• 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

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!

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 19 group sightseeing events • Ramblas orientation • Barcelona Articket museum pass • Sagrada Família tour • Casa Milà 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 2014
  • 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 Casa Milà 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 explore Barcelona's maze-like Gothic Quarter, from its Roman foundations to the spires of its candle-, relic- (and geese-!) strewn cathedral. We'll end our tour at 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. This evening we'll toast to our last night in Barcelona with a paella 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

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

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."

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!"

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"

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.

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"

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.

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."

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."

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!!"

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."

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!"

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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)."

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

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!

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!"

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.

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."

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."

Jerry

Oceanside, CA

Tour: 05/18/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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"

Frank

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our trip to Spain. Since I had never been to Spain I wanted a Rick Steves tour to show me the high lights of the Cities we visited. Fedrico certainly did that with professionalism, humor and a wealth of information everywhere we went. The comraderie of the fellow tour members made for an exceptional experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was the trip to La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Walking into the interior of the church and seeing, in person, the spaces created by Gaudi, was breathtaking. I had seen many photos of the exterior of the church, but none of the interior, as I recall. Photos don't actually do it justice...The visual experience of the interior cannot be adequately captured in a 2D format."

Jane

Charleston, SC

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was well-planned and went smoothly. Our guides were excellent. Federico went out of his way to give us suggestions for dinners and activities on our own, and extra help with transportation to the airport. I really liked the other people on the trip. The hotels were quite nice. The balance between group time and time on our own was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of the art and architecture."

Diana

Toledo, OH

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Federico's amazing discussions about art."

Patricia

Toledo, OH

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

In a nutshell- it was great. A nice mix of people, places, food, museums, free time. Of course, it was well organized, and the weather was outstanding!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have a hard time picking one, so here are a few- the view of Toledo, the description and explanation of Picasso's painting Guernica, Sagruda Familia."

Joni

Bloomington, IL

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour far exceeded my expetations. The guides were wonderful. The hotels were great and the included meals were delicious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When our guide, Federico, explained Picasso's Guernica to our group while standing in front of it."

Jing

Centerville, MA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized, experienced and very knowledgable tour guide, deverified programs made the whole tour experience exciting, fun, and enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is the tour guide, Federico. Very impressed by his fun personality, knowledge in history and literture, passion in music and his singing. He is the best tour guide whom we ever had."

Joseph

Bloomington, IL

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. We had watched Rick's show on PBS for years and decided it was time to give one of his tours a try. We're glad we did. It was our best trip ever! Barcelona, Madrid and Toledo were beautiful, and our tour guide, Federico (with help from his supporting guides in Barcelona and Toledo) brought them to life. As we told Federico; as a result of the job he did on this tour, we will be booking another Rick Steves tour. A great trip, thanks!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several. Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. It overwhelms the senses. Seeing Barcelona from high above the city. The Royal Palace and grounds in Madrid. Again, almost more than the senses can take in. The view of Toledo from the outskirts of town. Toledo's cathedral. And that's not to discount the guided tours of the museums, churches and cathedrals."

Joan

Farmingdale, NY

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a whirlwind! The Spanish custom of late night dining caused us to burn the candle at both ends. However, exhaustion did not dampen our enthusiasm for Spain. It was a delightful, memorable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually mine came during the time before the tour started. Heeding your advice we arrived one day early. We took the bus tour to Montserrat. The topography was spectacular as was the experience of being at an ancient pilgrimage site. The next morning we attended the Catalan mass in the cathedral & my wow moment came during the "sign of peace" when the Catalan woman next to me kissed me on both cheeks. Seeing the locals dance the Sardana in the plaza right afterwards was also a thrill."

James

East Lansing, MI

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had high expectations for this trip and they were exceeded. I loved how efficiently the tour was conducted and we had plenty of tour time and time to relax and visit the sights by ourselves without the group. The accomodations, meals, transportation, sights that were selected to see on our tour, guides and fellow travelers were all excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the entire city of Barcelona from the hillside. Frankly though, it was one "wow" moment after another."

