An intense experience-filled 18 days in Spain made possible by kimkim.
Spain | Nov 4 - Nov 21, 2022

Margaret
Margaret S.
Darien, CT | Reviewed on Dec 01, 2022

It's hard to know where to start. My first trip to Spain was filled to the brim with sites, tastes, and experiences. We must have walked 3 - 7 miles/day. Regarding the guides:
Tslila's Tapas and Wine/Vermouth Crawl in Barcelona was a superb intro on our first night. So much fun and delicious food and drinks. I must have tasted four different vermouths. Tslila couldn't have been better.
Miguel's tour of La Sagrada Familia and the Gothic Quarter was superb, a highlight of our... read more

It's hard to know where to start. My first trip to Spain was filled to the brim with sites, tastes, and experiences. We must have walked 3 - 7 miles/day. Regarding the guides:
Tslila's Tapas and Wine/Vermouth Crawl in Barcelona was a superb intro on our first night. So much fun and delicious food and drinks. I must have tasted four different vermouths. Tslila couldn't have been better.
Miguel's tour of La Sagrada Familia and the Gothic Quarter was superb, a highlight of our trip.
Our guide in Girona was amusing but he seemed more interested in taking photos of members of the group than anything else. The misunderstanding regarding the contents of the tour (Costa Brava instead of Figueres) was solved quickly and generously by Helena and the kimkim team. We were able to fit in the Jewish Museum and lunch on our own and then take a taxi to see the Dali Museum.
Our small group trip to Monserrat with Alex was memorable. The views are spectacular. He is an enthusiastic and well-informed guide. We were surprised and impressed by the art museum there, too.
Eduardo's tour of Granada via Senses was a nice way to weave in the history of the places we passed but the synthetic fragrances did not always hit the mark and we had little room to carry home the fragrance kits.
Our Alhambra guide was excellent but we don't have his name.
Flamenco dance experience was enjoyable but it was an hour instead of two hours and did not include "a fascinating overview of this culturally distinct musical genre, from its origins to its current global renown."
Eva was the perfect person to introduce us to the Jewish history of Ubeda since her family's home, which she opened for us, contained Jewish history.
Marta was an informative and entertaining guide to Baeza.
The driver who took us to Cordoba from Granada was accommodating and flexible when his instructions didn't match our expected tour. We were able to fit in most of what was listed (confusingly) for the day, although in a different order. We were not able to visit the olive oil factory.
Antonio Jose's tour of the Medina Azahara was well done. Impressive.
The guide for Cordoba (Saray?) was superb. She had a dramatic and informative way of showing us the steps in the transformation of the Mezquita.
Sevilla - our tour was supposed to include the Cathedral and bell tower as well as the Alcazar and the Santa Cruz neighborhood but ended up being split into two different tours, the latter led by Pablo who was excellent, the former afterwards led by Teresa whose stories about the two sisters was memorable.
Jorge's evening introduction to the Hapsburg district was interesting. He shared many insights and left us off at a wonderful restaurant friends had recommended which happened to be across the street from his hairdresser.
We enjoyed Esther's generous wine, vermouth, and tapas tour near our hotel in Madrid. She shared a wealth of information.
Our guide for Toledo (Antonio?) was excellent - so enthusiastic and informative. We appreciated his detailed discussion of the former Synagogue.
Elena's tour of Segovia included details and stories that were very interesting. Our only tour in the rain/drizzle went very well and the restaurant she reserved for our lunch was excellent. Love those artichokes.

The plane and train tickets Helena prepared were a big help.

The hotels:
All the hotels and breakfasts were great:
The Radisson Blu in Barcelona was the least charming but the breakfast was the most extensive - amazing spread. After being offered a room with no view - just the air shaft - they gave us what seemed to be the honeymoon room which had light coming in.
The Aurea in Granada was well situated and historical with lovely Garcia Lorca quotations on the wall.
We appreciated the whimsical creativity and light of our room at the Madinat and enjoyed the Hammam experience that was included. The staff was very nice as was the breakfast.
The hotel in Sevilla was very well situated and elegant with a slightly less extensive breakfast.
We enjoyed the art and craft nature of 7 Islas in Madrid but never did get to sample their craft cocktails - too busy. The staff was helpful and the breakfast was excellent.

