Small group tour of SpainOdyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Western Europe and beyond. We explore Spain’s incredible natural beauty, its ancient Roman and imperial heritage, World Heritage Sites, and world famous cities, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Spain, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people. Rich and vibrant. Those may be the best two words to describe the Iberian peninsula that is Spain and Portugal. From Northern Spain and the Basque country to Southern Spain and Andalucia. Our small group tours Spain with a tour manager and knowledgable local guides is a trip that explores Spanish history often via a UNESCO World heritage site or two, as well as Spanish culture and the landscape – all important elements to a successful Spain tour. Odyssey’s small group tours Spain are for up to 12 people, mature and senior travellers, joining a group tour as a couple or solo traveller.
Tours for Mature Aged and Senior World Travellers.
21 daysSep, May
Join this small group travel, 21-day tour of Spain. For couples or solo traveler with minimal single supplement has daily itineraries with local guides that provide authentic experiences for those who seek small group journeys. Escorted tour begins in Madrid, finishes in Barcelona.
21 daysMay, Aug
Habsburg Spain vs Tudor England: small group tour exploring the history of 16th century England and Spain
This holiday with a leading tour operator allows the escorted tour for seniors to explore the life and times of the royal families responsible for making England and Spain so significant in the 16th century with local guides providing the travel experience for the detailed itineraries. We spend 10 days travelling from London to Madrid.
11 daysSep, Mar, Apr, Aug
Short Spain Tour for senior and mature travellers
Join our small group guided tour of Spain, exploring this fascinating country over 10 nights with like minded people. We start in Barcelona and make our way slowly towards Madrid. Enjoy the food and culture while learning about the history of each location from our expert local guides and Odyssey Program Leader.
From A$6,920 AUDView Tour
21 daysAug, Apr
Barcelona Small Group Tour | The city explored in-depth
Small group journeys from one of the best small group tour companies Europe that delve into Barcelona's history, culture, and cuisine. Daily itineraries for couples and solo travellers with like minded people. An escorted tour of Barcelona based in an apartment with local guides sharing authentic experiences and knowledge.
From A$11,750 AUDView Tour
20 daysMay, Sep
Via de la Plata: Small Group Walking Tour in the Footsteps of Pilgrims
Visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites introduced by local guides feature on this walking tour for mature couple and single travellers in central Spain. The days itineraries to selected destinations provide authentic experiences in central Spain. A single supplement is charged for solo travelers on these small group journeys.
From A$12,950 AUDView Tour
19 daysJun, Sep
Saint James Way Small Group Walking Tour (The Camino)- Spain
Visiting Portugal, Spain
Experience pleasant sections of the Way of Saint James, crossing some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes. We follow the pilgrims on easy distances of The Way to the mythical destination, Santiago de Compostella. Not since the middle ages has this adventure for body and mind been more popular. We also get to discover the artistic highlights and rich history of Northern Spain and Portugal, as well as enjoying local wines and exquisite food.
From A$12,850 AUDView Tour
24 daysSep, Mar, Apr, Aug
Small Group Guided Tours of Spain and Portugal
Visiting Portugal, Spain
Our program explores the lands of Spain and Portugal, two countries bound by many centuries of history reflected in their modern cultures. Divided by history and language, contiguous neighbours Spain and Portugal were once host to gigantic empires that still bear their languages and lifestyles. A small group tour for couple and solo travellers.
From A$14,750 AUDView Tour
Your selected small group tours Spain should include some or all of the following places and experiences on any Spain vacation: a visit to Barcelona, that includes Antoni Gaudi’s cathedral the Sagrada Familia, park guell in the gothic quarter and las ramblas; the work of El Greco in Toledo; and time in Alhambra to take in a guided tour of the UNESCO World heritage listed Alhambra palace for example. Spain’s history is close to the traveller on a small group tour of Spain whether on a regular Spain tour or walking tour of the Pilgrims walk, the Camino, from San Sebastian to Santiago de compostela in Northern Spain (to aid you appreciation of its history before your small group tours books about Spain are also detailed here). Overall, Odyssey’s small group tour of Spain has an itinerary that is considered and paced for the mature traveller to enjoy the journey.
