We have just returned from the Madrid, Salamanca and Toledo tour, managed by our wonderful tour director, Jeanette. Jeanette is a long time resident of Madrid and really brings the city to life with her knowledge and recommendations for places to visit or restaurants, shops etc. She does exactly the same in Salamanca and Toledo!
We started with two nights at a lovely Salamanca hotel, the San Polo. I had no knowledge of Salamanca at all but it is a stunning place with not one but two impressive cathedrals, attractive historic streets and so on.
The hotel is a former church very well adapted with spacious rooms and excellent breakfasts!
We ended with a day in Toledo, Spain's former capital sited on a steep hill with amazing views over the hill and river valley. You don't have to climb the hill!! There are a series of escalators which work very well.
Madrid is an impressive city with great museums, parks and gardens - with nearly everything within easy walking distance of the excellent hotel - a very compact city.
Jeanette describes exactly how to get around, navigates by big landmarks and is always informative, knowledgeable and friendly. She was also very efficient in keeping everything running on time and meeting the various local guides. There was a great atmosphere and nothing was too much trouble.
So many thanks to Jeanette and to Riviera for another great tour, highly recommended to learn something of Spain's great cities - and/or to eat and shop, your choice!!
Review by: Paul V Bunn on 21/10/2019
We found this to be a great holiday and our tour manager Fran really kept up our interest through his knowledge and humour. The San Polo Hotel Salamanca and the Catalonia on the Grand Via in Madrid were both well placed to allow easy access on foot to explore many locations.We rated these hotels as good to excellent. Towards the end of the tour, regrettably our tour manager Fran had to leave us due to a family bereavement and Christian took over, who was also most knowledgeable and conscientous and looked after the group exceedingly well.
Review by: David Leverett on 03/09/2018
I must write to say what a wonderful trip we have just had. It was the first time we had been on any organised trip and I thought it would probably be my last, but I thought I would give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised. The whole group very great, the bus driver Antonio was extremely good and our guide Jeanette was the best. She looked after everyone extremely well, had a great sense of humour. She was extremely knowledgeable on everything and was kind and caring. She was an asset to your company. I thought the trips were excellent and we had enough free time and well. It was a very good balance.
We will definitely be booking again.
Thank you for a great trip.
Review by: Jill and Kenney Watson on 10/05/2018
Wow!!!! Fantastic holiday, Firstly the places we visited were so beautiful, sometimes jaw dropping and we could have happily stayed in any of them for a week. Travelling in a group was a new experience for me and I was nervous as I am used to doing 'my own thing' but I need not of worried as you are of course free to do as you wish and if you don't fancy a trip out and want to relax by the pool then just do it.
Also being in a group allows you to forge friendships if you wish.
Our tour guide Fiona was wonderful, patient ,helpful, knowledgeable and very funny. Our coach driver Antonio who we were lucky enough to have all week was superb and made each journey a safe pleasure.
What was the best bit? Impossible to say there were just to many!
Thank you all, Riviera, the hotel staff and of course Fiona and Antonio and the wonderful local guides.
One piece of advice, if possable fly Ryanair not British Airways........enough said
Review by: michael goodeve on 21/04/2018
We very much enjoyed the trip, the Hotels and Cities visited were very good. The Tour Manager, Clive, was outstanding, with his knowledge and appreciation of Spain and his rapport with the group (quite big 51) and helped make the tour even more enjoyable. All 3 local guides, Carmen in Salamanca, Gerry in Madrid and above all Mario in Toledo, were excellent.
This was our 3rd trip with Riviera, Classical Spain in 2014 and Bruges in 2015, being the previous two, all were very good and we would recommend all 3 trips.
One point of criticism, I think porterage for bags from and to the rooms should be included, other firms provide this service.
Review by: Ernest & Shirley Tavares on 11/10/2017
Lovely Andalucian guide, Maria, "Lale"; Salamanca the favourite destination, could have stayed longer and an amazing hotel.
Local guides in Salamanca, Madrid and Toledo patient and knowledgable.
Would recommend this tour for people, interested in European history and culture.
Review by: r. aldhous on 22/09/2017
We really enjoyed the holiday. We felt the pace was just right allowing time for guided tours and free time. The hotels were fine, in Salamanca the view from our room was the cathedral which was lovely. We found our tour manager to be very informative and we appreciated her calm manner. We thought the holiday was very good value for the money and compared very favorably to some other company’s similar tours which are significantly more expensive. Unfortunately our return flight was cancelled and we were impressed with the alternative arrangements Riviera Travel made.
Review by: Paul Jarvis on 06/09/2017
Our 2nd Riviera holiday of 2017 and our 7th in all - and it won't be the last! An excellent programme giving clients the chance to see some wonderful sights, both in escorted tours and during the very welcome free time. Both hotels were excellent, both in facilities and location, and Lily (sorry - difficult name!) was knowledgeable, efficient and friendly. I am sure that some clients will complain about the hours spent on the coach but, for a tour such as this, that is unavoidable - and we had an excellent driver in Raouel .
It's a shame that EasyJet were an hour late both going and coming back - but what's new?
Thank you Riviera for yet another unforgettable holiday.
