"We went "off tour" for one night and attended a concert at the Palau de la Musica Catalana. When you talk about Rick Steves, it has to be about travelling because the man is all about travel and lifestyle. Seeing Caravaggio's recently restored painting of Saint Catherine in the Thyssen museum in Madrid. Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Didn't realize how important Gaudi was to the development of Spain. Nonstop food, art and fellowship - terrific! "Extra time at Sagrada Familia to listen to the chapter from Dave Brown's Origen. The Royal Palace in Madrid was spectacular and the stop on the hill with the view of Toledo was definitely up there in the "wow" moments.". As well as the other guides that joined.I really appreciated him taking care of my dietary restrictions as well as making sure I was always looked after and safe since I was by myself. The tour was arranged so well, our guides were wonderful and knowledgeable, and the members of our tour group were pleasant and fun. ... Steves says Thanksgiving 2021’s celebration will happen with a lot of gusto. the Roman ruins of Barcino that lay under the present city of Barcelona, -- the centrally-located hotels (great locations for self-exploring) The tour was great! A short bus ride after breakfast will take us to Spain's old capital city of Toledo (and back in time about 500 years). The tour was a nice balance of planned and unplanned time which allowed for individual exploration. The room was pretty crowded with school-tour groups, teenagers talking and using their cells phones. Rick Steves' Europe Page-A-Day Calendar 2021. There were wow moments every day. We loved staying in the heart of the city and walking to most venues. "Finding out about artist's personalities and political views expressed in their work.". I had a wonderful experience in Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo. We loved some of the "tasting" opportunities such as the wine tasting and tapas tasting. "Watching my parents faces light up when they experienced La Boqueria market, when they toured La Sagrada Família, when we were navigating the subway systems, when we were enjoying churros and Chocolate or when we experienced a flamenco show. La Sagrada Familia was impressive beyond words. I was really hoping that this first experience would spark a love of travel. The local and museum guides were also great. Rick Steves’ Europe has a full slate of European tours all locked, loaded, and ready to book for 2021. And how can I complete this review without telling you how awesome our tour guide Amanda is! ...The Picasso Museum was a revelation, but so was Sagrada Familia, the Madrid Royal Palace (which caused many of us to gasp) and the Toledo Cathedral.". Barcelona and Madrid are beautiful cities full of wonderful art and architecture, good food, and we enjoyed the energy of the Spaniards. Another wow moment was shortly after entering Sangrada Familia, the light streamed inside, creating a cascade of colors. We were surprised at how nice the whole experience was; how easy it made it to travel, how friendly and thoughtful our fellow travelers were, and much more we learned and saw, and how much we loved it. However when inside the art museum we did appreciate all of the guides education in art history. Helen was a wonderful guide her knowledge of Barcelona and Madrid and her tips of what to do in our free time was very helpful. Then we'll visit the Reina Sofía, Spain's greatest modern art museum and home of Picasso's Guernica. Italy’s third-largest city is also its grittiest. Experience the real Europe with Rick Steves' Europe Deluxe Calendar 2021. Barcelona and Madrid are lovely places, but the guides that you employ to teach us about those places are so knowledgeable and fun to be with, that I learned so much more than I thought that I would. The armoury room at the Royal Palace. "Possibly all the Gaudi we encountered. Picasso's Guernica.". All in all, the biggest wow for me was probably seeing the stunning details in Toledo's cathedral - the gold, silver, and jewel monstrance, the sacristy's masterpieces, the massive gold altarpiece, and the most surprising of all - the window to the heavens, the Transparente!". Booktopia discounts 2021 Desk Calendars at our online stationery store. Nygil is the best tour guide we have had. "Picasso was totally unexpected. The food we made was a nice exposure to Spanish food. Hotel selection was excellent. "Every seat is not what it might seem...". ", "The Prado museum. Everyone got along and enjoyed each others company. A nice mix of planned activities and free time. Jump to bottom. time to explore on your own. Sleep in Barcelona. We loved the hotels and the staff in Hotel Granvia was one the best we've experienced. Special guides also very informative. So fun!!!". It is hard to pick one thing from such an amazing experience!". A great experience among so many packed on to this trip.". And I still have last year's should the need arise... For two of the three days in Barcelona many of the shops/attractions were closed for a national feast day. The support staff, guides, accommodations, transport and the balance between programmed activities and opportunities for independent exploration were all excellent. It was all just very special.". Enjoyed the day in Toledo also.". I wish I could narrow it down but I can't. Both the tour and local guides were Hotels were good and all our travel went smoothly. Holiday Sale: Save 50% on DVDs through 12/30/20 or while supplies last! Kept things well paced and he has a great sense of humor. A fascinating tour of Europe’s highlights and hidden gems from Rick Steves—PBS and NPR host and bestselling guidebook author. "The Sagrada Familia was hands down the WOW moment for me. All planned activities were well-planned and very enjoyable. "It has to be the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona designed by Gaudi and