tell the stories of the Bible and thus educate the people who did not read was phenomenal."

Mary

Glen Ellyn, IL

Tour: 02/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Nygil was wonderful. His enthusiasm for Spain is contagious. We learned about Spanish history, culture food and wine as we ate our way through Barcelona, Madrid and Toledo. Our tour was in February and it nice to avoid the crowds of the high season. This tour is nice because you are not on a bus much except the day trip to Toledo. The AVE train from Barcelona to Madrid was very pleasant and Nygil organized a picnic on the train with delicious empanadas

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia! Unlike any other church I have ever visited."

Stan

Barrie, ON

Tour: 02/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was wonderful. Barcelona was everything I expected and more. Gaudi's Sagrada Familia was totally awesome and we want to go back and see it finished in 10 years time. Hope too!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The inside of the Sagrada Familia was one of my "Wow" moments. Seeing it from the outside blew me away but then we went inside and I was just speechless, too much for words. The big coloums looking like tree trunks going up and branching out. Great experience, the light coming in everywhere, beautiful!!"

Elizabeth

Puslinch, ON

Tour: 02/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Having a tour group of 12 was a fantastic experience. It was easy to stay together, be close enough to hear the speakers and get to know one another.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was probably exploring the roof on the Gaudi-designed home in Barcelona and being able to see the rest of the city. Also seeing the same sights from the top of Montjuit was interesting."

Susan

La Jolla, CA

Tour: 02/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a birthday treat to myself, and I was not disappointed. I just love Spain, and this tour convinced me I need to keep exploring more. I was an art major in college, and seeing all the art reminded me why I travel. Good food and enjoyable daily tours, along with incredible art, what could be better than that?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Barcelona, it was the Picasso museum. I was overwhelmed by the volume of art I was privileged to view. Sonya was very knowledgable and enthusiastic, and I appreciated her tour.In Madrid, it was the city itself, that was so charming. Very different than Barcelona,and I enjoyed it much more,and then Toledo was ,again, so interesting. The cathedral was unbelievably beautiful."

Murray

Victoria, BC

Tour: 02/08/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My overall experience was good. The group was small and made up of couples and two singles. The couples soon fell into groups and the singles went their own ways sometimes together. Nygil, the managing guide, was superb. Always there but never in the way. The particular guides were very good . Sonya's warmth and Fredericko's humour were delightful to be around. I came away with good knowledges and fine experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite "WOW" moment was discovering Stradivarius instruments in the Royal Palace. Sorry I couldn't here them being played. Another "WOW" moment was 'Chocolateria San Gines' in Madrid. Hot chocolate available 24 hours a day; finally a culture that recognizes that pleasurable needs don't sleep. And, in the Cathedral in Toledo seeing masterpieces by El Greco, Raphael, and many more, just hanging there, part of everyday life."

Jack

Lewis Center, OH

Tour: 02/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Barcelona and Madrid are both wonderful cities to visit and each has its unique character. Our guide Nygil and the additional local guides helped us see and understand each city and population. In addition, Nygil took us behind the scenes to visit places that the normal visitor would not see. The restaurants we visited for our meals and the suggestions for food when we did not eat together were spot on. Great food and drink was had by all. I want to adopt Nygil.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Three "wow" moments: Segrada Familia is the 8th wonder of the world, Toledo is a jewel if a city, and the appetizer we had at our group meal the last night in Barcelona."

Gene

Glen Ellyn, IL

Tour: 02/08/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is a terrific introduction to urban Spain. Great art, architecture and food. Nygil was an excellent guide with a deep understanding of the history and the culture. The local guides added a very good perspective and knowledge in explaining the architecture and the art, It included a very good sense of the artists and the architects.

Marcy

Wildomar, CA

Tour: 11/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was fantastic! My 11 year old and my 13 year old had a wonderful time and amazingly shared their learning with their teachers and classmates. It was a great balance of museums and visits to the cathedrals and free time. My family had an amazing time, and we cannot wait to do another Rick Steve Tour next year!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was every moment from walking the beautiful streets of Toledo, to enjoying a lesson on wine tasting!"

Mary Ann

Milford, MI

Tour: 11/23/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I was hesitant about booking a tour; however, I was very pleased with the results. very organized and took the stress away of having to plan each day on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Royal Palace in Madrid."