Review by: Richard and Diana Purssell on 22/06/2017
On arrival from Ireland we were met by our Tour Manager, Elizabeth. She seemed and turned to be very competent! We met with our fellow group members from England. Elizabeth formed us, quite quickly, into a single group.
We arrived in Salamanca and all of us fell in love with this beautiful city! Our guide who had a great relationship with Elizabeth, indeed she had a great working relationship with all our city guides. A wonderful tour! After 2 days we travelled to Madrid via beautiful Segovia. The bus parked close by the magnificent Roman Aqueduct standing proudly at the entrance to the city! However, the city had much more to offer and Elizabeth had provided a map and good advice to view all the wonderful historic spots.
Onwards to Madrid and a great hotel. The 4 star Novotel is clearly chosen to offer easy access to our other tours sites and the food is excellent. We had an excellent guide for Madrid. Clearly a great relationship with our Tour Manager offered us an excellent Madrid experience. We had been before but this trip offered us a complete new experience with greater knowledge of Madrid. Madrid had been a place we did not wish to revisit but this trip offered a great change of attitude.
We also visited Aranjuez, a former royal palace and gardens and Chincon, a beautiful small old town where the Plaza is also the site for bull fights and were we had a beautiful Spanish meal with Spanish wine!
The final day we visited beautiful and historic Toledo! Another wonderful tour guide gave us a wealth of information in a humorous manner. Well worth the visit.
We as a group commend Elizabeth for her excellent management of our tour. Each place we visited was interesting and beautiful. Thank you Riviera and Great thanks to Elizabeth!
Review by: Brendan McComiskey on 16/05/2017
Salamanca was enchanting, an absolutely amazing city. The San Polo hotel was more than adequate and my room giving a fabulous view of the city. It was also well situated for a stroll into the city centre. The city guide was excellent, pointing out all the interesting features but also pointing out very many other options that we could explore on our own.
The rest of our tour was overshadowed by a medical emergency that resulting in a four day stay in a Madrid Hospital. However our tour guide Fiona was tremendous, she spent 6 hours up to midnight with my husband and me interpreting and seeing that I was getting the best treatment then ensuring that my husband got safely back to the hotel in an unknown city.
Subsequently she made sure that the hotel provided an appropriate diet on my discharge from the hospital. Finally she arranged “Assistance” at Madrid airport and was on hand to ensure that the arrangements worked well for me and that we had a swift flow though check-in, passport control and security.
We cannot thank her enough and well done Riviera for providing this level of support.
Review by: Beryl Brooks on 24/04/2017
Just back from a week's holiday in Classical Spain. Great trip. Fabulous sites, good hotels, easy travel. Special word of thanks to Elizabeth, our tour guide. Very attentive, informative and always there. Excellent value.
Review by: robert Lyttle on 17/05/2017
We have recently returned from the Salamanca & Madrid escorted tour hosted by Clive. (We departed from Dublin on 17/9/16)
This was the first time we had been with Riviera & were really pleased with the experience.
We had a wonderful time and thank Clive for all his efforts.
Thank you very much,
Review by: Pat & Robert Coull on 11/10/2016
This tour was by far the best we’ve had with Riviera - it was very well organised from the start - afternoon flights both ways and comfortable, centrally located hotels in both Salamanca and Madrid. Clive, the tour manager was very well-informed, helpful and had a light touch, while keeping a close eye on the timetable. The guides on each of the 3 excursions - Carmen in Salamanca, Gerry in Madrid and Salome in Toledo- were all of a very high calibre and conveyed their love of these beautiful cities with infectious enthusiasm. We would certainly recommend this tour to anyone with a love of history, art or simply eating tapas in the late September sunshine!
Review by: Mike and Christine Watson on 05/10/2016
Hi all, have just returned from your Madrid, Salamanca and Toledo tour, must thank our tour rep Carlota fantastic guide and a lovely human being, you guys need to do all in your power to keep this lady in your employment, hotels were lovely thank you, what also made the tour was the group of people, no divas, everyone gelled, no cliques friendships made ..thanks ..we will be back for other tours.
Review by: Robert Leggate on 25/08/2016
We know northern spain and barcelona, but wanted an introduction to Madrid and the historic cities, and this trip is ideal for that. The balance of travel, tours and free time is good; the tour manager, Clive Jarman, was excellent, and the drivers all inspired confidence, including in some difficult conditions.
We especially enjoyed Salamanca. The San Polo hotel was more than adequate, with good fixed price menus on the two evenings we were there. In Madrid, it would have been good to have been closer to the centre, and, while half-board was convenient in the absence of convenient alternatives, the food in the evenings could have been better. A buffet arrangement for both breakfast and dinner is also quite hard if your travel companion is not completely mobile.
Speaking of which, I had discussed my husband’s walking difficulties (parkinson’s) with Riviera before booking, and they were very well informed and realistic. We opted out of some walking tours, but a lot of the programme was manageable. Clive was helpful far beyond the call of duty, but had not been informed that one of his group would not be so mobile and seemed quite worried when we turned up. Communication seemed to have broken down somewhere.
Also - Madrid airport has a very convoluted system for those needing assistance, which meant quite a delay before we emerged into arrivals, so that is something worth knowing.
All in all, though, a very good experience, with special thanks to Clive, and to the many others in our group who helped.
Review by: mary on 24/04/2016