We just returned from a 10 day Christmas holiday trip to Spain arranged by this travel company, a Spanish travel agency we connected with through Zicasso. Our family of 2 adults and twin teenagers wanted to see as much as we could in a short time, including both urban and countryside destinations, while enjoying good food and nice accommodations. The itinerary we customized with our agent, featured Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Costa del Sol and Madrid. We traveled in country by air, rail, and car and had English speaking drivers and tour guides at each destination. Everything was seamlessly coordinated, the guides were interesting and fun, and the restaurants arranged in advance for Christmas and New Year's were excellent and non-touristy. The recommendations for places to go on our own were thorough and reliable as well. Our motto became, "stick to the script" as we quickly learned when we followed "the list" we were never disappointed! Additionally, the personal service provided by our agent was just as much a part of the enjoyment of the trip as were the sights and experiences. She checked in as soon as we got to Barcelona, continued her availability through the holidays, and even met us in Madrid on our last night bearing gifts and walking us to our restaurant to make sure we could get seated slightly earlier than the typical 8:30 pm dinner hour. If this sounds intrusive it really wasn't. We like our privacy and quality family time, and we got plenty of that while feeling like there was a safety net if we needed one. It was the perfect balance for a beautiful, delicious, interesting friendly, comfortable, sunny vacation!
The biking and tapas tour in Barcelona featuring the varied architecture and history of the city, feeling the bells chime while enjoying the vista of Seville from the Cathedral tower at sunset, watching the last ceramic maker in Triana spin a pot, walking 3 miles of the amazing Alhambra grounds while listening to the captivating cadence of our tour guide's speaking voice, shopping for Spanish leather boots while our teenage daughter fed us the necessary words and phrases (demasiado grandes), finding perfectly circular stones on the beach in Costa del Sol, the jeep ride and picnic on the top of an Andalucian mountain with views of the sun shining on the Mediterranean Sea, the ancient whitewashed, cobblestone cities of Granada and Frigiliana, miles of olive tree groves on terraced hillsides. Amazing wine, seafood and people!
I would have researched each place more thoroughly and known the background before arriving. For example, in Barcelona, we were confused by people saying cheers instead of adios; we didn't know about Catalan history and culture and how it relates to the rest of Spain.
I'd had high hopes for El Rocio and Donana, as we love horses and exploring nature, but that day we were mostly driven around and viewing sights from afar (per the rules of the park). The guide was great though, and took us to a nearby walking trail as well as an Atlantic Ocean beach. But if we had known the weather was going to be so mild in the southeast, we'd have skipped that and spent more time in Costa del Sol or the Andalusian mountains.
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