Lindsey J

Milford, MI

Tour: 11/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed my time on the Barcelona & Madrid 8 day tour. I thought the tour was the perfect length to see both cities and explore what they have to offer. Our guide, Amanda, was great! She was really knowledgeable about the culture and history in both cities. Overall, great experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour was over Thanksgiving and since every American was missing a favorite holiday, our tour guide planned a cooking experience that was awesome! We showed up at a little restaurant in Madrid where the head chef told us what we would be cooking and let us get right to it. Not only was it fun to cook as a group, but it also allowed us to socialize with the other tour members. This was my favorite part, as I wouldn't have experienced this while visiting Madrid on my own."

Michelle

Austin, TX

Tour: 11/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was perfect. First, I thought the Barcelona and Madrid guides were unbelievably knowledgable and varied in their views, which I loved. Amanda. She is wonderful, bright, articulate, funny, warm, easy to be with. Your company needs to send her mother a thankyou note. Period. I travelled alone, but found great companionship and great people. Ive been to Europe many times but this was a great way to go it alone, and to visit a different place. I learned so much. Thank you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guernica. I had studied the story. Cried many times over it...it was the event I looked most forward to and it didn't disappoint. It was much bigger than I though it would be..much more frightening and sad. Amanda knew I was looking forward to it and suggested I pay special attention to the photos of the making of it. I am a Picasso convert."

Todd

Akron, OH

Tour: 11/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Meeting" Antoni Gaudi by seeing his works. He was a most moving, passionate and amazing man."

Mary Kay

Walnut Creek, CA

Tour: 11/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We saw more than we imagined.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose."

Joan

St Petersburg, FL

Tour: 10/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our trip to Barcelona / Madrid / Toledo was fantastico! Our 16-person group was quite convivial and coalesced well, the structure of the tour was the perfect balance of structure, down time, and fun-filled group meals, and our primary guide, Federico, was superb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many 'wow' moments to choose from - can't limit myself to just one - let me offer several: - Federico's ability to embody the historic figures he was educating us on, such as Kings Charles or Philip, Cervantes, Greco, Gaudi, etc. Of course, his visual aids were a charming assist. - Purchasing cookies at the convent of cloistered nuns; felt like I was on a secret mission! - Our amazing final group dinner where Federico serenaded us with his incredible singing - in 5 languages no less!"

Stephen

Unionville, ON

Tour: 10/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first experience with Rick Steves' Europe and it was an excellent one. We thoroughly enjoyed our entire trip to Spain. The sites chosen were fantastic and our time there was really enhanced by the professionalism, enthusiasm and deep knowledge demonstrated by our principal guide Federico as well as by the local tour guide professionals we interacted with in Barcelona.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick only one wow moment so I'll list two - the Gaudi designed Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona and the Royal Palace in Madrid were both spectacular and unforgettable."

Jayne

Huntington Beach, CA

Tour: 10/19/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide made the experience a wonderful experience. However I felt that we seemed to be Pick Pocket targets the whole time which did not make it very comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment was Don Quixote"

Care

Topeka, KS

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We arrived late due to a passport issue so given that fact we were not really ready to keep up such a frantic pace. We loved Federico and he was very helpful to find us opera tickets.. We loved all that we saw but we would have liked a slower pace and more break between events. We were spoiled by Ben in Rome. he was very accommodating of our need to rest between events/museum tours etc. Federico was very articulate and knowledgeable which was amazing! His visual aids were cute also!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"our favorite wow was the Palau de la Musica tour and concert, which was a side tour that we got tickets for in the USA. We also were thrilled to see a performance of Carmen in Madrid which was also a side tour."

Bonnie

Needham, MA

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were delightfully surprised by the vibrancy of Barcelona and the richness of Madrid. By the time we reached the ancient city of Toledo, we were charmed. We loved our 1st trip to Spain and have much gratitude to guide Federico for bringing it all alive for us. He wove the culture, history, religons, beauty and gastronomical delight into a complete package. He's a talented guide and we hope to take another trip with him. We also had a group of travelers par excellence. What a great trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Palace of Music tour and Flamenco Concert plus the beauty in the Sagrada Familia."

William

Richmond, MA

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time, although we wish we had more time for the museums.

