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active 41 mins ago

James Monro

As great as they are, there is so much more to Spain than paella, sangría and beachside resorts!! So often the stereotypical images of a country remain just at that and bear little resemblance to everyday life for locals. It didn't take me long to realise this on arrival in Andalucia, some 11 years ago and I fell for the most authentic version of Spain with its focus on quality of life & personal bonds, its stunning landscapes and its pride in its own traditions and culture.

Travel, as a means of recreation or even as a hobby has so much we can learn from, whatever our travel 'style' is and however we prefer to 'get out there and explore'. It should clearly never just be a matter of ticking boxes and I believe that the most worthwhile experiences are those with which we feel we've seen, done or experienced something novel, eye-opening and authentic. This is where I hope to lend a helping hand!

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We specialise in custom making complete itineraries including accommodation and private transport for couples, families and small groups around Spain. We incorporate private tours and excursions with a guide for you to get the absolute most out of your visit, however long it may be. Tell us what you're interested in and we'll do our best to organise it, be it a flamenco jamming session or a culinary tour of the White Villages! "

How did you get involved in travel?

"While growing up in the UK, I was lucky enough to visit a number of European countries and the US from a young age and so I always knew that once I had the chance, I would jump at the chance of broadening my horizons. And this I did before, during and after studying my degree in Spanish & Geography at Leeds University, and thereby develop my enthusiasm for thinking up and planning trips to a whole range of destinations.

This, combined with the local knowledge of southern Spain gained from living and working here means that creating travel itineraries for other visitors was a natural progression and a real pleasure. I truly believe that Spain, and Andalucía in particular have so much to offer as a destination and I love the challenge of creating the ideal trip for each & every visitor."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"One moment stands out among the many while travelling with friends and living in Argentina for 6 months before going to University. Thanks to some contacts, we were never short of ideas or recommendations. It was while staying with local friends (of friends!) in a small mountain village in the foothills of the Andes. We were warmly taken into their home and shown the authentic (and very active!) local life in a beautiful natural setting including how to prepare the real Asado barbecue and play the complex card game of Truco. More than anything, it was ideal for that particular moment for its authenticity and sense of discovery and has left lasting memories for these same reasons."

Spain
Off the Beaten Path in Madrid & Barcelona - 9 Days

If you really want to do Spain differently, you'll not only visit the famous sights but you'll opt for cultural tours as well. This 10-day itinerary offers just such an authentic experience as you'll not only visit the plazas of Madrid and Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, but you'll take foodie tours and road trips to country villages. For a finishing touch, you'll enjoy a luxury sunset cruise on the Mediterranean Sea.

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Off the Beaten Path in Madrid & Barcelona - 5 Days

Five days may not be much time, but if you focus your energy you can create the perfect Spanish holiday. This itinerary focuses on Madrid and Barcelona, and in the former, you'll visit its most famous city sights, enjoy gourmet walking tours, and visit local artisans. In Barcelona, you'll discover this Catalan gem via its cuisine as well as an unforgettable cruise around its port by sailboat. 

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Off the Beaten Path in Madrid & Barcelona - 6 Days

Even in less than a week, it's possible to get to the heart of Spain—you just need to focus on the right places. This six-day whirlwind cultural tour achieves exactly that by focusing on Madrid and Barcelona, ensuring you get the most out of each. Not only will you see famous sights like the Royal Palace and El Prado Museum, but expert local guides will give you a delicious introduction to both cities on private food tours. 

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Off the Beaten Path in Madrid & Barcelona - 7 Days

With a full week, you can experience both the highlights of Spain's most famous cities like Madrid and Barcelona. Not only that but on this seven-day whirlwind itinerary, you'll also find time for day tours to historic towns outside the nation's capital. And when you do finally end up in Barcelona, prepare yourself for a delicious food tour and sunset sailing experience on top of visiting its most famous neighborhoods.

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Off the Beaten Path in Madrid & Barcelona - 8 Days

In just over a week you can not only experience the highlights of Spain but go off the beaten track as well. This eight-day itinerary delivers on the famous sights and neighborhoods of Madrid and Barcelona, but you'll really immerse yourself on gourmet walking tours of these cities. Throw in a sunset sailboat cruise around Barcelona and you have the recipe for the perfect Spanish holiday. 

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Off the Beaten Path in Madrid & Barcelona - 10 Days

This 10-day tour of Spain allows you to visit the highlights, like the plazas and palaces of Madrid, while also getting off the tourist track. This is a deep immersion into Spain's rich culture as you travel from the capital to Barcelona while also taking day trips to ancient villages like Pedraza and Segovia as well as countryside wineries. Throughout the adventure, you'll enjoy some delicious food as you stop at authentic tapas bars and covered markets. 

Recent trip reviews for James

Jordan

Spain Highlights · Spain - Sep 12 - Sep 20, 2019

Traveler: Jordan E. - Local specialist: James Monro

I can't speak highly enough of my 9 day Spanish experience. From the drivers, the hotel service and Rocio, who made time to check in how my trip was going.

My tour guide Delia in Sevilla was great company and her knowledge was fantastic. She really made me feel welcomed. I can't recommend her enough. Kudos to La Azotea on Calle Zaragoza, some great tapas!

