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Are/what Guided tours needed or suggested for Seville, Córdoba, Grenada, Barcelona?

I have found that with research, Ricks books, and audio tours there are many sites you can see on your own perfectly. However there are some sites that just go faster with shorter lines or that the experience is just greatly enriched by going on a guided tour or hiring a private tour guide. Of these cities are there tours or sites that we should get a guide for sure?

And if you know of some great experience please share that. Our food and cooking tours elsewhere have been a blast as well as we enjoyed guided tours at some historical sites and at least one museum especially in Italy for better access and info. But others we were fine on our own. Time frame April and May. Two experience travelers. These are the cities

Seville, Córdoba, Grenada, Barcelona ( also if you want to chime in about Porto and Lisbon)

Posted by
1 posts

Following :-)

I'm planning my May Spain trip now and have a lot of the same cities on my proposed itinerary.

Posted by
154 posts

Staceybiomed. Check put my other post about festivals too you might be interested to plan to attend or avoid

Posted by
14911 posts

Look at the official TI site for Barcelona (the easiest way - for me - is to use the "buy tickets" option). There are a multitude of guided tours, incl. small group tours. I've taken 2 TI tours, the Santa Maria del Mar rooftop tour, and one RunnerBean night tour. All were very good. The site lists many tours and events, some are run by the TI.

Posted by
5483 posts

We used Barcelona Day Tours for a tour of the city. After the tour, we did stuff on our own, like going inside Sagrada Familia.

Also, You can do Monserrat on your own. Take the early train from the Plaza Espana.

The Alhambra is wonderful, don't miss that. We had a guided tour from our cruise ship.

Seville is special, we did it decades ago, on our own. has local tours that we have used, if you can't find any on your own.

Posted by
503 posts

Just got back from Cordoba, Grenada and Seville.

We did a guided tour of the Mezquita in Cordoba - booked through "Get Your Guide". Since it's January, the tour was just us and we thought it was well worth it - learned so much more about the Mezquita than doing it on our own.

For the Alhambra in Grenada - we did the audio tour and found it very lacking -however, it really is about your own interest level. If you simply want to see it and have some idea what you are looking at, the audio guide is fine. If you want a more in depth explanation, I would recommend a tour. Having said that, MAKE SURE TO GET YOUR TICKETS as soon as you know your dates - since it does sell out quickly.

For Seville: We did a Tapas and History tour through Devour Seville and can't recommend it enough! It was a great tour "off the beaten path" in the Triana neighborhood. Devour Seville offers a number of food related tours (in Barcelona as well) and I definitely recommend them!
We also did a tour of the Alcazar and really felt it was worthwhile - booked it through Trip Advisor.

Lastly, we did something very unusual for us - we booked a session at the Hamman Andalusia - it's basically a "spa" that features access to the baths. Although the facility is modern it's on the site of an original Hamman and decorated accordingly. Leading up to the trip was really stressful and this was a wonderful and relaxing break and something we normally never do on a trip - but it was definitely worth it!
Andalusia is wonderful - you will have a great time!

Posted by
4003 posts

My wife and I have found that we like to move faster than a guide’s explanation (no matter how good he/she is) of a location, so unless a guided tour is mandatory, we prefer to tour a sight at our pace rather than someone else’s.

Granada (city in Spain), not Grenada (island in the Caribbean)

Posted by
6 posts

My 14 year old daughter and I did tours in both Sevilla and Barcelona with Devour Tours. We did Tapas & Flamenco in Sevilla, which was fun, and a tour of La Boqueria Mercat in Barcelona. I thought both tours were good and a nice introduction to each city.

Posted by
138 posts

We also did Devour Tours in Barcelona last month. We did the Tastes and Traditions and really enjoyed it. We had food allergies in our group and the Devour group leader did a great job making sure that our son was safe.

We also did a Paella cooking class in Barcelona. This was amazing! if you have some time and want to learn and actively help prepare and cook, look up Marta's Private Paella Cooking class. It was such a great afternoon that ended in fresh Paella and wine! (you bring the wine or beverages yourself).

