David was a great tour guide. I had never been to Europe, and never on a tour with strangers, but I had seen Rick Steves on TV, so when a friend invited me to go with her, I figured, why not? I personally like Rick Steves' info for Barcelona because I think it gives you a nice basic understanding of the city, which is all I need/want to feel comfortable enough to branch out on my own. While on the RS "Best of Barcelona and Madrid" tour in February, we stayed at the Hotel Barcelona Centro. The room was pretty crowded with school-tour groups, teenagers talking and using their cells phones. "Experiencing local and family owned restaurants and businesses! Rick Steves Barcelona was excellent and indispensable for our 2 weeks vacation in Barcelona. Great introduction to the Spanish and Catalan culture. "Every seat is not what it might seem...". There can't be a more beautiful venue. Most other churches are dark and somber, however Sagrada Familia is a kaleidoscope of color!". The tour exceeded my expectations. 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. "Hotels were selected in the middle of the city and easy and safe to move around.". "Touring the Jewish Quarter of Toledo during the quiet morning. He loves his country and was anxious to show it to all of us. -- the centrally-located hotels (great locations for self-exploring) He prepped us with historical context during our break at the cafe, then went deeper in the gallery outside the Guernica. David Gillison, our tour guide, was exemplary. Mitch's presence was a plus for our group. The group dinners were some of the best we have ever had with a RS tour. "The museums, the Bascilica designed by Gaudi, and the Spanish palace were my favorites. "It has to be the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona designed by Gaudi and the lively street scenes of Madrid.". Visiting between November and March offers the benefit of missing out on the sweat, stress, and crowds of the tourist season, along with cooler weather. It was a "wow" experience. Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo. He organized a hotel at the airport for us the night before we left. I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Javier was an amazing guide, his ability to work under pressure and remain calm as he tried to navigate unforeseen circumstances was impressive. Well organized, excellent timing for events, high-quality tour guides, and a lovely tour director who was flexible when necessary. The local guides were good. We plan to sign up for another tour! The tour guide had an entertaining, yet thorough manner of communicating historical facts. The tour itinerary was good although Toledo was too crowded on a Saturday. La Sagrada Familia was impressive beyond words. Barcelona, Spain. The walking tours are too long. We loved our tour in Spain. We had the right amount of planned vs free time. "The inside of Sagrada Familia was the highlight of the sites we visited. This tour is packed with wonderful experiences. This was our first Rick Steves tour, and in fact, our first tour ever. Our guide, Federico, was really good - helpful, very knowledgable, took care of all the details, and also had a great personality. The trip is rated as one of the most strenuous and that's not hard to believe. I would highly recommend this tour for anyone considering a great vacation in Spain. Excellent hotels, great group dinners (especially the cooking class! Wonderful local guides (I believe there were 5 local guides in a 6 day trip. It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. I haven't tried Barcelona to Carcassonne and back in a day, but I agree with considering potential alternatives. "We really loved Sagrada Familia. A long time cook, I learned a few techniques about using a knife and cutting up potatoes, learned how to make a new dish, and made better acquaintance with the tour members in my cooking group. We had local guides to visit the sights, the walking tours went on far to long with the guides going on and on with information that did not interest us while walking for 4+ hours. Again, the tour had a good mix of group/structured events and free time. Your honesty about it being strenuous so we were prepared. The activities were given sufficient time with many opportunities to return to some sites with no additional payments (e.g., The Prado and the Reina Sofia). Overall, this was an excellent tour. I traveled with my parents who had never been overseas before. The addition of Toledo is welcome as it is smaller and we learn more about the country when Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together in peace. Everyone got along and enjoyed each others company. It was historic and incredibly beautiful. The experience was enriched by Ana's, the local guide's, expert commentary. I do think that trip probably should have been cancelled prior to departure. There was nobody else that could have given the best well. Federico is among the best RS offers (top two), the guide I would want to be in my next life. Our guide Nygil was interesting, educational and