August 29 – September 8, 2019
Open - Guaranteed
About This Tour
Spain is a land of epic contrasts: it is a culinary feast; it is a celebration of music and dance; it is a country of artists and writers where even the buildings and monuments have become works of art. Spain is so expansive that, even if you think you know what to expect, there will always be more to surprise you. A single visit cannot possibly encompass everything, but on this tour we will show you the some of the best this amazing country has to offer – including its pulsing gay nightlife!
Madrid is rich in centuries of history, happy and vibrant during the day, enchanting at night, and it is one of the new hot gay destinations in Europe. Seville is the cradle of traditional tapas and flamenco soul, and it may just be one of the most beautiful cities you've ever seen! Cordoba was first founded by the Romans, achieving its greatest glory as the Moorish kingdom of Ei-Andalus, which Christian conquerors found so awe-inspiring that they only added a Cathedral to enhance its beauty. Barcelona is the perfect combination of a warm Mediterranean climate, beaches within and close to the city, mountains in the hinterland and the culture, nightlife, sights and infrastructure of a European metropolis! An optional extension to the gay beaches of Sitges makes this the perfect adventure in vibrant Spain.
- Madrid, capital of Spain
- Toledo, ancient city of Three Cultures *
- Prado Museum
- Seville, capital of Andalucia province
- Alcazar, Seville’s Mosque-turned-Cathedral *
- Cordoba’s Old Quarter *
- Barcelona, capital of Catalonia province
- Architecture of Gaudi *
- La Sagrada Familia *
- Art Nouveau Buildings of Barcelona *
- Optional Extension to Sitges * UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Arrive in Madrid
Arrange your international flight to arrive in Madrid by 4:00 pm today so that you can participate in our Welcome Dinner. (Search for flights using the airport code: MAD). At 7:00 pm, our group meets for the first time for cocktails and introductions in the hotel bar. Afterwards, we head out for our Welcome Dinner at Celso & Manolo Restaurant to experience the best of Spanish cuisine like a local. Overnight in Madrid. (Welcome Dinner included)
This morning we embark on a full-day of sightseeing in Spain’s capital city. The many sites we visit today will include the Royal Palace (the best kept and best preserved in Europe), the Royal Theatre, the old City Hall, the Plaza Mayor and the borough of Las Letras, where buildings and monuments commemorate such Spanish writers as Cervantes and Lope de Vega. At the bustling San Miguel Market we dive into a Tapas Tour for lunch. Enjoy a selection of typical tapas like tortilla española (Spanish omelette), fresh seafood, jamón (Iberian ham) and paella. Round out the tasting experience with Spanish wine, beer or sangria. Enjoy some rest back at our hotel before meeting our guide who will take us out on a gay nightlife tour. Chueca has become the gay district of Madrid in recent decades. We will take in a drag show and visit the most famous and the most underground gay venues. (Breakfast / Lunch)
Toledo is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities of Spain. Its cultural legacy is kept within its walls in the form of churches, museums, palaces, fortresses, mosques, and synagogues. The great diversity of artistic styles has made its old quarter a true museum, earning its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city preserves two famous Synagogues, a Mosque and a unique Cathedral, ranked among the greatest Gothic buildings in Europe. Some of the many other churches treasure first rate paintings such as "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz", by el Greco. We have two great recommendations for lunch on your own account, after which we enjoy some time at leisure to explore Toledo on your own. In late afternoon, we return to Madrid for a free evening. You may wish to return to some of the places we introduced you to on Friday. (Breakfast)
The Prado museum is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It is widely considered to have one of the world's finest collections of Spanish and European art, dating from the 12th century. We will enjoy a tour of the museum, followed by a mid-day break for lunch (on your own) and a rest back at the hotel. This evening we offer an optional tour to Retiro Park (the city’s largest) and Debod Temple (an authentic Egyptian temple built in the 2nd century BC), followed by dinner and a fabulous show at Florida Retiro. The cost is $100 with a minimum of 4 participants. Please indicate your desire to join on the reservation form. (Breakfast)