Corey

Calgary, AB

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This walking tour of Barcelona and Madrid was an amazing experience. Federico was an outstanding guide and made our trip unforgettable. We have taken almost all of Rick's walking tours of the major cities and have loved them all. This is the BEST way to get to know the all about the city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think for me was our farewell dinner where Federico sang to us. All I can say is unbelievable!"

Sandra

Richmond, MA

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The hotels were fine and in terrific locations. We had enough time to be on our own but were mostly too tired to do much. Federico took us to wonderful restaurants and had wine tastings and guitar music for entertainment- truly outstanding experiences. We did not have enough time in the MAC in Barcelona or in the Prado- doing two museums in a day is not possible as we did. Also, I think we spent too much time with guides in front of a VERY LIMITED number of art pieces in the museums.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many: 1. The Palaus de Musica de Catalanya -we toured this on our own 2. the two synagogues in Toledo the outdoor sculptures and architecture of Barcelona the stained glass of Sagrada Familia the stately architecture of Madrid the beauty of Toledo from across the river as you approach"

Max

Topeka, KS

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

I was hoping this trip would be as pleasant as our Rick Steves' trip to Rome! It was not in several ways. The information and enthusiasm of our Guide was excellent but he seemed totally unable to recognize our need to rest during our tour. To walk FAST for 4-5 hours a day with only 1/2 hour to use the restroom etc.... seemed unreasonable. The speed was neck breaking. We aren't sure we will ever do another trip with you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The side tour of the Palau de la Musica Catalana and the architecture of Gaudi was a high point! the concert at the Palau was very memorable as well."

Erika

Coquitlam, BC

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fourth tour so we knew that the pace would be in high gear. To see as much as we did in 8 days was truly amazing but we always tag on some extra days to do everything that interests us. These tours are generally just enough time to tease us and give us a glimpse and small sample so that we will fall in love and return to really immerse and explore the cities we visited. This tour did not disappoint and I have fallen in love with Spain and cannot wait to return.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We could see the sites and taste the food and wine, visit all the galleries, cathedrals, museums very well on my own. The WOW moment(s) was created by our guide: Federico. My husband and I take these tours so that the guides will make every moment a WOW moment. Federico managed to do just that - every second was a mind blowing WOW."

Susan

Carmel, IN

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide Frederico, was wonderful. Very dramatic and brought the history to life. The areas we stayed were perfect in location. the people were all friendly and nice and we enjoyed most everyone's company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia was wonderful."

Robert

Monmouth, OR

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent from start to finish. Good mix of sites/events and venues. Good group of people to tour with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral in Toledo."

Eric

Tigard, OR

Tour: 10/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learning about these two cities from an historical and cultural perspective of native guides helped tremendously in gaining a new perspective on Spain. The split between "guided" time and our own time was just about right every day. Frederico is a wonderful guide and the other guides he used for Barcelona and Toledo were also excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This "wow" happened more than once and I guess my favorite part of the tour was when Frederico would tell us a story."

Shirley

Leonardtown, MD

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an outstanding adventure! We highly recommend this tour. We could have stayed 3 extra days on our own in Barcelona, but sadly only booked 2 additional days there. There was just too much to see in the city and the surrounding area. We also liked the freedom to participate/not participate in group events without "repercussions" from the tour director. We really felt like we were "on our own" and not just "part of the herd."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"La Sagrada Familia was amazing beyond any description."

Donna Man

Bloomfield Hills, MI

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is our first RS Tour. We enjoyed it very much. We feel that you have put a lot of thoughts into the design of the itinerary, making it well balanced between structured and free activities. Our guide Federico is fantastic. All the local guides are very knowledgeable and professional. They truly set RS Tour apart from other tours. The restaurants recommended by your guidebook all turn out just like what you described. We felt pleased to be able to eat like the locals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia and Toledo."

Ann

Columbus, OH

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was just right. The hotels were clean and well located. Our tour group was filled with friendly, interested, energetic people. Our guide was fabulous - he patiently answered our questions, keep everything organized, and had a real artistic gift for explaining the architecture and art in Madrid. Our local tour guides were interesting and easy to follow. I really liked the Whisper System since my hearing its really great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gaudi architecture. We saw Guell Park, Palau Guell, Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia. The WOW was first seeing Sagrada Familia from the outside."

