Beginning in beautiful Barcelona and ending in sensual Sevilla — with the cultural delights of Madrid, Toledo, Ronda and Granada laced together in between — Rick Steves' money-saving "My Way: Spain" tour gives you the freedom to decide your own daily sightseeing priorities and pace. We cut the stress by providing comfortable rooms in centrally-located hotels, private bus transportation from city to city, and a travel-savvy escort to help advise you along the way. Join us for My Way: Spain in 11 Days!
You'll get all this!
- This is an "un-guided" tour — giving you the freedom (and responsibility) to manage your daily sightseeing schedule and meals
- A small, friendly group of 24-28 people will share our big, comfy bus during the trip, but not do organized sightseeing together
- A Rick Steves escort will manage the group's transportation and hotel arrangements, and provide advice for sightseeing, meals, etc.
- All group transportation from Barcelona to Sevilla
- 10 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
- All breakfasts are included
- All tips for escort and driver
- Free Audio Europe™ app for Apple and Android (or get free podcast/mp3 files) featuring Rick's radio interviews with experts on destinations covered in this itinerary
- Free stuff including Rick Steves' Spain guidebook; Europe Through the Back Door travel skills handbook (one per household); Spanish phrase book; moneybelt; and earplugs
- Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
- Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
- Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2013
- 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
- Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
- Costs not covered: As this is not a guided tour, you will be responsible for the cost of all your lunches, dinners, drinks, admissions, sightseeing, and non-group transportation. Be sure to plan and budget accordingly. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above
(r) = reserve a time before you leave the USA
See a slideshow version of this itinerary
Day 1: Welcome to Spain
Welcome to Barcelona, one of Europe's most dynamic and diverse cities. Depending on when you arrive, today is a great day to wander through the maze-like Gothic Quarter, medieval cathedral, and refurbished harbor area. We'll rendezvous at our Barcelona hotel at 5 p.m. for a group get-together. Your escort will give an overview of the days ahead, answer your questions, and offer a quick orientation to our neighborhood and Barcelona's public transportation system. Then you're free for dinner on your own, and maybe an evening stroll up and down the Ramblas. Sleep in Barcelona (2 nights). No bus.
Day 2: Lively, Artistic Barcelona
You have the entire day and evening free to explore this remarkable city. Armed with your guidebook, you could hop the subway to see Gaudí's towering, dizzying Sagrada Família church and his colorful, playful Parc Güell. Closer to the center, you can check out the Modernisme-themed Avenue of Discord, and a museum dedicated to another artistic visionary: Pablo Picasso (r). No bus.
Day 3: A Speedy Train to Madrid
All aboard! After breakfast we'll take one of Europe's newest, speediest trains (the AVE) to Madrid. By mid-afternoon you'll be settled in your Madrid hotel, and free for the rest of the afternoon and evening, maybe to explore the lively streets around the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, or the majestic Retiro Gardens. Sleep in Madrid (2 nights). Train: 3 hrs. Bus: 2 hrs.
Day 4: Masterpieces of Madrid
Today and this evening are entirely free to cover the best of Madrid. For many, that means the masterpiece-packed Prado — featuring paintings by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco and others. The Royal Palace is another great place to wander and soak up the opulence of Spain's capital city. Tonight, use your guidebook to put together a tapas crawl, and use your phrase book to connect with the locals (and to figure out what you're eating)! No bus.
Day 5: Historic Toledo
It's a short bus ride to Spain's old capital city of Toledo (and back in time about 500 years), then the rest of your day and evening are free. Be sure to see Toledo's magnificent cathedral, the Synagogue Santa Maria la Blanca and El Greco's The Burial of the Count of Orgaz at the Santo Tomé Chapel. Outside, enjoy Toledo's winding streets, varied sights, and some of Spain's best shopping. Sleep in Toledo (1 night). Bus: 1 hr.
Day 6: La Mancha and Granada
Today we'll drive through windswept "Don Quixote country," stopping to sniff the saffron and admire a whitewashed windmill or two. At about 5 p.m. we'll reach our destination of Granada. Once you've checked into the hotel, you might head up the Albayzín hill, find an interesting place for dinner, and enjoy a sunset view of tomorrow's treat — the Alhambra. Sleep in Granada (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs.
Day 7: Moorish Treasures of Granada
Your entire day and evening are on your own, and there's no better way to start than with a visit to the sprawling palace and garden complex of the Alhambra (r) — the last and greatest of Europe's Moorish palaces. Afterward, you might explore the colorful streets and alleyways of Granada's Old Town, and ponder the course of history at the ornate tombs of world-changing Ferdinand and Isabella, who reigned over a new age of religious zeal at home and exploration of the "new" Americas. No bus.
Day 8: Ronda
This morning we'll drive to the hill town of Ronda, home to Spain's oldest bullring and its most breathtaking gorge. The afternoon and evening are yours to explore Ronda's Moorish and Mercadillo Quarters, linked together by the famous gravity-defying stone bridge (towering over the rubble of an earlier one that wasn't). Sleep in or near Ronda (1 night, your group may be split between two hotels). Bus: 3 hrs.
