Bucket List trip to Spain, and our first trip with KimKim.
May 26 - Jun 12, 2023
This was our first trip using KimKim. I started with Yuri planning one leg of our trip to Spain, and he was so helpful, we expanded to the entire itinerary. Yuri was so helpful all along the planning process! It was wonderful to actually talk with him on conference calls, and he was responsive to all our quick questions via chat. We had a difficult group with different interests and ages, and he was able to advise and tailor our days to please everyone! Every city was a highlight, and even the rail travel in between! We covered a lot of territory in 3 weeks. Started in Barcelona (5 days - not enough time!), train to Valencia (3 days - not enough time!), train to Madrid (4 days - not long enough), train to Cordoba (1 night - I'd recommend a minimum of 4 days!), picked up a car and drove Andalucia. Cordoba to Granada (2 nights) drove to Malaga via Nerja (2 nights), drove to Sevilla via Ronda, Seville 2 nights.
Every guide we had along the way was amazing! We particularly LOVED our evening tour of Medieval Barcelona was fantastic and we kept coming back to this area. My private tour of the Picasso museum with Montserrat informed my entire Picasso pilgrimage as we traveled around Spain. I wish we had booked guided Gaudi tours, as we fumbled along ourselves and walked SO MUCH to cover all the best locations in Barcelona (which is impossible.) I would skip the Barcelona Sailing Experience Sunset Cruise next time. It was expensive and we were trapped on the boat with a couple who drank all the Cava! Coming back here many times! Stunning place with an expansive, joyful vibe and art, art, art everywhere!
We booked our own AirB&B accommodation throughout, and Yuri checked it all for us. He advised us against the place we booked in Valencia because of the location, and we wished we had taken his advice. The Valencia Old Town Tour with Wine and Tapas in 11th C Historic Monument with Emma was a highlight of the whole trip. Planning to return here in 2 years for the Falles festival. We need much more time in and around Valencia!
We need to come back to explore the amazing city park and the Arts and Science buildings. Could spend a whole day there! The only activity I wouldn't do again was the Las Cuevas de San Jose river tour out of Valencia. When we booked it looked like this was a guided kayak trip, but it wasn't. It was very crowded and a long bus trip from Valencia.
The first class train trip to Madrid was worth it! Madrid is an incredible city, and you need a lot of time to explore. We had a private guide pick us up at the station and drive us around Madrid to get oriented. It was a good way to start, although it was a bit claustrophobic in his mini-van. Absolutely LOVED the small group tour of the Prado with Arantxa (Chefarantxalamas) and our lunch in the oldest restaurant in Madrid. Arantxa taught us so much about the food culture of Spain! The Reina Sofia was also a must, but I need more time and a guide!
Cordoba has the oldest cultural history - our guide was wonderful, and he recommended the Patio festival every year. We will go! The Cathedral Mosque at Cordoba was by far my favorite historical site. We went twice. Take a guide! Need more time here! We missed the castle Almodovar del Rio outside Cordoba because we found our favorite restaurant and stayed til closing time, La Viuda .
Granada was spectacular. Our guide, Pedro, was our favorite person of the whole trip. He even knew Yuri! He took us everywhere, was thoughtful, and knowledgeable and even found some cold medicine for one of our party! He delivered us traditional pastries baked by a friend of his the next day! We had the best day in the Alhambra and evening of traditional food. PS. I would not attempt to drive in Granada again!
Nerja - fantastic beach-side barbeque. Malaga... not enough time. Great shopping. El Pimpi!
Ronda - stay a night here.
Seville. What a romantic city! We had an amazing apartment on Don Jaun's plaza. So much to see here. Loved the Real Jardin. Loved the sunset river cruise. We were very tired here and it was getting hot (mid-June and very crowded) so we wandered the city early morning and late afternoons. Will be back here, too.
Yuri and KimKim activities where amazing. We moved a couple of activities, cancelled a couple and yuri helped with that and we did get refunds. My guidelines for our next trip. A minimum of 3 days in any city is necessary. Travel by train. Splurge on private guides with a dinner option as soon as you get to a new place, because they will share local knowledge and help plan out the rest of the trip, between activities. One activity a day is plenty! Take your KimKim guildes advice! They really do know so much about the places you will go.
Don't hesitate! I'll be using KimKim for my future trips.
Thank you so much, Yuri! We love you!
It was a walking tour and we learned so much about the history of the area, including the jewish history and the Inquisition.
Highly recommended as the first Picasso guided tour you do. The Picasso Museum is incredible. I learned SO much, and Montserrat, my guide, shared a lot about Spanish culture during Picasso's time and now. We also went to a Sunday morning service in Santa Maria cathedral in English.
My friends did this tour and they loved it. A great way to cover a lot of ground.
Loved this. It would be good to do this after the long flight. Will book treatments next time!
Too much walking in the heat! Need a guide for this.
The skipper went out beyond the breakwater and then back. We had 1 other couple on the boat who were quite drunk. The live music was great!
Our favorite activity. This is a start-up business with young people passionate about Valencia and traditional food and wine. We LOVED Emma, our tour guide, and the 10-course tapas tasting menu was incredible. This was a small group of 12 people and the dining experience enabled us to have good conversations with them all.
The only activity I wouldn't recommend. We loved the location and the history of the caves, but we thought it was a kayaking tour, not a row boat tour. It was a lengthy bus ride from Valencia. The tour itself was crowded, and the caves were lit with colored lights, which was a bit "cheesy."
Andres, our guide, picked us up at the station and drove us around Madrid. We got out several times. I wish we had bought tickets to the bullfights that night. It was a little cramped in the mini-van, with our group of 4 and the guide. We were not able to go to the bathroom for hours!
ONe of the best tours! It was not enough time at the Prado, although Aratxa was knowledgeable and very entertaining! The aperitif at a Vermouth bar and Botin was fantastic. Best cheesecake I have ever eaten!
Loved this. Our guide was Marcus and he knows so much about Cordoba's history.
Fantastic entertainment in a small local bar. It was very crowded and very hot!
We followed our nose to the beach, and found a great beachside bar and grill! We didn't really see anything else.
Pedro was our most favorite guide. He is a young guy starting up his own guide business, and he is amazing. So thoughtful, local knowledge and history. We spent all afternoon and evening with him. He had special touches like home made pastries and helped when one of our party was getting a cold. He took us out to dinner later that night and we had an incredible experience on our tapas crawl! We will go back to Granada and hire Pedro again. It was also good to know that Pedro had met Yuri, our KimKim person.
We should have planned to stay overnight here.
We should have done a lot more guided tours in Seville. Such a beautiful city full of amazing places to see. The Real Jardin was the highlight for me.