Lisa Ann

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a short time for vacation and wanted to see as much as possible on our Spain tour. We really enjoyed the tour guide, Federico and he was a delight. Knowledgeable about art and history and seems to truly love his job. Also, he made the travel very smooth, in one day he managed to get us through the Picasso museum in Barcelona, bus tour, to the high speed train, to the hotel in Madrid, a walking tour and fabulous dinner. Never in a million years could we do that on our own in one day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Prado, both the works of art and the explanations from Federico."

Sarah

Seattle, WA

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good experience. Liked it better than the Rome tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia. Should allow a longer museum experience as part of the official tour as the historic construction and info behind the moving forward for the future church construction is really part of the marvel"

Barbara

Arnold, MD

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful, well-planned tour, with enough free time to relax, or do even more. All the highlights that I was interested in were covered and the small group of 20 people was just right. The other people on the tour were very friendly and we all had common interests.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "Wow" moment was Gaudi, Gaudi, and more Gaudi. But really, there were too many wow moments to single it down to one."

Meredith

St Petersburg, FL

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My trip was fantastic. The sites we were taken to were the best in the cities as well as the delicoius food and spirits. The accomdations were excellent. I can not think of anything negative about the trip. It was flawless. I must say that our guide Federico was amazing. I wish he could my guide on my future tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was "wow" for me. This trip was my first abroad. I found the statue people interesting. The pace and the friendliness.of the people was refreshing."

Brian

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 10/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an overall EXCELLENT tour, almost entirely due to the fact that our tour guide Federico was SO obviously loving what he was doing! He taught, listened, helped and generally did everything with kindness, interest and - in this day and age - almost unheard of amounts of interest! It wouldn't have been the same without him!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the most memorable WOW moment was being taken to a genuine Flamenco dance in Madrid, and just hearing and feeling all of its intensity!"

Diane

Huntersville, NC

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We thoroughly enjoyed our first Rick Steve's tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Gaudi Museum and the Picasso Museum were highlights!!"

Janel

Tulsa, OK

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fantastic time! Amanda was absolutely terrific and very knowledgeable of the areas and the places we would visit. We enjoyed everything from the special restaurants, Flamenco show, the wine tastings and the cooking class was really fun, too. Our other museum guide, Frederico, was amazing and he kept us captivated with his humor and deep knowledge of the art and history.

Bruce

Mendocino, CA

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, our guide, Amanda, was absolutely the best: professional, friendly, compassionate, on top of every detail, flexible according to group needs and informative. You felt you had a friend as your guide, but someone who also really cares about people and doing a great job. Federico is a super star among docents -- and no doubt as an individual tour guide. He brought museums and art to life. Nigel was an excellent wine teacher. Sonya and another lady (forgot her name) were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Plunging into the marketplace in Mardrid. But really, the overall beauty -- especially the architecture -- was stunning and a big surprise."

Diana

Gearhart, OR

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Believe this is for Spain? (married 2 tours) Overall wonderful as all our tours with Rick Steve's have been

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the Gaudi architecture. The Palace in Madrid fabulous. Enjoyed the pageantry of the bull fights on our own."

Marci

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a wonderful experience! I liked the small group size and the buddy system. The integration of history and tpresent day culture was so well done. Our guide was so helpful and I enjoyed getting to know her. She was very knowledgable and personable. I particularly enjoyed our group meals and our wine tasting night and cooking class in Madrid was a highlight of the trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I particularly enjoyed Sagrada Familia and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. The cooking class in Madrid was also a favorite."

Roy

The Villages, FL

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Barcelona left me with a much greater appreciation for Pablo Picaso. Never realized the extent of his talent beyond cubism or for that matter how to think about cubism. It was also interesting to see a political rally on a square in Barcelona where about eight protesters apparently used boom boxes to sound like a much larger crowd, complete with explosions. More evidence not to trust what you see on the 6 o'clock news."

Cheri

Warrenton, OR

Tour: 09/28/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

THe guide was great - lots of local knowledge. Loved the cities we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"THe town of Toledo was spectacular but didn't really need a local guide there. Would have preferred to be turned loose to explore on our own the whole day."

John

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great time. Nygil was excellent knew his stuff, very organized,loved the other guides

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gaudi cathedral by far"

Michael

Salem, MA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Please see comments on tour evaluation of my wife, Mary Giardina.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Please see comments on tour evaluation of my wife."