the lively street scenes of Madrid.". Pål leads Rick Steves tours in Scandinavia and shares video tours (and more) about his life in Norway. Overall, I thought the Spain tour was wonderful; and when it is safe to do so, I would like to do the whole tour! ... A fascinating tour of Europe’s highlights and hidden gems from Rick Steves—PBS and NPR host and bestselling guidebook author. I really liked this tour even though Barcelona was not one of my favorite cities. He had raise the bar so high. We went on a 3 generation vacation and loved how this tour took care of us all. Can't wait to visit Paris again. This tour is packed with wonderful experiences. Barcelona and Madrid are both very manageable cities so this 8 day "best" of tour was a perfect introduction! It was both my best experience just being there, and my saddest when I had to leave this church. We had been to Barcelona and Madrid before so much of the tour was a repeat for us but we enjoyed seeing it again very much. "For me, the use of the highly knowledgeable local guides for each of the main program activities - to deepen and enhance our understanding of the art, history and culture - was the most pleasant surprise throughout the Tour. Accommodations were fantastic and centrally located. We were always on the move with extensive city walks and museum tours. Rick Steves the piano teacher: improvise on the blues scale in 3 minutes! We see so much more than we would see on our own and the local guides are so very good at explaining what we are seeing. I can send it by email as well if that letter cannot be located and you would be interested to hear more detail. First, Amanda was a terrific leader. I EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT KINDS OF FOOD. "There are, as always too many to boil down to one favorite, but I must say that the tour of Toledo was wonderful. LOTS of WOW moments.". We'll start today with a panoramic bus tour of Barcelona, leading to Gaudí's famed Park Güell. This was my 11th tour, so I already believe in the tour philosophy. The hotels were good & well located. My wife and I have never been on a guided tour before this one. She was knowledgeable about the cities, and she was approachable at all times. Federico ignited our interest in the history of Spain and tapped into a new appreciation of art and artists. ? In retrospect, when describing Barcelona and Madrid, I would say we were constantly surrounded by incredible art! The members of the tour group were interesting and interested. The guides were all very professional, helpful, cheerful, knowledgeable. Our guide Federico was excellent as was all of the local guides. I learned so much more about the Spanish culture and art than I anticipated. "Dinner at La Fragua de Vulcano was exceptional; also, lunch at Fatigas del Querer. "Sagrada Familia was spectacular, and Federico singing opera was the icing on the cake!". However, the months of April, May, September, and October are best for combining the convenience of peak season with good weather, lighter crowds, and long days. Enjoyed walking on Le Ramblis Madrid with wonderful Prado museum and Royal palace were great tours Both hotels very nice with great location Really enjoyed the first evening with a cooking class as a way to meet fellow travelers Our guide Amanda was superb. "Toledo was amazing. Above all we were impressed with our tour directors organization and knowledge! The four local guides in Barcelona, Madrid and Toledo were also outstanding!!!! were first rate; the tour dinners were at small family run restaurants that used On the normal tour the art museums were the highlight.". History come to life with the opening of his fan and bow to his audience. The cities of Barcelona and Madrid were so different, yet similar in that they both offered charm and so many options for things to see and do. Adding in a trip to Toledo just topped the cake for my thirst to see the rest of Spain. "I really enjoyed the Cathedral Gaudii designed. Let the Rick Steves Guides’ Marketplace bring a little Europe to you!. Walking into the church was definitely a big wow moment.". "The crowds on Grand Via in Madrid every night we were there, and the beautiful Christmas decorations throughout the city.". My concerns were quickly put to rest. I'm now sold on Rick Steve's tours and am planning All the guides are excellent. Also seeing and learning about the paintings in the Prada was amazing. We spent a couple of days hiking (and filming) on the Tour du Mont Blanc trail, in the French Alps. Our presentations about the history, art, music, and culture of Spain were absorbing and enriching. We saw so many interesting things, the pacing of the trip was perfect and I felt we got a good overview of the cities we visited. As always, the tour experience was very organized and well planned. Our guide, William, was not only very knowledgeable, but also very friendly and fun. Seeing the light streaming through the stained glass windows in La Sagrada Familia "The excursions were very beginner-friendly (I know next-to-nothing about art), and there were many wow moments. Buses were there on time, tickets purchased, reservations made. Then, we'll hop a high-speed train to Madrid for its terrific tapas, masterpiece-packed Prado Museum, and a day in historic Toledo. Our first night we had cooking school for our dinner. English was understood and spoken where ever we went, which is not always the case in some countries in Europe.". The second was the tour of magnificent Toledo with our guide Adolfo.". 0; Home / Shop / Guidebooks; ... 