12 Days in Spain
Imagine the sound of live music filling the streets, the taste of wine and tapas on a patio in the Spanish sun, all surrounded by the exotic heartbeat of authentic Spain. We've all seen our friends' photos of the stunning architecture, white-sand beaches, dramatic flamenco dancing, and medieval fortresses. We've heard their stories of being blown away by the experience of it all. The food, the wine, the dancing, the cobblestone streets, the romance, the "fiestas and siestas" culture, the beauty at every turn... followed up with an emphatic "I could live there!". This is the Spain we know and love and can't wait to experience with you, whether you're a first time visitor to Spain, or a tenth. Spain is that rare country that will steal a piece of your heart and beg you to come back for it.
Our trips through Spain encompass the greatest regions of the diverse country, from eccentric Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast, to the Andalucian towns of Granada and Seville which live up to all the Spanish stereotypes (think flamenco, sangria, and Ole!), and the warmth of the small but uber-gay beach town of Sitges if you're joining us in 2022, or the iconic beauty of the capital city Madrid if you're joining us in 2023. With 12 days and a laid-back pace we've got the time to fully immerse ourselves in each of these four destinations. Sip sangria above Barcelona on Montjuic, take in some live flamenco in Seville, learn to cook our own tapas under the shadow of the Alhambra in Granada, and take a couple days on the beach in Sitges (or the lively capital of Madrid) to soak it all in.
Barcelona is jam-packed full of unique things to see and do which is why it’s such a loved place by its visitors! Our first three nights are spent finding out why this city makes people yearn to come back over and over again. We’ll check out some famous spots together such as the Sagrada Familia, and Las Ramblas then take in the view from the best vantage point atop Mont Juic while sipping the finest Sangria. Our first meeting time on day 1 is at 4pm where we'll all meet together to start our adventure!
The famous Alhambra looms over the quaint, picturesque, traditionally Andalusian streets, all set against the background of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains. “Can’t miss” items in this gorgeous town include visiting the hill-top Alhambra at sunset, taking in a local flamenco show, and checking out the many parks, streets, and buildings dating back to the time of the Moorish rule. Whether you’d like to take a Spanish cooking course here, take a day trip up to the Sierra Nevada mountains, or maybe even visit local wineries, you’ll have plenty of options to keep you as busy as you'd like.
Seville (or "Sevilla" as the locals call it) is incredibly rich in history and is the home to many things that scream "SPAIN!" including tapas, flamenco, and paella. It's also known as being one of the most romantic cities in Spain with romance in the air at every turn. Of course there's also a very lively gay community here too if you're looking to meet some locals! All of this makes Seville a perfectly well-rounded city with beauty, history, and culture galore.
2022 trips spend days 10, 11, and 12 in Sitges.
Right up there with Mykonos, Key West, and Ipanema, Sitges has marked its spot on the world's gay map. But instead of the massive beach parties, Sitges is actually a very "homey" and cute beachside town that attracts a more low-key and social crowd than others on the list. Sure there are plenty of gay bars here, but there's also a feeling of community and relaxation that will have you feeling like you could live here forever! While you're here we'd suggest taking a wine tour, getting in the sparkling blue Mediterranean, or checking out one of the many museums. Our 12th and final day is when most travelers depart, but if you've got the time we really suggest spending some more time in this beautiful area! Our final night of this trip is spent in Sitges which is only 20 minutes from Barcelona Airport, meaning you'll have easy access from our Sitges hotel to the airport for your trip home.
Not ready to go home yet? Don't miss out on experiencing the largest city and capital of Spain - Madrid! Just a few hours away from Sitges by high-speed train, it's a must-visit city for those who have some extra time to add onto their Spanish adventure. Check out all the details about our self-guided Madrid extension here.
2023 trips spend days 10, 11, and 12 in Madrid
One of the world's great cities. A hub of art, history, nightlife, shopping, and culinary delights, Madrid is an incredible city to discover. The last 2 nights of our Spanish adventure together will be spent here surrounded by impressive architecture and endless things to keep busy with. Impressive museums such as the Museo del Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza are located here and are worth the time if you enjoy art museums, otherwise, enjoy our included 3-hour walking tour in the morning with a local guide, then get lost in the beautiful streets and alleyways. Once night falls, there's no better place to be than the blocks that surround our group hotel in the heart of Chueca, Madrid's ecclectic gay neighborhood.
