Our trip was excellent and we were very happy with Pablo’s suggestions! The best part of our trip were the private food tours and the cooking class, which I had never thought to do before, and we covered so much ground in every way. I’d highly recommend these experiences, which felt very personal and not touristy. Our only negative was that I’d think twice about a bike tour in Barcelona for an 8 year old. But half of us continued with that same bike tour and loved it. The trip planner absolutely added value by booking fantastic, charming, perfectly located hotels and booking such incredible unique experiences like our cooking class and our tapas and pintxos tours that make a short trip feel SO full of culture, new experiences, new tastes, new friends. Bravo!!
We completed a two-week vacation to northern Spain in June/July 2023 including time in Barcelona, Rioja, and San Sebastian. Pablo did an excellent job selecting guides to help us explore the regions, including historical sights, hiking, wine tasting, and general sightseeing. Our lodging met (and sometimes exceeded) the expectations we had before arrival. We had an excellent trip with no problems.
Pablo Calvo was extraordinarily helpful in planning our trip to Spain in March 2023! He is a pleasure to work with and was very accommodating about having a few Zoom calls to work out some of the details in a virtual face-to-face. Our small group was very pleased with his hotel choices and bookings, which were exactly what we were looking for (basically four-star boutique hotels). He also facilitated a food tour and other guides in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. I would highly recommend using Pablo to make your trip planning easier and seamless.
We planned our trip to Spain with Pablo Calvo and team. Pablo was very responsive throughout the planning cycle, and his recommendations on hotels and guided tours were excellent. He provided a good selection of hotels and had good backups when we were not quite satisfied with first recommendations. Pablo’s tour guides made the trip for us. They were both knowledgeable AND personable. The best thing I can say is that we would definitely use Pablo again……
The only hotel that was less than excellent was our Madrid hotel, “Only You” at the train station. Too much like a business hotel, and very crowded intersection which made pick-ups and drop-offs difficult. Might look at the same chain, but quieter location.
During our first contact with Wendy Perrin we had a far-reaching conversation about possible destinations and activities. We were put in touch with Pablo, the country specialist for Spain. Pablo is masterful at listening and finding the best match and experiences for his clients. He is focused on logistics and details. He planned a fabulous trip for us based on our interest in long walks, culinary experiences and individual attention. Other than one minor hiccup the trip was executed flawlessly. We cannot say enough good things about our trip and Pablo’s level of service. He was thoughtful, detail-oriented and incredibly communicative in the planning process. Even going above and beyond to help with dinner reservations. Additionally, the local guides he connected us with were at the highest level of service. We would plan another trip with him in a heartbeat.
My wife and I (age 70) recently spent two weeks in Spain with another couple on a trip planned by Pablo. All four of us have done a good amount of world travel, and definitely recommend him. He was very responsive, even after we postponed the trip three times due to Covid and a medical issue. His itinerary delivered what we asked for, and covered a lot of ground in our limited time. Highlights: Sagrada Familia, Alhambra, White Villages, Mesquita, Prado, and the cathedrals in Granada and Seville. He was also helpful about timing our trip.
The hotel choices he offered were in line with our parameters (generally 4-star); the Parador at the Alhambra probably our favorite. The guides he arranged were all very good (e.g., at the Picasso Museum, our guide quickly adjusted to the visit by the Obamas, which led to an early close) and the drivers were all on time. Pablo worked hard to meet our request for a Spanish wine lesson and a photography tour in Barcelona.
My husband, 26-year old daughter and I recently returned from a 10-day trip through the Andalusian region of Spain, with a few days in Madrid tacked on at the end. The trip was planned by Pablo Calvo. He planned a wonderful trip for our party of three. His selections of hotels and hotel rooms were spot-on. I was afraid trying to accommodate three adults in one hotel room would be tight, but the rooms he chose were very spacious and beautiful. The private guides and drivers were always punctual and very informative. The little extras, like the boat ride with bottle of cava in Sevilla, and the winery tour and tapas lunch in Madrid, were special treats.
We were greeted at the Madrid airport by a very nice and informative driver, who drove us directly to the Madrid train station. We took a high-speed train to Sevilla. While there, we stayed at the King Alfonso XIII Hotel, which is pricy, but well worth the expense because of its beautiful decor, large rooms and perfect location. The next day we took a walking tour with Rachel through the old town, with stops at the Alcazar and Cathedral. We loved walking to the top of the bell tower and looking out over the city. That evening Pablo arranged a private boat ride with bottle of cava, and a flamenco show. The next day, we took a day trip to Jerez de la Frontera and Cadiz. We attended a show at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez. The dancing horses and their riders in traditional costumes were amazing to watch. Our driver and guide, Lucy, then took us further south to Cadiz. The weather was not great, but I did enjoy seeing a beach on the other side of the Atlantic. Lucy was so fun and enthusiastic.
