• Sagrada Família
  • La Boqueria Market
  • Retiro Park
  • Tapas in Madrid
  • Prado Museum
  • Toledo

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | 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!

Dates & Prices

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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 Velázquez, 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.

Physical Demands

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

Susan

Edgewood, WA

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stained glass effects in La Sagrada Familia cathedral."

Karen

Thousand Oaks, CA

Tour: 03/20/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

we had a great time.

Joanne

Orleans, MA

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was all I expected and more. Our guide Nygil Murrell was professional and personable. His knowledge of the area was great and he did many things to help our group get acquainted rather quickly. The hotel accommodations were very satisfactory and I enjoyed the group dining options. The local tour guides in Barcelona & Madrid were very personable and very enjoyable to be with and answered all of our questions and gave us many great insights to local venues.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia. Words and pictures can't capture its magnificence."

Joanne

South Orleans, MA

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have never traveled on a Rick Steves Tour before this trip. It was a perfect combination and feeling secure with a group and having time on our own, well prepared by our guide. I feel like I gained such a real sense of Barcelona and Madrid even though we were only on a one week tour. I am already thinking about my next Rick Steves venture!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick just one. I think that I previously had been blind to the depth of interpretation of art. This trip caused a whole new world to open up to me. It seemed like Picasso , Gaudi and Cervantes among others came alive to me during this tour. It was a revelation. I loved experiencing a real Flamenco performance, touring the Royal Palace and the Performance Hall in Barcelona."

Michael

Richardson, TX

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful, group size good, locals were helpful with directions,language...cultural experience, preplanning was very helpful, more days in less locations made the trip seem less frantic, rushed. professional local guides were really nice, eating local foods together as a group was very enjoyable, having half a day to explore on your own was good

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Talking to local people, I learned most Europeans know more about world news than Americans; I find this very interesting. Sagrada Familia was even more incredible than I expected "I'll be back" so wonderful we went back at night and saw so much more (like a night dive) I expected a Great Guide, we had a very good guide in Italy, but Rick Steves knocked the ball out of the park (grand slam home run) with Nygil Murrell"

Carole

Dallas, TX

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What I liked: group size, preplanning, professional guides, eating local foods together, having free afternoons and some evenings, appreciating each city's cultural flavor, not feeling rushed, discovering how to navigate streets and transportation systems. Locals were helpful and patient with our Spanish.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia - climbing the stairs from the metro to turn anad see it was stunning. It was hard to leave; in fact, we returned at night and discovered even more details with binoculars."

Richard

Wallingford, CT

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my second tour with Rick Steves. It was a great experience, as was the first tour. The diversity of people and their interest in the tour made the group very interesting. It took a while for the group to jell and given it was only 8 days, it ended too soon. The mixture of guided tour time and free time gives a good balance for people to be together and then do their own thing. We definitely got to see a lot and got a taste of Spain. There is lots more to see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was so much to absorb, there was no one particular wow moment for me. There is so much to grasp to understand the the history, culture and life in Spain. On a personal note, they still live with the pain of the Inquisition. I was taken by visits to the old synagogues in Barcelona and Toledo (none exist in Madrid). Toledo was especially moving. It is hard to comprehend how a culture attempted to wipe out another culture over 600 years ago. But yet, the synagogue and culture survive."

Jan

Houston, TX

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

wonderful trip! Exceeded all expectations!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gaudi's Cathedral. This place is amazing, spiritual, a wonder architectural achievement. Everyone should experience it!"

Gerald

Houston, TX

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. Nygil was a great tour guide and a lot of fun to be with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gaudi cathedral in Barcelona. An amazing, spiritual place. Everyone should see it!"

Ellen

Brewster, MA

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was the right mix of education and activity. It was an excellent tour combined with an excellent guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Picasso and Prada museums just blew me away but there were many wow moments. Every day was full of amazing art and architecture."

Lynn

Wallingford, CT

Tour: 03/13/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

AS I expected, the tour was outstanding and incorporated both excellent local guides and our rick Steves' guide, Nygil. Since we had taken the Italy trip (venice, florence and rome) in 2012, it was natural for us to compare the two. We really were so pleased with the Spain trip! ALthough, I'm not sure how it can be avoided, I felt we spend a little too much time on a bus touring the cities. Of course, we prefer public transportation or walking to see the places we visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Since we love food and wine from the country we are touring, we were continually wowed by Nygil's suggestions and tours of Spanish food and wine! As far as sights, I think the Sagrada Familia and the Sinagoga in Toledo were my top two sights. Standing in front of Picasso's Guernica and listening to the explanation of the painting was also very enlightening."

Stephen

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 02/14/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo in eight days... in February. It couldn't have been better, despite our unfulfilled misgivings about the possibility of uncooperative weather. Our tour group was small and friendly, allowing us to form friendships easily. The group was diverse, containing seasoned travelers and newbies. Young and older alike were enthusiastic with no grumps to be found. Our tour leader, Nygil, is a polished pro with a disarming ability to charm and educate simultaneously.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Picasso's Guernica in Madrid. A poster reproduction of that painting had hung in my dorm room 45 years ago, and back then I had no real belief that I'd ever see the real thing in my lifetime. The art and architecture tours of all three cities were magnificent, and Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was an unexpected and welcome surprise. I had seen a CBS special on the Spanish church, but didn't realize it was part of our tour."

