Anne-Lise and I are back from a wonderful trip to Northern Spain. We usually make our own arrangements but take advantage of a Travel Expert’s advice and assistance when we expect it will greatly enhance our experience. Virginia Irurita and her staff fulfilled this role perfectly. We gave them a rough itinerary and they recommended a range of lodgings, restaurants, and tours. The trip was tailored to our slightly relaxed pace and gave us time on our own. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and we became immediate friends with all of them. The range of interests they covered for us included art and architecture in Barcelona (Zaida), wine tastings and historic hill towns in Rioja (Marina), Pintxos (tapas) bar-hopping in San Sebastian (Fanny), and a photojournalist’s “street” tour (Juan) and a professor’s Prado insight in Madrid (Pablo). It was no coincidence that a couple of the guides grew up with Virginia, and she shared a bottle of wine and good discussion with us at the end of our trip. Reservations for trains and our rental car, as well as driver transfers throughout the trip went off without a hitch. We would certainly recommend Made for Spain and Portugal to any traveler to the Iberian Peninsula.
The trip was very well planned and everyone was on time—drivers, guides, who
were all very good. Found the hotels in Portugal, except for Vila Joya, to be disappointing — especially
the Yeatman hotel and restaurant in Porto.
Virginia was amazing. She truly delivered on all accounts…from the tapas tour in Madrid (with her hipster and cool nephew) to the transfers and personal attendants at EACH point of embarking or arriving, to the MyFi handheld personal hotspot. Every detail was taken care of, and her response time while we were on our trip was first class. She and her team made our Spain trip a true memory maker. Worth the time to invest while planning your next trip to their beautiful country!
Our family recently returned (March 2017) from a trip to Spain and have to commend Virginia and her team for making it an unforgettable experience. We started with a group of 10 but a few weeks before the trip added 3 more family members. The team at Made for Spain easily accommodated the additions, including one who surprised the family a few days later in Seville. They made all the transportation arrangements and even booked restaurants for our group. They called us several times during the trip to make sure everything was going as planned and to check if we needed assistance. We felt very safe and supported in the country.
We were transported within the cities in up to date and clean vans and minibuses with very professional drivers. We were always offered water bottles onboard during our tours which was very welcome. Virginia had also arranged to have portable wifi devices issued to us for the duration of the trip. These were delivered to the first hotel in Madrid and were picked up after the end of the trip in Barcelona. It was very handy to have these so we could communicate with each other securely and to refer to online maps as we navigated around the cities. They even worked onboard the trains as we travelled to Seville and Barcelona!
We were booked in business class on the high-speed train, which we chose over taking flights between the cities. It was a comfortable way to travel and we were served meals as well. Virginia had an escort meet us at the train stations and even included luggage assistants. For a group consisting of not only adults but young children and grandparents, this service was most convenient. We did not have to worry about getting around the stations and negotiating the many pieces of luggage.
What truly made this trip special was our local tour guides in each city. I had asked Virginia in advance to set us up with guides with humor who would cater to the interests of our multi generational group, and she delivered. My children were made to feel part of the tour in special ways and that was very important and invaluable. My six year old daughter remembers being a “special helper” in the Royal Palace in Madrid. Our guide in Seville made sure to make little detours in our walking tour to accommodate the stroller for my youngest. She also pointed out locations where I could take the kids to run around and play when we had free time the following day. Our fantastic guide in Barcelona took us to a local restaurant that was close to a small playground and allowed us to let the two young ones enjoy. My eldest son was also fascinated by the Caganer figurine which our guide introduced. Because of this, he now has an enjoyable story from Barcelona he is sharing with his friends and cousins.
The history and culture of Segovia, Cordoba and Montserrat also came alive due to the guides’ experience, knowledge and passion. We were able to enjoy Spain in a very special and highly personalized way and can’t wait to come back and visit. Our family only have good things to say about this trip. We have been to other European cities before as part of larger tour groups and on cruises. We have also travelled independently to other parts of the world. Everyone agreed that this way is the best way to travel. The expertise and personal touch of Virginia as well as Clare and Inmaculada who we worked closely with made all the difference. For anyone planning a trip to Spain and Portugal, the best decision you will make is to contact Virginia. Her team works together to make sure correspondence is responded to promptly. They suggest great itineraries and special events but accommodate changes and revisions that cater to their clients requests and needs. Amazing service.