Both Madrid and Barcelona were great urban escapes. My tour guide Sandra in Barcelona was an absolute joy. She was quite taken back by... read more

I can't speak highly enough of my 9 day Spanish experience. From the drivers, the hotel service and Rocio, who made time to check in how my trip was going.

My tour guide Delia in Sevilla was great company and her knowledge was fantastic. She really made me feel welcomed. I can't recommend her enough. Kudos to La Azotea on Calle Zaragoza, some great tapas!

Both Madrid and Barcelona were great urban escapes. My tour guide Sandra in Barcelona was an absolute joy. She was quite taken back by young I was compared to her usual tourists but this worked in my favour as I was taken off the beaten track! Like Delia, I can't recommend her enough.

Overall, the tour was top notch. Special thanks to James who really crafted a great itinerary. His correspondence was of the highest order. Cheers for taking the pressure of planning off my shoulders!

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James Monro, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hey Jordan!
I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your adventure here in Spain. Also, great to hear that your guides added to the experience and that they made you feel extra special! Your kind words are much appreciated!
From us all at Tailormade Andalucia!

Maria

Upcoming Trip · Spain - Aug 3 - Aug 10, 2019

Traveler: Maria M. - Local specialist: James Monro

Amazing trip! This is my second trip with Kimkim and I am already planning for the next one. My daughter and I were treated like VIPs! Every detail was anticipated and handled. Every guide ( Miguel Angel, Estephania and Christina) were professional, knowledgeable and friendly. Every driver, whether for a short ride or a day long assignment, was amazing. I can't thank David, our driver for Malaga, for how wonderful, punctual, knowledgeable and friendly he treated us all day. Please don't change anything about your services.

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James Monro, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Maria,
Thanks very much for your comments! We're all so pleased that you enjoyed the trip and above all, felt like VIPs along the way! As you can imagine, it's very satisfying for us to hear such positive feedback about all the different elements of the trip and we sure will continue doing just as we have been ;)
With best wishes from us all at Tailormade Andalucia.
Saludos,
James

Active trip · Spain - Jul 18 - Jul 22, 2019

Traveler: CRISTIN D. - Local specialist: James Monro

Loved Gallery Hotel. Tremendous value!

Marie was great but is a sommelier and should be touring the city and its wine bars in her element, not tapas.

Loved our sail!

Andrew and the Priorat region were absolutely amazing. One of our best days ever!!! The meal in the village was best meal of the trip!

Craig challenged us on the hike and it was a great day. Also gave us tremendous insight into Spanish art. Meal was disappointing but the service there was great as was the view.

Overall, great trip and thanks for taking the planning research off our shoulders!

James Monro profile photo
James Monro, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Cristin,
Great to hear from you! We're so pleased that your action-packed trip was a success and that you all enjoyed Barcelona & the surrounding areas. Your comments are much appreciated, especially to hear your highlights and that you enjoyed the time with your guides! We hope to welcome you back again soon!
With best wishes from all the Tailormade Andalucía Team!
James

Kenya

Family trip to Madrid and Surrounding · Spain - Jun 26 - Jul 6, 2019

Traveler: Kenya C. - Local specialist: James Monro

Kim Kim was my first experience using a travel agency. I am so glad we did! James was patient with me from the start. Kindly answering all of my questions and waiting for my husband to get on board! He sent over a great itinerary and worked with me when I found out I had the dates wrong as well :)
The itinerary was exactly what we asked for, some action, some down time and very family friendly as we traveled with our six year old.
I’m not sure what I was expecting upon arrival, but James and... read more

Kim Kim was my first experience using a travel agency. I am so glad we did! James was patient with me from the start. Kindly answering all of my questions and waiting for my husband to get on board! He sent over a great itinerary and worked with me when I found out I had the dates wrong as well :)
The itinerary was exactly what we asked for, some action, some down time and very family friendly as we traveled with our six year old.
I’m not sure what I was expecting upon arrival, but James and the Kim Kim team far exceeded my expectations. Upon arrival to our first hotel we received a package with what we referred to as our “vacation bible” . It’s was beautifully packaged with fans and a leather wallet. Our first tour was an artisans tour with Julia who was super sweet and filled us in on the history of Madrid.
Kim Kim also arranged a day trip to Toledo. Our Toledo guide Enrique was genuine, hilarious and looked like Adam Sandler! He has lived there his entire life and was such a knowledgable and passionate guide! It was my favorite tour!
My favorite experience was Granada. The city is magical as well as the hotel and Alhambra. Our guide, Paco showed us a great time. If I had to choose another city to live in, it would be Granada!
Our train trips, tours, rental cars, hotels were all set up by the Kim Kim team! Did I mention we had a Spanish liaison Rocio who went out of her way to check in with us at every stop to make sure we were enjoying ourselves!
We couldn’t have asked for a better vacation and it definitely wouldn't have been so smooth and easy without Kim Kim! We are already ready to start planning our 2020 trip and will absolutely use this service again!
Thank you James, Rocio and the Kim Kim Team

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James Monro, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Kenya!
Thank you again for sharing such detailed comments and fantastic photos of your trip. We are delighted you all enjoyed the trip and it was a pleasure to plan it with you!