Medwin

Wilmette, IL

Tour: 02/14/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful vacation. The balance between activity and free time was perfect. There was limited time but all the tour leaders were knowledgable and took time for questions and discussions. Spain is a country with a vast history and we learned and experienced much of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gaudi! Need I say more."

Lisa

Arlington, VA

Tour: 02/14/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first RS tour and it exceeded my expectations. Accommodations, food, tour guides were all absolutely fabulous. That's FABULOUS!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide said he had a budget and he spent it on many unexpected surprises for us. Wow to each and every one. He introduced us and treated us to the thickest, richest hot chocolate we had ever tasted. He took us to a rooftop bar and treated us to a drink as we watched the sun set over the Madrid skyline. He took us to a bakery tucked behind the walls of a convent, where he treated us to delicious nun-baked sweets. Every day he treated us to a delightful surprise. I could go on and on."

Donna

Evanston, IL

Tour: 02/14/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second RS tour, and it fulfilled all my expectations. This time I encouraged a friend to travel with me, and I was concerned that my buildup might not live up to expectations. No worries. It exceeded expectations! Great itinerary, great guides, hotels, food, and wine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oddly enough, it was the controversial portrait of the current royal family in the Royal Palace in Spain. What a story it tells! Having said that, I loved the seeing the art and learning more about the history of the country."

Paul

Monroeville, PA

Tour: 02/14/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was great and covered many venues and experiences. Frankly 8 days is all I could take and I have no idea how anyone does the best of tours packing up every 2 days for 14.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Frederick our guide in Madrid at the Prado was excellent but his interpretation and description of Guernica even though I have seen it for years and read reams about had me weeping on the museum floor."

Robert

Sudbury, MA

Tour: 02/14/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We saw a lot. The group was cohesive and shared similar interests. For example, we were interested in the history and culture, and not interested in shopping or night life. Maybe this comes from Rick Steves advertising on PBS ... you attract a public radio type of traveler.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am Jewish, as were several others in our group. I remember the synagogue in Toledo, especially where 90% of the other art and cultural attractions were based on Catholicism."

Michelle

Sudbury, MA

Tour: 02/14/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. The group was small and diverse (ages ranged from college to retired). The daily structure worked well (touring in the morning, lunches/afternoons on our own, and some evening meals/activities). Nygil made sure that no one felt excluded and that everyone could come up with plans for places to visit during their free time. We loved having both Nygil and the local guides on our excursions, and also appreciated what a time-saver it was to have guides who wer

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was our favorite, especially because of our guide's explanations of each façade. We also loved the Royal Palace in Madrid, accompanied by our local guide Freddy's animated and entertaining storytelling."

Marilyn

Ft Mill, SC

Tour: 11/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This first trip for me to Spain was fabulous! Going late in the season resulted in smaller crowds, less wait time, and a sense of the country as it prepared for the Christmas holiday. The weather fully cooperated and the tour members were delightful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My time in Barcelona was my wow time. I loved the lifestyle right on the Mediterranean; loved tapas and wine at the sidewalk cafes; loved the groups of locals who gather in the plazas to watch street performers and listen to music and shop. The markets are filled with fresh food and a wonderful sense of community. The architecture was a delight! Great time in the great city of Barcelona!"

Melanie

Bethesda, MD

Tour: 11/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't know where to begin. This was my sixth Rick Steves tour and as before, it didn't fail to deliver so many wonderful experiences. I loved getting to know vibrant and beautiful Barcelona, especially seeing Gaudi's work up close, visiting Sagrada Familia and the Picasso Museum. Madrid was another wonderful experience - finally getting to visit the Prado and Reina Sofia, seeing Picasso's Guernica and so much more. Toledo was a wonderful discovery; I'm so glad it's a part of this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many, but perhaps the most memorable for me were visiting the Parc Guell and seeing the Guernica painting. Perhaps visiting the Puerto del Sol at what is probably one of the most festive times of year. See, I couldn't pick just one.."

Jay

Indian Land, SC

Tour: 11/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual, one sleeps quite well after a day of touring. Barcelona came alive from the Roman start to today. The background information was wonderful on the history. The art was explained and made to come alive. Madrid was wonderful. Highlighting the best parts of the museums makes it much less daunting. To do every room would have been way too much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"BARCELONA!!! As with Venice, I could go back again and again."

Randy

Hernando, MS

Tour: 11/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lots to see, lots to do, lots of free time to explore. A great mix of structured and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Catedral in Toledo."

Nicholas

Suffolk, VA

Tour: 11/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall was great. The local guides were awesome. Nygil got very sick on the last day and Feddy pinch hit which was very thoughtful. Perhaps a few too many art museums in Madrid.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The cathedral in Toledo."

Wayne

Carmel, IN

Tour: 11/22/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour provided much more local insight and information than I expected. I feel so much more educated on the Spanish culture and history. In particular, I have a much greater appreciation for the artists (Gaudi, Picasso, Dali and Miro). While I'm not a fan of that specific type of art, I now understand it's origins and symbolism.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While I have seen many photographs of Sigrada Familia, seeing that building in person and having he tour guide provide details of it was the best part of this trip for me. Again, not being a fan of that type of art and having been in many gothic cathedrals, I did not anticipate my reaction to this visit."

