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Top Trip Memories
  • Viewing Antonio Gaudi’s fanciful and enormously ambitious church of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, still a work in progress almost 90 years after the architect’s death.
  • Swimming in the warm waters of the Mediterranean off one of Spain’s alluring islands of Mallorca, Ibiza or Formentera.
  • Staring, amazed, at the detailed tile work in Granada’s 14th-century Moorish palace, the Alhambra.
  • Staying in a parador, one of the government inns converted from former castles, monasteries, and other atmospheric buildings.
  • Making the rounds of the tapas bars in Madrid, downing a complimentary olive there, a slice of roasted potato there, and perhaps splurging on a grilled prawn or two.
  • Throwing tomatoes at strangers in Valencia’s famous La Tomatina, a 40,000-person tomato fight held each August.
  • Admiring the Old Masters in Madrid’s Prado Museum and Picasso’s masterwork Guernica in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
  • Taking in a flamenco show at a club in Seville where you know the dancing is authentic.
  • Joining the pre-dinner crowds along Las Ramblas in Barcelona as they enjoy their evening paseo, while passing chic sidewalk cafes and lively street entertainers.
  • Marveling at the formal gardens and fountains in Seville’s Royal Alcazar Palace.
  • Spending an art-filled day in Toledo, home of the painter El Greco and a medieval masterpiece of a city.
  • Walking at least part of the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, an ages-old, now newly popular pilgrimage route.
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Tour Tips
  • Don’t expect to absorb all of Spain in one trip -- it’s larger than California and even more diverse.
  • Consider taking a themed tour of Spain -- revolving around food, walking, or art and architecture.
  • If you’re a lover of great art and architecture, book a tour that includes as many of these cities as possible: Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Toledo, Granada, and Seville.
  • If you’re a sun-worshipper, book a tour to southern Spain that includes some beach time.
  • If you’re a food lover, book a culinary tour to Barcelona and the Basque Country.
  • Taking a river cruise on the Guadalquivir through Andalusia is an often overlooked -- and very pleasant -- way to see southern Spain.
  • Booking a tour along the Camino de Santiago ensures you’ll find a place to stay every night and that you’ll have company -- and support, if needed -- along this well trammeled route.
  • The northern stretches of Spain in the Pyrenees are far less traveled but extremely scenic and greener and cooler than farther south.
  • If you’re looking for picture-postcard scenery that will leave you gasping, book a tour that includes the Andalusian town of Ronda, built on the edge of a deep chasm.
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Spain Travel Reviews & Ratings
4.7 out of 5

100%

recommend

1,771 Reviews

Excellent 1,055 Great 331 Average 4 Disappointing 0 Terrible 1

Rating Details

Value
4.7 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.7 Lodging
4.7 Transportation
4.7 Meals
4.7
Tour Reviews

Great walking variety on a small island.

Walking the Island of La Palma

5.0 August 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes Very enjoyable walking trip in a lovely destination, reasonable accommodation
& food and a good variety of walks.
The caldera rim walk to Roque de Los Muchachos was pretty impressive and most
enjoyable, but the walk in the gorge of the Taburiente river was probably
even better. A shame we missed the Ruta de Los Volcanes due to bad weather!


Jonas Perez - The most informative, helpful, knowledgeable and entertaining
tour leader you will ever meet! He obviously loves his Island and his 'job'
and wants everybody else to share this with his enthusiasm and humour.


The walks are tough without being too hard if you're reasonably fit, but
don't believe the trip notes - days 6 & 7 are not the most challenging, they
are just long but quite simple walks, the most challenging day is day 4
around the caldera rim, thankfully followed by the rest day!


Carry everything with you all of the time - sun hat & cream with waterproofs
& a fleece. The weather constantly changes and can be completely different
on one side of the island to the other.


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Walking the Picos de Europa - Challenging week

Walking the Picos de Europa

5.0 August 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes This was my first walking holiday and first trip with Exodus. I would highly
recommend it to anyone reasonably fit (Challenging week). Accommodation was
great and food amazing - lots of options for veggies and good selection at
breakfast. All the staff in the hotel are very helpful - for example the
owner, Jim, went out of his way to drop two of us in central Bilbao on the
day of the return flight, instead of having to kill time at the airport.
Other trip members were very sociable and friendly and made it an incredible
week. Our guide, Alvaro, was superb - lots of interesting local knowledge
about the wildlife and region. He also ensured that the walks avoided crowded
times/cloud. The Picos itself is a beautiful region to visit. Day off allowed
a trip to the coast, Llanes, which has good restaurants and lovely beach.
The view of the Narnjo de Bulnes in the valley in the last day, between
Sotres and Tielve.


