There’s nothing like finally getting to take the trip that has been on the top of your “To Go” lists for years, am I right? In November, I headed off to Madrid with my husband to explore this country that has always been so intriguing to me! All through high school and college, my favorite courses had always been Spanish and several of my professors where from Spain. I grew up with amazing stories of La Mancha, flamenco dancers, and tasty tapas!
As I was preparing for this trip, I knew I wanted to schedule plenty of time to explore the city of Madrid but also take a few day trips to surrounding areas. I knew I wanted to visit Sevilla and while I was that far South, decided to also head down to the Southern trip of Spain (Cadiz) to see the contrast of that area of the rest of the country.
After some research, I landed on the following itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival in Madrid
Day 2: Explore Madrid & Tapas Tour
Day 3: Train to Sevilla & Rooftop Tour
Day 4: Day Trip to Cadiz/Jerez
Day 5: Sevilla
Day 6: Return to Madrid
Day 7: Day Trip to Toledo
Day 8: Madrid
Day 9: Departure from Madrid
Packed agenda, right? My strategy for using my time efficiently when traveling is making sure you book the right tours who will help you explore the “must-see” areas but then also provide some insight on the area – so you don’t waste any time wandering around trying to decide what to do next. That’s just my preferred style of travel!
With this strategy in mind, I was very happy to partner with City Discovery as they offer the amazing tool of being able to search through an aggregate of tours to know which would be the best fit for your needs and your schedule. There are so many “hidden gems” out of there their website allows you to find these smaller to medium sizes tours – as well as some of the larger companies as well, all from the same website dashboard.
City Discovery is about helping you find that unforgettable experience and bring you the best part of your vacation. Established in 2003 by a team of travel professionals, City Discovery started out as a simple web-based reservations system that allowed travelers to book tours and activities quickly and easily. Over the years, City Discovery has proven to be an invaluable online resource for travelers looking to book attraction tickets and things to do worldwide.
I have to say that it took me maybe 45 minutes to look through the tours, filtered based on those who had openings during my travel dates and were within my price range. From there, City Discovery handles everything else and provides you with an agenda and voucher via email which is then processed directly with the local tour guide/company.
Tours in Madrid that I loved:
If you ask me, a great way to learn about a culture is to eat and drink it! That was why the first tour that I booked was the Spanish Iberian Ham Experience in Madrid with Wine Tasting with MadridTapasTour. It involved a small group tour, lead by a local foodie who takes you to several bars/restaurants for a sampling of local food and wine. As we are eating/drinking away, he explained to us the history behind some of these dishes, the cultural significance and also additional recommendations of places to visit during our stay.
The tour isn’t long, just a few hours, but it was the perfect sampler to get a good taste for the city and also help me navigate the menus for the rest of the trip.
Hop on/Hop Off: While this might seem a little “too touristy” for the experienced traveler, I find that the Hop On/Hop Off bus services as always a great way to get to know any new city. Whenever I travel, I try and book this for my first or second day – as a great way to get your bearings and understand the layout of the city. I recommend that you take the entire loop the first time around, taking notes of areas where you want to return and then on the second loop start making stops. We were also able to book this via City Discovery which was great, as we didn’t have to make our way to any specific “starting point” of the busses, but were able to jump on the stop nearest our hotel using our printed vouchers as tickets.
Great Tour of Sevilla:
During my stay in Sevilla, I wanted to make sure I heard from a local about what its like to live there. Sevilla is very walk-able, so you could really just wander around and absorb it all, but hearing it from a local just adds an extra layer of understanding for me.
In this case, instead of just the standard walking tour, I found the Seville Rooftop Sunset Tour. This tour was packed with great info about the city with the perk of getting to see the city at sunset from rooftops with some of the most amazing views. Sevilla at Sunset? Yes, please! You must book this tour!
Day Trip from Madrid:
If you are looking for a good day trip from Madrid, I believe everyone can agree that Toledo is a must! It was amazing to learn that Toledo actually used to be the capital of Spain – which means that this city is just dripping in history and cultural significance.
We found a Half Day Tour from Madrid via City Discovery, so that we could visit this city, get a little sample and then return to Madrid for dinner. I will say you need to get ready to walk! For obvious reasons, the streets in the core of Toledo are tiny so the tour buses drop you off at the base of the city and its all walking from there.
Day Trip from Sevilla:
I decided I wanted to see a totally different angle of Spain and I found the perfect tour!! The Jerez and Cadiz Wine Tasting and Horse Show Day Trip from Seville. Again, if it wasn’t for the search features of City Discovery, this honestly would not have crossed my mind! This tour took us to a sherry winery and an Andalusian horse show in the city of Jerez before heading down to the coast to visit the vibrant port city of Cadiz. I especially loved this tour since it was of smaller size (only 10 of us in the bus), so it was really intimate and comfortable making the 2 hour trips there and back!
Wow, that makes me tired again just thinking about it! I will say, like any European vacation, wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated! If you have any questions about these specific tours or my experience with City Discovery, please send me a tweet via @TravelBlogueras and I would be happy to share more details with you!
You can also check out my complete VLOG of my experience, in Spanish, on my YouTube channel!
Thanks again for City Discovery for joining me on this Spanish adventure and until the next time…