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Sam Lister

I'm half Scottish, half New Zealander, born and raised in Hong Kong and Japan, schooled in England and now living in Spain. I'm a mish-mash of cultural backgrounds and now an adopted Sevillano!

My love for Spain began when my school rugby coach, also head of the Spanish department, asked if I would like to join his class and try learning Spanish! There was no looking back from there! I went on to complete Hispanic studies at Leeds University and was on a flight to Seville the day after my final exam.

I've lived here ever since and I'm married to a lovely “Sevillana” called Lucia! I created Tailormade Andalucia in 2008 and ever since I've since specialized in unique itineraries and experiences taking travellers off the beaten track and getting under the skin of Spain.

I try hard to combine a resident’s knowledge with a foreign traveller’s eye. It's easy to visit grand monuments and travel using Tripadvisor's top tips. But I believe its all about getting away from the hordes, immersing yourself in the real culture and most importantly, meeting local residents, hosts and artisans.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Honestly, we specialise in tailor-making experiences. It can be anything from Michelin Star restaurants to renewable energy, from hiking with a local biologist to taking part in a flamenco jamming session. The fun is in the creating!!"

How did you get involved in travel?

"Before starting Tailormade Andalucia, I worked for a travel & lifestyle magazine in Andalucia. This job opened my eyes to all of the boutique, charming and hidden experiences that could be enjoyed in Spain. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"If we're talking unique, I was once contacted by a wealthy Chinese couple who wanted to go on a "pre" wedding honeymoon. They wanted to take a lot of photos and videos that they could then project during their wedding ceremony. We arranged a very special trip for them and they arrived into Sevilla with evening gowns, wedding dresses, tuxedo's, morning suits and more! For just these 2 people, they had requested a guide (me), a driver, a Chinese interpreter, a photographer/videographer and a make-up artist! We had prepared all sorts of wonderful insiders access and special places for photos. But halfway through the itinerary, they told me that they needed more "wow" factor!! I suggested a sunrise hot-air ballooning experience, photos on a bravo bull farm, a private boat ride through the Straits of Gibraltar, but none of this enthused them. My suggestions got more and more desperate until I mentioned going to "Smurftown" in the mountains. The little village of Juzcar had been used for the film premier of the smurfs and to this day is painted surf blue! The couples eyes lit up and they were delighted with the idea. So we drove over there, with the couple dressed in wedding attire! When we turned up in smurftown and out jumped a Chinese wedding couple and all of our entourage, it was one of the few days that the public were more surprised by a fellow visitor than by the smurfs who were posing for photos in the village!! A very surreal experience! "

Sam is part of the following groups: Portugal Travel Agents, Spain Travel Agents
The Alhambra fortress at twilight
Best of Andalusia: Culture, Nature, & Food - 13 Days

This 13-day itinerary takes you from Seville to Jerez de la Frontera for the ultimate tour through Spain's Andalusia region. Along the route, you'll visit scenic villages like Ronda, set on a spectacular gorge, discover gorgeous Moorish architecture, and enjoy fabulous tapas in true Spanish style.

Aerial Views of Granada, Spain
Cities & Culture in Spain: Madrid, Seville, Granada, & Barcelona - 10 Days

Discover the culture of Spain's cities on this 9-day trip, starting with a tour through Madrid and an evening of flamenco and tapas in Seville. Then make your way to Granada, passing through the village of Ronda and a winery along the way. You'll explore Granada's famous Alhambra palace and gardens, then fly to Barcelona for a cycling tour of its historic districts, as well as a visit to the sites of Gaudí's.

Take a day trip to the Gothic-style Segovia Cathedral
Off the Beaten Path in Madrid - 6 Days

On this immersive 6-day itinerary, you'll get a local's eye view of Madrid as you explore its culture and cuisine with a series of guided walks and excursions. After visiting the capital's landmarks and sampling its best tapas, set out on a selection of easy day trips into the surrounding countryside of Castilla y León. Visit the historic towns of Segovia and Pedraza as you tour and taste your way through cheese farms, olive groves, and wineries, returning to the bustle of Madrid each evening.