Our time together comes to an end on the 12th day of the trip and all travelers are welcome to depart from Madrid any time on this day, or ask us to add extra nights in Madrid if you'd like more time to expore this beautiful city.
We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we're pretty sure you don't either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous wifi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we've narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we've stayed in the past and where we'll likely be staying on your trip.
BARCELONA: Praktik Vinoteca
Located in the heart of Barcelona, this comfortable hotel is centrally located (only a 15 minute walk to La Rambla promenade and Mercat de la Boqueria) and is within Barcelona's gay neighbourhood, Gaixample. Features include a gorgeous terrace, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and en suite bathrooms with rainfall showers.
SEVILLE: Inglaterra Hotel
A hotel within a circa-1857 building overlooking Plaza Nueva, this upscale hotel opposite City Hall is a 7-minute walk from Seville Cathedral. Featuring parquet flooring, hardwood furniture and antique engravings, the sophisticated rooms include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. There's a seasonal rooftop terrace, a fitness center, a trendy bar and city views.
GRANADA: Room Mate Leo
Set amongst a bustling pedestrian shopping street in downtown Granada, this stylish boutique hotel is a 5-minute walk from Granada Cathedral. Accomodation includes free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minibars and desks and the property features a rooftop terrace with views of the city.
SITGES: Hotel Medium Sitges Park (2022 trips)
Housed in a 19th-century modernist structure in Sitges Old Town, this charming hotel is a 4-minute walk from Fragata Beach and a 6-minute walk from the Cau Ferrat Museum. Rooms feature flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The facilities include a cool outdoor pool and a garden.
MADRID: Room Mate Oscar (2023 trips)
You couldn't get more perfectly located, in the heart of the city and in the midst of Madrid's gay neighborhood, Chueca. This property features large rooms, a rooftop terrace with a cocktail bar, Balinese beds and a seasonal pool.
*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all Detours trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels, and will never downgrade.
Don’t worry about getting chilly, our trips are scheduled in the warm months ensuring maximum warmth and sunshine! Temperatures will vary from warm to hot depending on your chosen travel month and itinerary stop. In Barcelona we can expect temperatures in the high 70’s and 80’s Farenheit (high 20’s Celsius) during the day, while Granada and Seville can even reach up into the 90’s (mid 30’s Celsius. That said, weather can sometimes be unpredictable so it's always good to pack a “just in case” outfit for the odd rainy day.
You may notice a difference between the Catalonian people of Barcelona, and the Andalusian people of Seville and Granada. Both areas are proud of their unique heritage which is evident in the people you’ll meet. Although Spain is known as a Catholic country, it is also an incredibly LGBT-friendly country too, being one of the first countries in the world to legalize same sex marriage nationally. The gay community in Spain ranges from the beach and party-loving crowd in Barcelona, to the more laid-back social and friendly communities in Granada and Seville. Although English is very widely spoken, consider learning a few words of the Spanish language while you're here, we recommend starting off with “Hola” (hello), “Gracias” (thank you), and of course “Donde esta la playa?” (where’s the beach?)
Who doesn’t like Spanish food?! Think Mediterranean favorites such as paella, and unique tapas served on perfect people-watching patios. Spanish people love taking long breaks (“siesta hours”) in the afternoon when they’ll close up shops for a couple hours to grab a bite with friends. This is a perfect time to indulge in some afternoon tapas and a glass of sangria. Detours doesn't believe in limiting your choices by including all of your meals at pre-decided restaurants as part of the trip package. Instead, we include all of your breakfasts to start your day off, then we explore all of the different restaurant options available for lunch and dinner. This way we can eat when we want, where we want, and spend what we want! Your trip leader definitely has their favorite spots so if you'd like some advice on the best in each location, just check with them.
