Thursday, March 31, 2011

Menorca - An Island with Culture

Menorca is a small island with lots of personality that has managed to maintain its old traditions in the face of the ever growing global economy. Small ports, hidden coves and beaches where you will find almost no one else combine with the old Ciutadella city center and the beauty of the Mahon port. Menorca offers culture and tradition in every corner, all while being a short flight from the mainland. Why not include a visit for a few relaxing days on your next visit to Spain?

For more information or to plan your next private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

April in Spain - showers flowers and Semana Santa

March is almost over, and true to the old saying it's going out like a lamb, with sunny skies and temperatures climbing. All around spring is in bloom, and at The Spanish Touch we are looking forward to an April full of events. While the rain is almost inevitable at some point, so too are the flowers and book stalls that will line the streets of Barcelona for the festival of San Jordi, and with Semana Santa almost upon us we will reflect upon its traditions of around Spain. So off to enjoy the last few sunny days of March, and here's hoping we'll see you all in April!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Barcelona and Madrid Cultural Tours - June dates

The Spanish Touch is pleased to announce the June date for our Barcelona and Madrid Cultural Tour - Join the Spanish Touch for a week long exploration of Spain's biggest cities, and get to know them in a way most people never do! 

June 4- 12, 2011

Day 1. Arrival in Barcelona.
Transfer to hotel. After lunch, take a walking tour around the old city to stretch your legs and get a feel for the city. Night in Barcelona.
Day 2. Dali’s Theater-Museum in Figueres and Girona
Breakfast at hotel. Morning transfer to Figueres. Afternoon visit to Girona including the Jewish Quarter and the Cathedral. Night in Barcelona.
Day 3. Gaudi's Modernista Barcelona
Breakfast at hotel. Morning visit to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. Afterwards, continue to Park Guell, and Casa Battlo and La Pedrera. Optional evening tapas tour through the old city. Night in Barcelona.
Day 4. Montserrat and Wine Country
Morning trip to Montserrat, including a visit to the Monastery and the Santa Cova. In the afternoon, take a trip into wine country to visit a winery see how the hand-crafted traditions are still alive. Evening transfer via AVE to Madrid. Night in Madrid.

Day 5. Madrid City Tour and the Reina Sofia.
Breakfast at hotel. Morning visit to the Reina Sofia museum. Afternoon tour of Madrid city center. Night in Madrid.
Day 6. Madrid Museum Day
Breakfast at hotel. Madrid at leisure to visit the famous Golden Triangle of Madrid’s other two most famous museums: El Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Optional day tour to Segovia. Night in Madrid.
Day 7. Toledo Day Tour
Breakfast at hotel. Day trip to Toledo, the famous walled city, including visits to the Cathedral, Cristo de la Luz Mosque, El Greco’s house and the old Jewish Quarter. Farewell dinner and last night in Madrid.
Day 8. Departure
Transfer to airport for return flight to the USA.
The price includes:
  • A bilingual Spanish Touch tour guide with 24-hour availability.
  • Transfers to and from the airport.
  • All hotel accommodation in Madrid and Barcelona.
  • All transportation as specified in itinerary.
  • 11 Meals (7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners)
  • All entrance fees on itinerary.
Starting from $2,739 per person

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Walls of Pamplona - another reason to visit

The name Pamplona usually invokes images of crowded streets and the running of the bulls, and the fiesta atmosphere of the San Fermin festival in July. But the city offers more than just the route of the Encierros. In fact, from now through June 30th, take advantage of the newly reopened walls of the Saint Bartholomew Fort, which are at the entrance to the Media Luna gardens right next to the Cathedral. The walls are another reason to visit the city, which is located about an hour and a half south of San Sebastian. And while you are there, dont forget to try the rose wines of Navarra!

For more information or to plan a private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spain and Morocco - a perfect combination

Spain and Morocco - a perfect combination

Since the foundation of The Spanish Touch, it has been our goal to offer our clients the best private and custom tours in Spain. However, given its proximity to other countries, we have on occasion planned routes in Portugal and southern France. And now, we are very pleased to announce that we have recently started working with a travel company in Morocco, and are now able to offer our clients the same service you have come to expect in Spain in northern Africa! Look for updates here and on our website in the near future.

For more information or for help planning your private guided tour in Spain, don't hesitate to contact us!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Route(s) of Don Quijote - La Mancha up close and personal

Everyone has heard of Don Quijote. And La Mancha's most famous windmill fighter has certainly brought more than a few well-read travelers to see his homeland. But did you know that there are, according to the La Mancha Tourist Board, actually 10 different Rutas de Don Quijote? From the walled city of Toledo to the windmills and picturesque town squares that dot the landscape, these routes offer a great way to get to know Spain and Don Quijote in greater depth.

Contact The Spanish Touch for more information or to incorporate a part of the Don Quijote routes on your next private tour in Spain.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day trip from Malaga - Cueva del Tesoro

Less than 30 minutes east of where Pablo Picasso was born is the town of Rincon de la Victoria. On this side of the Costa del Sol you find fewer hotels and high-rises and more quaint towns and hidden surprises. One such surprise is the Cueva Del Tesoro, the only marine-formed cave which is completely visible all year round. Its name comes from the legend of 5 Moorish kings who hid their gold there.