James

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had never been to Spain, and was somewhat ambivalent about this (I love Italy). By the end of my first day I knew I had been wrong. Our guide, Federico, made it his goal to have us love Spain and it's culture, and he is a pro. I loved the history, art, food, and wine, and plan to visit Spain again'

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Prado museum"

Patricia

Houston, TX

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour. It will not be my last. This trip was more than I could have ever anticipated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The country of Spain is beautiful. 8 days of perfect weather - Wow."

Janet

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Federico was the best guide we've ever had. He was very knowledgable and had immense enthusiasm. We felt he wanted us to love Spain, which we did.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Picasso's Guernica."

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."

Leslie

Lawrenceville, NJ

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves Tour and it far exceeded expectations. Everything was well organized and we were given ample time to explore on our own after the guided walking tours. We enjoyed the sampling of the history, culture, food, art, and vino. The weather was perfect and not a drop of rain. The information I learned on the tour has encouraged me to delve further into some of the topics. I bought several books while on the tour to further my interest in those areas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "Wow" moments. At the top of the list would be our guide, Federico. His enthusiasm and animation was contagious. The visit to Sagrada Familia was awe-inspiring as Mariano told us the story behind Gaudi's vision. The visits to the Prado and Reina Sofia and Federico's detailed and animated descriptions of the paintings, Nigel's wine tasting experience, and the visit to the cloister to buy cookies from the nuns via a lazy susan were highlights of our tour. The whole tour was a "WOW"."

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"

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."

Richard

Farmingdale, NY

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a jam-packed introduction to Spain. The cities, cathedrals & museums were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was watching flamenco dancing for the first time. The combination of music, singing, dancing & comraderie among the troupe was very special. It was like the riffs in jazz. I also enjoyed the guitar making demonstration on the last night."

Joseph

Centerville, MA

Tour: 05/04/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience. Our Guide, Federico (Spelling ?) made the trip. The best I have seen!

Helen

Jersey Village, TX

Tour: 03/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have taken several ETBD tours, and each one has been as wonderful as the previous tour and exceeded our expectations. We agree with Rick's travel philosophy and enjoy the efficient mix of "guided tour" time and free time to explore on our own. The guides are always exceptional and we learn so much more about the people, customs, and history than we ever could on our own. And the other tour members are always friendly, compatible people whom we enjoy getting to know.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's always difficult to choose just one special moment, but walking into the interior of Sagrada Família and looking up into the nave has to be my "wow" moment. The columns that look like trees forming a canopy above are incredible and the stained glass windows are amazing! Gaudi's curvy form of architecture is so unusual. We visited Park Guell on our own, and it was delightful. Also, seeing the works of the Spanish masters at the Prado Museum was very moving for me."

David

Shelby Township, MI

Tour: 03/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour and I found it to be a wonderful and enriching experience. The primary reason for this was our tour guide Frederico who provided insight and explanations throughout the tour in a very enthusiastic and heartfelt manner. His personal experience and background made the tour the wonderful experience that it was for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most memorable "wow" moment for me was in Madrid. Upon our arrival there, we made an introductory bus tour of the city as a group. Upon one stop we visited a monument to Cervantes' Don Quixote. The insightful explanation given by Frederico drew together not only an historic perspective on the author but also great insight into the human natures of the characters relating them to our present day humanity and our modern day commonalities with them. This will remain my fondest memory."

Eve

Fort Myers, FL

Tour: 03/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was absolutely wonderful largely because of my guide, Frederico, and the experience of the Rick Steves team. Logistics were easy, events were well planned, and my fellow travelers became friends. I had the perfect balance of free time and know I saw the highlights of each city. Frederico's expertise is second to none. From the moment we met, I was at ease and along for the ride. With only a week of vacation to spare, I wanted to maximize my first trip to Spain; this tour allowed me to do that

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My biggest "wow" moment on the tour happened during our tour of the Prado museum in Madrid. As we viewed some of the most amazing art works in the world, we understood them in a new and more personal way than we would have without our tour guide. My big "wow" was realizing that the best place to view Velazquez's "Las Meninas" is not directly in front of the painting. Realizing the artist's vision from across the room and understanding his intent was nothing short of amazing."