Train to Seville / Cruise & Tapas
After breakfast, we check out of our hotel and transfer to the high-speed train station for our scenic trip to Seville. We check in at our hotel in early afternoon. In the evening, we take a river boat cruise viewing the city from a unique perspective on the river Guadalquivir. Afterwards, we enjoy an amazing tapas dinner at historic El Rinconcillo, the oldest tapas bar in Seville. The place exudes charm, history and tradition. You will enjoy great tapas, Iberian ham and local wines. Overnight in Seville. (Breakfast / Dinner)
This morning enjoy a walking tour through Barrio de Santa Cruz, the oldest and most beautiful quarter of Seville. Learn about its history from its Roman beginnings to the present day. Our tour will include visits to the old Cathedral, the Giralda Tower, and the Alcazar (Royal Fortress), a complex that has earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Following a free afternoon, we enjoy dinner and a Flamenco performance at Tablao El Arenal. Flamenco is the traditional song and dance of Andalucia, a vast region in the south of Spain, developed over many centuries from Gypsy, Moorish, Andalusian and other cultural influences. For more than 30 years, Tablao El Arenal has been presenting the spirit and magic of Flamenco. The New York Times has cited Tablao El Arenal as the best place in the world in which to experience the emotions of the Flamenco art. Overnight in Seville. (Breakfast / Dinner)
This morning, take a high-speed train to Cordoba, founded by the Romans as a strategic port city used for shipping Spanish olive oil, wine and wheat back to Ancient Rome. The historic quarter of Cordoba still preserves traces of the ancient splendor of the Caliphate of Cordoba during the 10th century, which made this city one of the most cultured and refined of medieval Europe. The old Jewish quarter, where we see the Synagogue, is now a complex network of little streets with Andalucian flavor. The cathedral-mosque is one of the most beautiful examples of Muslim art in Europe, and the Reales Alcazares was the home of the Catholic Kings while in Cordoba. In late afternoon we take the high-speed train back to Seville for a free evening. Overnight in Seville. (Breakfast)
Train to Barcelona / Walking Tour
We have an early breakfast and early hotel check-out, in time to make it to the train station for our morning high-speed train to Barcelona. Arriving in mid-afternoon, we transfer to our hotel for check-in. At 5:00 pm, we embark on an evening walking tour of the city center, visiting the outdoor museum of Paseo de Gracia Boulevard, and Plaza Cataluña. Along the way, discover many splendid buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi and other Modernist architectures, including Casa Mila (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Casa Batilo, Casa Amatlier, Casa Lleo I Morera, and the Coliseum Theatre. While walking La Rambla Street, you can see the Canaletas Fountain, the Roman Tombs, Santa Maria del Pi Church, Boqueria Market, Liceo Theatre, the Plaza Real, the Guell Palace and the Columbus Monument. As the grand finale of the tour, we visit La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s most famous sight and Gaudi’s most important work. Dinner will be at one of the traditional restaurants near La Sagrada Familia. (Breakfast / Dinner)
After breakfast, travel by coach to the spectacular, mountainside Benedictine abbey of Montserrat, one of Spain's most popular pilgrimage sites for its revered Black Madonna statue. Then, enjoy free time to explore, admire the views from the mountainside, see the vast basilica and venerated statue, visit the audiovisual museum, and perhaps hear the Escolania, one of Europe's best-known boys' choirs. We return to Barcelona in the late afternoon for another free evening. Overnight in Barcelona. (Breakfast)
Free Day / Optional Tapas Workshop / Farewell Dinner