Spain tours to be enjoyed.
Your tour manger will meet you in for example Spain’s capital city, Madrid for a city tour, including a guided tour of the royal palace and the Prado museum, staying for 2-3 nights before travelling onto Northern Spain or deep into Southern Spain to Cordoba. A city tour of Cordoba will have an itinerary that will include the walled city, where in narrow streets your local guides explain the features of Moorish Architecture before the trip travels on, for 2-3 nights in Seville. Famous for the flamenco music, Seville also features Moorish architecture and the Cathedral is the final resting place for Christopher Columbus.
From the majestic scenery of the Pyrenees to paradisaical beaches and from Roman ruins to otherworldly contemporary architecture, beyond Antoni Gaudi’s work, there is so much to discover in this amazingly diverse country on a tour of Spain. More than just the extraordinary landscapes and art, Spain boasts a uniquely warm atmosphere. The easy going culture makes anyone feel at home from Madrid to Barcelona, whether you’re taking a stroll on Barcelona’s bustling Las Ramblas, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, or wine tasting with tapas in a local run hotel deep in Basque country. On your trip, make sure to head to a local restaurant for your meals, tour the tapas bars , enjoy a glass of la rioja wine perhaps, listen to flamenco music and soak it all in.
Odyssey’s tour of Spain are often linked to a Portugal tour that includes Lisbon.Small group tours Spain are ideal for mature or senior travelers for solo travellers or couples seeking an intimate guided tour led by an expert tour manager and local guide, who provide authentic experiences around Spain for like minded people. Odyssey Traveller, when building the itinerary for a Spain tour, builds the journey with an eye to getting off the beaten path while also providing the opportunity to explore the major cities. For example, a city tour of Madrid the elegant capital includes the Royal palace or a tour of Barcelona includes the gothic quarter. Our tour of Spain takes you into into Basque Country, will examine the history of Islamic Spain and Portugal with a visit to the Alhambra Palace ( a UNESCO World Heritage Site ), and explore Gaudi’s historic influence on the city of Barcelona, including Park Guell, Las Ramblas and the Sagrada Familia Barcelona cathedral. On a Hapsburg city tour of Madrid we visit the El Escorial Royal Palace, and see their portraits at the Prado Museum; while our walking tour of the Camino de Santiago allows you to journey along paths laid out by medieval Pilgrims from San Sebastian to Santiago de compostela, sharing in travel experiences almost a thousand years old. If you are considering joining an Odyssey small group tour of Spain for a holiday destination, some things to think about when planning your trip include: what places you would like to visit , when you would like to go, and the best way to travel around the country. Whatever sightseeing tour of Spain, from a tour of the entire country to immersing yourself in one city, Odyssey Traveller makes sure you have time to learn about and appreciate the Iberian peninsula and in particular Spanish culture, history and people when on vacation as solo travelers or with your companion – and to assist even further on your small group tours books about Spain are listed here.
Articles about Spain
15 of the Best Places to Visit in Spain
15 of the Best Places to Visit in Spain Spain is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations, attracting 82.8 million international visitors in 2018. We have collected the 15 best places to visit in…
Barcelona Travel Notes
Barcelona is one of the cultural highlights of Europe. Situated on the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula, the Catalan capital is famous for its distinctive architecture and its world-renowned food and wine.
n the heart of Basque Country, 11km from the Bay of Biscay, you will find Bilbao, one of northern Spain’s greatest treasures. Renowned for its famous Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao’s architectural wonders are surrounded by a ring of rolling green hills and lies on the mouth of the Nervion River. Once an industrial city, it has been transformed into a design city, where sleek new buildings sit alongside Gothic cathedrals and art nouveau train stations. At the end of 2017, Bilbao was chosen the Best European City 2018 at The Urbanism Awards 2018 and it is not hard to see why, with a new rapid transit system, a tram line and the Azkuna Zentroa, a wine storage warehouse turned cultural centre. This Spanish city has it all: vibrant history and culture, modern architecture, beautiful scenery and spectacular regional cuisine.