Excellent


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Great trip, thoroughly recommended

Walking the Picos de Europa

5.0 August 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes Exodus for me works on word-of-mouth and recommendations. So mine is, go!

It's a fabulous location with moderate-to-challenging walking, spring flora
and fauna fascinating, and so unexpected: like a slice of Switzerland. Our
guide, Alvaro, is one of the best - Exodus I'm sure should be very sorry to
lose him - but there is such a commitment to quality from the hotel that the
team will always be a good one.

Excellent food, comfortable beds, lashings of hot water... a very homely home
base.
Many, but I guess Alvaro's love for his home and his understanding o the
mountains was pretty inspirational.


Like the previous reviewer, I would definitely do it again! Which, I suppose,
is the highest recommendation..


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I would do it all again...

Walking the Picos de Europa

5.0 August 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes This holiday was so much more than I expected. More challenging, more fun,
more mountainous! I don't know why but I didn't equate a mountain region with
so much ascending. I am a regular hiker and was surprised to find that I
could walk for up to two hours uphill and still maintain a conversation.
Alvaro the guide was inspiring and motivational, and the group were
encouraging and fun to be with. We really bonded over the tough uphills and
the shared experiences of the magnificent scenery. I was sad to leave the
group at the airport and I think part of me is still in the mountains.
Seeing around ten vultures flying around the top of a mountain - a bird I'd
thought would be ugly, but it's actually quite beautiful. Our group had
experts in flora and fauna who brought the whole thing to life for me. I
learned so much.


Alvaro. What can I say? We all thought he was amazing and were sad to hear
that he's leaving Exodus in August. He will be a great loss to the team. He
was like a sheepdog taking care of his flock, scampering up and down
mountains to make sure we were ok. I can still here him say, "slowly as you
like!" as we ascended yet another dizzying height. He imparted so much
knowledge about the area from history to wildlife and he was just the right
amount of encouraging to all of us, individually.


Don't go before mid-May because you'll have cows wearing cowbells outside
your bedroom window at 1am (lovely as they are). They go up to higher
pastures in mid-May.

Have the G&Ts in the hotel bar - the fishbowl glasses and the measures are
amazing.

Take your own hairdryer.


A friend has already booked this holiday off the back of my Facebook and
Instagram posts. It's a winner and I would recommend it to anyone who is fit
enough to take it on. It was definitely not 'moderate' in my book - I found
it challenging. I've had to reassess my idea of my own fitness but I ended
the week feeling like a butcher's dog.


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The hills are alive

Cycling in La Rioja

5.0 July 2017 Exodus Travels Recommend: Yes Loved this trip. It's classified as 'leisurely/moderate' but for me and my
fitness level i would say it's more moderate and actually challenging because
only the tables are flat in Spain! So expect plenty of undulation, some
steep hill climbs with plenty of down hill too. If you do accomplish the
hills you feel great. Food and hotels were good, all with wi-fi so i can
upload my photos etc. Stunning scenery from riding in the forest, lakes and
around the vineyards. The rides were not too long 9.30am -4/5pm.
Having the lung capacity to complete the hill climbs! The scenery is just
spectacular.


Alfonso is a very good experienced leader. Sometimes he lead from the start,
other times he stayed back with the slower riders (me) and showed us the way
back to hotel. Always smiley and encouraging us to do more. Dare I say I
might start to like hills, and plan to attempt a few climbs in Aylesbury that
i haven't dared to do before. Danny the driver/bike fixer also gave us much
needed biking tips!


Train before you come on the trips. I only did an or or so on the weekends
and it wasn't enough. Also I have never cycled up that many hills in my
entire life. I had hayfever and forgot to take anti-histamine pills, but went
to a pharmacy when we got to a town centre. Beautiful flowers everywhere.
Bring snacks with you.


Enjoy the rides, and be willing to push yourself.


Read more
See all reviews for Spain Top Operators & Trips
Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies Ajax Loader...
Classic Itineraries

Classic Spain in 1 Week

Spain in one week will introduce you to the vibrancy of the country and leave you wanting more. You’ll get a taste of tapas, art, and countryside. Most 1 Week itineraries visit the main attractions through Southern Spain:

Day 1-2, Madrid: Explore the rich art history here though the Paseo del Arte, Museo Reina Sofia where works by Dali and Picasso live, and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Other highlights include the Real Jardin Botanico and the Plaza Mayor.

Day 3, Seville: Alcazar, the world’s largest gothic cathedral, Barrio Santa Cruz, Maria Luisa Park

Day 4, Cordoba to Granada: Explore a place where the extensive Moorish history of Spain comes to light in Cordoba a visit to The Mezquita. Continue on to Granada through beautiful Spanish countryside.