Explore Barcelona and Madrid
Barcelona & Madrid: Best Itinerary Ideas

For most travelers, 6 to 9 days is the perfect amount of time for a Spain trip with stops in both Barcelona and Madrid. If you don't mind a fast-paced journey, you can see the highlights of this route in less time—as few as about 5 days. Travelers with more time can enjoy extra sights and activities at each stop, or explore more of the country—some of our favorite itinerary extensions include Seville, Valencia, or Córdoba. See more ideas for Barcelona and Madrid itineraries below.

Vietnam
Ultimate Spain Itineraries: 5, 7, 10, & 14 Days

We interviewed local experts, scrutinized hundreds of actual trips, and considered the feedback of intrepid travelers in order to put together the very best Spain itineraries for first-time travelers. Plan for five days to two weeks with the itineraries below, all crafted by local travel specialists.

Recent trip reviews for Sam

Sam and his crew did a bang up job on our las... · Spain - Jul 6 - Jul 19, 2021

Traveler: Matt D. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

Sam and his crew did a bang up job on our last minute trip. All the accommodations and arrangements were top notch. They even helped us get fast PCR test appointments on the weekend for our onward travel. A great time for our family!

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Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Muchas gracias for your review Matt! It was a pleasure to host you guys and to meet you in Seville! Im so glad to hear you guys enjoyed yourselves so much. Un abrazo grande

Eileen

Magical Sisters Trip to Northern Spain · Spain - Jun 18 - Jun 30, 2021

Traveler: Eileen S. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

Words can't express our gratitude and sheer joy we experienced using KimKim, but most important part was having Sam Lister aka our guardian angel tailormade our 14 Days of Northern Spain into reality!

Sam put together a trip of lifetime discovering Northern Spain from Santiago de Compostela, Cangas de Onis, Bilbao, LaGuardia and San Sebastian. Every aspect of our trip was planned to perfection to experience each region to the max.

My sister and I had private transport throughout our trip,... read more

Words can't express our gratitude and sheer joy we experienced using KimKim, but most important part was having Sam Lister aka our guardian angel tailormade our 14 Days of Northern Spain into reality!

Sam put together a trip of lifetime discovering Northern Spain from Santiago de Compostela, Cangas de Onis, Bilbao, LaGuardia and San Sebastian. Every aspect of our trip was planned to perfection to experience each region to the max.

My sister and I had private transport throughout our trip, and had dedicated tour guides in each city to ensure we immerse ourselves with the local cuisine, learn the history behind customs, and enjoy the most beautiful vistas while hiking Pico de Europa or San Sebastian.

Our trip started in Santiago de Compestela where we stayed at Parador de Santiago a five star renovated 15th Century Building right next to Cathedral of Santiago. During our stay we saw a few pilgrims finish there trip. We had a lovely tour guide named Eva who gave us a private walking tour of Santiago. We were also fortunate to be able to see the renovations that had been completed in the entry to Cathedral. Another day we went on a day trip to Ribeira Sacra with a boat ride and winery visit.

On our private transport to Cangas de Onis we stopped at a lovely seaside village Cudillero, and had lunch at Casa Julio where they bring the fish for you to pick what's been caught that day. Food was amazing and the wine divine.

We stayed at Hotel Parador de Cangas de Onis another renovated building that used to be San Pedro de Villanueva Monastery. Our guide Jose Miguel took us to Picos de Europa a majestic view all around, and to enjoy a stroll along the shores. We also visited a cider brewery and enjoyed the lovely village of Cabrales.

Our next stop was Bilbao where our private driver took us to lunch at a lovely coastal village of Castro Urdiales at a restaurant named Asador del Puerto (we recommend ordering the fish of the day). We stayed at Hotel Vincci Consulado de Bilbao, which overlooks the Guggenheim Museum and the river. Our tour guide Susana took us on a private tour of Bilbao, and the most scrumptious Pintxos. Her insight into the city culture, history and hot spots were very insightful, plus we really enjoyed her company and asked her to join our sisters trip! We also visited the Guggenheim, and enjoyed the local stores and antique jewelry shops around the city.

Our next stop was Laguardia which is home to more bodegas then people! We stayed at the renovated historic palace Hospederia De Los Parajes. We were so lucky to be in time for the celebration of San Sebastian. We got to see the local wear their traditional gowns, and be part of the celebration. Also, at midnight they had fireworks show outside the castle fortress. Our local guide Marina was the most amazing person, and expert on local wines. We had a private tours of various vineyards in La Rioja region. We also enjoyed a delicious local meal of lamb chops with great wine to wash it down.