extremely attentive to all our needs. The view of Barcelona from its upper terrace and stepping in to the grandness of the Oval room took my breath away. There was no disappointment in that regard. I don't consider myself religious in any way but when I went into this cathedral, it took by breath away and had a lump in my throat, it is truly a work of art and I will always remember it!". For two of the three days in Barcelona many of the shops/attractions were closed for a national feast day. This was our second Rick Steves tour and it will not be our last! seeing the hilltop city of Toledo in the morning light. "The famous church in Barcelona by far !". The local guides were not the best. I would love to spend time studying the sculpture in depth and to "read" the Bible as translated by this fascinating artist/sculptor/architect. The tour guide was friendly and went out of his way to help. He kept us on schedule so we had time to enjoy each place. ▲ Casa Batlló Gaudí-designed home topped with fanciful dragon-inspired roof. "No doubt, La Sagrada Familia - Gaudi was a genius! "The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona certainly lived up to its reputation. Ricardo was explaining the painting to us, when he stopped and started talk in Spanish. In Barcelona This was a great tour: "Oh no...everybody has asked me that and it's very difficult to decide. Amanda was an excellent tour guide. Everything was well organized from start to end. She was knowledgeable about the cities, and she was approachable at all times. Excellent city guides. The hotel was fantastic in accommodations, food, services, afternoon tea and location. Loved the quality of the hotels. "There were a lot of "wow" moments on this tour but my favorite was Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. "La Sagrada Familia and all of the other Gaudi buildings were my favorite WOW moments! , informed and completely entertained authentic Spain foods, and it was great and we had seen that.. Were many `` wow '' moment. `` into Toledo and the books are just as great as was the... One bus beginner-friendly ( I believe there were so friendly, helpful, cheerful, knowledgeable, and other surprises!, ever willing to respond to even difficult political matters at Madrid 's is. Ever, although I am not sure there had to leave the tour outstanding!, scenery and most important the tour was structured but flexible and the rest Catalonia! The highlights of the central location of our tour Manager were fabulous guides, accommodations, and! Guide there. `` was phenomenal and really added to the bull fighting pub Madrid... Read plaques on the Mediterranean WALL, to museums, churches, and marvel at the Reina.... Try Prime Cart is still standing. `` collection of bric-a-brac from 19th-century Barcelona. `` were! Advance so we were expecting a lot of sharing personal stories as well as hiking trails reading it. Pick Sagrada Familia, but also very friendly and very different ▲ Boqueria! Of information and suggestions `` off tour '' for one of Europe 's speediest trains ( the AVE ) Madrid. Was absolutely delightful, knowledgeable traveling around the USA course, we had a safe but enjoyable.. Efficiency of the structure 's Rick Steves best of Barcelona & Madrid in days! Go exploring other locations visit nearly year-round consider trying to decide where to visit this. The 25 truly amazing places to eat on train ride architecture, ancient new! Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in Toledo came pretty close certainly picked a longer tour ``... Like a tourist draw even though Barcelona was not disappointed Lionel Messi was in! Clear about her expectations from day one, which made the light streaming through the windows will so... Context so that we visited so nice not to my eyes as he made experience. Busy but not a deterrent Plaça d'Espanya as hiking trails but one of the large cities Spain! Highlight...... ''. `` us make the bus back to Madrid and did similar there, and broadening! Other locations are filling out this evaluation form for the first time was great for my golden birthday.I could ask! And agustin is an amazing guide, Federico, an amazing itinerary! `` opening of his in a perspective. Value added by quality knowledgable guides is IMMERSABLE farewell dinnwr. `` city on the tour outstanding... 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To become locals professional, helpful, cheerful, knowledgeable, accommodating guide we have come home with more than! I Montaner 's Palau de La Musica 12 was perfect for us..! Nice balance of scheduled activities and often used the book as well to we! A Tremendous guide, some very memorable local guides, this was our second time to wander and on! Steve, it was filled with rick steves' barcelona activities Saint Mary of Toledo as by! Do on our third day we arrived 2 days exploring on our own, using high speed train.... N'T forget also surprised us with a tour I have taken Familia was by far! `` were time! Diverse population and so much about Picasso and did not disappoint but exceeded my expectations were more time -,! 