How long have you been doing this?
A Taste of Spain was founded in 1999 as the first local boutique travel agency specialized in organizing private culinary tours and activities across Spain for foodie travelers and food professionals looking for a genuine culinary travel experience in Spain.
What is the team profile?
As native Spaniards with long professional experience in the Spanish gourmet sector and its internationalization, our team combines a deep knowledge of the Spanish culinary scene, a wide network of contacts reaching every corner of the country and an excellent understanding of the needs and preferences of our international clients. All the client’s requests are directly managed by the four partners with the help on the ground of very experienced and talented usual collaborators such as guides, chefs instructors, drivers, food experts, etc.
What is not A Taste of Spain?
We are not:
- A regular travel agency that commercialize tours designed by third parties. All our tours are designed and organized by us.
- An agency run by foreigners connected with Spain. We are a group of Spaniards with extensive background in the Spanish fine food sector and its international projection as well as the cuisine and culture of our country. The same applies to our collaborators.
- A mass tourism agency. We are a boutique agency with the focus on quality and service, looking for special experiences off the beaten track
- We are a small company and want to continue being this. We are small enough to give our clients the kind of service they may expect.
Who travels on A Taste of Spain trips?
We attract travelers of all ages; singles, couples, friends and families from all around the world, but especially from the US, Australia, Canada and Asia Far East countries. Our guests are curious about Spanish gastronomy and culture and want to experience trips perfectly organized that are different from the mass ones. Many are repeat travelers, and also join us at the recommendation of their friends.
Can kids go on your trips?
Of course! We would adapt our itineraries to the type of group signing with us.
Does A Taste of Spain work for food professionals?
Apart from tour tours and experiences for the foodie traveler, we also work to meet the specific needs of food professionals that need some support related to Spanish food and gastronomy. Our professional background, closely tied to the Spanish food sector, provides us with profound knowledge of the Spanish culinary and food offer, as well as a wide network of contacts reaching every corner of the country. Our services range from travel organization to consulting services as well.
Can the sample itineraries be customized?
Of course, our sample itineraries are intended to serve as an example. These suggested journeys are based on our destination experience. You can either book the itinerary exactly as appears o the website or we can create an itinerary that meets your schedule, interests, and budget.
When do your tours take place?
Our regular tours are organized upon request all year round for groups starting in 2 people. Only our Ultimate Foodie Tour is a group tour with closed dates. We usually offer one departure in Spring and another in Fall.
Can I bring a non-cooking partner to your cooking lesson?
Yes, we would adapt our quotation in each case to this circumstance.
What’s the minimum group to organize a cooking lesson?
As for most of our tours and experiences, we require a minimum of 2 people.
Do you offer gift certificates?
Absolutely! This would be a perfect present! Please contact us if you are interested. The certificate can be personalized according to your wishes.
Which itineraries do you suggest for solo travelers?
As commented previously, our tours and activities are organized on a private basis under request. We require a minimum of 2 people to do so; otherwise the price would be too high.
The exception to this is our Ultimate Foodie Tour with fixed departures, organized for a group up to 16 people. This is the perfect alternative for solo travelers.
Do your prices vary depending on the group size?
Yes, for all our private tours and activities our prices vary depending on the number of people taking part. We do offer prices for groups of 2, 4 or 6 people. For bigger groups, we do quote on a customized way.
Can you accommodate food allergies and dietary restrictions?
We can accommodate most allergies and dietary restrictions. Please do let us know in advanced and we will adapt menus to meet your needs.
Do you take care of arrival and departure flights and visas?
No, being a ground operator we take care of domestic transportation either by plane, trains, private coach, etc. But the client has to book on his own the arrival and departing flight to Spain and arrange visas when necessary.
What forms of payments to do you accept?
We accept payment through credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) as well as payment through bank transfer to our bank account.
Do your tours include Health or Cancellation Insurance?
No, this is not included at our tour price. We inform clients of the existence of Travel Assistance and Cancellation Insurance, for added protection and convenience during travel, and as protection against possible cancellation charges. We strongly recommend buying this kind of insurances to specialized companies.
