Recently enjoyed a great experience with Spanish Trails on the Montserrat / Winery day trip from Barcelona.
Spanish Trails had come recommended by a family member, and upon reading additional reviews online was a no brainer for us. We also went on the All Things Dali trip to Port Lligat, Cadaques and Figueres - see other review. Communication, booking and payment processes were handled very well and in advance so as not to leave any confusion or last minute work.
We were not surprised to find that every other person in our two groups was doing at least one other Spanish Trails tour during their trips - all had nothing but high praise for every different trip. A perfect experience for those looking to get more out of the sightseeing in a comfortable, professionally organized way with tour guides who add a tremendous amount of value and enjoyment to the experience.
For our Montserrat / winery visit. Our guide, Viktor, was enthusiastic and engaged from our arrival at the meeting location. Throughout the day Viktor was a great guide and really more of a partner in the process. He immediately connected with everyone in the group which also fostered a great interaction with the other people in our small group (6 total + guide). Viktor provided not only great and entertaining information about the sites, but was very well versed in general knowledge (social culture, politics, economy, religion, history) about Barcelona, Spain, Europe and the rest of the world. This provided great additional discussion within the group and added to the value of the experience.
I won't go into the details of the sites other to say there is more than enough info online. Views were breathtaking at Montserrat. For religious people I am sure there is added value in the importance of the pilgrimage, monastery, black Madonna and boys choir. As an atheist I still love visiting churches based on the architecture and human cultural and historical aspects. Great experience regardless of your beliefs.
Lunch at the restaurant (Vinya Nova) was a highlight of the day. Incredible setting in an olive & fig orchard at the foot of the mountains. Great meal - the fresh bread with crushed garlic, tomatoes and oil was unreal.
The winery visit was brief but very informative, you get an overview of the winemaking process, to sample some delicious wines from a great organic winery, and have the chance to buy some bottles for very great value. Nice way to end the afternoon.
Transportation was in a very new VW van with comfortable seating, 3 zone climate control, and nice tinted windows for privacy. Very comfortable transportation for the winding mountain roads in a modern, safe and quality vehicle. Also very unassuming amongst all of the massive tour buses. The schedule was setup in a way to minimize any crowds or waiting...very strategic to maximize your enjoyment.
Can't recommend highly enough. You get great value out of these packages and will unquestionably thank yourself. We have since found out that Spanish Trails is known to be used by certain high profile people as well as supporting travel channel programming. Easy to see why. If we find ourselves in Barcelona again we'll know who to call.
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