Day 9: Sevilla's Barrio Santa Cruz
Today we'll wind our way between olive groves and pueblos blancos, stopping on the way to explore the whitewashed village of Grazalema. Then we'll press on to the flamboyant and atmospheric city of Sevilla. Our hotel's central location makes it easy to spend this afternoon and evening marveling at the world's largest Gothic cathedral — and window-shopping along the narrow whitewashed lanes of Sevilla's Barrio Santa Cruz. Tonight, you might look for a performance of sultry, swirling flamenco. Sleep in Sevilla (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs.
Day 10: Sevilla's Royal Alcazar
Your entire day and evening are free to do as you please. You could start with a visit to the beautifully Moorish-style Alcazar palace, the Sevilla home of the Spanish Royal Family for the past 500 years. Afterward, you can walk in the footsteps of Carmen and Don Juan, linger in Sevilla's charming squares, or stroll along the romantic Guadalquivir River. This evening, consider capping off your My Way: Spain adventure with a carriage ride through the streets of Sevilla. Salud! No bus.
Day 11: Tour Over After Breakfast
Sevilla's airport is a bus or taxi ride away with easy connections throughout Europe. Alternately there is an AVE train to Madrid to continue your Iberian adventures on your own. Hasta luego!
Itinerary specifics subject to change.
Rick Steves tours are physically active!
This is an integral, essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our My Way: Spain in 11 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
- Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
- Be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
- Be responsible for your own daily sightseeing, admissions, meals (except breakfasts) and non-group transportation.
- Travel on a bus without a toilet.
We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go.
You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.
Sightseeing On Your Own
If you arrive in Barcelona before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Spain guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Spanish and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise. Check your guidebook for museum hours (some are closed one day per week; some stay open late one day per week).
Remember, you will be in charge of your own sightseeing for ALL destinations on this trip. We strongly suggest you begin planning well before you fly to Spain! To guarantee entrance, make reservations at the Alhambra in Granada in advance from home. You might also consider reserving the Prado in advance as well. See your Rick Steves' Spain guidebook for details on how to reserve.
If you are interested in attending zarzuela, the Spanish light opera in Madrid, you may want to check the schedule and buy tickets before leaving home. More information can be found in Rick Steves' Spain guidebook; schedules and booking information are at http://teatrodelazarzuela.mcu.es.
Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.
There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). Barcelona and Sevilla both offer good transportation options, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.
The most direct option is to fly into Barcelona and home from Sevilla (which may require an overnight in Madrid or elsewhere within Europe). If you have extra time and flexibility, you might want to consider a round trip flight into and out of Madrid or Barcelona. This option will require either a train journey or low-cost flight from Sevilla and an additional overnight in the original city.
Flying within Europe can be reasonable. Ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines. For links to helpful rail and air websites, go to www.ricksteves.com/plan/links and look under "Transportation."
Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.
If you are continuing on after your tour (especially to Portugal), we strongly suggest you research and consider booking your transportation before leaving home as last minute bus and air fares can vary greatly in price. If you do not book your post tour hotels or transportation in advance, be sure to make time at the start of the tour to determine all your post tour travel needs.
If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email email@example.com. Thinking you could use some expert, in-depth help to plan your sightseeing days? Tour members enjoy a 50 percent discount on Rick's Trip Consulting services!
See a chart with monthly rain and temperature information for this tour.
We recommend that you consider bringing a smart phone, tablet or other device to assist in planning your activities, and to access Rick's Audio Europe app and walking tours.
For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.
Favorite tour memories from recent alums
"We will definitely book another 'My Way' tour in the future. For us, it is the most flexible and takes away all the stress of making hotel and ground transportation arrangements."
— Thomas in Snohomish, WA
"This tour experience was excellent. In the past I have always traveled independently with Rick Steves' guidebooks, but the 'My Way' tour allowed the convenience of a tour to be blended with independent travel, which was appealing to me. The high quality of our tour experience is much appreciated and I will definitely consider another Rick Steves tour in the future."
— Jamie in Plattsburgh, NY
To see more comments on Rick Steves' tours, read through our tour member reviews.
Videos & More
This region is rich in history, art and culture. To help you get the most from your trip, we've put together this collection of travel resources from Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, as well as recommended books, films and music.
Rick Steves' TV Clips & Shows
(For more Rick Steves' TV clips on this region, visit Rick on YouTube.)
- Le Grande Voyage (1980)
- Le Coiffeur du Quartier des Pauvres (1985)
- Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
- The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Rick Steves' Radio Interviews
(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)
Rick Steves Audio Europe
- Classical: Joaquin Rodrigo, Andres Segovia
- Opera: José Carreras, Placido Domingo
- Pop/rock: Marc Anthony, Sergio Dalma, Julio Iglesias
- Flamenco: Paco de Lucia
Rick Steves' Articles
(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)
- Rick Steves' Spain
- The New Spaniards — John Hooper
- Iberia — James Michener
- Death in the Afternoon; The Dangerous Summer — Ernest Hemingway
- The History of Spain — Peter Pierson
- Don Quixote — Miguel de Cervantes
- Tales of the Alhambra — Washington Irving
- The Sun Also Rises; For Whom the Bell Tolls — Ernest Hemingway
- The Shadow of the Wind — Carlos Ruiz Zafon