Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Local tour guides in Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Burgos, Segovia...

Local tour guides in Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Burgos, Segovia...

Feb 10th, 2010, 07:07 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 112
Local tour guides in Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Burgos, Segovia...

We are a group of 6 couples who will be on a road trip from Barcelona to Madrid in early March. While I have the whole itinerary mapped out with plans to visit the tourist offices in each city we go to, as well as do some walking tours on our own, I would like to be in contact with a local guide for some of the places where we have more time. I feel a local guide will be able a good resource for the group to get questions answered and local insider tips, etc.

As we are with a group of friends going on a non-regimented tour, I would like to be flexible therefore can't book ahead with a company. It would be great to have the mobile number of a local tour guide I can contact during the course of the trip and take our chances the guide is free on the day we need him/her.

Does anyone know any local tour guides I can initially contact by email for the cities of:
Zaragoza, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Burgos, Segovia, Madrid? We will have our own vehicle with driver so the we can either do walking tours, or the guide can just "step on" and join us.

We are not first-timers to Spain, many of us have been there a number of times, but never on a road trip together, and some, not in these particular cities. Ages are between 36 to 46, foodies, antique enthusiasts, shoppers.

Thanks for any guide info or tips you can share!
vicki2201 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 07:28 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,851
Why a tour guide? Just curious. Those are small cities that are easily navigated alone. Honestly, you don't even need public transport as they are so compact. Can you give more info on why you want a guide? Not trying to be the standard know it all jerk that so many here are. Just trying to get clarification as to whether you are looking for something specific that a guide would be helpful for.
cherrybomb is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 07:52 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,271
I would hire a tour guide for the Alhambra if I could afford it. Otherwise there's nowhere else in Spain I think really need one. Having said that I would try craigslist or facebook if you get nothing here or on trip advisor.
Egbert is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 07:53 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 112
I don't need a guide for all those places, but was targeting one or two of them to round off the experience. I know we can do it on our own, and my own trips usually are DIY trips, but in my experience in Sevilla for example, when I joined the walking tour with a local guide, the information he imparted was so interesting from what I could've gotten from a guidebook the tourist office or the hotel. He talked about his family history and had a lot of anecdotes about the city interspersed with the usual things to see. It was like having a cousin in that town who was able to answer all my questions too about certain things I had observed so far.

Some towns where we already have stuff to do on our own and particular restaurants to visit, we won't need the "local cousin" But there will be blocks of time that we will have that I can put in a walking tour, or possibly a drive to an interesting vista point we woudn't have known about. Interesting curiosities even in a small town.

Can't also rely on the standard walking tours from the tourist offices because they work on a schedule and we need to be flexible.

Thanks for asking for a clarification!
vicki2201 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 07:58 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,851
Got you. Makes sense. Skip craigs list and start searching blogs for those cities. You are likely to find someone.
cherrybomb is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 09:22 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 112
Yup, already found a "cousin" in San Sebastian who I has a few out-of-the-tourist-box ideas for us, and one in Barcelona who is used to "little" group of friends like ours. Found them through other travelers who've used them before. Wanted one for Zaragoza or Segovia maybe. btw. also have been in touch by email Maribel, the Spain expert, who has been super duper helpful and generous with her suggestions.
vicki2201 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 11:42 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,384
You may find my blog useful, http://mugalari.wordpress.com, an insider´s tips on the Basque region.
mikelg is offline  
Feb 11th, 2010, 12:39 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
For a guide contact each tourist office in city you wish to tour. In Spain it is usual that guides have to be registered with the local tourism industry bodies.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Feb 11th, 2010, 01:21 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 112
Mikel, thanks for your blog--it is very useful! You are now my "cousin" in the Basque region. thanks lots!
vicki2201 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2010, 06:27 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,762
A friend of mine took a trip to Spain recently and she was extremely pleased with the guides arranged by our very own Maribel. I would contact Maribel and ask her about guides in each of your destinations:



http://iberiantraveler.com/
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:32 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,271
You're right a good guide can make just about anyplace fascinating. I'll never forget the way my first guide at the Alhambra made it come alive and spark a fascination that I cannot get rid of.
Egbert is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 03:03 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 112
Ekscrunchy, Maribel is really a gem. So knowledgeable and generous. I've emailed her directly and she has been super responsive, and even sent email addresses of tourist offices, available tours and times, and websites that had guides, as well as her personal recommendations. If I were to do the planning of this trip over again, I would get her to do it, only because I want to experience her expertise first hand. (unfortunately I was already half done when I contacted her).

Egbert, that's what I mean. I'm an independent traveler (and a control freak) and I want to do everything myself after researching everything. But the things that stand out in my mind are the places where I've had a local guide who showed us "his" local town (as opposed to the guides who bring huge groups around). I've had that experience in Sevilla and also in Berlin. I can still remember their anecdotes, and even repeat them when talking about those trips.

All the places I did on my own are also special, but in a different way. So for a group of experienced travelers, I planned a nice mix of DIY things with enough room for spontaneity and serendipitous events--and the extra treat of having a local cousin to bring the place even more alive.

My trip has taken shape, just need a few finishing touches. Thanks for all your responses.
vicki2201 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 03:31 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,384
True, a local guide will, in most cases, take you to those places that you´d probably never go if on your own (off the beaten track, the most known attractions you can visit by yourself)
mikelg is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 03:55 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,762
Vicki: It is great to read your account of working with Maribel. She is so supremely helpful on these boards.

I am not sure that people realize that she also offers private help; as I said, I gave her name to a friend of mine who visited Spain last year (and always likes to hire private guides with a particular interest in art) and my friend was very, very pleased with both the guides and with the hotels that Maribel arranged. I do agree that having a private guide is a luxury that can really enhance a trip. I've not hired one often due to costs but am slowly coming around to my friend's way of thinking and when I return to Spain, which I hope will be in the not-too-distant-future, I would also consider hiring a guide arranged by Maribel.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 07:46 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,271
Someone should start a business connecting local guides to tourists.
Egbert is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:31 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
Egbert,
"Someone should start a business connecting local guides to tourists."
They have, that is why I suggested contacting the tourist office, anyway Vicky chose to ignore that advise but still done it after the glorious Maribel gave her the advice.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:19 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 112
Ohno, ribeirasacra, I didn't ignore your advise. I was in fact beginning to google all those tourist offices, on your suggestion, each time I had access to my computer. Then Maribel's response came in (I emailed her before I started this post)--and in her message she listed all the info I was looking for from the tourist offices, as well as other links. My work was done for me!

I just looked up this thread and realized I didn't acknowledge your suggestion. Sorry about that!
vicki2201 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:33 AM.