Araceli de Vera and Family
Virginia and her team really put together a customized trip that met our needs and offered unique suggestions for places to visit, stay, eat, and enjoy Barcelona and nearby towns. We had excellent guides, wonderful hotel suggestions, good day trips, amazing winery visit. And they were really good in helping us put together the Tenerife part of the trip which is something they hadn’t done before. There, too, we had an excellent guide who made a huge difference when there was bad weather and we needed to adjust the schedule at the last minute. Visiting Tenerife was very special, beautiful island, great hiking, and a unique travel experience. We would definitely use Virginia again.
We traveled in December 2016.
I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Virginia and her team. Every step along the way was handled impeccably – from the first phone call to our final itinerary. We were able to customize each day of our trip. Once we arrived in Barcelona, the hotel was perfect and our tour guides were top notch. Everything ran seamlessly and without worry. The follow up from Made for Spain at the beginning and end of the trip was also appreciated. A much deserved thank you goes to Blanca for helping with last minute reservations. Her timeliness and suggestions were great. We would use Made for Spain again without any hesitation. This trip was our first time using a WOW specialist and we are already planning our next!
Virginia and team planned a great trip for us in October 2016. We went to Barcelona, San Sebastian and Rioja. We did a day trip to Tarragona and Priorat from Barcelona, a walking tour in San Sebastian, a pinxos tour in San Sebastian and 2 days of wine tours in Rioja. All the guides were fantastic. We would love to return to Spain and explore the south and would definitely use Virginia and Made for Spain to plan that trip.
Trip to Spain Oct 3-19 2016. We visited Madrid, Segovia, Bilbao, La Rioja and the Basque Coast, Barcelona, Sevilla, and Cordova. We traveled by train, rental car and internal flights (on Vueling).
Our trip to Spain, which Virginia and her team arranged for us according to our wishes was a marvelous experience that has given us many warm and unforgettable memories. The scenery both natural and man-made – from many centuries to only a few years old – is spectacular. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable about the history, art and culture of Spain, its contributions to European and global civilization from the latter part of the first through the second millennium. Touchy subjects such as Sir Francis Drake (English hero) versus Drake the Pirate (Spanish version), the relationships between Muslims, Christians and Jews over the centuries and the realities of the Inquisition as well as the much more recent and still highly controversial events of the civil war of the 1930’s were handled with grace and tact. The travel arrangements worked smoothly (with the exception of the unexpected charge from AVIS car rental which is not Virginia’s responsibility and which was successfully and promptly resolved -removed- once we queried it). We were able to navigate the few toll roads we took and decipher the rules at parking meters successfully (interesting that where we parked the time between 13:30 and 15:30 hours was free).
The food was excellent, both the various fish dishes and the suckling pig. We were in particular impressed by Arroka Berri. We were very lucky with the weather that only interfered with our plans one evening in Barcelona with a torrential downpour that caused us to cancel our reservation at Petit Comite that would have involved a 20 minute walk or finding an available taxi, an impossible task. But the staff at the Hotel H10Cubik recommended a restaurant, Neyras, which was just a few minutes walk. Neyras proved to be both excellent and a new experience for us, with divine sea bass cooked in salt crust…… Our second deviation from plan was the result of a recommendation of our guide Marianna, in Sevilla who said we must go to Contenedor in preference to Casablanca, a reservation which the hotel cancelled for us after ensuring we could get one at Contenedor. The neighborhood atmosphere and the food in this restaurant, about a 20 minute walk from the Gran Melia Hotel Colon lived up fully to her recommendation. She also advised us where to go on our free day in Sevilla, including a visit to the bullfighting ring. There too we learned a lot, including the history of bullfighting and the status of the current controversy and legal disputes about whether to ban this activity
We note that our transatlantic experience with TAP from Boston to Madrid return via Lisbon, which we booked ourselves, was a good one. Virginia has a great team several of whom were involved in planning and making arrangements during the course of our interactions from initial planning through the trip itself.
Muchisimas gracias for a wonderful trip.
Virginia Irurita made my travel arrangements which was for two couples that traveled to Seville, the Algarve (southern Portugal) and Lisbon in October 2016. All the hotels, excursions, drivers and guides were wonderful! Everyone was very friendly, helpful and spoke excellent English. Guides & drivers were flexible but showed us all the sights & restaurants we probably would not have found on our own. I highly recommend Virginia Irurita.
My husband and I traveled the first 2 weeks of October to Spain. We enjoyed Malaga, Arcos de la Frontera, Seville and Granada. We also enjoyed a day/night in Gibraltar. At each of these locations the guides provided to us were informative, fun and provided extra information as to additional activities we might enjoy while there along with dining recommendations. They listened when we needed to take breaks – as these were 3 – 4 hour walking tours. The drivers provided were also quite attentive and extremely prompt and tidy! Our driver at one point even stopped at a rest stop in order to buy cough drops for my nagging cough, then once at our destination found a pharmacy and helped convey my symptoms to obtain the correct medicine. I would absolutely recommend Virginia and have nothing but positive things to say about this wonderful organization.