How does Spanish time schedule usually work?
You’ll find schedules in Spain have little to do with other European countries, or what you’re accustomed to back home. This could take a little getting used to, since the day seems to start later and run on much longer, but we’re sure you’ll get the hang of it soon enough and enjoy. Here’s a general guideline:
The most common business hours are Monday through Saturday, from 9 to 14:00, and from 16.30 to 20.30, but the “malls” or big shopping centers and department stores open from 10.00 to 21.00 or 22.00, with no interruption.
In big cities there are lots of 24-hour shops which combine restaurant and all-day “everything” shops.
Some big stores will sometimes be open on Sunday. You can check this at the store website. Depending on the area shops can be open up to 22.00 h.
Pharmacies are open normal business hours, but all major cities have pharmacies that open 12 or 24 hours, apart from a rolling late-hour schedule that goes from one pharmacy to another, which is published in the newspapers, and posted at all pharmacies.
Meal times are more or less as follows: Breakfast is usually taken from 8.00 to 10.00. Lunch, at restaurants, is served between 13:00 to 15:00. Dinner is served from 20:00 to 23.00. Many establishments are open all day, especially bars and cafeteria , where you can have “tapas”, appetizers, and platos combinados (combo meals).
You should know that the night time is very important in Spain, especially from Thursday to Sunday. Pubs, bars, and nightclubs usually stay open until at least 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning, though it is generally easy to find venues that won’t close until dawn.
What to expect regarding quality of accommodation?
As a general guideline, in Spain you’ll find lodgings that go from camp sites called campings, to pensiones, to hostales, to hotels and Paradores. You can also opt for renting apartments and country houses.
As opposed to other countries, the rating system for accommodation in Spain (1 to 5 stars) is generally a good indication of the actual quality level. In other words, 5* will be wonderful, while 1* will be correct, but you shouldn’t expect much from it. Tripadvisor is very good source to wider the information about what you can expect.
Seasons: as in other countries, the price for accommodation is generally subject to change according to the different seasons, which varies from some regions to others.
How to get around in Spain?
For long trips, air travel is always an option, but Spain also has a fantastic Railway System, including various high-speed connections, called AVE, which some may find more practical and enjoyable. There are good and frequent AVE connections between to the following destinations: Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Cordoba, Malaga, Valencia, Zaragoza, Valladolid, among other. For more info, http://avexperience.es/destinos-ave/?lang=en
Buses are also a reliable and safe option, though generally more time costly and les comfortable.
For city travel, where available, the Metro (Subway or Underground) is the fastest and most reliable way to get around, though most cities boast a dependable bus system as well. Riding a taxi is also an option, though more expensive, of course. In most cities they can be hailed at any point in the street, or found at various taxi-stops, and you can also call one directly at the local taxi service number. You can also ask at your hotel reception.
What to wear when travelling around Spain?
As anywhere else, people in Spain dress differently according to the season, the place they are going to, and the circumstances, but it can be generally said that people “dress up” quite a bit more than other places. Elegant casual is good during the day and night.
Regarding packing for hot or cold weather: On the coast, because of the mild climate, it is usually not necessary to pack very warm clothes; while in the interior temperatures vary greatly from one season to the next, so you should plan for very cold winters, and really hot summers. And something you may have not thought about, warm clothing in the south! Remember it can get quite chilly since things are built for the heat, not to mention areas like Granada actually have mountains and snow!
What about the phones?
Spain’s international code is +34, so to make a call to Spain from abroad or within Spain from a foreign phone, dial +34 followed by the local number (9 digits). To make a local call simply dial the 9 digits, regardless of whether it is a landline or mobile. If you want to call another country from Spain, then dial 00 followed by the country code and the telephone number.
If you have a compatible phone, you need to contact your phone company and make sure the international roaming service is activated on your account. Once you have taken these steps at home, you will be able to use your mobile in Spain as if it were a Spanish phone (meaning you should dial 00 + the country code to make international calls, or the 9 digits with no prefix for local calls).
Is internet usually available at most places?