The morning and afternoon are completely free. If you want to do a planned activity, we have an optional Spanish Tapas tour. Learn hands-on while preparing a variety of traditional and creative tapas using only the finest local ingredients found in the Barcelona's open air markets. You will learn about local food culture, sample cheese and meats, and prepare traditional Sangria. This optional tour is a must for all foodies. The cost is $115. Please indicate your interest on the reservation form. This evening, our group gathers again for our Farewell Dinner, experiencing the best of Mediterranean cuisine at one of our favorite restaurants. After dinner our guide will escort those who wish on a tour of the Barcelona’s gay scene. Overnight in Barcelona. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Departure or Optional Sitges Tour Begins
The tour officially ends after breakfast this morning. We will assist with scheduling a taxi or private transfer timed for your departing flight. If you wish to extend your stay in Barcelona, please let us know so that we can keep your room available for another night. We highly recommend our optional extension to Sitges for 2 days. It is one of the best places in Spain to enjoy the Mediterranean for sunbathing, swimming, and gay nightlife. (Breakfast)
OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO SITGES
If you would like to conclude your tour with some relaxing beach time, you should come with us to Sitges. Just 40 minutes away from Barcelona, it is one of the most famous gay places in Spain. Picturesque streets, gay beaches and an area full of clubs, restaurants or shops make this town one of the most popular gay destinations in the world. The extension will be accompanied by our Spanish gay guide. The price is $500 per person in double occupancy, or $680 in a private room. Please indicate your intention to join in the appropriate box on the reservation form.
Travel to Sitges
As the main tour ends, you will enjoy breakfast at your Barcelona hotel and check-out by 11:00 am. A private transfer will take you to your hotel in Sitges. The afternoon and evening are completely free to relax at the gay beach or explore the area. There are dozens of restaurants and bars in the area too. Our Spanish gay guide accompanies this extension to ensure that you find your way to the best places in town. (Breakfast)
You have another heavenly free day to relax on the beach, stroll along the oceanfront, enjoy leisurely meals and go shopping. Sitges has 17 different beaches, and three of those are nudist beaches. There are a few interesting museums in town, and a stroll through the narrow streets of town reveal beautiful white-washed buildings with an old and interesting history. Optional activities can include speed boat tours, cultural walks, Segway tours, bike tours, and even learn how to surf. Our guide will be available to help you maximize your stay. Overnight in Sitges. (Breakfast)
The tour extension ends after breakfast this morning. We will assist with scheduling a taxi or private transfer to get you to the Barcelona Airport (which is very close to Sitges – about 15 miles) in time for your departing flight. (Breakfast)
Entry Requirements - For entry into Spain, U.S. and Canadian citizens need only present a passport which is valid 6 months beyond your intended stay.Immunizations & Health - No immunizations are currently required for travel to Spain, but it is wise to have your inoculations up-to-date. Is your tetanus booster current?
Exit Requirements - There is currently no separate departure tax required of visitors leaving Spain other than that included with the cost of your airline ticket.
Making Travel Arrangements to SpainOn this tour, international airfare is NOT included. You will need to get your international air to Madrid, Spain, and returning from Barcelona, Spain. We encourage you to work with Steven Goldberg at Frosch Travel in Chicago, who can inform you about the best flights for this trip to Spain.
You need to arrive in Madrid, Spain by 4:00 pm on Thursday, August 29, 2019. Departure is from Barcelona, Spain on Sunday, September 8, 2019. If you are taking the extension to Sitges, you will depart on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
Steven Goldberg / Frosch TravelToll-Free in USA: 1-800-323-1276
International guests, please call +1-312-371-9686
When calling, please identify yourself as a Toto Tours participant. If you leave a message on Steven’s voice mail, he will return your call promptly. He will be happy to discuss your travel plans and help you decide when to purchase your ticket for the best rate.
NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible we often must turn away last minute registrants because we relinquish hotel space and air reservations 8 – 12 weeks prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.