Burgos, Spain Burgos in northern Spain is the country’s original heartland, initially known as Castilla la Vieja – the old part of the kingdom of Castile. The city of Burgos, founded in 884, was the…
Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St James, is an ancient Catholic pilgrimage route that runs across northern Spain to the shrine of the Apostle St James in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
Eight Amazing Rail Journeys: The Definitive Guide
Eight Amazing Rail Journeys This article details eight amazing rail journeys that you may wish to consider when planning your journeys. Humans have been travelling by sea since ancient times, but on land, humans were…
Empires Crossing the Mediterranean: 1130-1300
As a sea connecting continents and stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Asia in the east, the Mediterranean has for centuries been a centre of trade and exploration.
On Catalonia’s Costa Brava, 45 minutes from Girona, lies the small town of Figueres, the birthplace of surrealist artist Salvador Dali and home to the Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dali. Apart from the Dali museum, Figueres is a lively and vibrant town with great restaurants, local boutiques, interesting architecture and dreamy beaches only a short drive away.
Girona is Northern Catalonia's biggest city, an hour and a half's drive from Barcelona. A compact medieval fortress city with the best-preserved Jewish quarter in Europe, Girona offers a medley of galleries, churches, restaurants, museums and medieval architecture to explore.
Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain’s southernmost region of Andalucia, Granada was the last stronghold of the Spanish Moors and the brilliance of Moorish spirit and culture endures in the city today. The Alhambra, the palace fortress of the Nasrid sultans, is the heart and soul of Granada and one of Spain’s most popular tourist attractions. With its magnificent palaces and gardens, the Alhambra is an unmissable sight but the city itself also has a lot on offer including buzzing cafes and restaurants, vibrant tapas bars, a bustling Jewish quarter and funky street art.
Five Women of the Renaissance period to see on tour
Five Incredible Women of the Renaissance | Small Group Tours The Renaissance is considered humanity’s greatest intellectual and artistic revolution and stories about the period is dominated by tales of famous men and their inventions,…
Highlights of Madrid
Learn about Madrid and its history on a small group package tour for mature and senior travellers for couples and single travellers. Odyssey offers a range of tours that take the traveller to Madrid in its collection of Spain tours.
Highlights of Seville
Seville is a lively and disarming city, and a popular tourist destination in Spain.
An hour outside of Barcelona is the impressive multi-peaked mountain range known as Montserrat. Within its dramatic, rocky mountain tops hides the Benedictine Monestir de Montserrat, a monastery popular with visitors from all over the world. Everyone from pilgrims and culture lovers to hikers and speleologists love the spot thanks to the gorgeous hiking terrain and beautiful abbey village built into the mountain and to top it all off, it is an easy day trip from Barcelona. Today, Montserrat is often used to refer to both Montserrat mountain and Montserrat Abbey.
Pamplona, Spain Pamplona, the capital of Navarre in northern Spain, is famous worldwide for the running of the bulls during the San Fermin fiesta, and for being one of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite cities. Hemingway visited…
Pilgrimages of the World- Advice for Seniors & Mature travellers
Pilgrimage routes and walking tours Several pilgrimage tracks remain intact and active centuries after they were first established. Many Odyssey tours trace their routes, walking in the footsteps of people […]
Questions About Spain for senior travellers
Escorted small group tours for mature and senior travellers to Spain. Designed for couples and solo travellers who like to explore and enjoy learning as they travel to Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Bilboa, Burgos, Figueres, Zaragoza and so much more.
A charming seaside town just 35 km from Barcelona, Sitges, with its pristine beaches, array of art galleries and vibrant bars and clubs, Sitges has something for everyone. Sometimes referred to as the St. Tropez of Spain, the town’s pretty beaches and seafront promenade are framed by lush green mountains and despite its proximity to the big city (it takes around 40 minutes to get from Barcelona to Sitges), its serene shores can make you feel very far away from the hustle and bustle.