Jerry

Yakima, WA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very interesting and really well organized. Federico is great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we got to sit right next to the stage at the Flamenco show. We could really feel the energy of the performers. Rick Steves should pay for this:-)"

Margaret

Philadelphia, PA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and I was traveling by myself. The group was small and very friendly. The group meals and activities helped in getting to know everyone. There was a good balance of structured activities and free time. The days were busy and we did a lot of walking. Our guides were very knowledgeable. Most of the included meals were great, and it was fun dining with the group. The eight days went quickly. I look forward to another Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just walking down any street in Barcelona and seeing wonderful architecture. That was amazing."

Ted

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Frederico was excellent. Added so much to all of the tours and the last night of singing was wonderful."

Walter

Everett, WA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We toured wonderful walkable cities, learned of Spain's convoluted and fascinating history, enjoyed stunning architecture and art by Gaudi, Goya, El Greco, Picasso and many others, ate well and enjoyed the humor and song (and deep knowledge) of our guide, Federico. This was a lifetime experience! I would love to return to Spain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, a guitar player, a lecture on the Spanish guitar (and how to build it) by a Madrid luthier, part of our tour-ending group dinner, was a delight. Then he and Federico topped it off by playing and singing together. What fun!"

Jerry

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 10/18/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good group; covered a lot of ground in these big cities; very competent and organized leader, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing sagrada familia from the inside!"

James

Nashville, TN

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Awesome from start to finish. I would not change anything about the tour. We have been to Europe multiple times and last went on a river cruise on the Danube with Uniworld 2 years ago. Thought it was excellent. However after going on this tour and being more immersed in the culture I can't imagine doing Europe again except with Rick Steves. Thank you for the experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. I especially liked the dinners with the entire group. We ended up eating with almost everybody at one time or another, getting to know people better as the tour went on. We had a wine tasting with tapas one night in Madrid. A good portion of the group stayed and had an awesome dinner at the same restaurant. The owner took care of us personally and served complimentary post dinner cocktails that were incredible. We were all quite a site on the way back to the hotel."

Pamela

Needville, TX

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall a great trip. great guide. Wonderfull group of people to tour with. I and husband have done now 5 trips with Rick. This trip had more with group meals and more alcohol than I remembered. Just different than remembered. Also hotels higher quality than remembered.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the marzipan and cherry liqueur in Toledo- we a nice break and view."

Linda

Nashville, TN

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every detail was thought of..our hotel was perfectly located in the center of each city. Our guide was outstanding. He made every thing we did so so much better! His unique style in engaging us in the art museums made that experience the best I have ever had. We had a great balance of free, and scheduled time. The only glitch was having to use Picasso museum guide! because we were not registered as a group by corporate person getting our tickets..not what we paid for or wanted .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really loved the wine tasting in Barcelona! Had a great night, then stayed and ate dinner there with many of our group. A good time with great food was had by all!"

Annie

Chicago, IL

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Federico became our local guide while we were in Madrid. During the day we spent at the Prado Museum and the modern art museum, Fede had a fun trick of pulling off his artist-themed t-shirt to reveal another artist-themed shirt below, focused around the artwork he was discussing. It was very clever and definitely kept my interest. I've been on many tours outside of Rick Steves in the past. I've never had a more educational or professional guide than Fede. He deserves high recognition!!"

Sherry

Utica, MI

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was magical something you're not expecting to that extent, but we had the most giving and wonderful man as our tour guide! He put you in the historical arena with kings, queens, their families, authors, and artists while touring the cities, museums, churches, cathedrals,(never waiting in line) learning about the different architecture. You absorb one breath-taking site after another, with unique surprises along the way, and you become one with that part of the world. A wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"WOW!! There were so many but I think it was arriving in Madrid, the sun glistening through the trees, it's a manicured garden setting, standing in front the monument of Miguel de Cervantes with our head-sets on. Federico begins, in his gentle but with enthusiasm in his voice, tells us about the author, he has us close our eyes & tells of Don Quixote & Sancho. I knew this was only the beginning & we were going to get so much more than we ever asked for!!"

Wayne

Orlando, FL

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the Barcelona and Madrid tour, first Rick Steves tour for me. I will gladly take another. I was extremely happy with the main tour guide, very colorful character.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, the stories in the winter palace, the singing the last night, the high speed train and how quiet it was."

Amy

Livingston, MT

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and it couldn't have been a better first experience. We had just the right amount of scheduled tours and free time, and it was such a low stress experience to have all of our hotels, transportation, and most meals already planned out. We are already planning our next Rick Steves tour for next year.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was provided by our excellent guide, Federico Garcia Barroso. His ability to provide context to the art, and the history surrounding the development of Spain and its artists made such a huge difference in my appreciation of the culture and environment in which these masterpieces were created. It opened up a whole new perspective on art and music for me."