Next we headed to Ronda, which is jaw-droppingly beautiful! My husband loved touring the first bull ring of Spain. And our guide, Antonio Jesus, was fantastic! We loved his jaunty attitude and fashionable attire. The trip to the family-run winery was one of the highlights of the trip. We were amazed at how much love and effort went into producing the delicious wine. It was so tasty that we ordered a case to be shipped back home. Our driver, Eduardo, then delivered us to our beautiful hotel, Palacio de los Patos in Granada.
The next morning we toured the Alhambra Palace complex. Wow! The gardens were gorgeous and the moorish architecture that dates back to the 1200s was unbelievable. No wonder the Alhambra is the most-visited tourist attraction in Spain. We ate lunch in a darling restaurant near St. Nicholas Square, overlooking the Alhambra.
The next morning a driver drove us about 2 hours to Cordoba. Our room at the Palacio del Baillio was a private junior suite with its own private patio. Ooo la la! My daughter and I enjoyed the complimentary use of the Roman baths in the hotel spa. We had an afternoon tour of Cordoba’s Old Town, walking the pretty, winding streets, and a private tour of the Great Mosque. The Mosque is a must-see! The thousands of beautiful red and white moorish arches, combined with the Christian baroque and renaissance architecture, was unbelievable!
We timed our visit to Cordoba perfectly, because we were there two weeks after the Tour of the Patios. The crowds had gone, but the flowers on the six patios we saw were still beautiful. I cannot believe it takes about 3-4 hours per day to water all the flowers on those patios. The annual festival/fair was also going on, so we saw numerous ladies walking around town in beautiful flamenco dresses. We also walked over to the fairgrounds and peeked into a few of the party tents. What a fun celebration to witness!
The next day we took a high-speed train back to Madrid. We stayed in a junior suite in the ME Madrid Reina Victoria, which had fabulous views and balconies overlooking the Plaza de Santa Ana. It was a perfect location, near many restaurants, bars and quick walks to Plaza de Sol and the Prado. We loved wandering the streets, and walking through the El Retiro Park. We had a private tour of Madrid’s Old Town the next day. We really enjoyed touring the Royal Palace and eating a traditional tapas lunch with our guide, Ana.
Our final day in Spain was a day trip to Toledo. What a beautiful town! They were preparing for the Corpus Christi celebration to be held the next week, so there were banners on all the balconies and an atmosphere of excitement and preparation. The artwork in the Cathedral was unbelievable! Original works by El Greco, Goya and Caravaggio to name just a few. Walking through the Jewish Quarter, synagogue and the monastery was the perfect way to end our cultural trip of Spain.
I would highly recommend a trip to Andalusia and using Pablo to make all the arrangements!
We recently had the pleasure of working with Pablo Calvo as our trip planner for a 7-day family vacation in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain. From our initial teleconference via Zoom, Pablo displayed exceptional professionalism and attentiveness to our needs. He took the time to understand our budget, expectations, and interests, ensuring that our trip would be tailored to our preferences.
Pablo’s expertise became evident as he meticulously arranged every aspect of our trip. He secured hotel reservations for us at the exquisite Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona and the luxurious The Principal Madrid hotel, providing us with unforgettable accommodations. Additionally, he organized our high-speed rail tickets from Barcelona to Madrid, ensuring a seamless and convenient travel experience.
One of the highlights of our trip was the selection of private tours and guides that Pablo arranged for us. We had a fantastic time exploring Barcelona’s Gaudi monuments, savoring an evening tapas tour in Madrid, and embarking on a memorable day trip to Montserrat. Our favorite experience in Barcelona was the paella experience where chef Josh helped us and our kids create a beautiful meal.
In Madrid, we were fortunate to have Alfonso as our guide for three days, and he truly exceeded our expectations. His knowledge, enthusiasm, and attention to detail made each excursion an enriching experience. We particularly enjoyed his guidance during our visit to the Prado museum and the captivating side trip to the beautiful city of Toledo.
Throughout our journey, Pablo remained highly responsive and available. He promptly addressed any questions or concerns that arose, ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience for our family. His dedication was exemplified when he coordinated with our hotel concierge to provide crutches for my wife when she unexpectedly injured her foot. This level of care and attention truly went above and beyond our expectations.