Taking a trip to Spain: 10 of the Best Books to Read
Books to read if you are taking a trip to Spain Odyssey Traveller has prepared and made this reading list of books to read if you are taking a trip to Spain. Odyssey Traveller offers…
Just over an hour by train from Barcelona is the magnificent port city of Tarragona. Located on the Costa Daurada, Tarragona is home to sparkling beaches and a wealth of Roman ruins. Once a major Roman city, you can feel Tarragona’s history all throughout the city as you wander through the charming old town. Perched on the Mediterranean, you can also expect fantastic places to eat and delicious food. Romesco, a sauce usually made with dry peppers, garlic, oil and nuts, originated in Tarragona and you can find it at restaurants paired with fresh seafood and fish. The province is also known for its fine wine.
The Sagrada Familia, Spain
La Sagrada Familia The Sagrada Familia, still under construction A small group guided tour of La Sagrada Familia, perhaps one of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the Basilicai Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia…
The Ten Best Art Galleries in Western Europe
Are these the Best Art Galleries in Western Europe? It’s no secret that Western Europe is home to some of most spectacular art galleries in the world. These grand neoclassical buildings are hard to miss,…
An hour south of Madrid, sitting atop a gorge overlooking the Tagus River, is the magnificent city of Toledo. Often called 'Imperial City' because it was the main venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Spain, Toledo is a medieval town that has been heavily influenced by its mix of Christian, Jewish and Muslim inhabitants throughout the centuries. You will find monuments scattered throughout the city that reflect Toledo's 'three cultures' and many of the city's most visited attractions are religious. The historic city of Toledo was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 for being 'a repository of more than 2,000 years of history' and for its architectural masterpieces that hold such importance for Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Walking tours for active travellers – tips for seniors
For the active mature and senior traveller be they a couple or solo traveller this article outlines preparation for walking tours even for the over 80's. It may on the Wainwright, the lake district or a pilgrims walk across Europe or St James Way, the Camino. This artices give advice on getting fit, shoes and socks including for particular advice for women on this topic.
The city of Zaragoza, the fifth-biggest city in Spain, lies in the region of Aragon in northern Spain and is easy to reach from both Madrid and Barcelona. Home to beautiful Moorish architecture, Roman ruins, two magnificent cathedrals and a rich collection of street art, Zaragoza is often underrated as a tourist destination despite having a lot to offer. As well as this, the city has an incredible food scene and visiting the city’s famous tapas bars is an amazing culinary experience and will give you a taste of Aragonese cuisine. Zaragoza is also the hometown of the artist Francisco Goya, considered to be the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and you can see his work throughout the city.
What are the best ways to get around in Spain?
Espana, Spain is also one of the world’s most geographically diverse countries, spanning from the famous Costa del Sol in the south to the Picos de Europa mountains of northern Spain.
However, despite its varied landscape, the country has a well-designed public transportation network including a high speed train network and well-maintained highway system which makes travelling throughout the country easy. On our Odyssey Traveller tours through Spain , travel between locations is by coach joining the local tour guide at each stop. This allows us to stop at important destinations between major cities such as Cordoba, San Sebastian and visit lesser-known cultural hotspots. Choosing one of our guided tours of Spain with your own Odyssey tour director/tour leader means that you do not have to worry about getting around between cities and can leave the stress of intercity travel to us.
What times of the year are the best to travel to Spain?
If you are looking for an escorted tour of Espana in pleasant, sunny weather but fewer crowds, the best time to take a tour of Spain is in the spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). For this reason, Odyssey’s group tours of Spain leave at the beginning of May and September. During these months, you will find that the weather is warm, without being unbearably hot, and there are less tourists to compete with when visiting popular landmarks and museums.
What time zone is Spain?
Spain has a single time zone (excluding its overseas territories), on Central European Time. The nation observes daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
Is tipping customary?
If you’re on an Odyssey tour of Spain, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services, as is the case throughout much of Europe. It is customary to tip up to 5% of the bill at restaurants. You may just leave small change at more casual establishments. It is not customary to tip in a tapas bar, even if you receive some small change back from the bartender after enjoying some of Spain’s delicious tapas. However, tips for good service are always appreciated.
What is internet access like?
Internet access is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will offer it. It maybe patchy in the more remote areas of Spain.