For more information or to plan your private guided tour of Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Arenas bullring in Barcelona

For years the people of Barcelona have been expressing their desire to do away with bullfighting in their city. Last year a bill was passed banning bullfights throughout Catalunya. But the buildings themselves are spectacular. The Arenas bullring, unused for years, has been converted into a gorgeous new mall, which will open this Friday, March 25. The building conserves its original form and beauty.
BlackBerry de movistar, allí donde estés está tu oficin@

Monday, March 21, 2011

Barcelona day tour with the Freys

Sunday's sunny weather provided a perfect backdrop for our Barcelona day tour. After meeting the Freys at their hotel, we began the tour at the Barcelona Cathedral. As they had visited the interior the day before, we skipped going in and began our route through the Gothic Quarter. Though the sun couldn't penetrate the narrow streets and plazas, the blue sky overhead and the freshness of the morning made walking the uncrowded streets a most pleasurable exercise. One of the highlights of the morning was definitely the "Trobada del Gegants" (pictured above), which had come from around Catalunya to strut their stuff through the old city.

After a tapas lunch we headed over to Sagrada Familia. The entrance line was fairly long but with our reservations we skipped right through. The exterior is still magnificent, but the enclosed central nave is, in the words of Mrs. Frey, "divine inspiration". Everything is so unique, so precise, that it almost seems impossible to discover everything at one shot. A visit up the towers for a magnificent view over the city and then back to the hotel to relax and enjoy the rest of the waning sunlight.

A thoroughly enjoyable day with thoroughly enjoyable people.

For more information about our private guided tours in Barcelona or throughout Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day Trips to Figueres from Barcelona

For those people interested in art, Figueres is a must-see. The birthplace of Salvador Dali, the city is host to Dali's Theater-Museumthe largest surrealist creation in the world. Dali's unique vision of Surrealism and art is ubiquitous and as fascinating as the eccentric artist himself. The museum features everything from early portraits to his experiments with stereograms and jewelry. 

The tour continues to visit the Castle of Pubol, which Dali bought for Gala and focused his energy on making the building a tribute to his muse. 

The day tour includes:
Transfer to Figueres from hotel.
Morning visit to the Dali Theater-Museum
Transfer from Figueres to Pubol.
Visit the Gala Dali Casa Museum
Transfer from Pubol to hotel. 

Starting from $220 per adult.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Tramvia Blau -Barcelona's historic Trolley

One of the often overlooked aspects of Barcelona is one of its most visible: Tibidabo. On the top of the hill overlooking the entire city, the silhouette of the Sagrada Cor church and Norman Foster's imposing communications tower have become as much a part of the Barcelona landscape as the works of Gaudi, Domenech i Montaner and Puig i Caldafech. But it looks so far away, so far removed from the hustle and bustle of the old city, the Eixample, or even the bohemian plazas of Gracia. And yet, for the discerning traveler looking for something a little different, why not try the famous Tramvia Blau (Blue Trolley), the traditional and classic way of getting up the mountain. Take the classic trolley, which began at the beginning of the 20th century, from the heart of the city up to the cog rail and continue up for some spectacular views over the city while you enjoy the ride up the mountain.

Don't miss your chance to take part in the history of Barcelona! For more information or for help planning your private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Transcantabrico Train - Luxury Travel through northern Spain

Northern Spain boast some of the most spectacular scenery as it travels through the foothills of the Pyrenees and along the Cantabrian coast. One possible way of getting in touch with the scenery and the culture is through our Northern Spain Tour. But for those lovers of train travel, why not check out Spain's own version of th Orient Express: The Transcantabrico Luxury Train, which runs from San Sebastian all the way to Santiago de Compostela. The train is an exclusive luxury train offers spacious suites and 4 original Pullman lounge cars from 1923. It's a unique opportunity for train and luxury lovers to witness firsthand just how luxurious Spain can be!

For more information or to plan your private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Jerez Horse Fair

Andulusian horses have long been considered some of the finest in the world. And the "Feria de los Caballos" in Jerez de la Frontera attests to both the longevity and the well-deserved reputation of these magnificent animals. For more than 700 years the town has proudly displayed their beauty and agility. Not-to-be-missed is the Horse Parade, with horses and carriages ridden by riders in traditional costumes.

But the horses are only one of the attractions: Jerez opens its arms in true Andalusian fashion with "Casetas" - an amusement-park-like area filled with tent-houses with fantastic facades, Flamenco dancers, Bull fights, and of course, the local gastronomic delights.

This year's edition runs from from May 2 to May 9. Contact The Spanish Touch if you would like help arranging your visit or incorporating a visit to the Jerez Horse Fair on your next visit to Spain.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tango Festival in Granada - Unique ideas to enhance your time in Spain

From today through Sunday (March 15 through March 20) in the magical city of Granada, there is an added element of romance and elegance to one of my favorite romantic cities in the world: Tango returns to Granada! With the focal point at the Isabel the Catholic Theater, the XXIII International Tango Festival hits the streets of the ancient Moorish city in the shadow of the Alhambra. Imagine learning the Tango over a plate of tapas and glass of red wine with the background of the Moorish palaces and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada!