Danielle

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/11/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Spain has priceless treasures of 2000+ years of history to be discovered in cathedrals, monasteries, village churches, synagogues, Moorish palaces, fortresses, & museums. Modern art is also everywhere & delicious, fresh food & drink can be found 24 hours a day! This RS tour [INVALID]ed well from a large range of options & our tour guide himself is a Spanish national treasure! Our group, comprised of very nice, compatible people, made the trip fun, exciting, & very memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "wow" moments: visiting La Sagrada Familia; seeing Toledo from a distance then entering its incredible cathedral; Federico's description of Velazquez' Las Meninas at the Prada. Before the tour: the Sunday Saldana dances on Barcelona's cathedral plaza & the Barcelona History Museum's well-preserved Roman ruins. After the tour: visiting Seville's Cathedral & Alcazar with guide Concepcion Delgado, & climbing its Giralda Tower; visiting Granada's incredible Alhambra!"

Bill

Renton, WA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was tour number four. Each time we felt that we had the best tour guide, the best local guides, and the best possible experience. And, magically, it happened once again. Neither of us had been to Spain. Barcelona and Madrid present two quite different overall impressions, each somewhat wonderful. The side trip to Toledo filled in another dimension. We were delighted with what we saw and learned in a week.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the Sagrada Familia. I read about it. Yet, no one can be prepared for the impact. It's totally magic."

David

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was the middle of a "sandwich" for us. We'd spent four days in Barcelona and three in Sitges after. I really enjoyed the peeks behind the curtain at monuments and museums. Otherwise it might have been hours of viewin famous dead guys. The group was very social overal, which provided two extroverts plenty of stimulation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'd have to say anything that Fede showed us, tied in a dead heat with Picasso's Guernica."

Kenneth

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. Amanda was wonderful. She is very personable and knowledgeable. The members of the group were friendly and cooperative. We visited all of the important venues and received preferential treatment. There was a good mix of touring and free time. The tour guides were knowledgeable and friendly. The hotel accommodations were very good and were very convenient. The weather was perfect which made the tour even more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was the tour of the Sagrada Familia church. It is a unique structure which must be seen to appreciate."

Joyce

Aptos, CA

Tour: 10/04/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The trip was wonderful. I had never been to Spain. Activities were well planned and Amanda was a wonderful guide. She was a careful, caring teacher with a lovely sense of humor. My only funky day was one in Toledo on a weekend and holiday. It was so overcrowded one couldn't get around very well during our free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gaudi's Sagrada Familia was the highlight of my life. It was sensational. The art museums were also wonderful. The cooking class was delightful."

Ida

Goldsboro, NC

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt truly immersed in the Spanish culture after the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although there were many such moments, my first dinner on the tour presented a true "wow" moment. Eating paella in the country of origin was wonderful."

Brenda

Ridgefield, WA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There were 24 in our group. The tour began with a get together where we each introduced ourselves and told the others why we were there. We all laughed together and began to form a cohesive group. During the tour we were able to kind of look after each other. Feddy was great at bringing historical characters to life and weaving their lives into each city we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning the stories behind many of Pablo Picasso's paintings, e.g. Guernica. Second wow was Gaudi's street tiles."

Everett

Ridgefield, WA

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our group of 24 meet the first evening and shared our reasons for picking this tour. People in the group started to bond quickly and all looked after each other from the start.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Fede's ability to entertain with his first person accounts of many of the historical figures and his ability to herd all of us on and off public transportation were amazing."

Sharon

Princeton, WI

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is my second Rick Steves tour. I enjoyed my first experience, but this one was even better. Our group of 24 seemed to blend together very well. It was a wonderful gathering of personalities. Barcelona and Madrid both have so many fantastic sites to visit. Due to our guide, Frederico, I learned so much about Spanish history. It was thoroughly enjoyable. My only regret was the short time spent at the Museum of Catulyn Art and the Prado Museum.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many fantastic sights that it would be impossible to choose just one."

Bob

Oak Park, IL

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Of our 3 RS tours (Baltic, Paris,& Barcelona/Madrid, this one was by far the most pleasant. Federico, as I strongly suspect you've heard before, is a force of nature[INVALID]what a professional! Our group were ideally suited for each other and we had a great time. And the weather cooperated very well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia Church. A close second was being in the presence (with few other people around) of masterpieces by Picasso, Velasquez, El Greco, Goya, and Dali, and having them beautifully interpreted by our guide. Third--the modern architecture."

Ron

Columbia, MD

Tour: 09/27/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a great success. Freddy, our leader, was fun and knowledgeable and the tour group was amazingly compatible and pleasurable to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I found the Prado to be a great museum with many of my favorite painters, especially Goya and El Greco. A very special treat. I was also very impressed by the infrastructure I saw in Spain. The trains are fast and on time, the roads are good and the tunnel system under Madrid is amazing. We could do well to emulate Spain in this area."

Catherine

Spokane, WA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The quality of your guides is exceptional. We greatly appreciated how they shared their love and passion for their cities and the sights that we visited. The meals were very good, loved the plentiful wine and good cheer of our fellow travelars. This was a great group of travelars, positive, high energy and willing to work together and share their time and interests.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit to the Sagrada Familia and the interior with the sunlight shining thru the windows."

