I went on this tour with a friend and we absolutely loved it. We recommend going on this with realistic expectations, reading the reviews and getting a travel book to fill in the free time. We covered so many locations in a short time and our tour guide Giuseppe made even the long bus rides enjoyable. We were in a group that was older, around 40-55, which might be more common during off season. I liked how there was free time in just about every location to explore on your own. We went to the optional flamenco show in Seville, which we highly recommend. The main dancer was a world flamenco champion. There is an optional river cruise/cathedral tour in Seville which we skipped, since we wanted to take our time seeing the castle where game of thrones is filmed, the cathedral and climb up the giralda with amazing panoramic views of the city.
There were a few discrepancies between the online itinerary and the actual trip. In Granada, there is an optional tour you can take in the afternoon to walk around the jewish quarter and drink Moroccan tea. If you are able to explore on your own, you can just do this walk on your own, since there wasn't much value added and we couldn't really understand the local guide they provided. We skipped the gypsy flamenco show based on other reviews. In Valencia, the tour was actually included, so if you want to check out the inside of the city of arts and sciences, you should head there the evening you arrive or book a show for that night, since the tour the following morning is only a walk by of the outside. We skipped the tour in Madrid, since it didn't sound too appealing so we can't comment on that. The Barcelona tour gave a good overview of the different sites in Barcelona. Lastly if you are debating between 4 or 3 stars, go 4 stars because the location and amenities alone more than makes up for the price difference. In Barcelona you have a really nice view of the magic fountains from your hotel roof top.
My daughter and I highly recommend the 9 day Best of Spain tour. We went on the tour which left Madrid on 7th September 2015 en route to Barcelona. The co-ordination of the tour, with people starting the tour at different points along the way, went without a hitch. Our tour guide Grace was full of fun and very informative. Nothing was too much trouble for her. She had us in stitches of laughter and spoke fluent English and Spanish to the group which consisted of at least 8 different nationalities. Grace is most knowledgeable and was extremely patient if and when we had to wait for a member of the family who was lagging behind. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and recommend this tour.
This tour was great, Hugo, our tour guide, was very informative and has arranged us perfectly all local guides were knowledgeable and good. The driver was very well experienced in driving.
Except for the first city trip in Madrid the rest of the tour was excellent. There was no information about the Madrid city tour given after our arrival. The tour ended far away from the Hotel and we had to walk back all the way.
My grandaughter and I had a great time on this tour, and enjoyed all the sightseeing and excursions, and met some new friends. Thank you!
For the amount of travel, ease and convenience of travel and the number of places we visited this is a great tour for the price. Like what everyone said, Madrid part is meant to be just for you to get accustomed to Madrid. The panoramic tour was so so. It was so fast that we barely have time to really appreciate Madrid. That was why, I booked us a flight back to Madrid from Barcelona to really tour Madrid and enjoy it on our own. The rest of the tour from Cordoba to Barcelona was wonderful. After touring Italy, Paris and London using train and the hassles of doing it on your own, this is like a walk in the park. I specially loved the walking tours on the important places and the extra time they allowed us on our own. Would recommend it to everyone. Shout out to our tour captains, Carlos and Joseph. Gracias, Amigos!
I have to give our bus driver and tour guide a 10 on this one. Service, service and more service. I had such a great time!!
This was a wonderful trip – one I will remember forever. Our guide was wonderful, the hotels were nice, the tours were informative and interesting, and our fellow tour companions were great. Thank you for this trip. It was also a good value.
Wonderful!! Hugo, our tour guide, was very informative; Felix, our bus driver, was careful yet arrived at all our destinations on time. The local tour guides were great - they highlighted the main attractions of each city, and gave suggestions on what we should go see on our own. We spent a lot of time on the bus, traveling between cities, but the scenery was beautiful and Hugo gave us historical and regional information as we drove by.
One thing I'd like to suggest is that travelers be given a list of attractions that are NOT included in the tour (i.e. museums, basilicas, historical buildings). We did our own research and knew what spots we would visit on our own. However, there were travelers in the group who were clueless about what to visit when the local tours ended.
Overall, I highly recommend this trip. From beginning to end, we were delighted with the service!!
Overall, the tour was a very good value for the money we paid and compared to other tour operators. The guides were knowledgeable about the cities that we visited in terms of history, major sites, and things to do. Hotels were fine. My only complaint was the size of the group, which was between 65-70 people during various parts of the tour. This was way too big to manage effectively as it took a very long time to load and unload this many people. Plus our tour guides were not very good at keeping people on schedule and we were routinely 20-30 minutes late when departing our hotels or site seeing areas.
Overall good tour. As another reviewer said, this is actually 3 tours and one would be much better off by doing only the 4-5 day seville-cordoba-granada tour and spending time in Madrid and Barcelona at one's own leisure. As with any tour, some of the excursions were rather quick and did not leave much time to enjoy the attractions. Some of the hotels on the standard hotel option were outside the city center so keep that in mind for the cheaper hotel option.
Evelyne R Canada
I would say that the tour was generally very good. The guide that we had lack experience and seemed to get easily nervous. It would have been nice to have a documentary showing on Spain while we were on the long bus ride.
The tour was the integration of other excursions making things very confusing. The first tour was the Madrid circuit. The operator took us from the hotel to the city. At the end of the excursion, they left us in the city and the only way back to the hotel was asking people for directions, or by taxi. Luckily, we knew how to get back.
Once we left Madrid, we assumed that our guide would be with us until the end of the tour, but it was not to be. She belonged to the Cordoba, Seville and Granada circuit. We continued on our tour to Valencia and Barcelona after we changed bus, driver and guide near Madrid.
