It would be impossible for us to list all the tours that are offered for visitors to Spain. We list here some of the most well-respected and long-established tours, but do your own research as well; even the most long-running company can experience financial difficulties and go out of business. When purchasing a tour, it’s often a good idea to buy travel insurance from a third party, as tours can be expensive.
Backroads (tel. 800/462-2848 or 510/527-1555) offers bicycling and hiking/walking trips in Basque country, on the Balearic Islands, and from the Costa Brava to the Spanish Pyrenees. One walking tour of Mallorca also includes yoga. You'll pedal between 48km and 81km per day (30–50 miles) on bike tours led by Easy Rider Tours (tel. 800/388-8332 or 978/463-6955). Routes are often along back roads; the most appealing tour follows routes trod by medieval pilgrims on their way to Santiago.
Madrid-based Bravo Bike (tel. 91-758-29 45) offers several city cycling tours as well as day trips to nearby cities such as Toledo, Segovia, and Ávila (with van transportation to the destination). The company also offers multiday Spain options such as trips along the Costa Blanca or through La Rioja wine country.
Walking the Way
If you are interested in walking the Camino de Santiago across the north of Spain, Spanish Steps (tel. 877/787-9255) offers a comprehensive program of walks of differing numbers of days and difficulty levels. Options include the Camino Finisterre from Santiago to the so-called “end of the earth.” Classical Pursuits (tel. 844/378-2869) usually includes a Camino route in its culturally oriented excursions. The Natural Adventure Company (tel. 020-3151-4250 in the U.K., 011-44-20-3151-4250 international) offers a wide range of self-guided Camino walks, including several along the Camino Portugués from Portugal.
Featuring groups ranging in size from 15 to 25 participants, ACE Cultural Tours (tel. 44 01223 841055) engages art historians to lead tours such as a Madrid/Toledo focus on Spain's master painters. ACE also has options for travelers with an interest in wildlife. Context Travel (tel. 800/691-6036) offers excellent scholar-led tours of Barcelona and Madrid. To facilitate conversation, maximum group size is six and custom tours are also available.
If you prefer to travel at your own pace and on your own schedule, Heritage Tours (tel. 800/378-4555 or 212/206-8400) creates customized itineraries that might focus on Spanish Jewish history or on architecture and gastronomy in Barcelona. Saranjan Tours (tel. 800/858-9594) specializes in custom tours on the Iberian peninsula. Options include journeys on the Camino de Santiago, a gourmet tour of Extremadura and Sevilla, or a painting sojourn in La Rioja.
Escorted General-Interest Tours
Escorted tours are structured group tours, with a group leader. The price usually includes hotels, meals, tours, admission costs, and local transportation. Inquire about airfare. Escorted tours—whether by bus, motorcoach, train, or boat—take you to the maximum number of sights in the minimum amount of time with the least amount of hassle. The downside of escorted tours is that you’ll have little opportunity for serendipitous interactions with local people; tours often focus on heavily visited sites and cannot deviate from the schedule and itinerary. They can be convenient for people with limited mobility, but be sure to discuss your needs before booking. Trafalgar Tours (tel. 866/513-1995) offers a number of tours of Spain, including a popular 15-day trip called “The Best of Spain.” Other companies offering Spain itineraries include Go Ahead Tours, Globus (tel. 866/755-8581), and Insight Vacations (tel. 888/680-1241).
Food & Wine Trips
Spain Taste’s food and wine tours in Catalunya, designed for serious gastronomes, may include dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants, wine tastings, and cooking lessons (tel. 619-52-72-77). Similarly named A Taste of Spain (tel. 85-607-96-26) offers an 8-day “ultimate foodie tour” for groups, visiting Madrid, La Rioja, Basque Country, and Barcelona. Many more options are available for individual travelers, including a 5-day tour of Santiago de Compostela and the Rías Baixas and a 2-day tour in La Mancha. The company has a number of intriguing 1-day activities such as a visit to cava country from Barcelona or an excursion to Jerez de la Frontera from Sevilla or Cádiz. Go Ahead Tours (tel. 800-590-11-61) offers a comprehensive 12-day food and wine tour of Spain that covers Barcelona, San Sebastián, Bilbao, La Rioja, the Ribera del Duero, and Madrid, with an option to add 3 days in Andalucía.
Touring by Train
For a taste of old-fashioned glamour, Palace Tours (tel. 800/724-5120 or 786/408-0610) books trips on three luxury trains, El Transcantabrico Clasico (which began service in 1983 as Spain's first luxury train), El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo, and Al Andalus. Excursions range from a 6-night journey through Andalucía to a 7-night trip across northern Spain from Santiago de Compostela to León.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.