Anne

Stoughton, MA

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved Barcelona and was pleasantly surprise with Toledo which I would not have had on my itinerary if I had not been on this tour. This was my first solo tour and I was glad to have local guides. Members of our group were interested in the pending elections and the guides shared their different views on Catalonian independence which was insight that would have been difficult with a more casual encounter. It was a wonderful week with a great group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sactuary of the Sagrada Familia with it's columns evocative of trees and the rainbow of light created by sunshine through the stained glass made me breathless. Everywhere I looked there was another amazing detail. I was glad to have binoculars! I would have spent much more time here if on my own as the Sagrada Familia was the top draw for my trip to Spain. I was hoping to follow Rick's advice and take the tower tour but it was not included and there was no time to do it on my own."

Daniel

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 09/20/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip to Spain was fantastic and Frederico, our guide, was outstanding. This was my fourth Rick Steves' tour and it did not disappoint. Barcelona, Madrid and Toledo are beautiful Spanish cities. The locals are friendly, the pace is laid-back and the local wine is good. I highly recommend this tour. The treasure-packed museums alone are worth a trip to Spain. I hope to return in the near future. Viva Espana!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful city of Toledo. Cathedral in Toledo works of art by Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Goya, hanging on the walls. Unbelievable."

David

Milwaukie, OR

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful experience! The accommodation were excellent, the food and drink were outstanding and the sights were everything thing I had imagined.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The work of Gaudi."

Diane

North Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an incredible week and Nygil was a phenomenal tour guide. We also had wonderful local tour guides. We saw all the major attractions I would have hoped to see in 8 days and there was a nice balance of group versus independent time. The food and wine Nygil recommended were outstanding. I made friends with some special people I expect to remain in contact with. I would do it all again!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is so hard to choose. I loved everything. Some favorites: the wine tastings; group dinners; National Museum of Catalonian Art (with Medieval Romanesque murals!); La Pedrera's rooftop; La Sagrada Familia; the Prado Museum; Picasso Museum; the ambiance and charm of Toledo; tapas bars; markets in Barcelona and Madrid; wandering the narrow streets and exploring. Everything! See? I can't choose!"

Rose Mary

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour guide, Nygil, made all the difference. He engaged us the very first evening with his kind and knowledgeable ways. There were many opportunities for learning about new and unexpected topics.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just learning about the food, wine, culture, and history of Spain."

Lawrence

Arlington, VA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just a great tour. Thanks very much! How can you go wrong with Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo (and we added on Sevilla and Granada!)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very difficult to identify a special moment. There were many."

Gail

St Simons Island, GA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour exceeded my expectations. The time spent between the touring, socializing, dining and personal time had just the right balance. The hotels were centrally located allowing easy access to everything. The check-in/check-out in each hotel was quick and easy.The buses used were clean,comfortable with good drivers. We were well informed as to what to expect physically so everyone came well prepared. It was our guide Nygil who pulled all the pieces together into a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many highlights packed into one week it is hard to pull out any one moment that stands above the rest. I loved the spectacularly crazy Sagrada Familia as well as the visits to the colorful food markets in Barcelona and Madrid. The walking tour through the Gothic quarter, Picasso Museum, the Catalan Art Museum in Barcelona, the Prado and Reina Sofia in Madrid, and of course Toledo were fabulous. How can you pick just one?"

Colleen

Oak Grove, OR

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our third Rick Steve's Tour and again it did not disappoint. An amazing, whirlwind dip into the history, art, architecture, food and wine of gorgeous Spain, due in no small part to our guide, Nygil. His passion for this country, his encyclopedic knowledge of the history and culture and especially his ability to convey it in a fun and interesting way, helped make this tour what is was. And the fact that he is a serious foodie and expert wine guy were the icing on the cake!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So, have to admit my real wow moments were food related-the shaved foie gras (I think that's what it was called), was pretty amazing. And it wasn't always the food itself, but the restaurants themselves were just really nice experiences. As for sites, when there is so much beautiful scenery, it's hard to choose a favorite but I loved Toledo and the drive up to it. Loved the wine tasting, too!"

Lowell

North Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed every aspect of the tour, with one exception. Standing in one place for long periods of time to listen to information took the joy out of the experience of visiting museums, buildings and churches. Finding the right balance between walking and standing and listening is probably impossible, as it is different for every individual. For me, a more appropriate balance would have been moving more, standing less and getting a broader commentary about more, as opposed to a lot of detail.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every meal with our guide was a "wow" experience!"

Diane

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved this tour. I had originally thought that having a tour for a visit to 2 cities would be somewhat unnecessary. I knew that the tour would be useful for travel from Barcelona to Madrid, but thought that we could manage quite well within each city by using the Rick Steve's walking tours, etc. Was I wrong! From the first walk through the Old City of Barcelona with our guide, Nygil, I could see that the richness of information and personal anecdotes were going to enrich our experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! The inside of Gaudi's Familia Sagrada was one of them. I didn't expect to feel so awed by the quality of the light and color."

Jack

Rockville, MD

Tour: 09/13/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved this tour. Everything worked really well[INVALID]the guides, the sights, the meals,and the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of us would say the wine tasting that was so well executed by Nygil and the other would say the Sagrada Familia with local guide Sonia."