Nancy

Western Springs, IL

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a great experience! Our tour guide was AWESOME! Barcelona and Madrid were quite enough for the time frame (8 days). The format allowed for intensive exposure to some of the most interesting aspects of each city, while allowing us to explore on our own (or rest our feet, as the case may be). Fellow travelers were interesting and inclusive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was actually not on the tour, but the recommended visit to Parc Guell, which we did before the tour started. What a fabulous introduction to Barcelona!"

Gary

Northampton, MA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

There were two aspects of the tour that prevented me from giving an outstanding rating. First, and no reflection on Rick Steves Tours, the food in Spain in general was not very impressive and not really to my taste. Second, the Nouvel Hotel in Barcelona was only adequate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gaudi sights were definitely my wow moments."

Mary

Salem, MA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I were extremely pleased with this tour. We were very impressed with the architecture in both cities, the museums and churches and also Park Guell which we visited on our own. The dinners that we had both with the group and on our own were delicious!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to say finally seeing the Sagrada Familia in person!"

Terrie

Denver, CO

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well done. Nygil our tour guide was fabulous. I learned a lot from the local guides and enjoyed the food and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I wasn't expecting to like the Sofia Museum in Madrid, but our local guide Frederico made the experience amazing. Hearing the story behind the paintings was incredible. Guernica was my wow moment. What a powerful piece of history."

Lakshmi

Worcester, MA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour. I was a solo traveller. Nygil is an outstanding tour guide and dealt with everyone in the group at their own level. I liked the daily format, allowing you to be free in the afternoon. The restaurants chosen and recommended were excellent. Nygil would provide very clear suggestions and directions for any afternoon or evening activities you wanted to do. His sense of humor really added to the ease of the tour. The local guides were also excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Madrid palace and walks around the palace lit up at night. Madrid is a beautiful city so the hotel location was excellent, with easy access to the squares and markets in the area."

Susan

Chatham, MA

Tour: 09/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nygil made everyone feeling comfortable and in capable hands right from the beginning. Our group meshed and we just had so much fun, that the group became as important to the tour as did the sightseeing. The trip was as advertised, but much more as we had interesting, knowledgable local guides who seemed to really make the material interesting and not a littany of dates and facts. The meals, wine and snacks that Nygil chose for us are memorable, fun and social.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Parc Guell was my WOW moment and I thank Rick Steves for having us schedule it on our own as we went a day early and spent a lot of time wandering around. Other wow moments, were simpler, tastes of local food and wine, the fact that 25 of us could travel by subway and end up not loosing someone, that the group got along and was inclusive, that it was always fun and upbeat, that I had someone, Nygil, always availble for sightseeing or restaurant information."

Steve

Newcastle, WA

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my wife and my second Rick Steves' tour. It was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The art museums."

Reina

Alameda, CA

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned much more about Spain on this tour than I ever could have learned on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Federico's singing performance at our farewell dinner was amazing."

Edward

Pensacola, FL

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour guide Federicka was Fabulous. He made the tour!

David

Glenview, IL

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Frederico was excellent. His passion for his culture, country, and profession really made the trip exceptional. He will be the standard against which I will judge all others. Group got along well, all nice people. Hotels well located and comfortable. Restaurant for our first night dinner was OK. Nice atmosphere, food average. Trains and busses were great. Nice amount of time outside of the group time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagria Familia was a wow. I wish our tour could have spent more time there, as we saw it in the morning basically taking one pass through it, and then had to head off to see the Gaudi building. The Sagria is massive and so much to see, would like to have gone up in the tower and paid the extra fee to do so as part of the tour. The Royal Palace was also great."

David

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A really good experience, from Federico, a really great tour guide, to the museums of Madrid and the whole great scene in Barcelona. Toledo was a good experience, too. Both hotels were very nice, the Barcelona Central being the better of the two because of a larger room. The facilities (bathrooms, floors, beds) in the hotels were super clean and new seeming, not a chip or scratch to be found. The room we had in Madrid was small and dark, but otherwise good enough. Busses were very nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Perhaps the Flamenco dinner/dance in Madrid--something really different. Expensive , but not really out of line, considering it included the wine. Able to take non-flash photos and videos--much appreciated."

Joyce

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well organized;excellent,knowledgeable tour guide (s); good balance between planned and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Sagrata Familia. It quite simply exceeded my expectation."