Can I use my mobile phone in Spain?
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Spain. Many providers will offer a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet, while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank, they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Affordable Ways to Tour Spain
Odyssey’s small group tour of Spain are designed as package holidays with a tour director/tour leader in which you will be part of a small group of 6 to 16 people travelling as a couple or solo travellers . This means the cost of the holiday on a escorted tour includes accommodation , all entrances including any UNESCO world heritage site visited, tipping and a majority of meals, the guided tour with great local guides and tour manager. One of the benefits of this is that there are no hidden extras or an optional excursion with respect to cost which means that you can budget accordingly and ensure the holiday is an affordable one for you. Tours typically span between two to three weeks in duration and seek to stay typically 2 to 3 nights in each location in good 3 or 4 star hotels. As well as this, Odyssey can adjust an itinerary for your Spain trip that will suit your dates and locations, as long as it is a section of the full tour, the price will be adjusted accordingly.
All of our tours offer free time, giving you the chance to explore different destinations on your own and visit those sites not included in the tour. Some ways that you can make sure you’re touring Spain affordably include:
- Booking your flights at the right time: Flights are not included in an Odyssey Tour and making sure that you book your flights at the right time can make a big difference to your budget. While you can find some great last-minute deals, your best chance of finding an affordable flight is to book your flight in advance and as soon as you know your dates of travel. If taking a long-haul flight, from the southern hemisphere, or flying transatlantic, it is usually recommended to book your flights between three months and seven weeks before your departure.
- Eat like a Spaniard: For those meals when you are out and about, you can save money by eating as the Spanish do. Often this means having a small breakfast and then a big meal in the middle of the day. Eating a large lunch is usually cheaper than eating out in the evening, in part because it is a legal requirement in Spain to offer a ‘menu of the day’ (or menu del dia). As well as this, in many tapas bar or cafe’s in Spain, when you buy an alcoholic drink, it will be accompanied by something to eat, such as a serve of paella or a delicious Spanish tapas dish. This is a great way to try Spanish food without spending a lot of money on a fancy meal.
- Visit places for free: Lots of museums and galleries including some UNESCO World heritage site in Spain are free on certain days or at particular times during the day. While this means places like the Prado Museum or Royal palace are busy, if you have free time, it is worth investigating and saving yourself some money while doing your solo exploring.
What to Look for in a Spain Travel Package
When booking an Odyssey small group tour, some things to consider before you book include:
- Gratuities included: Tipping per person, per day, for all different services can quickly add up and leave you out of pocket. As well as this, it can be stressful working out how much and how often you should be tipping. When tipping is included in the price, it saves you both time and money, while giving you peace of mind that you’re not committing any type of cultural faux pas.
- Number of fellow travellers: When booking a Spain small group tour, you want to ensure that you are not going to get lost in a big crowd of people. This is particularly pertinent when visiting a popular European holiday destination such as Spain/Espana. Odyssey tours have an average of eight participants per tour with a maximum of group size of 16.
- Knowledgeable guides: Spain has a long, rich and compelling history, demonstrated by its architectural diversity including Moorish Architecture and la sagrada familia, multiple museums including the prado museum and numerous festivals and celebrations. Ideally, you want to be able to gain a sense of Spain’s past, present and future and for this reason, an informed tour leader/tour director and a knowledgeable tour guide are essential to a fulfilling travel experience for any orientation tour. All Odyssey Traveller Spain tours include a tour director/ tour leader who accompanies the group for the duration of the guided tour program. In addition, we engage with a local tour guide with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of the different destinations in Spain, whether you be in a large city or a small seaside town or world heritage site.
- Unique locations: Spain has something for everyone and when looking for a Spain travel package, it is useful to consider where you might want to visit and the kind of holiday you would like. Odyssey Traveller offers tours that allow you to travel all around Spain and others that allow you to immerse yourself in one city. The Via de la Plata Walking Tour, for example, will guide you on an unforgettable trip through spectacular landscapes, along the longest of the pilgrim routes in Spain, an ancient causeway that has been in use for centuries.