Our final stop was San Sebastian. We stayed at Hotel de Londres which is ideally located right on the beach front of San Sebastian. We had our local guide Iaeaki take us to city center, and old part as well to enjoy best pintxos in town, paired with the best Spanish wines and drinks. We also did a private hiking tour along the Basque coastline looking down Bay of Biscay. Trust me after all the amazing food, wines and drinks we had on our trip we needed the exercise!

Our last night was spent in Madrid at the Gran Hotel Ingles. Great hotel within walking distance to Prado Museum, Buen Retiro Park, and shops. I highly recommend eating at Dis Tinto food is out of the world!

Throughout our entire trip Sam made sure that we had a wonderful experience, and all our travels went without a hitch. Sam even made sure when AA changed their policy for coming back to the USA, he scheduled our COVID-19 test for us. Everything Sam planned was perfection.

Sam Lister profile photo
Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Eileen!
Thank you for such a detailed review! It reflects a lot of what you did which is lovely to read! And i also love the photos!! Thank you so much for sharing and for choosing to travel with us. It was a pleasure to host you both xx

Jennifer

Barcelona/costa brava · Spain - Jul 3 - Jul 10, 2021

Traveler: Jennifer S. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

It was my first trip out of the US and my bf’s first time to Spain. Sam did an amazing job with all our bookings! He was excellent in picking the best hotels& activities within our budget. He didn’t try to oversell. Our hotels had great views of the cathedrals in the gothic district/Bacelona and sea views in costa brava. The activities arranged really made our experience memorable. Sam was available throughout our trip for any questions. I was impressed with the service during booking and... read more

It was my first trip out of the US and my bf’s first time to Spain. Sam did an amazing job with all our bookings! He was excellent in picking the best hotels& activities within our budget. He didn’t try to oversell. Our hotels had great views of the cathedrals in the gothic district/Bacelona and sea views in costa brava. The activities arranged really made our experience memorable. Sam was available throughout our trip for any questions. I was impressed with the service during booking and throughout our trip. Sam took almost all the stress out of traveling to a new country for us. We will use kimkim on our next trip!

Sam Lister profile photo
Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Jennifer!
Thank you so much for your kind words! It really was a pleasure to be able to host you guys! I'm so glad you had such a good time with us. Please do keep in touch and hopefully I can buy you guys a beer in Seville some time soon!!!

The trip was great! Well planned in every res... · Portugal - Dec 25 - Jan 4, 2020

Traveler: Allyson A. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

The trip was great! Well planned in every respect. It made sense to stay in only 3 places and not move around every day. All 3 hotels were great - we especially loved Casa Balthazar, everything about it. We enjoyed all three cities. The excursions to the port distillery could have been done in an hour at most, they didn't have much to show or explain, it was mostly tasting the 3 different ports. The trip to the fishing village was nice but not much to see - lunch was good, but it didn't... read more

The trip was great! Well planned in every respect. It made sense to stay in only 3 places and not move around every day. All 3 hotels were great - we especially loved Casa Balthazar, everything about it. We enjoyed all three cities. The excursions to the port distillery could have been done in an hour at most, they didn't have much to show or explain, it was mostly tasting the 3 different ports. The trip to the fishing village was nice but not much to see - lunch was good, but it didn't need 1/2 day. I loved the walk around the University at Coimbra, learning about the culture of the place, and we arranged to hear good Fado there and had probably our best meal of the whole trip at No Tacho.
W e loved visiting Alviera and to Costa Nova on the trip between Porto and Coimbra, those were great stops. Between Coimbra and Lisbon we stopped at Tamor on the advice of people we met along the way, but it was closed. We went to Nazare, which was fun - the surfers and the ladies in their 7 skirts, and to Fatima as well. All the guides were good, they have done their homework and are well informed - our favorite was Tiago in Lisbon, took us to see lots of things one wouldn't ordinarily notice and was very personable. We learned a lot of history, ate a lot of great food and drank great wine, did a lot of walking (it seemed to be all up, rarely down), had amazing weather. It also made a big difference that most of the people, the younger ones at least, spoke English. Altogether a wonderful trip! Thank you!
Allyson and Bruce

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Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Allyson!
Thank you so much for your detailed feedback and for sharing so many great photos!!! We're really glad you guys had a good time and were able to celebrate Christmas and New Year in style!!! I agree with you, it's incredible how you always seem to be going uphill in the big Portuguese cities!!