Karen

West Chester, PA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent! The hotels were in central locations with easy access to transportation and walking. For a city overview of Barcelona and Madrid, I think we covered the highlights with ample time to explore on your own. This is my second RS tour and I really like the format.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Prado Museum and the day trip to Toledo."

Juliane

Munster, IN

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic, very organized, informational and fun. Time of tours and your own time was well proportioned. Hotels were in great locations. Staff was always accommodating. It's always a great use of the time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Sagrada Familia was breathtaking. So big and beautiful."

David

Philadelphia, PA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding. See Sharon's tour evaluation for details. Federico was AWESOME!!!!!

Sharon

Philadelphia, PA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and we're ready to do it again! We saw the best of Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo, thanks to our awesome guide, Federico. Perfect balance of group activities and free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Federico singing opera during our farewell dinner."

Judy

Iowa City, IA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Beautiful cities, tour activities there seemed to be appropriate highlights and diverse to get a good taste of the breadth and history of the cities/regions. The time on our own is always appreciated for those of us not used to being "guided." Felt expanded and enriched by the museum tours, cathedral tours, discussion of literature, etc. Good people--ie, fellow travelers, too. Trip much enhanced by Frederico and his energy and engagement.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Who can't love Antonio Gaudi? My wow moments were more the joy of discovering the man and his work. Loved the Sagrada Familia."

Amber

Conroe, TX

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent on every level. Federico was a real pro - engaging, funny, intelligent, knowledgeable, diplomatic - THE BEST. Great group & very happy with the location & quality of the hotels as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day in Barcelona. I could move there. We've lived in Asia & traveled extensively (I lived in Europe) - and Barcelona is the BEST of Paris, Buenos Aries & San Diego!"

Phyllis

Princeton Junction, NJ

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

More than I expected. It was just great. Never would have learned about Spain or appreciated what I saw and did had I traveled on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia interior with the light shining through and the crowds of people in the streets in Barcelona."

Laurie

San Rafael, CA

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Being my first tour ever--I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall, the tour was well organized and well executed. Our tour guide Federico was excellent, as were all the local guides along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed everything we saw as part of the tour and those extra places I went to during the free time. But I think I'd have to say the biggest WOW[INVALID]just from sheer magnitude[INVALID]was the Sagrada Familia. I will be back in 2026 to see it finished :)"

Irwin

Princeton Junction, NJ

Tour: 09/06/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations. Learned so much about Spain's history and culture. Tour guide, Federico was fantastic. He was both knowledgeable and engaging. The group dynamic was excellent. Good mix of group activity and free time. Hotel in Barcelona was wonderful. Ok in Madrid

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I did not have one wow moment. The entire tour was a wow Phyllis - the interior of Sagrada Familia but I agree with the above"

Sean

Morrisville, NC

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent items chosen in each country, great group dynamics. Very well planned and executed as usual.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Flamenco dance performance was great! Wine tasting dinner as well."

Kimberlie

Enon, OH

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed everything about my tour experience: the hotels, the travel, the guides, the other tour members, the sights, the food. This was our third Rick Steves tours, and I think it might have been my favorite overall.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Picasso museum. I saw amazing art at the Prado, Renia Sofia museums (and the Thyssen we visited on our own) in Madrid. But, we ate great delicious food and drank lots of good wine! It was the best!"

Bob

Bethesda, MD

Tour: 06/28/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Simply wonderful trip of art, history, food and good participants

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many wry nice moments!"

Anabela

Hawthorne, CA

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was wonderful. I truly enjoyed the balance of group activities and free time. What I really appreciated the most was how Nygil was always making sure we always knew where in perspective to our hotel, every time I went out on my own I was not worried about getting lost. Spending alone time and making sure to find areas I wanted to spend more time at was very important to me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My biggest "wow" moment was how Nygil spend time with everyone at group dinners. Even though the group was spread out he took time to make sure everyone was happy with the food and all proper diet restrictions were addressed. The other great moment was how all the tour guides were so knowledgeable and passionate of all the items we were showed. I especially enjoyed Federico's passion of keeping up entertained, he was sensational!"

Adaire

Anahuac, TX

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first time to take an organized tour. I usually do all of my own trip planning, so it was great not to have to worry about arranging any of the details. I loved the itinerary, the accomodations, the tour guides, the group, and the food. Everything was well planned and executed. I had a marvelous time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed the Roman ruins under the city of Barcelona. (The Barcelona Municipal Museum was not an official tour stop, but was recommended by our guide.)"

Stephen

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've participated in 3 Rick Steves' tours, and obviously have enjoyed the experience. However, even with that experience, the Barcelona & Madrid one stood out well above the rest. The reason behind this is wholly attributed to the tour guide Nygil. He was the most caring and patient tour guide we have ever had the pleasure to interact with. In addition, he understood that experiencing a new country is not just the sights but also the food and wine associated with that location.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing the Sagrada Familia and sampling the incredible food and wine at Ferrum & Universal Kiosk (Acorn-fed Ham, Razor clams, Foie Gras with Eggs, lightly poached Monkfish). Two life altering experiences that focused on different human senses. Just a complete holistic experience of the location."