Theresa

Seattle, WA

Tour: 03/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From our initial meet-up through our final dinner together, my BAM tour experience was terrific because of our fantastic guide Federico and a great group of travelers. I felt immersed in each city on many levels, culturally, socially, interpersonally (is that a word?). From incredible art and architecture, beautiful walking vistas and delicious food, I found myself satisfied that I was able to 'taste' so much of Barcelona and Madrid.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All things Gaudi in Barcelona, beginning with Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia, truly amazed me by their scope and creativity. To see up close and take in the immense talent so inspired by nature was awesome."

Paula

Venice, FL

Tour: 03/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wow moments, but my favorite was Federico's wonderful tour of the Prado. Second, was his singing at the Last Supper."

Paula

Memphis, TN

Tour: 03/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were charmed by Federico and Sonia. The timing for each event was perfect. The various activities nicely varied and awe-inspiring. Despite some drizzle we were eager to begin each day. Thank you for a very professional and enjoyable trip. We are raving still and encouraging others to sign up for one of your tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Prado museum has been on my must do list for years. We returned there after the tour with Federico."

Jose

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 03/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves Tour. Decided on the 8-day tour because the literature says that the walking may be strenuous, therefore I thought that a shorter tour may be best to try it out. Really enjoyed the tour. True, walking, and FAST walking getting from place to place, was at times strenuous, but bearable. I am planning on going on another tour when my wife retires.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As far as sightseeing, I'd say Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona. As far as eating: wine tasting event. Loved it!"

Kathryn

Jackson, MI

Tour: 03/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well designed for optimal time with the group and "on-your-own" time in the afternoon. I felt especially save with our tour guides as they really watched out for us. We watched as our guide Federico, caught a pick-pocket in our mist and called her out. The weather weather was a little cool but with all the attention to detail from our guides we didn't notice. This was beyond my expectations of any tour I've been on. When asked, I rave about my trip to Spain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Madrid, when Federico was explaining the Picasso's. It was so detailed. He encompassed the historical prospective of the time period and showed the smallest details that really brought the paintings to life. Our group had at least two art history majors who said that they had never had an explanation of Picasso's work like the one we received."

Michael

North Potomac, MD

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide Amanda was knowledgeable, well organized and friendly. Having Francisco along as her assistant was a real plus, he brought a native's point of view. The choices of what to visit with the group were great, and we had enough free time that we were able to fit some more things in (including some naps!).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first view of the interior of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona."

Michael

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

tour leaders were excellent , fun and entertaining. the hired guides were fact filled and insightful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Toledo! Who knew?"

Sara

Cable, WI

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best part of the tour was the opportunity to experience the many aspects of Spain's culture -- history, food, architecture, art, customs and its citizens. Our excellent guides put everything in context and made it memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of The Prado was even more impressive than I imagined. All the fabulous paintings that I had only seen in books came to life. Frederico's knowledge of art and history was very helpful and entertaining."

David

Davis, CA

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We stayed in the heart of each city with easy access to all the key sites. We had walking tours with local guides of many of the major sites like the Sagrada Familia, the gothic section, Palace, etc. in both cities. Local guides gave us a sense of the passion of the locals for their city. Great food, nice tour guide, and time on our own to see things and do things without the sort of "forced march" of some other tours we have been on. We had a wonderful trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Madrid was a surprise. The influence of the french style boulevards and the great architecture made the city very alive for us."

Bruce

Cable, WI

Tour: 03/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time on this tour. We feel we really got to experience Spanish culture... art, history, architecture, music, dance, food. Our group was very congenial and felt almost like a family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many special moments, but coming up out of the Metro and seeing the spectacular Sagrada Familia was something I'll remember."

Nancy

Bakersfield, CA

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's Tour, and we enjoyed a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. I found the entire trip to be a wow experience."

Susan

Portland, OR

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nygil is a wonderful tour guide and he helped to make every day meaningful and fun. His knowledge of Spain, the people, customs, food and wine added to the adventure of the guided tours and the time we spent exploring on our own. Our tour group enjoyed spending time together. The local guides were very good and we were exposed to some of the divergent political views in Spain. It helped to visit 3 cities, all dynamically different in their hsitory, development, culture and attractions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona is amazing. It's over 100 year history of construction and the fact that it will not be completed for years to come ia tribute to Gaudi's enduring influence and peoples belief in his dream. It is both odd and beautiful and has been influenced by so many architects, engineers and laborers. The sculptures that adorn the building, the stain glass windows and thought to how the light enters, the massive columns - all the details are awe inspiring."