In summary, Pablo Calvo’s expertise and meticulous planning made our trip to Spain an unforgettable experience. His attention to detail, selection of exceptional accommodations, and organization of private tours and transportation were outstanding. We wholeheartedly recommend Pablo and his company, and Wendy Perrin, to anyone seeking an exceptional travel planning experience. Thanks to Pablo, our family created cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
Pablo created a great trip to Spain. We had 3 nights in Seville, 2 nights in Madrid, and 3 in Barcelona. Pablo set up our drivers to and from all of our locations. The drivers were professional and always on time. We had private tours in all our cities and side tours to nearby areas. The guides were all very good and spoke English well.
We would use Pablo again for any future trip to Spain.
I recently took my grandson to Barcelona to celebrate his 13th birthday. It was a ton of fun. Pablo and Patricia were so helpful in the planning process. His recommendation for our hotel was great—we had an apartment at the Neri. Our guides—Paco, Cristina, Cynthia, Marcos and Ellie—were fun, knowledgable and flexible! The street-art walk was a highlight. We took a day trip to San Sebastian to explore the Basque country a bit. Gorgeous! My grandson is an avid skateboarder so he chose Barcelona because it is one of the most skate-friendly cities in the world. He skated all over! A most memorable 10 days!
We just returned from a lovely 2-week trip to Andalusia, planned by Pablo. We took Pablo’s advice and flew into Madrid and traveled to Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada by train, which was very easy and pleasant. We then rented a car in Granada and drove to Ronda, where we stayed in a small, lovely, family-run hotel which I found and booked myself, as Pablo was unfamiliar with it. We then flew home from Malaga.
The hotels Pablo booked for us were terrific and the tour guides that he arranged were outstanding. In particular, our guide in Granada, a lovely guy originally from the Netherlands named Martin, was truly an expert in the history, art and architecture of the area and provided fascinating details with regard to the Alhambra which really enriched the experience. We took a day trip to Ubeda and Baeza which exceeded our expectations. Our guide there, Andrea, is the manager of the Sinagoga del Agua, a medieval synagogue which was accidentally discovered in 2006 and restored and opened to the public in 2010. We had a private tour with him of this beautiful place and he gave us a fascinating account of its history, development and current uses. This was a highlight of our trip. On the other hand, our day trip to the white villages in the Alpujarras mountain area was picturesque and mildly interesting, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it unless one is interested in hiking.
We did have a few mishaps. The driver who was supposed to pick us up at the Madrid airport never showed up, so after waiting 30 minutes we took a taxi. There was also a problem with our car rental in Granada. They didn’t have a record of the prepayment for the rental and so we spent quite a bit of time in the office and on the phone to straighten it out. Adding to the frustration of this experience was the fact that we were told that the rental office was at the train station when, in fact, it was a block away and it took us some time to find it. Then locating the car, which was in a very large subterranean lot a few blocks from the office, was also difficult. So we wasted well over an hour on the entire rental process.
However, overall, the trip was a great success and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
We took two weeks through southern and central Spain, thanks to Pablo Calvo and his team. My wife and my daughter about to graduate from college spent the first week hitting Seville, Cordoba, Jerez de la Frontera, Ronda and Granada. It would be hard to pick a favorite, but the highlights were the bull ring and views in Ronda, the equestrian show and mini food tour in Jerez, the old town in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada. The tour guides were excellent, the hotels we stayed in were just what we asked for — small, boutique hotels with charm to spare.
Or second week saw us drop our oldest at the airport and meet our youngest, who is studying in Madrid for the spring. The highlight was being able to work with Alfonso, who guided us through the Prado and on all-day tours hitting Toledo, the El Escorial and Segovia. Alfonso was incredibly accommodating, super-knowledgable and set us up with reservations at incredible restaurants for lunch in both Toledo and Segovia. We stayed at the Totem Hotel in Madrid, which was absolutely fabulous. A sneaky favorite for us in Madrid was an unplanned visit to Alfredo di Stéfano stadium to see the Real Madrid Femeninos play a match. The best double-secret favorite was the impromptu visit to an Arab bath in the lower part of a privately owned building in Toledo. This was only possible because of the incredible connections of Alfonso.
Pablo and Patricia were great to work with, extremely accommodating, very well connected and really delivered on what we asked for and more.