Day 5, Granada: Learn how to Flamenco dance, visit the historical quarter in the Albaicin, enjoy a shopping day among its ancient streets.

Day 6, Valencia: Take a long drive to get to Valencia, the “Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean”. Go on a guided tour of Valencia Cathedral, where the supposed Holy Grail sits. Take a free day to wander around this bustling city with beautiful beaches and busy markets.

Day 7-8, Barcelona: End your trip with a few days in Barcelona. Enjoy world famous Catalan cuisine, explore the rich art history of Spain at the National Art Museum of Catalonia, and take in incredible Gaudi architecture like the La Sagrada Familia cathedral. Shop like a local at Santa Catarina Market.

See All Spain in 1 Week Trips

Spain in 2 Weeks

With two weeks, you can explore much of Spain in more depth, such as a visit to wine country, or a stay along the seaside in the North.

Day 1-2, Madrid: Explore the rich art history here though the Paseo del Arte, Museo Reina Sofia where works by Dali and Picasso live, and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Other highlights include the Real Jardin Botanico and the Plaza Mayor.

Day 3-4, San Sebastion & La Rioja: On your way to the seaside paradise of San Sebastion, stop in the La Rioja wine country to do some tasting.

Day 5, Pamplona: See the famous street where the running of the bulls takes place.

Day 6-8, Barcelona: Enjoy world famous Catalan cuisine, explore the rich art history of Spain at the National Art Museum of Catalonia, and take in incredible Gaudi architecture like the La Sagrada Familia cathedral. Shop like a local at Santa Catarina Market.

Day 9, Valencia: Take in the “Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean”. Go on a guided tour of Valencia Cathedral, where the supposed Holy Grail sits.

Day 10, Granada to Cordoba: In Granada, see the spectacular Alhambra Palace, and learn of the cities strong Moorish heritage. Continue on to Cordoba, where much Moorish history also lies, and see The Mezquita (Great Mosque).

Day 11-13, Seville with Gibraltar excursion: Take a walking tour of Seville to see the Seville Cathedral, Giralda Tower, and Plaza de España. Take a full day to visit British territory Gibraltar, and see the famous “Rock of Gibraltar.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: to visiting Gibraltar you may need additional visa information, and don’t forget your passport!

Day 14, Madrid: End your tour back in Madrid.

See All Spain in Two Weeks Tours

Spain & Morocco Tour

Spain and Morocco are intrinsically linked, sharing much history due to their close proximity. A history tour will highlight how these two countries have influenced each other through culture, food, and architecture.

Day 1-3, Seville: Begin in Seville, the capital of the Andalucia region, which was under Moorish rule from the 8th-15th centuries. See Maria Luisa Park, Seville Cathedral, and Giralda Tower.

Day 4, Cordoba: A city that has maintained a lot of its Moorish heritage, including the impressive Mezquita (Great Mosque). Take a walking tour to see the Jewish quarter and learn about the city’s history.

Day 5, Granada: see the spectacular Alhambra Palace and visit a traditional tea house in the 'Albaicin' quarter.

Day 6, Ronda: In this, one of Spain’s oldest towns, enjoy spectacular views on a walking tour of the city. Feast on a local tapas meal.

Day 7, Strait of Gibraltar crossing and Tangier: Take the ferry from Spain to Morocco and enjoy a tour of historic Tangier before continuing to Fez for a few days.

Day 8, Fes: Enjoy the traditional old feel of this ancient city as you wind your way through the busy streets. Visit Funduk Nejjarine a restored 18th century inn, hear the call to prayer, and dine on a traditional Moroccan meal.

Day 9, Rabat: Explore ancient ruins in Morocco’s capital, see Hassan Mosque, Kasbah des Oudaias, and the royal palace.

Day 10, Casablanca: In the city made famous by cinema, soak in the history on a walking tour. See the Mosque of Hassan II, one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. If you look for Rick’s bar though, you’ll be disappointed.

Day 11-12, Marrakech: Explore the markets and spice shops. Visit the Koutoubia Mosque and the ruins of Palais Badi.

See All Spain and Morocco Tours

Spain Trips & Tour Advice

Spain -- the tempestuous land of Don Juan and Don Quixote, Carmen and Figaro, bullfighting and flamenco -- once ruled an empire that stretched across the Americas and points beyond. By the 20th century it had fallen into decline, merely another poor nation in southern Europe. Now, in the midst of a cultural renaissance, Spain is much like a theme park devoted to the good life -- a sensuous feast of fun, food, and fine art and architecture.

Start with the beaches, as many visitors do. (Northern Europeans, who search out sand and sunshine like heat-seeking missiles, have made Spain their holiday central.) The most crowded stretch, the Costa del Sol along the southern Mediterranean, sports highly developed resorts like upscale Marbella and carnival-like Torremolinos, once quiet fishing villages now packed with sunbathers and bar-hoppers. The Mediterranean island of Ibiza is another incredible party scene, though with better beaches; the smaller island of Formentera is quieter.