Un abrazo fuerte,
Sam

Northern Coast of Spain · Spain - Oct 16 - Nov 1, 2019

Traveler: Janet C. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

Except for the weather our trip was a wonderful experience and Sam and Rocio had no control over that. The local guides Susanna, Earnesto and Eva were so willing to share their knowledge with us and the time we spent with them enhanced our trip greatly. Thanks also for recommending hotels which were we excellently located. Thanks especially for recommending that we stay in Getaria rather than San Sebastián. We never would have thought it except as stop to visit the Balenciaga Museum. ... read more

Except for the weather our trip was a wonderful experience and Sam and Rocio had no control over that. The local guides Susanna, Earnesto and Eva were so willing to share their knowledge with us and the time we spent with them enhanced our trip greatly. Thanks also for recommending hotels which were we excellently located. Thanks especially for recommending that we stay in Getaria rather than San Sebastián. We never would have thought it except as stop to visit the Balenciaga Museum.
Based on our experienced with Sam, Rocio and the guided we have already recommended kimkim to a friend planning a trip to Greece.

Sam Lister profile photo
Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Janet,
On behalf of Rocio and myself, many, many thanks for writing your review!! We are delighted you guys enjoyed your Kimkim & Tailormade Andalucia experience!! If you guys decide to come back and travel in the South, we'll be sure to take you for a tapa or two!! We also have better control of the good weather down here!! ;-) Un abrazo, Sam

Trip to Spain · Spain - Sep 16 - Oct 4, 2019

Traveler: Chris G. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

Sam, Rocio and the Tailormade Andalucia team provided an excellent service. They guided us very sensibly in terms of our 3 week itinerary - at the right pace and with a great mix of experiences, including local guides now and then. Our accommodation was of a very high standard... and when things weren't quite perfect they intervened to make sure things were. They were absolutely committed to making sure we had a great trip and nothing was too much trouble. So thanks again Sam and Rocio! We loved Spain and we will be back!

Sam Lister profile photo
Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Chris,
Many thanks for taking the time to write about your trip with us! We really enjoyed hosting you guys and I very much enjoyed meeting you personally in Sevilla!! It's great to hear you had such a good time!! Un abrazo fuerte

Kyle's 40th Birthday Trip to Spain · Spain - Sep 19 - Oct 2, 2019

Traveler: kyle l. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

Our family trip to Spain was very memorable. Sam and his team were top notch and provided us with everything that we needed from hotels to transportation to specialized guides for all the things that we were interested in seeing and experiencing. They put such a personal touch on every step of the way. Each day they had us dialed in for exclusive experiences; and the tickets were Pre-paid so that we were able to go right into some of the worlds greatest attractions like last sagrada Familia... read more

Our family trip to Spain was very memorable. Sam and his team were top notch and provided us with everything that we needed from hotels to transportation to specialized guides for all the things that we were interested in seeing and experiencing. They put such a personal touch on every step of the way. Each day they had us dialed in for exclusive experiences; and the tickets were Pre-paid so that we were able to go right into some of the worlds greatest attractions like last sagrada Familia and the Picasso museum. Additionally Sam’s assistant Rocio was most helpful. She was only a phone call away the whole time and had our backs in anything that we needed, including a last minute massage.

From the very first phone call I could tell that Sam was a very special man. He interviewed me and took to heart all the things that I had requested for my family to experience in our trip to Spain. Every detail was covered and he truly has a gift for taking what’s in your heart for traveling and turning it into reality. All of the guides along the way that he had hired and set up were spectacular. They were totally professional and experts in many types of languages, historical references, and local traditions.

We had the opportunity to see five different cities in Spain within the span of 13 days. We went to Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Rhonda, and Seville. In each city there were special touches and awesome opportunities to see the best of what they had to offer. Sam‘s team even provided us with a book of suggestions for things to do, restaurants, and local hotspots. Additionally all of the transportation was included. On the first day we arrived on our trip to Spain, we were given a packet with all of the information we needed. In the packet we received tickets for train and air travel, a book that laid out each day of our trip in detail, and they even included some special gifts handcrafted by local artisans.

