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Barcelona and Madrid

Have just completed the "Best of Barcelona and Madrid in 8 Days" tour. This was our third Rick Steves tour, and was very possibly the best. We've been used to a day or two in any one stop, then pack up, get back on the bus, on to the next city. With this tour, we were able to get settled quickly in our Barcelona hotel, get to know the hotel staff and the area, then only "move" once to Madrid, where we did the same thing. The quality of our hotels was excellent and seemed quite a bit more "upscale" than previous RS accommodations. As always, our trip guides, the vivacious Barbara Schikofsky and the multi-talented, entertaining, and highly knowledgeable Frederico Garcia Barroso, made for a stellar experience. If you ever get the chance to travel with Frederico - who else could compare the Spanish royal sisters to "The Simpsons" sisters Patty and Selma????!!! - be sure to ask him to SING!

We luckily got out of Barcelona just before the civic disruptions started, and never felt unsafe or threatened. Madrid was also spectacular and very different from Barcelona's laid-back vibe. If Barcelona is San Diego, Madrid is London....hectic, huge, and imposing. Yet we were able to navigate the city easily during free time. A side trip to Toledo put the cherry on the Spanish Sundae!

Art? Amazing. Culture? Warm and welcoming. Our travel companions? Wonderful new friends. Food?....amazing is too weak a term. This trip is all about the food.....there's a lot of it and it's ALL GREAT!!!

We've loved our travel with the RS organization, but give the cities we explored and the guides with whom we worked, I'd have to rate "Best of Barcelona and Madrid" as our favorite, if only by a whisker.

Posted by
1556 posts

We are scheduled for this tour next September right after the best of Portugal tour and are really looking forward to both. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by
5006 posts

We took this tour some years ago, and it remains a favorite. We also had Federico as our guide, and we also found the food to be wonderful, especially the jamon. It blows prosciutto out of the water.

Posted by
2600 posts

especially the jamon. It blows prosciutto out of the water.

I agree ;-)
In Spain we joke - the best Prosciutto in Italy is just a bad Jamón in Spain lol!

Posted by
12 posts

Yay! I am taking my first RS tour in March and randomly picked this one because of the dates. I get in on Saturday morning. Any suggestions for Saturday and Sunday afternoons before the tour formally starts?

Posted by
2 posts

We headed to Montserrat the Saturday before our tour began. Loved it. There are other opportunities to get there during your time in Barcelona, but it wasn’t a part of our tour. It is NOT to be missed! Being avid soccer fans, we toured Camp Nou, Barca’s stadium, and loved it (no game in town when we were there) during the day Sunday. Another choice might be to head down to the coastal area. We bused there before we left and it looked like a lot of fun 😜.

Posted by
5006 posts

Julia, we spent about 3 days before the tour. We walked the neighborhood, walked Las Ramblas, took a bus to Parc Gúell, went to the chocolate museum (!), went to the Picasso Musum (!!), caught the sardana and the castellers (it was a holiday weekend, and we just stumbled on those at the catherdral. Amazing.