Art and Architecture

In Spain, you can spend hours or days with Spanish masters like Velasquez, El Greco, Goya, Dali, and Picasso in Madrid’s Prado and other top museums. Architecture? Frank Gehry’s sensational Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is one of the most talked-about buildings in Europe. You can even view ancient Roman ruins such as the two-millennia-old aqueduct in Segovia.

The Spanish have turned eating into an art form, not so much with the classical artistry of the French as with the playful palette of Picasso, a native Spaniard. Dining often begins by making the rounds of tapas bars -- grazing on small platefuls of delicacies washed down with glasses of local wine or sherry. It continues with multi-course meals that may run on till midnight. Seafood is often the centerpiece, sometimes topping giant platters of paella, the saffron-tinged rice dish that’s almost synonymous with Spanish cuisine.

The Backdrop

All of these cultural, culinary and recreational riches are set against a scenic backdrop as varied as any in Europe. To the east and parts of the west, the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines frame hundreds of miles of blue sea. To the north, the green and forested Pyrenees rise to form a mountainous border with France. In central Spain, arid brown valleys and high plateaus add dramatic contours to the landscape. And in the far south, the Andalusian countryside is reminiscent of Spain’s onetime New World outpost, southern California. Each region is wildly beautiful in its own way.

The Spanish people enhance it all with their exuberant approach to life, much of it played out on the public stage. In cities and villages across the country, they emerge to see and be seen on their evening paseos, strolling often arm-in-arm with family or friends, typically dressed to be admired.

Revelry and Recovery

The narrow streets of Barcelona’s old Gothic Quarter, the now-chic antiquity of Madrid’s Puerta del Sol area, and the winding medieval alleyways of Seville’s Barrio Santa Cruz and Granada’s Sacromonte (gypsy) district are often packed far into the night with diners and revelers who see daybreak not as the start of a new day but the end of the old. The country’s many fiestas rachet up the festive mood even higher. July’s annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, March’s Las Fallas de San Jose in Valencia, and Easter’s Feria in Seville, among many others, all provide spectacular pageantry.

But when do they sleep? A partial answer rhymes with fiesta: siesta, an afternoon tradition that is struggling to survive the economic pressures of modernization. Tour leaders know to plan sightseeing and shopping trips in the mornings or late afternoons since many museums, stores and other attractions often close for two or three hours at midday. Take a cue from the Spanish: enjoy a leisurely lunch and rest up during the hottest part of the day.

Key Sights

All roads lead to and from stylish Madrid, the centrally located Spanish capital, which combines world-class art museums like the Prado with alluring public parks and nightlife. Just south of Madrid lies the photogenic and beautifully preserved medieval city of Toledo, immortalized by the artist El Greco.

Much farther south, Andalusia is a sunny, Moorish-influenced land that spawned flamenco and forms many people’s mental image of Spain. Seville is a maze of courtyards, plazas, bars and restaurants, while Granada is home to the Alhambra, an ornately tiled 14th-century Moorish palace. Cordoba’s 1,100-year-old Great Mosque, with its hundreds of colorfully striped columns and archways, is so vast that an entire Roman Catholic cathedral (added later) seems almost lost within it.

Barcelona, in the northeast, is the epicenter of the Spanish revival. The old Gothic Quarter, with its jumble of twisting streets, opens onto Las Ramblas, one of the world’s great promenades, and Gaudi’s surreal architectural legacy is everywhere. To its south, vibrant Valencia, birthplace of paella and the world’s biggest tomato fight, is often overlooked -- mbut shouldn’t be.

Still a good value

While not the dirt cheap destination of old, Spain is still a good value for Europe -- especially if you consider all that it has to offer. If you haven’t visited Spain since the sleepy 1970s, you’re in for a huge surprise.

Stride can help you find the tour that best represents what you most want from your Spanish vacation -- whether it’s a tour of the classic sights, a multi-week trek along northern Spain’s Camino de Santiago, a riverboat cruise along the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia, or perhaps a culinary tour where you can discover the secrets of making a great paella.

Additional Resources

Useful Links

Visa Information

  Visa Needed? Link
US  N (< 90 days) Visas to Spain for United States Citizens
UK  N (< 90 days) Visas to Spain for United Kingdom Citizens
CA  N (< 90 days) Visas to Spain for Canadian Citizens
AU  N (< 90 days) Visas to Spain for Australian Citizens
NZ  N (< 90 days) Visas to Spain for New Zealand Citizens
IN  Y Visas to Spain for Indian Citizens

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