Janice

Nacogdoches, TX

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour and will not be my last. Spain was beautiful. I loved every minute of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Federico was the most amazing guide with fun and stories but my "wow" moment was him singing on the last night. It was a wonderful way to end the tour. What an amazing man."

Nancy

Waukesha, WI

Tour: 09/14/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was our smoothest ever. All connections to transportation, city tours, and meals were seamless. Extremely friendly and pleasant group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The interior of Sagrada Familia. It was so bright and beautiful. But also so impressed with Federico's singing. So delighted that he shared his marvelous talent with the group."

Bill

Merced, CA

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had been on 2 RS tours previously and had a blast, but this group of tour-members was the best ever! My wife and I loved every minute of it, as all of us meshed so well... like we had all known each other for years!

Mari

West Covina, CA

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great cultural experience. I wanted to learn about the people and the cultural and I did. I enjoyed the selection of sites

Anita

Portsmouth, RI

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour guides were first rate, and I really enjoyed the group. Hotels were in good locations, and meals were all great. The ONLY downer was the extremely hot and humid weather in Barcelona! It was just our luck to be there during some kind of strange heat wave... Enjoyed the balance of tour time vs. free time, and really liked the "personal touch" that I felt each of the tour guides offered. The tour in Toledo could be improved...maybe more time in the countryside vs. inside churches.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour of the Prado and the Reina Sofia museum (especially seeing Guernica, which I learned about from reading the Rick Steves tour book)."

Lesley

Merced, CA

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Incredible! This is our third RS tour and it didn't disappoint! Everything went so smoothly, our guide was the BEST, we had a fabulous group of co-travelers, and as with all RS tours..the perfect balance of group and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia was the most jaw [INVALID]ping breathtaking site of the tour. And that's saying alot, because there were so many other incredible sites - the Gaudi architecture, Toledo, the museums, Montjuic, as well as so many "wow" moments. Our group was so much fun and Nygil was so great. On our last night, Nygil surprised us by taking us up to the Tartan Rooftop in Madrid for a drink. The view of Madrid was spectacular. Perfect end to a perfect tour."

Gaye

Oakley, CA

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steve's tour with the first being a My Way tour. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of free time I had each day after the planned outings with the tour group allowing me to explore and relax with new friends. My trip in Spain will stand out in my mind for 3 reasons; our guide Nygil was off the charts phenomenal, our group had a special chemistry which led us to name it the "awesome group", and the cities of Spain thrlled me with their beauty and sophistication.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Picking a favorite wow moment is hard to do but I think the evening that about 1/4 of our group arranged to go to a flamenco performance was very special. Prior to the performance or guide, Nygil, took us to a locals tapas bar and ordered for us. Not only was the food incredible but we had many laughs while eating and walking in the neighborhood after the meal."

Carmen

Chino Hills, CA

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I cannot say enough good things about our tour. Our guide was outstanding and very caring and concerned about all of our individual needs. We could not have asked for a more fun group to be part of and are still communicating with a few since our trip. Spain was beautiful and full of so much history. We are so glad that we decided to take this tour and be part of a wonderful experience. All of the guides were so personable and knowledgeable especially Nygil. Would go again in a heartbeat!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "Sagrada Familia" tour was outstanding and blew our mind."

Claire

Baltimore, MD

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent - comprehensive, organized, and attentive to each tour member's needs. We appreciated the length of the tour. Visiting Barcelona and Madrid gives you a good orientation to Spain. It would be easy to return and take in more of Spain's regions with this grounding in Spain's history, art, and culture. We enjoy the emphasis on learning and on experiencing local life. But perhaps it bears mentioning: there is a lot of walking and taking public transportation, which we like.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was wowed by the Picasso museum. The building is special and seeing the progression of Picasso's art from childhood was truly amazing."

Maureen

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip to Spain was fabulous thanks to our amazing tour guide and the wonderful and fun people in our tour group. We laughed, ate food we had never tasted before, and drank such great wine. We learned so much about the culture, history,and art of Spain. Before my trip, I was not so sure how I would like being with a tour group. After this experience I would take another Rick Steves tour without any reservations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Church was my favorite wow moment. Our local guide did a great job of explaining the history behind the church and Gaudi."

