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Spain

We spoke with Jesus Repetto of Titanium Tours about travel in Spain.

Q: How would you describe Spain for visitors who haven't been there?

Spain is a mixture of flavors, colors, cultures, landscapes, traditions and festivals. Its people are very warm and friendly and very welcoming to tourists. Spain is very rich not only in culture but also in art styles, regional foods and wines, architectural styles, unique festivals that draw masses to street celebrations, blessed with fantastic weather year round with over 3,000 sandy beaches to enjoy. So many different experiences are available for travelers in Spain depending on what their passions are.

Q: When is the best time to visit and why?

The best months to visit are March through June and September, October. Those are the best weather months and when most cultural festivals happen. July and August are great months weather wise but certain parts of Spain could be too hot for some people and the hotels and beaches would be more crowded.

Q: What are the top sights?

I personally love:

  • Seville (my city of birth) and its barrio Santa Cruz (old Jewish quarter)
  • The walkway along the river in Seville or the Plaza de España featured in the movies "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Star Wars episodes I & II" 
  • The Alhambra in Granada
  • The Gothic quarter in Barcelona
  • The cobble stone streets of Toledo are very beautiful as well.  

Q: What are your personal favourite sights?

Besides what I just mentioned I think some hidden gems that tourist might miss are:

  • Watching Gypsies dance in a cave in Granada
  • The underground Roman City underneath the Gothic quarter in Barcelona
  • The Roman ruins outside of Seville or in Merida
  • The Poble Espanyol in Barcelona where you can discover all of Spain and its crafts through 117 buildings.
  • Some of the festivals like the April Fair in Seville where the whole city spends a week eating, drinking and dancing flamenco; the Fallas in Valencia where big sculpted scenes are burned or the Giants and Big Heads in different festivals all over Spain. 

Q: Do you have any interesting facts about Spain you would like to share?

I think the beauty of Spain is its diversity finding one's perfect vacation in Spain depends a lot on what the one loves to do. I think the rich festivals are very unique and hard to explain unless you've been there. I mean how can you describe how a whole city like Seville of almost a million people can get to the streets for a whole week to revel in its culture and heritage, dance flamenco, eat, and drink sherry wine all week long?  

Q: How would you describe the people and the culture?

Spaniards are a very warm, welcoming passionate people. They love food and conversation around a table. Meals can last hours, even if business meals. There's even a word for it, sobremesa, the time after a meal dedicated to relate with your companions. Spaniards love a holiday or any excuse for a celebration. The schedule is shifted a couple of hours later than that in North America with meals at 2pm and 9pm and regular bedtime around midnight.  

Q: Can you describe your most unique tour?

Everything we do, despite our name, is custom itineraries. Like I mentioned above Spain is so rich and diverse I'd hate to put anyone in a box. Spain can be many different things for many people so we adapt. Some of the most fun experiences we put together for people in their itineraries are for example: Flamenco dance lessons before a show, Paella cooking classes, Tapas cooking contest for a larger group, VIP soccer tickets, golf clinics with a world champion, etc. 

Q: What food and wine would you recommend people try?

Food in Spain is very diverse and not all dishes are available everywhere but some of the lesser known dishes and the best places to have them are:

  • Steamed mussels around Barcelona
  • Shrimp in Cádiz
  • Lobster in the North of Spain
  • Gazpacho in Southern Spain 
  • Suckling pig around Madrid
  • Galician Octopus (anywhere)
  • Gambas al ajillo (Prawns in garlic, anywhere)

As far as dessert I think Crema Catalana would be my choice which is a version of creme Brulee. As far as wine I personally like reds and Ribera del Duero type would be my favorite over Rioja which is better known in North America. 

Q: Do you have any tips for people planning to visit Spain with their family?

Start your planning early, go into detail with your travel advisor about not just what you want to see in Spain but what you like and don't like doing. The more information the travel advisor gives us the better itinerary we can plan for them. With so much diversity it's crucial to get as many details as possible. From museums, to tours, to soccer games and other sports to other experiences, the more information the better. Also, I would advise them to not try to go to opposite sides of the country in the same trip, they will waste lots of time at airports and no one enjoys airports, unless you have over a week. Go private guided whenever possible, a private guide will make the experience so much richer, it will be 100% custom to them and truly unforgettable. 

Q: In your opinion, what are some types of family activities suited for all ages?

Many private tours are suitable for children and the guide will always adapt the content to the group ages. Also, the caves where the Gypsies dance in Granada is an all-ages unique cultural experience.  Furthermore, depending on the ages some cooking classes could be a lot of fun, or learning to dance flamenco. Sailing excursions are also available in many coastal towns. Other options for younger kids can be: Poble-Espanyol in Barcelona which has scavenger hunts on weekends for example, or if the children speak Spanish, Micropolix in Madrid which is an indoor space that recreates a city where kids learn a trade, "earn" money but using their trade and then can go shopping with their earned Micropolix money. 

Plaza de España | Seville, Spain
 

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