Tim

Cinnaminson, NJ

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip, Nygil was awesome as our host. Wonderful cities with so much history. Our group was small, 17, which was very nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagrada Familia in Barcelona."

Ann

Cinnaminson, NJ

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Sagrada Familia."

David

Spanish Fort, AL

Tour: 06/21/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed it very much. My first Rick Steves tour, and I plan to use you again. Nygil was wonderful, and added so much to the experience with his knowledge of history, and the food and wine we enjoyed. Also, our group was really fun to be with. Thanks

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really for me it was the context added by Nygil and the other guides to the sights along the way. The Sagrada Familia was spectacular without explanation."

Richard

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I liked all of my fellow tour members and could not imagine a more outstanding guide than Frederico. An almost perfect tour with no glitches.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I did not expect to learn so much about the artists and art that we saw,"

Sidni

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was truly wonderful. Fantastic guide, wonderful other tour members, Spain was fantastic. Everything went smoothly, and even if it didn't I think Federico would make sure it felt that way. He seemed ready for anything. Very helpful, very fun, completely charming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is tough, but for me I would say that Federico's art talk/lecture on Picasso's Guernica was probably the most interesting and most moving single thing I have ever heard on one piece of art. I had very much been looking forward to seeing that painting in person and to have his talk along with the picture was absolutely incredible. Many highlights, but that one definitely stands out."

Stephen

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great location for hotels. Lots of free time, with excellent suggestions for filling it. Good, brisk pace brought us home healthier and stronger.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many were the WOW moments, but one sticks out to Me. It was the skylight in the cathedral in Madrid, with an opening to the east (?). A rounded shaft filled with colorful portraits and statuary opened to a blaze of light, contrasted with the deep shadows in the rest of the sanctuary."

Carolyn

Port Ludlow, WA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great. We had never been to Spain before and it was very nice to do it with our wonderful guide. We met some very nice fellow travelers. Feddy our guide was very good and extremely considerate of everyone. We learned lots of history from him and the twos all guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful old towns of Barcelona and Madrid."

Christopher

Port Ludlow, WA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A very good combination of interesting guided tours and free time to explore, rest etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The side day trip to Toledo. As a city it was more interesting than Barcelona and Madrid (both of which were great)."

Maureen

Arlington, VA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfect Pitch [INVALID] just the right mix of group and private time. The group was exceptionally good and compatible and Federico was great [INVALID] especially in Madrid. The strategy of having knowledgeable local guides in each place really works well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two -- Our guide who led us on the tour of the Picasso museum in Barcelona, Sonya, was truly exceptional. I never really appreciated modern art before, but I realize it is because I did not understand it. She had a whole planned presentation that she did using her iPad -- very impressive! In the Prado in Madrid Federico also did a superb job. He used some props to very good effect and really helped the art and artist to come alive."

Wendy

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Could not be happier with our trip. The guides were all very knowledgeable. Our main guide throughout the trip was beyond excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guernica at Prado. Our guide gave a fabulous performance."

Barbara

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/24/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I knew nothing about Spain before the trip. With the outstanding tour guide, Federico, I learned and saw a lot. I highly recommend Federico, he made this trip. I mean, don't get me wrong, Barcelona and Madrid are beautiful cities and quite welcoming to tourists it seems. But with Federico doing all the research for me and teaching us all in his very charming and oftentimes dramatic flair, well it was a fabulous trip. The group was great as well. No one to avoid. :))

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hmmmm, many outstanding moments. I think the best was at the museum in Madrid with Federico telling us about the Velasquez painting followed by Picaso's Guernica. Magical."

Kitty

Easton, CT

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great people, both staff and fellow tourists. Very well-organized tour. I'll do another one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First night dinner - sit-down - in Barcelona. It was excellent & in a beautiful setting. Good wine too. Also, the wine tasting in Toledo was well done (lunchtime) as was the olive oil tasting during the same event."

Barbara

Menomonee Falls, WI

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have taken many tours with a variety of formats. I particularly liked the Rick Steves philosophy of giving the group time each day to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the Familia Sagrada!"

Beverley

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amanda was wonderful & fun as we come to expect from your tours. This was our 5th tour with Rick Steves. We love it. Your guides are fabulous as well as your local guides. We enjoyed our hotel rooms and the people were wonderful. We loved seeing Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia & his La Pedrera apartment building. The Picasso Museum was very interesting to see Picasso earlier paintings and Fredric, our local guide was the best ever! The Royal Palace was very impressive. Just a fabulous trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Sagrada Familia, the Royal Palace & Toledo"

Dennis

Apple Valley, MN

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was another excellent RS trip. Great balance of guided tour and free time, Amanda was spectacular in providing background, logistics, and advice in addition to sharing her life experiences of living in Spain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I look for the odd WOW experiences, though the trip provided lots of artistic wow experiences. I would say my wow experience was when Barca won their league and watching the locals celebrate."

Rochelle

Mableton, GA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amanda was awesome, and I loved Federico who has turned being tour guide into an art form. I loved Spain and Amanda did such a wonderful job of looking out for us. I could have stayed in both Barcelona and Madrid and few more days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Federico's guidance in Madrid. I learned more about Spanish history and art in 2 days with Fede than I learned in high school and college."