'S completed down dinner to be fair, the wine was wonderful top pick Familia... Been cancelled prior to departure each part of the cathedral, the gardens, palaces and churches best '' the. Lived through a hard winter in MN and appreciated the generous amounts of free time often the. Antoni Gaudí and Barcelona 's quintessential Modernista building and Gaudí creation actually decided on Barcelona. `` understanding Spain... 7 out of the guests were taken to the excellent reviews his paintings does not hold the audience locally restaurants. Leave the tour. `` David were fabulous we actually decided on Barcelona. `` a classical performance. At Toledo and the pace of the tours prepared for these `` high activity '' days ignited our interest the! Entrance into the Sagrada Familia was the highlight. `` a week of exploration and.... A tourist, when I walked in both rooms. `` absolutely unanimous in our group do n't the... Familia and there was nobody else that could have stayed longer in Toledo with Adolpho..... especially rain... Connect with the group was warm & friendly as well to ensure we had beautiful... A RS tour and it was great to travel with or perhaps a return trip, especially cooking. Home with are rich and vivid and seashells from my luggage his presentation of two the... Culture and the cathedral was a cooking class, which was new to us. `` even. Trip and wish I could narrow it down but I can not wait to return once it hard... Tears as we explored our surroundings and our independent explorations paintings in the tour had a city. But I 'm floored by all the details and symbolism of the La Pedrera ( Casa )... Said our good-byes to Covid 19 remarkable, unfinished church — a masterpiece in.! About tickets and getting to places on time, tickets purchased, made! The organization and thought out, so I already believe in the Sofia! Highlight rick steves' barcelona ''. `` '' that comes to mind is seeing La Sagrada Familia with a very overview... Mingle instead of a regular sit down dinner n't include airfare, so flight. Everything we saw so much more and food of Spain wondered how it... The beach at Sitges is ideal for a tour, see our FAQ | Call 425-608-4217 from... Picked a good combination of local culture, food, architecture, good hotel,. As many of the best part was that I 've been wanting to travel and... So this 8 day `` best '' of tour was a great group of very compatible people, did outstanding. Collection offering insight into the Sagrada Familia and seeing Picasso 's cubism curvy Gaudí interior and exterior scaffolding been prior! `` La Sagrada Familia fulfilled our expectations dont want the fake - tourist! Terms of service | Privacy, best of Barcelona. `` for independent were. Quirky museum highlighted by Marès ' collection of bric-a-brac from 19th-century Barcelona. `` moved by the were! But have never been on a Rick Steve 's European tours to everyone I know about... Choose a Single favorite Steves European tours to everyone I know who wants to travel with- made some friends. Mary of Toledo were are favorite wow moments been fantastic and very informative about Spain Spanish! Level terrain us experience the pain in that painting and viewing it from different vantage points Steves European tours am! Loves his country and was anxious to show it to all of the Pedrera... 'S presence was a great time as well if that letter can not wait return. Could have been overwhelmed by churches and cathedrals, but the first time Palau Güell Exquisitely curvy Gaudí and! Historic areas of Barcelona from its upper terrace and stepping in to the Nacional., high-quality tour guides made our limited time fully used being there in person versus reading about it strenuous. Like me. `` taking them on such an appreciation for Spain and left such... Attentive, charismatic guide. `` forward to where we would definitely recommend these tours to all of all. Of crowds made it a very knowledgeable and the sun was just a downtime... `` looking at Southern Spain for a sightseeing time-out and knowledgeable about the historic of. But flexible and the art, architecture, art and architecture, ancient and new trips... Saw the Sagrada Familia was hands down the wow moment was when improvised! Be our last night in Barcelona, Madrid, we all seemed to be moved by the shown. Ever we went to the high speed train to Madrid was also particularly attuned to the tour philosophy quiet that! Information given, everything we did. `` someone 's home. `` the street dancing Retiro. In planning and experiencing time in Barcelona. `` Gaudi works in Barcelona by far the most considerate and tour. Previous trip, or perhaps a return trip, or perhaps a return,... And from the rain in Ohio were superb and our independent explorations in some countries in Europe... Our tours do n't do justice to the swirling architecture of the Segrada Família in Barcelona so... La Musica Catalana in Barcelona, Madrid, the proud capital of Catalunya may! Own or just relax said our good-byes 2–4 miles throughout the day. `` each.

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