Perfect trip with Pablo!! We had an awesome trip in Madrid, Rioja, and the Basque country. This is our third trip with Pablo and he has proven to be invaluable for our trips in Spain.
We have requested everything from last-minute reservations on restaurants, on-the-go changes to the itinerary, and Pablo has always exceeded our expectations, delivering every time!!
Don´t go to Spain without him!
Pablo and his team planned a wonderful 11-day itinerary for our family’s Thanksgiving trip to Southern Spain. This was a labor of love after nearly five different iterations due to Covid, and Pablo and his team were very patient with us during the planning process and delivered a trip we will always remember. We spent a significant amount of time in Madrid and then headed to Seville and Granada. Without a doubt, the success of this trip was largely attributable to the wonderful guides who showed us a little of their world. Not only were they incredibly flexible with our sons, aged 10 and 8, they found ways to bring the Spanish culture to life for them. In Madrid, that meant trying the city’s best Tortilla in one of the city’s vibrant markets, stopping for churros, going to rooftops to teach the boys about the landmarks in a fun and interesting way and finding tapas restaurants that were authentic and family-friendly. Alfonso, our Madrid guide, was so kind and generous with his time, he really made us feel welcomed. In Seville, I was pleasantly surprised to see the boys connecting with the Flamenco show Pablo arranged for us; it was an authentic experience that the adults enjoyed too! We loved our day trip to Jerez de la Frontera to see the dancing white horses at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. And, our tour of Alhambra Palace and Generalife was perfectly timed for the family—we were able to see the entire complex without rushing, but also held the kids’ interest. The details were seamless throughout the entire trip and I appreciated Pablo’s office working on a last-minute change to our itinerary when we decided to call an audible on the final days of our trip. Spain is a wonderful place for children and this was one of our very best family vacations to date.
Our trip to Spain, planned by Pablo Calvo, was fabulous. Our planner helped us select cities visited, tours/excursions, etc. We started in Madrid for a destination wedding, then went to Seville and Barcelona. We loved it all and were especially appreciative of his flexibility and responsiveness given weather-related issues (Hurricane Ian).
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Excellent all the way, this is our second trip with Pablo Calvo to Spain, the choice of hotels was perfect to our needs as we requested one bedroom for 3 persons, always big suites in beautiful small hotels.
He even managed to get us a table in Celler Can Roca with less than 2 months notice, when usually they are sold out almost a year in advance.
He has all the right connections with the guides, drivers and tours to make an exceptional trip.
Would not go back to Spain without Pablo.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Barcelona was fabulous—we loved every minute of it. Since this was our first trip to BCN, Pablo Calvo’s curated trip highlighted the quintessential places and experiences for mid-July. Fabulous guides (Suzi, Miquel, Pol, Lores), amazing food, and a terrific mix of city/country (Montserrat, Girona, Figueres-Dali) and Old Town (Santa Caterina Market, Picasso Museum, Jewish Quarter/Modernism, Gaudi, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell). We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, which has an ideal location for shopping and central to all our day trips. Stellar service.
Pablo was easy to work with, responded promptly to emails, and pivoted quickly when I expressed interest in other activities. We enjoyed every place we visited and only wish we had more time. I wouldn’t visit the city without a daily guide—makes all the difference—and he provided a great lineup. We truly enjoyed their company and deep knowledge of the city, historical sites and museums.
With respect to Covid: we wore our masks whenever we were indoors with exception of many of the restaurants. Drivers wore masks and guides always asked our preference. Returned home and have continued to test negative.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We travelled to Seville and Granada, Spain to visit our daughter who was working there. Pablo was amazing. He put together an incredible trip and it was amazingly personal. From the hotel accommodations, to tour guides, to overall services he provided. He also quickly accommodated changes as our daughter joined us for part of the trip. I would highly recommend Pablo.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Outstanding two-week trip to 5 cities in Spain. Entire trip was planned by Pablo Calvo. All planes, trains, and automobiles were coordinated flawlessly. The highlights of the trip were the guides he picked to take us through each city. Knowledgeable, experienced, easygoing, flexible. They brought an entirely new level of understanding to our travel experiences. Interesting anecdotes, stories, historical context, an understanding of art, architecture, culture, and even horticulture. COVID was a non-issue, by the way. Each city was 90+% vaccinated and everything was clean. Didn’t wear a mask except for a few small places. Testing prior to US return just ended, but that was a pain.
Madrid was fabulous. Next time we will spend more time there to see all 3 major art museums. Our itinerary: Madrid, Granada, Ronda (day), Sienna, Cordoba (day), San Sebastian, Barcelona.