Kathi

Renton, WA

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fourth Rick Steves tour. As always there was a perfect mix of group activities and free time. As a solo traveler, I appreciate how friendly everyone is and their willingness to explore free-time activities with different members of the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows of the Sagrada Familia and learning about the plans to finish the cathredral. The chocolate and churros available fresh, 24 hours a day near the Madrid hotel. Wandering pedestrian-friendly streets among the locals in both cities..."

Jodi

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour of Spain - Barcelona, Madrid & Toledo Great group of people, enjoyed getting to know the people -- "Rick Steve's Tour Participants" are truly interesting people -- "my tribe" :-)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The walks through the local neighborhoods, the back streets, learning the hidden gems of history - those were my 'wow' moments."

Jerry

Palm Springs, CA

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything about the tour was professional . Every question and possible situation was covered and explained. Our main /accompanying guide, Nigel, was patient and understanding of each of us. The tour made our Spain experience unforgettable .

Richard

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An outstanding tour in all phases. It was just the right length and the weather was reasonable for February. The "tourist attractions" or not overly crowded since it was off-season and we thought it was a perfect time to visit. We had a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"La Sagrada Familia and all the Gaudi sites are worth the trip alone."

Craig

Palm Springs, CA

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was expecting a good tour and what I got far exceeded my expectations! I was very impressed with all of our guides. Nygil Murrell was a great tour leader, host, resource person etc. He was very good about spending time with all of our tour compatriots. I also especially enjoyed Mariana in Barcelona & Fredrico in Madrid. Fredrico's flair for the dramatic and sense of humor made the Madrid museum/palace tours a lot more fun. Everyone in our group blended well which was added value.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia without a doubt. The entire trip was really a wow moment for me but the Sagrada Familia almost made me weep as it was so inspirational and I am not a religious person."

Rebecca

Memphis, TN

Tour: 02/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was totally enjoyable from beginning to end. Outstanding guide (Nygil) and very friendly group. Excellent balance of sightseeing, information, and free time. Hotels were great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"View of Toledo from other side of the river. Probably would not have known about it if the bus hadn't taken us there."

Christina

King Of Prussia, PA

Tour: 02/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour and it was remarkable. The travel philosophy is great and the execution was nearly flawless.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming out of the metro station and turning around to see the east façade of the Sagrada Familia was very moving."

Elizabeth

Northport, NY

Tour: 02/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent trip, beautiful sights, delicious food and wine, lots of unexpected extras. Friends had raved about Barcelona and Madrid, now we know why. And holy Toledo, an unexpected delight! A perfect balance of planned activities and free time, facilitated by our excellent tour guide and knowledgable local guides. Our tour mates were great travel companions from start to finish. Though sometimes cool and drizzly, lower cost and no crowds are a winter travel plus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Never just one wow. Seeing Toledo from a vista point outside the city, through the mist, was one wow moment. Like looking at another time. I loved wandering the winding streets, being in the amazing cathedral, and experiencing the influence of three Abrahamic faiths in one holy place. Another wow was everything Gaudi in Barcelona. The forms, curves, and colors were mesmerizing. And the tapas and wine were a wow for my happy taste buds!"

Edward

Lewes, DE

Tour: 02/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful experience and are already discussing which tour to take next. From the orientation meeting on the first day, we knew we had made a good choice. All of the guides were knowledgeable and enhanced the overall experience. There was a good balance of organized time and free time. We ended the tour with a better understanding of the locality and its people, so much more so than if we had visited these areas on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It seemed like a little thing, but we made an unexpected stop at a cloistered convent where the nuns baked cookies. Through a plain wooden door on a narrow street, we walked down hallways and through little courtyards until we reached a small room with a lazy Suzan in the wall. Javier called out his order, put his money on the lazy Suzan, and spun it around. After several minutes, the lazy Suzan spun back with our cookies. This truly gave us an insight into the local culture."