There are establishments in practically any city or town that offer Internet connections: telephone houses, cybercafés, etc. Good connection is also generally found in airports, major railway and bus stations, local libraries and some public places in all cities and towns. Most of the hotels do already offered a Wi-Fi connection free of cost.
What it is the Electricity supply like?
Electricity supply in Spain is AC 220 Volts, 50 Hertz. Sockets meet European regulations and use the round pin system. It is always a good idea to bring a set of adaptors, though, most hotels have them for different plugs. It is important to make sure that the electrical appliances you are going to use (computers, mobile phone chargers, shavers…) work at this voltage.
What happens if you need medical care?
112 is the universal, free of charge emergency number in Spain. Service is given in Spanish, and also in English, French and German in some tourist areas.
Spain has a Socialized National Health System with a wide network of health centers and hospitals in every part of the country. If you are from the EU you can be attended with the Green Card. It is generally good to go to a city hospital for emergency care. In rural areas and in small villages there are local health-care centers with urgency service. You can check hospitals and health centers in Spain at the Ministry of Health website, http://www.msssi.gob.es/en/ciudadanos/prestaciones/centrosServiciosSNS/home.htm .
There is also a well-established network of Private Healthcare clinics and centers that you can turn to in case of need. This will probably be faster, but not cheap. It is always recommendable for you to check what private health insurance companies will lend you their services abroad, before you leave your country.
Medication can be bought in Farmacias (pharmacies) found everywhere you go.
How does the Mail work in Spain?
Post boxes in Spain are tall and cylindrical shaped, and yellow! You can also bring your mail to the local post office, generally open from 08.30 to 14.30h., with main offices open all day until about 20.00h.
What the common rules regarding tipping?
Tipping is not mandatory in Spain, though a tip can be left if service was good, and this is generally the custom in restaurants and family bars (generally between 5- 7%, though there is no set percentage). Other tipping, for services in hotels, taxis, etc., is also customary and entirely up to each person to decide the amount to be left.
What weather can be expected in the trips to Spain?
In general, it can be said that Spain has a predominantly warm Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures. The country boasts more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. However, in view of the significant geographical variations of different areas, diversity is probably one of Spain’s main characteristics. In other words, you can definitely expect different weather conditions, depending on where you travel.
- If you’re traveling to the North, you’ll find a mild climate with high rainfall. Winters can get chilly (specially in the mountains) and summers come with temperatures rarely exceeding 25ºC. In mountainous areas (the Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada, the Central and Iberian ranges, and the Cantabrian Mountains, among others), it can get very cold, and snow is not uncommon from the beginning of winter to the end of spring.
- Central Spain tends to be extreme in weather, with very cold winters and very hot summers, but it is generally not as rainy as the North.
- The South is generally warm and sunny, and winters are blessed with many days of 15-20ºC weather, but please don’t forget two things: it does rain every now and then, and everything is built for the heat, so it can get very cold inside places with no central heating.
- The Canary Islands stands apart in this sense, due to its location near the coast of Africa. It has a delightful climate of mild temperatures (22ºC year-round average for the coasts), with little variation in temperatures between day and night, all four seasons.
For current weather reports and forecasts, check the National Weather Center or Spain’s Official Toursim website.
How does the different official languages issue work in Spain?
Apart from Spanish, there are three other languages in Spain, Catalan (Catalá, Catalonia), Basque (Euskera, Basque Country) and Galician (Galego, Galicia). It may seem a bit confusing at times, because you’ll find it is true that, especially in Catalonia, people tend to use their native language rather than Spanish, but as a foreigner, you should have absolutely no trouble getting by on just the Spanish you may know. You’ll find that street signs and all public information are generally made bilingual in these areas.
What are main regions in Spain?
Spain is divided into autonomous regions, listed here in alphabetical order: Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country,Canary Islands,Cantabria, Castile-La-Mancha, Castile and Leon, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre, Valencian Community
Click here to see maps of Spain and its regions.
What is main religion in Spain?
Spain is, by its Constitution, a non-confessional state. However, Catholicism is by far the most widespread religion, with visible remains of its traditions and historical legacy throughout the country.