Staying on site in the former monastery at the Alhambra was a unique experience. The gardens are stunning and the place is lush compared to how it looks in photos (like a desert). The nearby Sierra Nevada white-capped mountains were gorgeous. Barcelona was small and crowded, but Gaudi cathedral and park were not to be missed. Cordoba was rather touristy, so we should have allocated less time to there and more to Madrid and Seville. San Sebastian had the best food by far. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it was amazingly different from the rest of Spain. We even went to Southern France, which was only 20 minutes away.
Pablo arranged full-day tours and tapas food tours with local experts for us to sample the sites and food of each area. From flamenco dancing to scenic views, he made sure we didn’t miss anything. We didn’t have to navigate or get frustrated with travel schedules because he did all the planning. All 5 hotels (small, non-chains) were exceptional, centrally located yet away from tourists, with amazing amenities, location, views and service. Including breakfast was a nice way to start each day.
Pablo’s recommendations were perfect for us. He took the time to understand us as individuals, and was flexible as we adjusted the plan along the way. We came away with a much better understanding of how Spain really feels like several different countries and is worth exploring further. We are now thinking about scheduling a trip to Portugal with Pablo as our expert guide. Thanks to Pablo and all of our wonderful guides Alfonso, Ellie (Eli), Vicky, Paula, Marianne, Lola, Manfredo, and our numerous classy drivers including Eduardo, Francisco, Daniel, Pablo, etc.
Random advice to travelers: Carry your hotel name and address on a handy card to show to taxi drivers. Taxis were cheap within cities (~$6-12). Be sure to check whether hotels have instant coffee or Nespresso machines in the room. Makes a big difference to coffee lovers! First class on trains has 3 seats across; regular class has 4 seats. Otherwise, not worth double the price for each ticket. Take express trains when you can, and consider flying. Purchase tickets in advance (everything is online) to avoid waiting in long lines. We didn’t use cash the entire time, so no need for money changing. No place accepts dollars, but credit cards are accepted everywhere. Make sure your bank’s ATM doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.
Take photos of local maps so you don’t look like a tourist if you get lost. Pickpockets were only an issue in Barcelona (be careful there).
Meal times are very different. Breakfast is an espresso. Lunch is at 2:30 or 3pm. Dinner starts at 9pm. There are separate shops to go for coffee, drinking, tapas, fine dining, quick meals, and they open and close at unpredictable times. Expect them to be closed when you are hungry. Tapas (small food plates) provide a good excuse for people to go pub hopping and socialize with different friends. We saw mostly the same food tapas menu everywhere, but some people go to 3-6 places in one night: Iberian ham, croquettes (yummy), bread with tomato topping, fried potatoes and chorizo topped with fried egg, gazpacho, tomato soup, Russian potato salad, fried calamari, garlic shrimp, fried anchovies, etc. Each tapa is ~4-5 euros (roughly $5). I recommend staying away from cheap pizza and hamburgers (most American food). Bring multiple charging adapters and USB hubs. Youll need them!
Talk with locals whenever you can. They are the best part of Spain!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We cannot say enough good things about Pablo. Four of us took a 13 day trip to Spain in mid-May that included Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Madrid, with day trips to Toledo and Cordoba. Our hotels were superb, our guides excellent, and our transfers seamless. Pablo helped us in our initial planning to decide on how much territory to cover and the number of days in each place. We told him our interests, and he tailored the trip accordingly. We would not have seen so much, learned so much, or enjoyed it as much without his expertise.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We just returned from 2 weeks in Spain and Portugal planned by Pablo Calvo and Goncalo Correia. In the planning stage we had asked for the trip to include Michelin star restaurants, Foodie experiences, private experiences and Wine experiences. They certainly delivered on all of those and we were very impressed with the guides they selected for us, some of the best guides we have ever had! We loved San Sebastian and the Hotel Favorita, that was a great start to our trip. The highlight for my husband was our day spent while in Portugal at Casa de Juste where he cooked with the chef / proprietor and I got a tour of their amazing property with the chef’s husband. In retrospect we would have liked a slower pace itinerary and maybe we should have communicated that better. All in all it was a terrific 2 weeks.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Thank you so much Pablo Calvo for creating an amazing trip for us to Madrid. Our guide Alfonso was fantastic; full of knowledge, so friendly and fun to be with. We explored Madrid and Toledo and loved every minute of our 3-day adventure. Looking forward to working with you again!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Pablo Calvo crafted a wonderful itinerary for my wife and me in the Ribera del Deuro and the Basque Country of Spain. We had guides take us to a couple of wonderful wineries and the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Guides also introduced us to the wonderful world of pintxos (tapas) in the Basque Country. Something we will always treasure is the morning we spent with the owner/chef of a small waterfront pintxos bar learning how to make pintxos. We and our guide got to enjoy our creations washed down with a bottle of local txakoli wine outside on the terrace. It was a truly special experience. We have a new appreciation for anchovies!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Pablo helped us plan an incredible trip to four different parts of Spain – we had many unique and memorable experiences and the guides were fabulous! Would highly recommend working with him.