- Culture and History: When visiting somewhere like Spain, you want to return with a better understanding of Spanish traditions, art, architecture, history and culture. Odyssey offers a wide range of educational, cultural and heritage journeys will let you see a side of Spain you don’t always get from the history books. Walk through well-preserved Roman ruins, watch traditional flamenco dancing, visit the oldest university in Spain and marvel at the Casas Colgantes (“Hanging Houses”) called as such as they appear suspended over a ravine.
- Time of the tour: Spain is beautiful and interesting regardless of the time of the year but peak season is definitely during the summer from the beginning of June to the end of August. During this time, the most popular destinations in Spain, including Barcelona and Madrid, experience a massive increase in tourism. For this reason, it is best to visit during the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) and to look for tours that start during this period. There will be less traffic and more temperate weather
The need to know
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including the train and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Spain has an extensive high speed train network connecting most of the country as well as links with Portugal and France. The network is comprised of a mid and long distance train system and AVE (high speed trains). Barcelona offers great bus and metro transport to get around the city and visit all the main sights.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our long stay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, Weather, & environment
Spain shares the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal and is bounded to the north by the Pyrenees, which separate Spain from France. The Balearic Islands, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, lie about 190 kilometres south-east of Barcelona, while the Canary Islands lie off the west coast of Africa. The tiny enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the North African mainland also belong to Spain.
The Pyrenees stretch roughly 400 kilometres from the Basque Country in the west to the Mediterranean Sea. The peaks exceed 1,500 metres in some points, the highest standing at 3,404 metres. Spain is dominated by its vast central plateau, the Meseta, divided by several chains of sierras. The higher northern area includes Castile and León, while the southern section comprises Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura. In the south the plateau drops abruptly at the Sierra Morena, beyond which lies the valley of the Guadalquivir. Sierra Nevada lies to the south-east of Granada. It is part of the Baetic Cordillera, which runs parallel to the Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean coast stretches from the French frontier in the north-east down to the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow strip of water linking the Mediterranean with the Atlantic and separating Spain from North Africa.
Spain’s climate varies from temperate in the north to dry and hot in the south. The best months are from April to October, although mid-summer, July and August, can be excessively hot throughout the country except in the coastal regions. Madrid is best in late spring or autumn (though there are advantages to travelling in shoulder and off seasons). The central plateau can be bitterly cold in winter.
World Heritage sites
Spain boasts the third largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It has 46 sites listed, which you can view on the official site here: (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/es). While every single site has something of value, there are a few highlights:
Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, Granada. The Alhambra is currently the only preserved palatine city of the Islamic period. It is a vast complex of fortress and gardens, set in a picturesque district that blends Moorish and Andalusian architecture.
The Santiago de Compostela (Camino de santiago) is a heritage listed Christian pilgrimage route, with the routes of Camino Francés and Northern Spain as optional extensions. The awe-inspring cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is also a notable heritage site.
Antoni Gaudí’s seven buildings in and around Barcelona testify to his exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Festivals & events
Spain hosts a number of cultural, culinary, and religious events throughout the year. From La Tomatina in Bunol, to the many celebrations of Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Carnaval, you will certainly be able to find something that suits your schedule and taste. Other events include Fiesta de San Isidro Labrador in Madrid, honouring the city’s patron saint and marking the start of bullfighting season; Festa Major de Grácia in Barcelona where locals compete for the most elaborately decorated street; and San Sebástian International Film Festival, a two-week festival that begun in the 1950s.
- Spain by Jan Morris
- The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by Maria Rosa Menocal
- Moorish Spain by Richard Fletcher
- The Revolution and Civil War in Spain by Pierre Broue and Emile Temine
- Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through a Country’s Hidden Past by Giles Tremlett
Eating & drinking
Spanish food is one of the country’s main attractions and a key driver of tourism. While foreigners often think of Spanish food as one category, it actually varies widely based on the region. Some popular regional dishes include Paella Valenciana from the Eastern region town of Valencia, and Iberian Ham and Jerez Vinegar from the Andalusía region. Spanish tapas, typically reflects the regional dishes.