For more information or to plan your own private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Cordoba Patio Festival Tour 2011 - now available

May 7: Arrival in Madrid. Transfer to hotel. Afternoon walking tour of Madrid city center. Evening welcome meal.

May 8: Breakfast at hotel. Transfer via AVE high-speed train to Cordoba. After leaving our luggage at the hotel, head over to the XVIII Cata De Vinos (28th Wines of Cordoba Tasting) with the best of the local wines and music to welcome you to the city.

May 9: Breakfast at hotel. In the morning, take a private tour of the city of Cordoba, including the magnificent Mezquita-Cathedral, the old Jewish Quarter and the Roman bridge.  After lunch spend the afternoon discovering the beauty of the Patios of Cordoba, which will be in full bloom and brightest display as more than 20 patios vie for the title of best patio of the year.

May 10: Transfer to Sevilla. Mid-day private tour of the Cathedral of Sevilla, the central point of the ancient city, as well as the largest gothic cathedral in the world. After lunch take a walk along the river to see the Torre de Oro, the Bullring and the Maria Luisa Park. Optional Flamenco show in the evening.

May 11: Breakfast at hotel. Morning private tour of Seville city center, including the Alcazar and the old Tobacco factory, scene of the opera Carmen. Afternoon at leisure. Optional Tapas dinner in the evening.

May 12: Breakfast at hotel. Morning drive to Jerez de la Frontera to witness the Royal Equestrian Horse Show before stopping at one of the best wineries for a chance to sample the classic of all Spanish wines: Sherry!

May 13: Breakfast at hotel. Transfer back to Madrid for last evening in Madrid and a farewell dinner at one of Madrid’s classic restaurants.

May 14: Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to airport for return flight.

Price per person for this tour from $3,850 per person based on limited availability, and includes:

All transportation as per itinerary
All accommodation as per itinerary
Meals as per itinerary
Entrance fees as per itinerary
Guided visits as per itinerary
A billingual Spanish Touch guide-driver with 24 hour availability

Price does not include:
International airfare
All tips and gratuity
Any entrance fees or optional packages (tapas dinner, Flamenco show)
Items of a personal nature
Anything not listed above

Welcome to the Penedes - a day trip for wine lovers

When I picked up Fred and Paige at the hotel on our way south to wine country, the sun was shining and a promising day lay ahead of us. As we drove past Montserrat mountain, Fred pointed it out and noted that it is a really unique and how nice the visit to the monastery had been. We reached our first winery at 10 sharp, and Marta was ready for us. She took us through the history of the winery and why they are doing what they do before heading into the vineyards for some more detailed explanations and and a Q&A time. when the time came for the tasting, we took advantage of the sun and enjoyed our tasting outside (the puppy kept us company) as we talked about the wines and the processes.

Afterwards we headed over the hill to visit Rimarts and watch Ernest take us through the process of hand-crafted cava before we got to sample the finished product. The taste testing techniques were something different and really helped complete the experience.

As we headed back to Barcelona we talked about the wines and food in Barcelona and Catalunya in general, and I dropped them off at the hotel to enjoy the rest of their visit.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hiking through Montserrat

Today we spent the day hiking through the upper hills of Montserrat. While most people visit Montserrat for its monastery and museum, today we took to the hills, literally. Just behind the monastery are some great walking paths (warning: climbing involved, we are on a mountain). Even in the slightly cold with the clouds pressing down towards the end of the day, we got to see some of the truly unique and breathtaking scenery that Montserrat offers those who wish to find it. I wholeheartedly recommend the experience to everyone, but especially to those who have already visited the monastery and now want the whole experience.

For more information or for help with your private guided tour in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Las Fallas is Back - Let the Fireworks Begin in Valencia

It's that time of year again: from March 1 through March 20 the Las Fallas citywide celebration is underway in Valencia! As anyone who has ever been there can attest to, this is one of the truly can't-miss events of the year. Spain's third largest city literally lights up with fireworks, starting every day at 2:00 with the Mascletá and continuing with the ninots!

Check out some of last year's pictures here, and contact us for more information or for your own private guided tour of Spain.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Skiing in Southern Spain

While we see the hopeful signs of spring approaching throughout Spain, the winter still offers an excellent chance to enjoy the snow throughout Spain. Today I want to recall that not only does Spain feature more than 400 km of the Pyrenees in the north, but there are also several good slopes close to Madrid and my personal favorite of Sierra Nevada in Granada. The Sierra Nevada is the highest mountain in southern Europe, and offers some great opportunities for winter fun. Casting its long shadow over the magnificent Alhambra in Granada, and less than 2 hours from Malaga on the coast, there is still time to get there and spend a day or two on the slopes to add adventure to your Spanish experience.  

For more information or to plan your private guided tour of spain, contact The Spanish Touch.