The trip was terrific!
Hotels: All the hotels were well-located and the hotel personnel were attentive, helpful and just wonderful. Breakfasts were fine.
Meals: All our meals were terrific! Pablo made our dietary restrictions known everywhere. Lourdes in San Sebastian introduced us to loads of new tasty dishes and was fabulous! I would delightfully dine with her anywhere!
Guides and drivers: They were superb and really a pleasure! Having Alfonso for two days was a treat! His knowledge of the artists and their paintings was superb! And Gaudi! — Bernard was a treasure as well!
The wine tour? Lorraina was wonderful. I wish we had had more energy and drank more. It was a splendid day — even though the weather tried hard to not cooperate.
In total: Pablo did a fabulous job for us! He listened and responded in a timely fashion always. He gave us great ideas and executed our wishes with good cheer and helpfully! I am very grateful for all his help!!!
Thank you so much!
P.S. One more comment that you might impart to future travelers; We had some difficulties with Iberia Airlines. For one domestic flight, I thought our seats included being able to have one bag each. That was not so and we were penalized by having to pay $40/bag at the airport. That was not at all clear when I bought the seat. And, Jeff and I travelled home on Iberia, booked through AA. We were not ever allowed to select a seat and had to wait until we got to the airport to be assigned. We spoke with several people at Iberia on the phone and at the airport, and got the feeling that Iberia is not an easy airline with which to deal. We certainly would not recommend them.
Pablo (and his assistant Joana) planned our Spain trip, including Madrid, La Rioja, San Sebastian, and Barcelona. The hotels chosen were excellent for a pair of travelers experiencing those locations for the first time, with easy access to the main attractions of the city. We had asked for a focus on food and wine, so we had full guided days in La Rioja and Penedes, a cooking school and pinxtos tour in San Sebastian, and a session in an anchovy cannery in Getaria. The guides we had were prompt, informative, and really flexible (which is always the advantage of paying for a private guide rather than opting for a group day tour). I would not hesitate to contact Pablo for our next trip to the region.
Pablo helped organize a trip for me and my 3 teen/tween-aged daughters to Barcelona, Costa Brava and Costa del Sol this past summer. Initially he organized an action-packed trip for us however took feedback along the way in the planning process to accomodate for beachside/poolside days as well as fun activities like e-biking and kayaking. In the end this was a blessing as we travelled in the height of the European heat wave and this did not melt our enthusiasm for Spain!
Pablo was very responsive and flexible during the process of planning our trip. He listened well to what we wanted (an adult trip with lots of time to wander on our own), and booked us a lovely small hotel in Barcelona (The Mercer) and at the amazing Torrent del Mas in Costa Brava. All logistics went very smoothly, and Pablo was quick to answer the few questions we had during our trip. They gave us good restaurant choices in Barcelona (Bar Canete is a must go) and in Costa Brava (Pais del Mas). We can’t say enough positive things about Costa Brava – gorgeous beaches and farmland, amazing meals everywhere, not overly touristy…and Torrent del Mas was one of the most beautiful hotels we have been to. It was a bit challenging to leave each day to go sightseeing! We would go back to these parts of Spain in a heartbeat, and would definitely recommend Pablo as a travel planner.
I recently used Pablo to arrange a celebration trip for my son Jordan and his wife Deanna’s 2nd anniversary trip to Spain. They traveled to Barcelona, San Sebastian and Madrid and just returned a few days ago.
Overall, Pablo was a pleasure to work with throughout the trip planning process. He was very communicative – from the beginning – and was interested in crafting a personalized vacation for them. Pablo was easy to reach via email and always responded promptly and with thoughtful, intelligent answers. There was a lot of back and forth in the planning process and his insights were welcomed and helpful.