WHAT TO BRINGIn late August and early September, average daily temperatures in Madrid and Barcelona range from 60 to 78 degrees, and almost 10 degrees warmer in Seville and Cordoba. You won’t need a suit jacket or tie, as the tour is informal and dinner attire will be casual, but you will want nice outfits for the dinner/shows and club attire for the gay nightlife. Try to pack light and bring only one piece of luggage plus your carry-on. We will be traveling on trains with no porters, so you won’t want to be hauling a steamer trunk! Create mix and match outfits, and think about layering! Pack any medications you require in a carry-on bag and leave expensive jewelry at home.
Suggested Packing List:
- Proof of citizenship. Passport required.
- Nice casual wear for dinners.
- Long pants (2 – 3 pairs), belt.
- Shorts (2 – 3 pairs).
- Long-sleeve shirts (2 – 3).
- Short-sleeve shirts, polos, t-shirts (6 – 7).
- Socks, underwear for 10 days.
- Personal toiletries.
- Camera, lots of digital memory, extra batteries.
- Ziploc Bags (sandwich size for documents, gallon size for wet items or toiletries).
- Electrical Adapter. The electricity supply in Spain is 230 Volts/50 Hertz. Sockets are type F, requiring two round plugs. Click here to see examples and obtain more information.
- A good book for the long flights.
- If you want to practice your language abilities, perhaps bring a Spanish phrasebook too. Download the Google Translate App on your phone.
MONEY MATTERSThe Euro is the national currency of Spain (the code is EUR when looking up exchange rates). American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted everywhere. Click here to see the current exchange rate.
Tipping in Spain: In restaurants the law requires menu prices to include a service charge, and tipping is a matter of personal choice - most people leave some small change if they’re satisfied and 5% is usually plenty. It’s common to leave small change at tables in bars and cafés. We will present collective tips to guides and drivers throughout the tour.
THE TOTO SPIRITToto Tours provides Adventure Travel Experiences as differentiated from tours in the traditional sense. Adventure Travel allows (even encourages) you to be an active participant. Adventurers can be identified by certain traits. They are:
- fun-loving optimists who have a sense of humor and accentuate the positive;
- good natured realists who are willing to accept situations as they exist;
- undaunted by the unexpected, like occasional delays or bad weather;
- willing to forego some of the amenities we normally take for granted;
- eager to try new things & test limits;
- not whiners!
Travel InsuranceWe recommend you purchase travel insurance with Travel Guard to cover for unforeseen events prior to and during your trip. Please follow the link below or call us for more information.
Tour prices per personPrice: $5,400 in double occupancy hotel accommodations.
Private Room: $800 additional, for a total tour price of $6,200. (Paying a single supplement is not required. Toto Tours will try to match you with a roommate if you are traveling alone and prefer to share a room. If this is not possible, a single supplement will be applied to your reservation before the final payment date.)
(Due at time of registration for the tour. May be paid with a credit card.)
Remaining Balance (main tour): $4,800 double / $5,600 single
Remaining Balance Due: June 9, 2019 (80 days prior to departure)
(Full payment required with reservation form if enrolling after this date.)
Note: The tour price does not include bank service charges for processing credit card payments, and assumes that the balance of the tour price will be paid by check. If you would like to pay the final balance with a credit card, a 4% service charge will be applied. Let us know if you wish to pay by credit card, and we will adjust your invoice accordingly.
Included: 10 nights hotel accommodations; hotel breakfasts daily plus Welcome & Farewell Dinners; other meals as listed in the itinerary; ground transportation in climate controlled motorcoach; high speed train from Madrid to Seville, and from Seville to Barcelona; sightseeing activities and entrances as listed in the itinerary. This is a fully escorted tour, with guides added during tours.
Not Included: International airfare to Madrid, Spain (MAD) and returning from Barcelona, Spain (BCN); hotel transfers; ground transportation for sightseeing on your own (taxis, local guides, etc.); meals and optional activities not specifically listed in the itinerary; camera fees; alcoholic beverages; insurance; laundry, telephone calls, faxes, or any other expenses of a personal nature. Tips to drivers and guides and other conveyance attendants are not included; tipping guidelines for our group tips will be provided prior to departure.