With best wishes from us all,
Saludos!
James

Majorca discovery · Spain - Jul 1 - Jul 6, 2019

Traveler: mauro c. - Local specialist: James Monro

We had a great time, overall the experience exceeded our expectation.
James was very professional throughout the preliminary and delivered a perfect package for us.
Thank you KimKim team!

James Monro profile photo
James Monro, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Mauro,
Thanks for your comments and of course, we are all very pleased you enjoyed your holiday on the island of Mallorca. Even more so that the trip exceeded your expectations!! It is really rewarding for us to know this!
Best wishes from us all,
James

Carol

Barcelona 2019 · Spain - Jun 12 - Jun 19, 2019

Traveler: Carol P. - Local specialist: James Monro

Our trip was to Barcelona and the Coasta Brava (staying in Calella de Palafrugell).
James planned a great itinerary for us! He asked the right questions to learn what we would enjoy and made great suggestions. Our favorite parts of the trip were things that we wouldn’t have done without his help in planning. (The more forgettable parts were the “must dos” that I found on lists and asked him to include!). In fact, it was James who suggested visiting the Coasta Brava and it was the perfect... read more

Our trip was to Barcelona and the Coasta Brava (staying in Calella de Palafrugell).
James planned a great itinerary for us! He asked the right questions to learn what we would enjoy and made great suggestions. Our favorite parts of the trip were things that we wouldn’t have done without his help in planning. (The more forgettable parts were the “must dos” that I found on lists and asked him to include!). In fact, it was James who suggested visiting the Coasta Brava and it was the perfect suggestion: we saw medieval towns, a vineyard that juxtaposed the old and new worlds (12th and 21st centuries), the world of Salvadore Dali, and the gorgeous coast.
We had great tour guides throughout (Gracia, Ariadna, Craig, Laia, Jose Luis, and Olga). They were all punctual and personable. They cared about our comfort (bringing water, etc.) and were willing to adjust the tours to our preferences. We loved having time to really talk to each guide and learn about the culture and people as well as the history. When we had meals included in our day, the restaurants selected were perfect: authentic, local, friendly, tasty.
Everything was seamless. Our transportation was arranged, tickets ready, etc. When there was a small error on our first day, James and our local assistant, Rocio, took care of it calmly and easily; they even apologized with a thoughtful surprise in our room despite the error not being theirs. Bad weather also required us to change plans as the last minute. After speaking with us, Rocio put together an itinerary that was better than we could have imagined! It turned out to be a highlight rather than a disappointment.
We got more out of our days by having guides. We had never done a vacation with private guides before and were pleasantly surprised by the small extras we enjoyed (learning to make tomato bread and tinto de verano at lunch (Jose Luis), eating fruit from the tree and fresh cheese from the cheese maker during a bike tour (Olga)).
This was easily one of the best, if not the best, vacation we’ve had. I’m so glad I took the gamble to work with kimkim and TailormadeAndalucia. I look forward to doing so again! Thanks, James and Rocio!

James Monro profile photo
James Monro, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Carol!
Thanks very much for your kind words & for writing such a detailed review! It is much appreciated and is really helpful to hear about which parts you enjoyed most!
We are so pleased that you had such a great holiday together and that all the guides added to your experience, showing you things you otherwise wouldn't find. It was a pleasure to plan and prepare the trip with you and if you ever decide to come back to Spain, we would love to hear from you again!
With best wishes,
James & Rocio

Family fun in Spain · Spain - Apr 13 - Apr 19, 2019

Traveler: Jason C. - Local specialist: James Monro

It was a delight working with James on my family's recent trip to Andalucia. He was very helpful in guiding us through our options for traveling in the area. His knowledge and expertise of our travel options, as well as his flexibility and helpfulness in adjusting our itinerary to meet my family's specific needs, were essential in ensuring that we had the best experience possible. Our trip also included some slightly more challenging travel that involved the very busy (while delightfully... read more

It was a delight working with James on my family's recent trip to Andalucia. He was very helpful in guiding us through our options for traveling in the area. His knowledge and expertise of our travel options, as well as his flexibility and helpfulness in adjusting our itinerary to meet my family's specific needs, were essential in ensuring that we had the best experience possible. Our trip also included some slightly more challenging travel that involved the very busy (while delightfully fascinating) Santa Semana week in Seville, with young kids in tow, which James helped us navigate through.

On our arrival, the Tailormade Andalucia team made us feel thoroughly welcomed and made themselves available to our needs. Communication was prompt and effective, and all the right expectations were set for each step of the journey. James did a great job setting up our travel logistics, and everything has gone smoothly.

I would strongly recommend James and the Tailormade Andalucia team for your future trip to Andalucia.

James Monro profile photo
James Monro, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Jason,
Thanks very much for your kind words and we appreciate you taking the time to review your trip to Andalucía. We're delighted that you and the family had a great time and that everything went smoothly in this busy time of year! Of course, I hope you'll take many happy memories with you and we would love to welcome you back in future.
Best wishes from all your friends at Tailormade Andalucia!