Highlights for me:
Museums in Barcelona, Monserrat, and Madrid we went to on our own: Miro, Picasso, Dali, El Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sofia, Sorolla
La Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila
Wine/Vermouth/Tapas tours
Cordoba's Mezquita
Driving through the olive orchards
Olive oil tasting - guide was very good
Several superb restaurants

The experience working with kimkim was enjoyable. I appreciate the initial approach where we discussed the pros and cons of various scenarios - six iterations before we paid anything. There were a few mix-ups while we were in Spain but they were settled right away. We packed a lot in and, at 71 years old, were amazed at our stamina. Perhaps we should have left more free time.

Hotel Reviews
Aurea Catedral Hotel
Granada

Comfortable, historic, good location, very good breakfast.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Madinat
Córdoba

Creative and comfortable with excellent staff and breakfast.

Authenticity & Character
originality
Location
Staff
helpful and English-speaking
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla
Sevilla

Elegant and fun location.

Authenticity & Character
Restored building Lovely breakfast area. Our room had a sitting area and bedroom.
Location
It wasn't noisy but was off a pedestrian street with restaurants and very near the Cathedral.
Staff
A few little problems with the wi-fi. Staff was helpful.
Cleanliness & Comfort
No complaints.
7 Islas Hotel
Madrid

Creative design and very helpful staff. Outside room with light but noisy at night since the Spaniards eat fro 10pm - 1am it seems and then hang out in the street.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Barcelona 1882
Barcelona

Superb breakfast. Not charming. Many rooms have air shaft views.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Tapas Culinary Experience
Barcelona

Guide was great. Excellent tour.

Quality of Experience
Food
Variety of tapas and wines and vermouths.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Half-Day Excursion to Montserrat
Barcelona

Go to the museum in addition to the church. May need more time to go up to the top of the mountain.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Day trip to Medieval Girona & Dali Museum in Figueras
Barcelona

Mishap related to misunderstanding of the tour group was remedied very well by kimkim. Fit in the Jewish Museum in Girona.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Guided Visit of Granada Through Its Scents
Granada

Guide was very good. Senses part - nice idea but not that necessary.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Tour of the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens
Spain
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Flamenco Show
Granada

Would have liked an explanation of the history of Flamenco. Dancing was great.

Quality of Experience
Day trip to Úbeda and Baeza
Granada

Very nice addition but don't know if it is necessary given the amount of trips and activities that were put into our 18 days.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Helpful if the drivers speak English although our Spanish skills helped.
Medina Azahara Guided Tour at Night
Córdoba

Wasn't at night but was very good.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Private Guided Visit of Córdoba
Córdoba

See my evaluation of guides.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Visit an Andalusian Olive Oil Estate
Seville

Very interesting and worthwhile.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Staff was great. The driver got a little lost - first time ever - but got us there.
Insider's Old Madrid Tour
Madrid

Very nice evening tour with history and interesting neighborhoods. Madrid is so large it's hard to get a feeling for it and this was just one special corner.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Train Madrid to Toledo, Guided Visit of Toledo, Train Toledo to Madrid
Madrid
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Guide was very knowledgeable.
Transport
Train was fine. Good to have the tickets purchased in advance.
Train Madrid to Segovia, Guided Visit of Segovia, Train Segovia to Madrid
Madrid

Loved the designs on the buildings. Tour included the Jewish quarter and other interesting sites and beautiful views.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Spanish Cooking Class
Madrid

We enjoyed the food tour in the market and the small class. We helped make salmorejo, spinach and chick peas, and paella. We learned how to make a real sangria and how to debone a chicken. Each person was involved and there were accommodations for vegetarians and pescatarians.

Quality of Experience
Private Wine Tasting, Tapas & Vermouth
Madrid

The guide was excellent and brought to us to especially selected bars where we were served generous portions of wine, vermouth, and tapas.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Our guide was excellent.
Guided Visit of Seville
Seville

An excellent introduction to Sevilla.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona

Guide was excellent. Everyone should experience La Sagrada Familia.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Local specialist: Helena Fernández
Helena
Helena Fernández
Local specialist in Madrid, Spain | Reviewed on Jan 03, 2023

Hi Margaret!
Thank you so much for taking the time to write the review of your trip and for your kind words. I'm so happy you liked our country and I hope you created beautiful memories, thanks for the photos.
I am glad you enjoyed all the experiences of the trip, it was a pleasure to design it with you.
Warm regards, Helena