Spanish wine is also very popular and with different varieties of grapes grown throughout the country, the most popular is the rioja wine region. There’s a great variety of wines on offer, from Tempranillo to Syrah to Verdejo, again la rioja wine is very popular.
Olives are grown in different regions in Spain, mainly in Southern Spain, Andalucía and Catalonia. The country is the world’s biggest virgin olive oil producer, one of the main ingredients in Spanish cooking. It’s estimated Spaniards consume approximately 9 litres of olive oil per person each year!
Health & safety
As of writing, smarttraveller.gov recommends exercising normal safety precautions when travelling in Spain. While much of Spain is usually safe to travel around, it’s important to stay alert to anything unusual. Demonstrations and strikes affecting transport services and traffic can occur at minimal or no notice; we advise you to monitor local media and be prepared to adjust your travel plans. Pickpocketing is popular in tourist areas and on public transport, so keep a close eye on your belongings at all times.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Plugs in Spain have two round pins (type F), so make sure to pick up the right adaptor before your trip.
The best of Spain
Barcelona is one of the most culturally dynamic cities in Europe with excellent museums, galleries and a mix of medieval, Art Nouveau and modernist architecture.Read More
The capital, Madrid, is a lively city and key destination for those interested in Moorish Spain.Read More
And finally, the Way of St. James, one of the world's most popular pilgrimage routes (known as El Camino in Spanish) follows along the Northern coast of Spain.Read More
Seville, capital of Andalucía, is the city of Flamenco and Moorish architecture.Read More
We felt safe in Turkey and found the people friendly and helpful. Prices were excellent and the food almost universally magnificent. There is so much to see in the natural and built environment and the wonderful archaeological sites. It is sad to see the ordinary people and businesses suffering from the lack of tourists. Mary B. Sep '17
Ancient Turkey escorted small group history tour
Overall the trip was great and met my expectation.
Errol H. June 2017
Rural Britain | Walking Small Group Tour
I was impressed by the number of places we visited. It was a very full itinerary which I like. We saw things of interest every day. I see no fault with the tour.
Anglo French Tour | Normandy, Brittany, Channel Islands tour
Wife Brenda and I just completed Odyssey tour in UK entitled “Canals and Railways” led by Mal Bock. Absolutely superb, and Mal’s leadership faultless. Extremely good value considering only seven guests, superb local guides and drivers, a most comfortable coach with seating for 24. . Hotels chosen were excellent, most with real character, not places one would have chosen without local knowledge and recommendation, . My wife and I have visited the UK many times- I was born there, but we saw so many places which were new to us. Thank you Odyssey!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Canals and Railways in the Industrial Revolution Tour | Tours for Seniors in Britain
We found all the guides in each place excellent, some more than others, but always knowledgeable and obviously in love with their chosen careers. David our coach driver was excellent also, coping with some difficult situations with a cool head and providing us with a running commentary on a country he knows so well - especially Norfolk his home county!
Sally and Angus H. June 2017
Rural Britain | Walking Small Group Tour
The geographical wonders offered by Iceland and Greenland left me in awe. The grandeur and spectacle of the countryside is breathtaking. Our leader (Rob) was excellent: well-researched, friendly, organized and good-humoured.
Iceland cultural and wilderness small group tour
The country was apparently calm and safe. People were friendly and helpful. Such a pity there has been such a down turn in tourism. Ros & Tony S. Sep '17
Ancient Turkey escorted small group history tour
Our guide Filiz was wonderful, very well informed, historical insights very helpful, her care for our well being exceptional. Could not have wished for a better tour leader.
Ancient Turkey escorted small group history tour
Articles about Spain published by Odyssey Traveller:
Empires crossing the Mediterranean: 1130-1300.
15 of the best places to visit in Spain.
Pilgrimages of the World: Advice for mature and senior travellers.
Books to read on a trip to Spain.
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Spain:
The spirit of southern Spain: Reasons to visit Andalucia.
Beyond Seville: Three ancient towns to visit in Andalucia.
Ten must see sights in Madrid.
Refreshed December 2020.
Responsible Travel Tips For Spain
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, The more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Before departing on your trip, contact your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of euros in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.