Specifically, one of our interests was to try different exclusive restaurants and wineries during the trip. Pablo was able to secure reservations at three different Michelin star restaurants in Barcelona and San Sebastian and he arranged wine tours to various boutique style wineries. In fact, one of the highlights of the trip was a special wine tour and bike ride that he recommended and arranged during the stay in Barcelona.
I had also asked Pablo to try and get my son Jordan a Spanish guitar lesson, since my son is a guitar enthusiast. Pablo was able to do this and that was another highlight of the vacation. Another highlight was a Flamenco show that Pablo had personally recommended.
All of the hotels were outstanding and all of the personal guides were great. In fact one of the guides helped Jordan with his guitar learning!
All of these arrangements and recommendations, allowed them to experience Spanish cuisine and culture in a way that I am sure would not have been possible otherwise. He was attentive to details and creative in his suggestions and he had the ability to secure unique, private and culturally enriching activities.
I would give my highest recommendation to Pablo and he is a deserving member of the WOW list.
Pablo proved to be of exceptional value on our trip to Spain. He has excellent connections to the best guides and upgrades at all hotels. Changes of plans during travel and special requests on the go seem to be regular for Pablo. He had all small details taken care of, and we will use him for the next trip to Spain.
Working with Pablo was a joy. I appreciate his knowledge, high level of service and fabulous attitude. He delivered exactly what we wanted. He made a great itinerary that was the perfect mix of history, culture, and physical activity. Our tour guide in Cordoba was perhaps the best guide that we have ever had. The hotels were delightful, the dining recommendations were superb! He was very conscious about staying within our budget (even more exacting than me!). He cautioned us about doing too many day trips from Seville and instead enjoying the vibe (which was the right call). He also gave me some great recommendations for when we had down time for some do-it-ourselves destinations. I was surprised that Spain is now my favorite European destination. I can’t wait to get back and will definitely book with Pablo the next trip.
In September, a group of 8 family members ranging in age from 19 to 70 spent 11 days touring Portugal and then in doing a partial walk of the Camino into Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Goncalo and Pablo did a faultless job of organizing this trip according to our interests. We wanted to see the important sights, but yet have some athletic activities. We had 3 very athletic people on this trip. I told Goncalo that having excellent, informative guides was very important to us and he delivered. Tiago, our Portuguese guide, speaks perfect English, has traveled to the US and elsewhere, has inexhaustible energy and an encyclopedic knowledge of Portugal. Teresa Oliveira, our guide for the Spanish hike, was also very knowledgeable, as well as fun and extremely accommodating to the diverse needs of our group. Most notable was the way that Teresa and Pablo accommodated a last minute schedule change at the end of our trip. Due to Hurricane Florence, 2 of our group moved their return flights up by a day, 20 hours before flight time. While driving to our hotel, Teresa et al managed to move up all the next day’s activities, ie guides & private visit into that afternoon so that the early departees wouldn’t miss out on anything. Somehow they got it done and later Pablo refunded people for the hotels/taxis they didn’t use! That afternoon’s private visit was to Pazo do Faramello. We did a few private visits during this trip, but this was exceptional. Beautiful place, fascinating history, charming host—go if in the vicinity. Without hesitation, I would recommend Goncalo and Pablo to anyone.
Great job, great trip, can’t wait to go back!
Thanks to the knowledge, experience, planning, and outstanding logistics management by Goncalo and his Spanish colleague Pablo, we had a spectacular 21-day trip to Portugal and Spain. It was everything we could have wished for. Each venue was interesting, enjoyable, different, and memorable. Highlights included Lisbon, Porto, Sevilla, Granada, and Cordoba, but we also enjoyed Coimbra, Evora, Cadiz, Ronda, and other venues.
The quality of Goncalo and Pablo’s selected guides was exceptional. All were knowledgeable, responsive, personable. The guides in Lisbon, Granada, and Seville were especially impressive. All the guides were responsive to our needs and wishes and helped us understand the surprisingly complex history and uniqueness of the sights we visited. Not surprising, the Alcazar, la Alhambra, and Mezquita will be memories for a long time to come. But less well-known venues such as the cork markets in Evora and the white-washed village of Grazalema were also enchanting.
All the drivers were well-dressed, professional, and courteous. The cars were clean and terrific. The high-speed AVE train from Cordoba to Madrid was terrific, a great choice.