2021 Page-a-Day Desk Calendar. I am planning southern Italy trip for May 2021. "Closest to a wow moment was the interior of the Toledo cathedral. I ENJOYED THE FRIENDSHIP OF EACH PERSON IN THE GROUP. We had a very enjoyable trip. Guernica-WOW. Be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to four hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions. We had a great guide that day, and the sun was just perfect on the beautiful glass. Our 3rd Rick Steves tour and it was an amazing tour from start to finish. Our local guides were both informative and fun, and particularly excellent in teaching us about the historic areas of Barcelona. I dont want to just read plaques on the wall, to get some vague idea of what is happinging.". I like drinking a glass of wine and looking it over. So I'm more likely to try and squeeze in a couple of tours in 2021 if they're available. The cathedral was a "wow" for me.". Breakfast in Madrid needed much improvement. And the tour (and Nigel) prepared us very well for the independent travel we did at the conclusion of our 8 days with the group! The light, the stone and the space. Loved James showing us around the Plaza del Sol-the great "happening"place in Madrid and fantastic happy crowds there and loved the Plaza de Major. The guide Xavier was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about Barcelona band Madrid. Walking into Sagrada Familia was surreal. This was our second Rick Steve's tour. Agustin was outstanding! The cafe's were open and we went right in. We walked a lot but it was nice to come back to a great hotel at the end of the day. The other participants were all friendly, intelligent and ready for adventure. The cathedral in Toledo, especially the inside, is an awesome sight. We enjoyed every moment of our Rick Steves tour: Best of Barcelona and Madrid in 8 Days. Each day brought new and exciting adventures.". Inside Rick Steves France you'll find: Comprehensive coverage for planning a multi-week trip to France Rick's str… It begins with a 1-hour walking tour of the old town, where you will learn everything about Kotor's amazing and impressive history that UNESCO has recognized as World Heritage. He made it fun and exciting. I recognize there's a huge junk of my demographic in the US for which travel was not a priority, but that was true before the pandemic too. The beauty of Sagrado Corazon and its continued construction was just amazing to look at. Gaudi is probably a "wow" moment for almost every visitor to Barcelona. Where to begin? "Gaudi day and Madrid's Royal Palace. Pat, our catalogs live in a basket beside my chair. "Oh my, that is hard to say as I feel that whole trip was one "wow" moment after another. Our guide's recommendation to try a vermouth bar near the hotel in Barcelona led us to compare vermouth at each city we visited, including after the tour, which was fun (now we're learning how to make it at home). Unless you mean that TA doesn't allow those sorts of tours (day/few hours, etc) to have a review page - but, I'm talking about a forum, not review pages. Loved the great organization but without the boxed in tour feeling. It was great- we just should have picked a longer tour. All the group meals were wonderful as well. Rick Steves concert tickets are on sale. Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Rick Steves Tours / RS Tours in 2021; Please sign in to post. But we’re holding off on taking sign-ups...because, like the president-elect (and unlike the president-unelect), we recognize that we’re not yet out of the woods of this pandemic. I loved our local guides who I looked forward to meeting on each part of the tour- They were knowledgeable and all had their own special charm. I liked that we had time each day to do what we chose to do. But we’re holding off on taking sign-ups…because, like the president-elect (and unlike the president-unelect), we recognize that we’re not yet out of the woods of this pandemic. It was a wow.". Today, we'll take a historical walking tour starting at the very center of Madrid: the bustling Puerta del Sol. $7.49 $14.99. Hard to pick one thing. Jorge and David were fabulous guides, their enthusiasm for their country, it's culture, food and drink was impossible to resist. It was great, Hotels were lovely and local guides were awesome. Jane, I feel your pain. Always as good as all our previous trips with Rick Steves touts. We will only be submitting one. In particular, the visit to the Sinagoga de Transito was inspiring - I felt an affinity with the medieval community as they worshiped, gathered, and lived in cooperation with the Muslim residents.". 2. I loved loved Sagrada Familia. HE IS AN OUTSTANDING GUIDE. Definitly looking at Southern Spain for a future trip. It's a good thing we walked a lot because the portions were substantial. ", Well organized, interesting places to visit, excellent and knowledgeable tour guides, delighted with the tour participants and delicious food, "An epiphany to the civilization and history of places we visited.". Would love to travel with him again as a guide. In Madrid it was the palace. She was warm & friendly as well as an outstanding leader. The news reports are now saying we may still be recovering from the coronavirus 18 months from now (March, 2020). This was our first Rick Steves tour and we were very happy with the experience and value provided. In both cases, our local guides gave us plenty of background and context so that we could fully appreciate the beauty we witnessed.". We were able to travel again by train when we left the tour in Barcelona and travelled to Seville. Parc Guell, Montjuic I would have loved to spend more time in all 3 of these places". Over the course of 2 1/2 hours, hosted by a very charming, laid back, and knowledgeable wine expert/restaurateur, we learned about Spanish wines in particular, and how to taste wines in general. Impressive attention to every detail. Although the tour was brief, it included impressive diversity of activities and experiences. but the Sagrada Familia was simply breathtaking. Experience the real Europe with Rick Steves' Europe Deluxe Calendar 2021. The "whisper system" was such a wonderful way to communicate during the tours/walks! 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