This was the most thorough, reasonable, worry free, informational, and smooth traveling experience that I have ever had. Thanks to Sam and his team we fall in love with Spain and we can’t wait to come back.

Sam Lister profile photo
Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Kyle,
Thank you so much for writing your review!! It means a lot to myself and Rocio to read your words and hear how happy you were throughout!! As I said before, it was a pleasure to meet you and your family and I really hope we can meet up again whether it is "aquí" or in your neck of the woods!
Un abrazo muy fuerte!

A relaxing trip to Spain with senior parents · Spain - Sep 12 - Sep 26, 2019

Traveler: Won Sun P. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

I've been to Spain several times and love this country so much. This time, I was taking my 74-year-old parents with me to Spain. It was their first time and I wanted them to have an amazing experience and fall in love with Spain as much as I did. Instead of planing the trip on my own, I decided to use KimKim to help me plan the trip to make sure my parents would have a smooth experience. KimKim connected me with Sam's team and it could not have been better. The entire trip was super smooth... read more

I've been to Spain several times and love this country so much. This time, I was taking my 74-year-old parents with me to Spain. It was their first time and I wanted them to have an amazing experience and fall in love with Spain as much as I did. Instead of planing the trip on my own, I decided to use KimKim to help me plan the trip to make sure my parents would have a smooth experience. KimKim connected me with Sam's team and it could not have been better. The entire trip was super smooth and Sam planned everything, especially the transportation that made the most differences. My parents are old and can't walk a lot. Sam planned private cars picking us up and dropping us off wherever we went and it was invaluable. The guided tours that Sam arranged for us were amazing as well, especially José in Seville. We learned so much about the culture and food in Andalusia and José made us felt like we were spending time with an old local friend! Throughout the entire trip, Rocio stood by and ready to help whenever we needed something. The hotel room Sam booked for us in Granada has the view of Alhambra! And the hotel in Barcelona on our last day was right in the shopping district, perfect for us to do some last-minute shopping before heading back home.

I couldn't have planned it myself like this and my parents' experience in Spain would not have been the same without KimKim and Sam's team.

I definitely recommend them if you ever find yourself heading out to Spain!

Muchas gracias

Sam Lister profile photo
Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Won Sun,
Thank you so much for your review and your kind words! It was a pleasure corresponding with you and creating your trip together. It was also really great to meet you guys in person and have breakfast together when you were here in Seville. On behalf of myself, Rocio, Jose and the Tailormade Andalucia team, thank you once again for your review and for choosing to plan your trip with us! Un abrazo

Spain 2019 · Spain - Jun 14 - Jun 22, 2019

Traveler: Paula K. - Local specialist: Sam Lister

Sam was fantastic. His communication was superb, he listened to our requests well and provided excellent experiences coordinated by reliable, on-time, friendly, competent and helpful drivers and guides. He made us reservations at restaurants with unbelievable vistas - we couldn't believe our views in Granada and in Ronda - once-in-a-lifetime dining! Our guide in Seville was our favorite - Delia was kind, helpful, friendly, engaging and professional. The bike ride she took us on was... read more

Sam was fantastic. His communication was superb, he listened to our requests well and provided excellent experiences coordinated by reliable, on-time, friendly, competent and helpful drivers and guides. He made us reservations at restaurants with unbelievable vistas - we couldn't believe our views in Granada and in Ronda - once-in-a-lifetime dining! Our guide in Seville was our favorite - Delia was kind, helpful, friendly, engaging and professional. The bike ride she took us on was fabulous and tapas and Flamenco was delicious and captivating. The bull fight was an unforgettable experience and visiting the Bull farm on the same day was perfect timing. We loved all the towns we saw and enjoyed being in cities as well as the country side. Overall an EXCELLENT trip and we will be recommending KimKim to our friends as well as using this service again ourselves. FIVE STARS!!!

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Sam Lister, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Paula,
Thank you very much for your kind words!! It really means a lot when we read these comments and know that we're doing things well! We're all absolutely delighted that you guys had such a good time!
Un abrazo,
Sam