Edited to add: I forgot to add our favorite activity from our trip. We booked a Tours By Local sunrise trip to Montserrat. I'm happy to share which tour it was if you're interested. our day with our guide included a trip to a goat farm which included a delicious farmer's brunch in the pasture. It couldn't have been a more perfect day.

Posted by
154 posts

Thank you to everyone! And for correcting my spelling - I didn’t know and now I do! I can’t wait to explore The things that you have suggested. And I would love to know that too or you took that included the goat farm thanks

Posted by
21070 posts

I wouldn't say it is "very difficult" to get tickets for the Alhambra, as long as you understand that it's very popular and you are planning well ahead of time, as Americans typically do because of the need to book transatlantic flights. Furthermore, even after the General tickets sell out, it's common for the (somewhat higher-cost) Dobla de Oro tickets to remain available for quite some time. And after those are gone, the Granada Card offers a back-door way to get entry to the Alhambra that is often available for considerably longer. The Granada Card costs quite a bit more, but it covers additional sights and has a local-transportation component that would provide some value to most visitors.

Hotels often buy and set aside tickets for their clients, so that's another avenue to check before spending the extra money for a tour of the Alhambra.

Posted by
511 posts

We used the audio guides in La Sagrada Familia and took an English guided tour of Park Guell. I don't know what the experiences would have been like otherwise, of course. Both experiences were very good. I particularly appreciated having a guide in the park to explain what we were seeing and give us some of the stories behind the sights.

Posted by
1780 posts

hey hey callen510 click destinations and country. your cities will show up has barcelona and lisbon click city guides and check your cities you're visiting type in city, event type. having lunch or dinner in a locals house, sailing tour with tapas, food tour, etc type in city and see what's available and interests you
this gives you a few things to look at and decide if you like any of them. have a fun trip and enjoy yourselves.

Posted by
154 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions and for any that might come in the future! Hopefully we will be able to take our trip and contribute to their economy as well as planned but if not, we will reschedule and use all the info then. Thanks again - stay home and stay safe!

Posted by
1767 posts

We did a tour of the Alhambra and would recommend doing so.

in Barcelona we did the Sagrada Familia by ourselves and would not have wanted to do it as a tour, enjoying doing it at our own pace. In Barcelona we enjoyed the Palau de Musica which you can only do as a tour ( unless you see a performance there )

Posted by
21070 posts

There are three potential issues with visiting the Alhambra by public tour:

  • You'll (presumably) want to keep up with the guide. If you are interested in photographing the Nasrid Palaces (the most crowded area) and hope not to have too many strangers in your pictures, you'll need extra time in many places. There's a conflict there.

  • Some parts of the Alhambra (including the Nasrid Palaces) are single-entry-only. Once you leave one of those areas, you cannot re-enter it. Therefore, you can't wait until your tour ends and then double-back to one of those ticketed areas.

  • Some parts of the complex have more limited hours than the Nasrid Palaces and the grounds. What is open and when it is open varies from day to day. You may find that the time of your tour conflicts with the limited opening hours of something you want to see that the tour doesn't cover.

I believe 3 hours is the typical duration of a public tour of the Alhambra. Many people find they can spend nearly the entire day there. If you typically don't like to make blitz trips through sightseeing attractions, a 3-hour tour may be too short for you. The Alhambra has an audio guide. I thought it was quite good. For me, it was a far better option than a too-short guided tour.

Posted by
3769 posts

Twin nices are planning this trip, bookmarking for them.

Posted by
76 posts

Maybe this is too obvious or others have mentioned it, but my first step in planning an independent trip is to always buy a Rick Steve's guidebook to find out where, how, when and who to use as independent guides. If you are frugal, you can likely find a recent copy at your local public library. I guess I'm a big RS fan, but after 12 tours, I can say that his guidebooks are the best you can find.