Anne

Duncanville, TX

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had such a wonderful group of people to travel with, and our tour guide was very knowledgeable and fun. We went to many more places and learned a lot more history than we would have if we visited the locations on our own. I also felt very safe and secure at all times because our guide offered us suggestion on where (and where not) to go for meals, shopping, sight-seeing, etc.

Valerie

Lewisburg, WV

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour. I love the fact that the activity level is higher than most tours. That is one of the reasons we choose RS tours. Another great thing is the authentic meals we have as part of the set meals. Also, good to have a little free time every day either to rest your feet or re-explore what you just saw with your guide or explore new places.

Vickey

Duncanville, TX

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful RS and local guides. Good balance of scheduled and free time. Exploring and experiencing the less traveled path was a compliment to the well known.

Lesley

Blacksburg, VA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lovely [INVALID] several younger folks for my two teen boys to connect with, all of whom were also into the World Cup games. Good food, excellent tour guides, both local and Rick Steves-specific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""The Man" tour in Madrid with the local guide whose name I have already forgotten. Also his Dali undies the next day!"

Laura

Owings Mills, MD

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour- learned so many new things about Spain and fell in love with Madrid and Barcelona. Good balance of free time and touring. The museum tours were focused on specific artists and paintings and the local guides made it very interesting. Our guide, Amanda, was knowledgeable and taught us a lot about Spain's history and culture (and food!), organized, and helpful- who else could make sure we had our Madrid walking tour on the day of the king's coronation?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Federico's explanation of the painting Guernica was very emotional."

Christine

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have been to Europe several times but this was my first tour of any kind and my first time traveling solo. I wasn't sure this "independent traveler" would fit in on a tour but I was super surprised I LOVED IT. It was a perfect trip and memorable experience. I realize now on past trips how much I missed of the culture without a good local guide to "walk" me through the town. Amanda and the local guides were all amazing. So knowledgeable yet personable. They made everything so fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Impossible to pick just one. I especially enjoyed the cooking class evening and the wine tasting class. But the Picasso museum, the Prado, the streets of Barcelona...."

Brady

Beaufort, NC

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall a great experience. Although we have been to Europe many times this was our first Rick Steves tour. Hopefully we will be able to take others in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I guess it would be the overall culture emersion and understanding of the people of Spain."

Shirley

Beaufort, NC

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I CANNOT FIND WORDS TO ADEQUATELY SAY HOW WONDERFUL OUR TRIP WAS. WE HAVE TRAVELED A LOT, AND THIS WAS OUR FIRST TIME TO TRAVEL WITH A TOUR GROUP, AND IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER. WE KNOW WE GOT TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE SO MUCH MORE THAN IF WE HAD TAKEN THE SAME TRIP ON OUR OWN. OUR GUIDE AMANDA WAS THE PERFECT GUIDE. THERE WERE SO MANY LITTLE EXTRAS THAT REALLY MADE THE TRIP SO MEMORABLE. WE ENJOYED THE SPECIAL TIMES WE SHARED AS A GROUP, BUT ALSO HAD PLENTY OF INDIVIDUAL TIME.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"EVERY DAY WAS A "WOW" DAY FOR ME, BUT ONE OF THE BEST TIMES WE HAD WAS THE EVENING AMANDA ARRANGED FOR US TO HAVE A COOKING LESSON WITH A SPANISH CHEF AND COOK OUR OWN MEAL OF TRADITIONAL SPANISH DISHES. I COULDN'T WAIT TO GET HOME AND COOK THESE SPECIAL DISHES FOR OUR FAMILY. THHE WHOLE EVENING WAS SO MUCH FUN. SO WERE ALL OF OUR SPECIAL MEALS TOGETHER AS A GROUP. IT WAS SO NICE THAT RICK STEVES ARRANGED FOR THE ROYAL CORONATION TO TAKE PLACE WHILE WE WERE IN MADRID!"

Sarah

Columbus, OH

Tour: 06/15/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, the tour was terrific. It was all that we hoped it would be and then some. The country is beautiful the food delicious and the wine great. There is so much tradition in Europe that we don't have in this country which we really appreciate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the "Wow' moment for me were actually 2. The Cathedral in Barcelona and in Toledo were truly wow moment for me."