Though booking through a travel agent is fairly new for me, I had only one week to spend with my daughter and Virginia’s team thought of everything. From pick up at the airport, to transportation to the Algarve and back, everything went without a hitch. True, you can’t monitor every penny you spend, but every bit of hassle was removed. Our room at the Lapa Palace had been “curated” and was a perfect welcome to Lisbon. They were pleasant and conscientious in their accounting when we made changes.
Our guide. Joau and Samuel, our driver, were extremely personable, knowledgeable, and terrific company! Virginia & her team were thoughtful in every way, and we had a perfect time.
In the Fall of 2014, I contacted Virginia Irurita to discuss planning a very special Birthday trip to Spain with my husband. We had a window of 10 days to travel and we wanted to see three areas of Spain – arriving in Barcelona and staying for a few days, journeying to the Costa Brava for two nights, a flight across the country to stay in Seville for several days and then a drive to Granada to complete the holiday and return to our country.
Virginia was exceptionally helpful in coordinating all of the details of this journey – we stayed in four luxury hotel properties and had a car and driver as we travelled from Barcelona to the Costa Brava and back to the airport for our flight to Seville. In Seville we were met by another driver who took us to our hotel and then arrived several days later to drive us to Granada. Arrangements were always punctual and the drivers were informative and provided local tourist information.
We chose to take a personal guided tour for part of each day in the cities of our destinations and Virginia arranged friendly and personable guides who took us into markets, cathedrals, local restaurants and coffee shops – areas that only the locals know and would not be in a tourist guide. We felt that we were visiting Spain in a very personal and private tour and we loved every minute of our holiday. The coordination of all of these pieces flowed smoothly with Virginia’s guidance and she created an itinerary that included every aspect of what we had requested – plus more!!
We would not hesitate to seek her guidance again on any future travel into Spain – there is still so much to see of the country, as she reminded us:)
We loved the attention to detail, the knowledge and enthusiasm of the guides and the 24/7 access to assistance, should we have needed it. There was no stress on our part. We showed up and off we went.
Virginia Irurita and her team from Made for Spain were a pleasure to deal with and were critical to making our time in Spain such a great success. This is the 6th time we’ve worked with a firm from Wendy’s Wow List and once again we weren’t disappointed. Accommodations, transportation, restaurant selections and guides were all top notch. Thanks so much Virginia, Clare & team for making our time as a family so special!
My husband and I recently returned from celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary on a week-long getaway to Madrid and Ribera del Duero in Spain planned through Virginia Irurita with Made for Spain. We had a relaxing, unique, trip with lots of little VIP touches that we could never have planned on our own. She initiated our trip planning with a phone call to ascertain what was important for us and scheduled accordingly. We never would have discovered the Ribera del Duero region or its gems like the breathtaking monastery we stayed in or the scrumptious roast lamb meal we had with our guide. The guides we had through Virginia and her team at Made for Spain were top-notch, knowledgeable and fun to explore with and learn from. My husband secretly worked with the Made for Spain crew and picked up an anniversary gift for me that they had waiting in our first hotel when we arrived. Our only negative experience was during the planning stage when there was some miscommunication around dining reservations. However, once we highlighted the issue, the Virginia’s team jumped into gear and was able to book what we needed at highly-demanded restaurants. Overall, we had an amazing trip without the nitty-gritty detail planning but with unique experiences only Virginia and her team could provide.
Virginia Irurita and her team helped me plan a trip to Spain for my daughter and I in May 2016. They were more than excellent….they are truly a “WOW” company! Their communications and suggestions during the planning process were excellent, timely and professional and tailored to our interests and wishes, beginning with a long distance phone call to us from Spain to get initial discussions going! The materials they sent us prior to the trip included many unexpected and helpful details, including maps of the major places we were visiting & information to leave home with our family. They suggested several local experiences with local people that were outside of the main tourist venues and tourist attractions, or anything you would find in a guidebook, and were so special and intimate and privately arranged just for us. They clearly went out of the way to suggest great hotels and get us the best rooms. We were treated like VIPs everywhere we went. They took the stress and worry out of wondering how we would get from place to place by providing wonderful drivers who were knowledgeable and friendly and helpful and unfailingly polite and kind. They set us up with 5-6 local guides during the course of the trip and all of them, without exception, were top-notch people and we enjoyed them all so much. I would recommend Virginia to everyone contemplating a trip to Spain.