The last day of our trip, they left us at the hotel without transfer. Viator refunded the expenses incurred in hiring a taxi.
Outside these mishaps, the tour is a good value for money, and the operating agency need better communication and organization.
Very laid back trip. Guide was great but having to repeat everything she said which was a lot i.e. history, interesting facts, etc. in more than one language was a little bit annoying.
Biggest disappointment of the trip was Alhambra in Grenada where we had to visit the Alhambra in my opinion the highlight of the trip at night around 10:00PM. Yes AT NIGHT!!! That meant that we didn't see much of it because it was simply dark and also many of the room that you would typically visit during the day was closed to the public I know that for fact because I visited Alhambra back in 2012 and we saw many rooms at the time. I was excited to take my parents to visit the Andalusia but the Grenada trip was really a bad blow. Julia will argue that it's not their fault and that the Alhambra admins will dictate which hour Julia travelers can visit the Alhambra but that's simply not a good excuse the cruise tourists get to visit it during the day, the local tour operator should ensure their customer visit Alhambra during the day as well. Again, that was the highlight of the trip and I just couldn't be more disappointed.
Other than that, hotels were good and the trip went smoothly and as described in the itinerary.
The tour itself was very good. We saw a lot of amazing sites, the tour guides are very helpful. I loved that we were able to visit 5 different cities, each one was beautiful and unique and it gives you a taste of the culture and the beauty of Spain. The aspect that was disappointing was that the first few days of our tour had a capacity of over 60 people. The bus was always packed and sometimes we felt slowed down by the number of people. There were several different languages being spoken which became confusing at times and because of the larger size of the group, we felt rushed during some of the highlights of the trip, such as the Alhambra. Overall, the trip was very good, the accommodations were good and I would recommend this tour.
It was lovely. The people are wonderful and warm. All the hotels were good except in Barcelona. We were shunted at the last minute to a hotel in the outskirts. Viator should stop using this hotel for its tourists.
Tour was done in August 2014.
Pros for the tour:
1. Good Guides especially Hugo from Madrid to Valencia.
2. Well organized and everything was on time.
3. Dinner and breakfast were well laid out.
4. On time pickup on arrival and for departure towards the airport.
5. Most of Local guides were very good except the one in Granada.
1. The organizer of the tour was very rude with the exception of one lady in the Madrid office. Staff in Barcelona was terrible and had no manners.
2. Lot of time in Bus.
3. Second bus form Valencia to Barcelona had a murky odor.
Ratings of Hotels:
1. Husa Princesa in Madrid -- 4 star --- They let us check in very early on arrival
2. Hotel Melia in Seville -- 1 star -- Room had such a bad moldy smell. Wall paper was peeling off.
3. Hotel Melia in Granada -- 4 star, excellent location and good rooms.
4. Hotel ABBA -- Valencia -- 2 star, very old and dilapidated
4. Hoel Catolina -- Barcelona -- Rooms 4 star, location 5 star, Room service or any service -- 0 star. They are so busy with the tour operator travelers that they do not care for one individual.
Hope it helps.
This 9-day tour is actually 3 individual tours combined from the local travel company Julia Travel.
The Panoramic Sightseeing Tour of Madrid: While the tour itself was okay in terms of the sights we are shown (albeit briefly), our tour guide had mediocre English abilities at best, which quickly led to our sustained disinterest for the rest of the tour because we couldn't understand what was being described. Furthermore, to fill the bus, the tour is multilingual - Castilian Spanish and English. On this particular tour, English was definitely a second priority, and there were more English-speaking patrons in the group. 3 stars
This tour was followed by the 4-Day Spain Tour: Cordoba, Seville and Granada from Madrid tour. This is the best of the 3 tours. Our tour guide Cristina and driver Jose Luis were very professional, organized and friendly. They kept everyone on time, because Jose Luis always had the bus ready a good time earlier and Cristina posted a schedule in the lobby of every hotel we stayed in. Cristina introduced us to our local guides at every stop, spoke French, Castilian Spanish, and English flawlessly and had wonderfully interesting things to say as we drove through the Andalusian countryside. 4 – 5 stars.
We changed our bus in the middle of a service area for the last part of our tour: 4-Day Spanish Mediterranean Cities Tour: Valencia and Barcelona from Madrid. The bus was 45 minutes late to arrive at our service stop. Throughout the 4 days, our tourwas 45 minutes late to arrive at our service stop. Throughout the 4 days, our tour guide only spoke to us couple times, mostly to announce our arrival or estimate time to our next destination. While his language skills were reasonable - he spoke the same languages as Cristina - he failed to explain anything about the cities we were traveling to or the regions we were traveling through during the bus rides. The explanations of our schedules was poor as well. (Continuos on next review space)
We were told as a group probably once what time to arrive and never reminded. In Barcelona, we stopped at the Plaça Catalunya (after the driver and our guide were hopelessly lost for an hour) and dropped off the tourists who had joined the tour in Barcelona on the side of the street. They were told to walk to their hotel. Although the other hotel for a few in our group (including us), were actually staying in a hotel IN the Plaça Catalunya, too, the driver had NO idea where it was and got lost again and drove in circles around the city to the other hotel for the tourist class patrons. Our guide gave no indication that we were actually lost and left everyone in the dark. The two sightseeing tours we had were with the local tour guides only, and they were great. Our bus guide was nowhere in sight - unlike Cristina, who ensured everything went smoothly and no one got lost during every local tour. 2 Stars.
The communication was a little bit difficult with Julia travel before us arriving to Spain due to the hour and language difference. We tried to confirm our hotel pickups by phone multiple times, but their offices are leanly staffed so rarely is anyone on duty to ensure answering of phones. They do have local office in Madrid and Barcelona.