Michael

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first tour with a group, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Our guide, Amanda B. and the others who joined us, were so professional and knowledgeable - I learned and experienced so much - the history/art/architecture/ and culture of the people of Spain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"That's a hard one to answer - it was a total experience, I was very impressed by the cathedrals we saw, and just walking the streets - . Wow moment - learning about the Spanish artists of the past - Velasquez, Goya, El Greco, Dali, Picasso - Picasso's Guernica - their evolving/changing styles and interpretation of their world and life. The bull fight was a great experience - not an open seat - . And I enjoyed the flamenco dancing."

Laura

Midland, MI

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was wonderful. I enjoyed the cities, the food, the hotels, and making new friends. It was a great balance of structured group tours with lots of free time to explore the cities on our own. This was my first Rick Steves' tour, and I definitely want to do more of them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moments were the tours of the Madrid palace and the Prada museum. Our local tour guide was outstanding, he was both entertaining and enlightening. I love the way he told the stories that made the sites and pictures come alive."

Richard

Menomonee Falls, WI

Tour: 05/17/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour had a good balance of planned outings and free time to explore. Spain had not been on my must-see list but I enjoyed it all very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think our first excursion onto Las Ramblas was a high point. I've been to many European cities and I love the walking-only areas with shops, cafes, and places to just sit and enjoy the whole experience."

Denis

Pilesgrove, NJ

Tour: 05/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had been on the Heart of Italy tour 3 years ago, so we knew what to expect on this tour and were not disappointed. Tour was very well organized. Our guide,Robert,was very enthusiastic, knowledgable, friendly, helpful,and added some nice touches to the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First sights on walking into the Sagrada Familia. Breath taking."

Kathryn

Lake Forest, IL

Tour: 05/03/15

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

I have been a traveler to many places and in many ways for a long time. I have also watched Rick Steves on TV for years...I thought his way of running a trip would be a cut above the usual commercial trip..Unfortunately we were herded around like cattle with the leader walking far too fast, talking too fast and too much. Also we were not given a a daily plan in WRITNG so sometimes it was confusing as where and when we were to be places......I would not do a Rick Steves trip again....

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We saw many wow things in the three places we were taken....."

Georgia

Potomac, MD

Tour: 05/03/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

In general, another excellent Rick Steve's tour! Our experience this time was affected by debilitating health issues experienced by my husband which required us to make some adjustments. Fortunately, our fluency in Spanish, and the availability of services for handicapped individuals in Spain, made it feasible for us to make the necessary arrangements to rent wheelchairs and a motorized scooter, and to determine accessibility to tourist sights and restaurants.

Michael

Beaumont, TX

Tour: 05/03/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Robert wright our tour director was excellent. we stayed on schedule & accomplished all things promised of the tour. the hotels were centrally located to sites & nicer than I anticipated. the meal provided at restaurants were very good much better than expected. Robert provided little extras in info & in treats that made the tour special. the tour exceeded my expectations. I had never been on a rick steve's tour before, but will book more in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"too many to mention. seeing all the gaudi architecture-sagrada famalia, casa batllo, casa milo, palau guell. pilgrimage to the Barcelona pavilion. the Picasso museum. the catalyn museum. the Barcelona cathedral & del mar church. The palace in Madrid, the art in the prado and the thyssison museum. everything in Toledo-the cathedral, the synagogue, the churches & the vistas."

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."

Frances

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 5th RS tour and maybe our best. Several years ago we did the Basque Spain/France tour with Federico so it was a pleasant surprise to be with him again on this tour. Our group was a little smaller than other tours and I think that was also a real positive feature---we were able to get to know our co-tourers a little more. As always most of the activities were thoughtfully selected and very enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the tour of the Royal Palace. Food/wine was also superb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Flamenco dancers. This was an extra activity our group decided to do and maybe it should be considered as an included part of the tour. Watching the athletic ability of the flamenco dancers left me breathless! And I was only watching......"

Jenny

Chattanooga, TN

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good tour. Tiring!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sagre Familia!"

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"!"

Richard

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 04/19/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an excellent introduction to these two amazing cities (and Toledo). Most of the places we visited require more time than this brief introductory tour could allow. The tour served us well to feel oriented to the cultural possibilities of these cities. We will come back to explore on our own sometime in the future - particularly the amazing art museums, for which this tour served as a tantalizing teaser.

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."

Laurie

Eden Prairie, MN

Tour: 03/15/15

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This being our fourth RST, and our previous RSTs being perfect, we had high expectations. Amazingly, our expectations were met and exceeded. The dynamics of our group were indescribable [INVALID] so many great stories to tell because of all the fabulous people in our group. The Spanish culture, architecture, art, food and drink, and history is spellbinding. The entire tour experience was enhanced by our guide, Amanda.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many! The Ramblas, Sagrada Familia and Gaudi, Toledo and it's Cathedral, Picasso Museum in Barcelona, tapas cooking at Alvacio Gastronomia (still dream about the garlic alioli), Guernica in Madrid, Prado, Madrid local guide Frederico."

Weather

Spain / Barcelona

Barcelona Weather

 


Spain / Madrid

Madrid Weather

 

Planning Tips

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.