Nancy and I loved our trip to Barcelona. Virginia Irurita and her staff, Alexandra and Olga, did a great job planning and executing our trip. It should be noted that Virginia was very customer friendly as she took time on one of her Saturday’s to start the process. Once we were in Spain, everything went smoothly. We enjoyed both the sightseeing and cultural aspects of our trip. It made our time in Barcelona special.
We stayed at the Hotel Majestic. The location and the room were great. The staff were very friendly and made you feel like family.
We enjoyed the sightseeing that we did with Sonia, one of our tour guides. Sonia was full of energy and made our time together both fun and informative. Sonia was a great match for us.
We also loved our cultural time with Veronica. The tapas evening was a lot of fun. It was great being with a local as we could see how the process worked. It also allowed us to talk with her about Barcelona and Spain. The one thing that impressed us the most was on the shopping day, we went to an exclusive rare book store in one of Gaudi’s first homes. We do not know how she figured out that my wife, Nancy, loves books from our one meeting, but she nailed it and Nancy was thrilled with the experience.
We also enjoyed the wine tasting evening with Ferran. He provided the perfect mixture of his expertise on Spanish wines with a level of friendliness that made you feel comfortable talking with him during the time we spent together. He put together a wonderful evening and the primary place he took us to treated us to some great food and wine. One of the highlights was the place allowed us to share a glass of a 1929 wine with some cheese. It was a rare treat.
As for the cooking with Chef Pilar Latorre, it was a very special way to end our trip. Pilar and her husband were gracious hosts who made you feel welcome. We cooked some great food and will use some of the recipes when we entertain in the States.
We would like to thank Virginia for a great trip and would highly recommend her and Made for Spain to anyone wanting to plan a special trip to Spain. As noted above, they get great tour guides. In addition, the tours are not always the typical sightseeing tours. They also offer great cultural experiences so that you can meet local people and get to know how life is like in Spain. We will use Virginia and Made for Spain again when we return to Spain.
Virginia and the entire staff at Made for Spain did a fantastic job helping us plan a most wonderful and memorable first ever trip to Spain! Hotel and restaurant recommendations were excellent, as was all the advice on how to make the most of two weeks in Spain, according to our particular interests. In addition they helped us with inter-country flights, trains, and car rental and Blanca, on their 24 hour contact number. They answered the phone immediately, day or night, the few times an issue came up that we needed help with. We used a half-day private guide, once in each location, and they were all terrific. It is a fascinating country and there is so much to see and do that we look forward to returning to explore additional areas, with Made for Spain’s top notch assistance. Not only very knowledgeable, they are warm, caring, friendly people – AND VERY PROMPT GETTING BACK TO YOU – a pleasure to work with.
They were well prepared and flexible when changes needed to be made. We loved every moment. The kids had the time of their lives and learned so much.
We had a wonderful trip to Barcelona, Spain. I really appreciate Wendy getting involved to help move along the planning process. During the planning process we had quite a hard time with the person assigned to us. He did not have the knowledge to answer our questions or make suggestions based on our likes/dislikes. It seemed like he had a list of tours to choose from but if what you wanted was not exactly on the list he was baffled. His demeanor was kind and earnest but the planning experience was stressful and not as fun as it has been with other Wow List planners. Some confusion did continue when we were in Spain — our drivers and guide were sometimes confused as well about timing but handled it with grace and ease.
Once we were underway our trip was fabulous! Our hotel rooms were great, especially the Parador Aiguablava. Although the hotel itself was a little aged, our suite on the rooftop had just been renovated. It was dreamy — large hot tub, double shower (plus additional indoor and outdoor ones). Relaxing living room and views to die for. Home run on that one! We were nervous about a “Marriott” in Barcelona but Virginia told us not to fear and she was correct. The art deco style of the hotel was spectacular, especially the staircase and the bar/breakfast room. Our room was minimalist and had the most amazing, comfortable bed which was perfect for the afternoon siestas. The staff was young and incredibly kind.
The real stars of the week were our fantastic drivers and guides. Beyond being wonderfully informative about the area, architecture and history, they were able to adjust on the fly, meet all requests and make wonderful suggestions to enhance our trip. One highlight was a bike trip cut short due to excessive heat — our guide ended up taking us to a fabulous inn where he knew the owners. We had a swim in a beautifully set swimming pool on a farm/vineyard and then our best paella meal out on an exquisite patio. These guides work mostly for Made for Spain and it’s encouraging to hear that they enjoy working with Virginia’s team.