Melissa

Oxnard, CA

Tour: 11/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 3rd RS tour and I had another wonderful experience. Good mix in ages and personalities helped with good group dynamics. Federico is an amazing and caring guide! THE best. I enjoyed all the sites and appreciate the balance between group time and personal time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't pick just one. Our time at the Prado museum with our guide's story telling and descriptions, I truly appreciated his presentation. Also, several of us went to a dinner and flamenco dance-wow!! And our farewell dinner with the guitar making experience and guide's singing."

Vicki

Seattle, WA

Tour: 11/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic & personable guide mixed with a good group of people - my first trip to Europe ever, Federico made it easy by handling all the details. i enjoyed Barcelona & Spain more than expected because of the art & history lessons added by Feddie. Sometimes I wished for more time at one venue, but that would have meant fewer venues. A tough choice. Guess I'll need to go back

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Must I pick just one? First "wow" was the breakfast buffet at NH Barcelona, OMG! Learning about the history and symbolism behind Picasso's La Guernica was profound & emotional The richness and beauty of La Sagrada Familia is unforgettable"

ElsaAdele

Desmoines, IA

Tour: 11/24/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

It would have been really nice to have had shuttle pickup at airport for transport to our hotel. I think director should have provided each participant with week itinerary in addition (or instead of) posting it in hotel lobby, so we could check it in evening to prepare for following day activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Prado Museum and Gaudi Apts."

Lisa

Somerville, MA

Tour: 11/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Barcelona and Madrid tour was fantastic. Art, history, food, and wine, and an absolutely extraordinary guide in Federico Garcia Barroso--what more is there?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was in Madrid at the Reina Sofia when Federico was deconstructing "Guernica" by Picasso. For the first time ever, I felt like I was finally able to look at art without being intimidated. I actually felt very emotional when I "understood" what I was looking at. I truly feel I came away from that particular experience a changed person. Thanks, Federico!"

Jeff

Naples, FL

Tour: 11/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We did Rick Steve's ROME in april with Ben.. never in our life did we think we would ever find another Ben.. to our surprise.. Federico is AWESOME.. Another Ben. extremely knowledgeable of Spanish history, of sites in both Barecelona & Spain.. and a real character! thanks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gaudi's Cathedral (Sagrada Família ) was my top.. gaudi's apartment right up there. museums in both barcelona & Madrid were great.. Prada likewise. Downtown barcelona as the holiday season begun fantastic."

Betsy

Salem, OR

Tour: 11/24/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I had never been to Spain before, so I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sights and all the walking. The tour experience would have been improved by having a printed detailed itinerary at each city. One traveler was left behind early on the first day, and if that had been me, I would have had to go back to the hotel by taxi. The one-way radio was a great convenience. The Barcelona itinerary would have been improved by having more time at Montjuic and Olympic V, doing that early and Montserrat later.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia tour was my favorite site. I will never forget its charm, and it is one of the first European cathedrals that I've seen still a work in progress. The cathedral in Toledo was a wonderful stop too. I would have done fine skipping the cathedral in Barcelona in favor of touring the Fine Arts concert venue and touring the Olympic facilities on Montjuic. My other favorite was the guitar maker at the last dinner."

Richard

San Diego, CA

Tour: 11/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a really nice time and greatly appreciated all the arrangements, sites visited, eating places and museums visited. It was a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia - very moving. And of course guide Frederico singing to us on the last evening dinner together!"

Laurel

Naples, FL

Tour: 11/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed every moment of the tour, outstanding guides. Federico conveyed his knowledge and love of his country to all of us on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first time I saw Sagrada Familia I was awe struck. All Gaudi architecture makes Barcelona a magical place."

Angela

Flossmoor, IL

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first RS tour and would highly recommend any tour of Spain that included Nygil Murrell as the guide! He was attentive to all and had an extraordinary attention to detail that make an ordinary vacation memorable. As a side note, we had many food sensitivities in our family, and he was mindful of all. No food mishaps on a trip is always a plus for us (and often times hard to avoid)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first view of Toledo!!!!! The special rooftop visit in Madrid that Nygil arranged for us in Madrid"

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.

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 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.

Transportation

Most 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. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). Barcelona and Madrid are transportation hubs, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

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 and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

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.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

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.

Packing

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.