Korlene

Burnaby, BC

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Very good we have travelled with other companies bigger groups and smaller groups but I think I would do another one of these before retuning to the others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Picasso museum"

Karl

Concord, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two WOW moments. 1. Picasso's early works and seeing his potential greatness from an early age. 2. Overlooking Toledo was a WOW moment for me."

Patricia

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Federico made the trip an excellent experience. His knowledge of Spain and its history and art and his way of presenting in an entertaining way made this a wonderful travel experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gaudi's Sagrada Familia hands down. Park Guell on our own to continue the Gaudi wow experience was a close second."

Jerry

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia."

Sharon

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fredrico has an amazing passion for Spain that he shares with his group. I learned more about Spain from him than I would have reading and history book. He makes the country come alive. It was an amazing tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Gaudi's masterpiece, Sagrilia Familia (sp). Pictures do not do it justice"

Joanne

San Diego, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded all expectations. Great planning and accommodations, wonderful tour guides, terrific people on tour with us, just the right amount of free time. It was outstanding from start to finish. Kudos to Federico, our walk-on-water guide who took care of every detail and created memorable experiences for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had to be our final night following a delicious group dinner when Federico sang for us. An extraordinarily talented tenor, we were wowed by his extraordinary voice and the beautiful songs he performed."

Michael

Johnston, IA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful experience. Four very positive factors: 1) The tour guide was SUPER-THE BEST (Federico Garcia Barroso). 2) The cities were excellent. 3) All aspects were very well organized, with back-up plans and alternatives (like weather issues and communication system problems). 4) The group is very nice. No bad apples, everyone was there to have fun, which made it good for all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"2 "WOWS" 1) Getting off the sub-way, coming to the ground level, turning around and seeing the La Familia - Barcelona. Amazing, both outside and then inside. 2) The 185 mph high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid. Makes the U.S. look like a 3rd world country with our AMTRAK."

Kathleen

Cupertino, CA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A first tour after years of traveling. The hotels were good quality and in gr2. Teat locations. A great use of private bus and public transportation, using our time well and giving familiarity for our use. Federico Garcia Barroso brought experience, knowledge, wit, and expertise giving appreciation and understanding of the places we visited,and a curiosity for more, as well as excellent orientation for our free time. Local guides were excellent. I was very favorably impressed with the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments, many!. Barcelona: Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, and the Palau de la Musica Catalana. Madrid: Picasso's Guernica & Velazquez art magnified by Federico's explanation, Flamenco guitar demonstration Toledo: the cathedral, the Sephardic Museum"

Gordon

Lawrenceville, NJ

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Federico made the tour. He's passionate about his job, knows the history of the characters (Kings, Artists, Writers) he so comfortably impersonates and is a valuable member of the Rick Steve's staff. He was organized, clear with his instructions and flexible to adjust his time to accommodate the group. He was absolutely great!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Most of the group will likely answer his singing at our final, private dinner. But the time he spent in front of the statue of Cervantes, telling us the significance of the story, Don Quixote, to the Spanish people and relating other stories derived from the original (Shrek) was brilliant."

Sandra

Greenbrae, CA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many that it is hard to choose the favorite. I think touring the Sagrada Familia stands out. I was not expecting it to be so amazing and beautiful, so I was surprised. I was not very enthused about seeing Gaudi''s works before the trip, but now that I have seen them, I love them."

Weather

Spain / Barcelona

Barcelona Weather


Spain / Madrid

Madrid Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Barcelona and Madrid: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Transportation

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

Many tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. Most tour members will arrange to fly into Barcelona and out of Madrid (“multi-city” on flight booking websites). Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Spain.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines.

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips to decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

If you plan to continue traveling in Europe after the tour, we strongly recommend you book transportation and hotels before the tour begins.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing on Your Own

If you arrive in Barcelona before your tour begins, use Rick Steves Spain guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Spanish, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Barcelona that we do not do as a group: City History Museum; Catalan Concert Hall; Fundació Joan Miró; Maritime Museum; and Parc Güell.

If you are interested in attending zarzuela, the Spanish light opera, during or after your tour, you may want to check the schedule and buy tickets before leaving home. More information can be found in the Rick Steves Spain guidebook; schedules and booking information are at http://teatrodelazarzuela.mcu.es. For additional sightseeing after your tour, see your Rick Steves Spain guidebook for suggestions. Your guide will also be happy to help you with your post-tour plans.

Packing

For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick’s packing tips.