We enjoyed all the recommended hotels. The Posada in Lisbon was terrific. We were so very happy we chose to stay at the Alfonso XIII in Seville. It was a highlight, wonderful in every way. The Parador in Cadiz was remarkable and our junior suite fabulous. And we were so very happy we had successfully attained reservations at the Parador de la Alhambra in Granada. It met our high expectations driven by feedback from friends. In general, the hotel breakfast buffets were outstanding… the pasteis de Natas and churros with chocolate were favorites! We were also greatly pleased by personal greeting notes at each venue.
Food and wine are highlights in Portugal and Spain. We had many wonderful meals based on Goncalo and Pablo’s recommendations. The Rabo de toro stew and various suggested soups were delicious. We also really enjoyed the chosen Fado restaurant.
In terms of special arrangements, we found the boat cruise and the winery in the Douro Valley especially enjoyable. The boat Goncalo chose for us was exceptionally nice and the winery lunch delicious.
One anticipated challenge for Bill involved the omnipresent cobblestones and sometimes steep grades. Thanks to heads-up from Goncalo and Pablo, accommodating guides and drivers, along with his walking stick, enabled Bill to walk almost everywhere.
Both Gonçalo and Pablo did an amazing job planning our trip. From the very first day when we were upgraded to the Bette Davis( they knew she was my idol)suite at the Maria Cristina hotel in San Sebastian to all the wonderful eating and drinking experiences, they set up for us. Some of the highlights were a beautiful sail down the Tagus to Lisbon, a private eating club experience in San Sebastian and another amazing suite at Reid’s Hotel in Madeira.
When a friend of ours was injured on a bike trip we took in the middle of our vacation, Goncalo switched all our reservations around so that we could stay in Porto near the hospital for a few days. He canceled several hotel and activities at the last moment and we didn’t have to pay for any of it.
Spain and Portugal, Honeymoon
We are SO happy we booked through this team.
We had Pablo Calvo and Goncalo Correia as our planning team. We did not reach out to WP / begin planning our trip until the first week of March. Pablo and Goncalo set up a conference call at a time when all four of us could connect. We spent nearly an hour on the phone discussing our wants, past experiences, tastes, and etc. I also have an email stream of 75 emails working out the details and asking questions during the process. The team was excellent with communication and making sure we were delivered a valuable experience.
The itinerary and gameplan they put together could not have been matched. We initially said we wanted to visit either Madrid or Barcelona, Spain and then Porto, Portugal. The team was able to put together a trip that included 3 days in Madrid (including a full day excursion to Toledo), 3 days in Barcelona, and 4 days in Porto (including a day excursion to the Douro Valley and a half day in Guimaraes), Tapas and tavern tours, private walking tours, personal transportation, prepaid entrance fees and reservations, cooking experience, boat cruise, wine tastings, proper hotels, train tickets, and I am sure I am leaving something special out. We hit plenty of history, culture, food, and drink.
The trip went off without a hitch. Reservations and timing of events were seamless and perfectly positioned. The local guides were so helpful to kick off each city. We would have never known to do some of the activities and excursions that were put into place for us. The rough draft bid was around 20% higher than our initial budget, but we worked together well to alter some of the activities without compromising the experience. They warned us that they would go with the full options and best experience they could provide, and then could work it down a bit if we could not swing it. This was a special trip for us, so we wanted to know what a top-level experience would cost, and we were comfortable with this approach. Like I said in the previous paragraph, they were great with communication, and did a good job of working with us through all concerns, questions, and needs.
Utilize one of these travel specialists! We cannot “stress” the lack of “stress” involved in planning the trip. We have spent time in Asia, Africa, and Europe before, along with tons of domestic travel via long weekends. The local guides were a great way to kick off each city. They gave a great “lay of the land”, with plenty of stories of both local history and current events. The team does a great job of learning about you and putting together the best layout for your tastes. They leave no stone unturned. I suggest asking for as many options as possible to find out what you would like to do. Like I mentioned in an earlier paragraph, we exchanged 75 emails and spent an hour on the phone to arrive at our final 10 days, 5 city adventure…. totally worth it!
Knowing the most important/enjoyable activities and sites, understanding the timing and effort needed at each, hotel and transfer accommodations, there are so many different points that the team performed better than we could have on our own. The drafts/proposals were easy to sort through, and we appreciated the printable version to keep on us throughout the journey. It was also very helpful to forward on to family members for their information (and flight numbers, hotel contact, etc).
Overall we were just well taken care of; it was very appropriate. The great communication did not end when we started the trip. I had multiple questions during the journey that were answered ASAP by the team. They were a great resource before and during. As you can tell, we are satisfied. We are very thankful for everyone’s efforts towards creating and maintaining a great honeymoon.