So, the planning part was rough. I would suggest that others make sure they are comfortable right away with who they are working with and speak up to Virginia or Wendy if there is an issue. Virginia was the consummate professional and turned the experience around completely.
My family of five just returned from a trip to Barcelona and we could not be happier with Virginia and her Made for Spain team. Our itinerary was interesting and fun for all of us, including my 11-year-old daughter and 8-year-old twin boys. The kids especially loved Camp Nou Stadium, the Dali Museum, and making hot chocolate, as well as the bike tour of the city. All the guides were knowledgeable and friendly, and knew the perfect places to get ice cream or snacks when the kids got tired. Could I have planned the trip myself? Perhaps. But it would have been quite stressful knowing where to go, how to get there, etc. My first time in Europe was awesome and my kids are asking when we are going back. Virginia even called during the trip to make sure things were going OK. Thanks, Made for Spain!
My wife and I, along with another couple, have just returned from a 12-day tour of Spain arranged by Virginia Irurita and her team at Made for Spain. The itinerary included Madrid, El Escorial, Seville, Granada, San Sebastián, Bilbao and La Rioja. We especially enjoyed the time we spent with the guides Virginia hand-picked in each city.
It was the trip of a lifetime and we are eternally grateful to Virginia and her team for showing us all that Spain has to offer.
My husband and I plus another couple just returned from our trip using Made for Spain. This was our second trip with them and we highly recommend Virginia and her team. Before you even leave home, they arrange a beautiful itinerary of what interests you. In addition to the usual “touristy” sites, they arranged special outings for us, e.g., meeting a marquesa, visiting a bull farm, touring the Basque Culinary Center, touring boutique specialty shops in Madrid and a Pintxos tour in San Sebastien. The third time is a charm. They are top-notch and we hope to use them again for visit #3.
We have traveled for over 20 years and the best decision we ever made was using Made for Spain. Virginia and her staff not only set up a wonderful itinerary but ensured that we did not have to do anything but show up at hotels, meet our private tour guides and just eat the wonderful meals in Spain and Portugal (Sept 1–Sept 15, 2014). Also, having her staff available 24 hours a day for questions or to make any changes was truly a nice touch.
My husband and I recently returned from our first trip to Spain (Madrid, San Sebastian, Mallorca and Barcelona), planned in conjunction with Virginia Irurita and Made for Spain. The planning and the trip could not have been more enjoyable. At first contact, Virginia wanted to know about us and what we look for when we travel. She and her staff were extremely easy to work with and welcomed our input. The tour guides were knowledgeable, the drivers were prompt and professional, and all hotel and restaurant reservations were perfect—not one glitch. An added bonus: There is someone at Made for Spain to speak to 24/7 if necessary when traveling. We highly recommend Virginia and her company for travel in Spain.
Our family of four (all adults) just returned from a trip to Barcelona arranged by Virginia Irurita of Made for Spain Travel and would highly recommend her services. Everything was seamless. The drivers were excellent, our tour guide, Carles, was extremely well informed and engaging, and we felt at all points during our stay in Barcelona that we were in very capable hands. Virginia even arranged for our itinerary and a welcome gift to be left in our hotel room on arrival. We had a wonderful time and will definitely use Made for Spain on any future trips to Spain.
We used Made for Spain for travel to Barcelona and San Sebastián in late May.
Positives: The guides and drivers they used in all cities were excellent, and I would recommend booking through them by virtue of that alone. They assembled an itinerary that made sense for the days spent and where we were flying into and out of; and they even suggested activities which we had not thought of but ended up really enjoying.
Negatives: At times I felt things at the planning stage were a bit disorganized. There was a restaurant reservation request that was forgotten, our reservation at a hotel was under an incorrect name, amongst other things.
That said, the pluses outweighed the minuses and I would recommend using them to anyone who is considering visiting, though I would suggest being diligent about follow-ups while going through the planning process.
My husband and I recently returned from our first trip to Spain (Madrid, San Sebastian, Mallorca and Barcelona), planned in conjunction with Virginia Irurita and Made for Spain. The planning and the trip could not have been more enjoyable. At first contact, Virginia wanted to know about us and what we look for when we travel. She and her staff were extremely easy to work with and welcomed our input. The tour guides were knowlegeable, the drivers were prompt and professional and all hotel and restaurant reservations were perfect – not one clich. An added bonus is there is someone at Made for Spain to speak to 24/7 if necessary when traveling. We highly recommend Virginia and her company for travel in Spain