Our advice is simple. Pack your bag, then take half of those things out and leave them back home. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Even if you realize you forget to pack some crucial item you can always pick up a replacement once you arrive in Spain. We'll include some trip-specific packing advice based on expected weather as part of our update email to you, sent 60 days prior to your trip.
We REALLY suggest just bringing your regular bank card from home and using the ATMs in Spain to get cash; in our experience it’s cheaper than any currency exchange service in Spain or even at home. Spain uses the Euro as their local currency and shops/restaurants do not accept US dollars so once you arrive into Barcelona airport you should stock up on some Euro cash. Credit cards are widely accepted in Spain so it’s good to bring one on your trip too. Travelers checks are a thing of the past so we don’t recommend them any more.
Tipping isn’t a native Spanish custom, however, it is always appreciated by local service staff. We suggest tipping for any services that go above and beyond expectations. That extra Euro or two on a dinner bill is very appreciated by the service staff.
We have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing our accommodations, and trust us, we’ve done plenty of room-sniffing, pillow-patting, bed-jumping and bathroom inspections to make sure we stay at quality spots. To be approved as a Detours accommodations provider, a hotel/guesthouse must: be locally owned (to support the local community), be in an amazing location (close to the beach or other hot spots), AND be gay-owned or gay-friendly. We won't be staying in 5-star Ritz-Carltons but we also won't subject you to anything we wouldn't want to stay in ourselves. Clean, comfortable, well-located spots that'll put a smile on your face, you can count on that!
All Detours trips are led by one of our own Detours trip leaders. They're there with you every day and their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to Spain for. Consider them like a friendly concierge that's traveling along with you. All of our trip leaders are gay and all are well-traveled and experienced in the destination they're leading in, so they'll be a great part of your experience!
We do absolutely everything possible to avoid needing such a mundane awakening. A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of, and your “rise and shine” while in Spain should come from the sound of crashing waves or church bells in the distance. However, sometimes due to current train or flight schedules we are required to make early departures, but we do everything we can to minimize this.
For many people, 12 days in Spain just isn’t enough time. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay longer, or if you decide to quit your job and become a beach bum in the Mediterranean for the rest of your life, we’d be happy to help you extend (or cancel!) your return flight. We’ve been all over the area, so don’t think twice about asking where to go or what to do after your Detours trip is complete. Italy, France, the Balearic Islands, Portugal... many interesting destinations are close-by.
Our Detours groups are run with a maximum of 15 travelers. Ages of group members vary but around 90% of our travelers are in their 30's, 40's, and 50's. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone's already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life! We welcome both men and women onto our trips although it’s important to know that most groups are 100% gay men.
The areas of Spain that we'll be visiting are very open-minded and most people will be welcoming of homosexuality. As one of the first countries in the world to legalize gay marriage nationally, gays are widely accepted and although you may not see same-sex couples showing their love in the streets, it is not a place where it is dangerous to be ourselves.
No problem! Don’t worry, lots of our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people both inside and outside of our group, including other solo travelers. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another solo group member in a two-bed room for no extra charge, or you can have your own room for a reasonable surcharge.
Spain uses a "type C" and "type F" plug, the same as most European countries and several other places in the world. The voltage is 230V with 50 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its accetable range
What's included? • All taxes • All land transportation within Spain • Two domestic flights (Barcelona to Granada, Seville to Barcelona/Sitges) • Accommodations for your 12-day Detours experience • Welcome dinner and drinks • All breakfasts • Group travel within Spain • Sagrada Familia tickets and tour with local guide • 3 hour walking tour of Granada and Seville, each with local guide • Knowledgeable and fun Detours trip leader •
What isn't included? • Meals and drinks outside of those listed above • Activities outside of the those listed above • Optional gratuities • International Airfare • Optional gratuities •
Additional spending budget? Your big-ticket items are included through the trip, but you'll want to budget for additional spending such as additional meals, drinks, shopping, activities, etc. These costs can vary dramatically with differing personal habits but we suggest expecting to spend an additional $750 USD at the lower end for the more budget-conscious and $1200 USD at the higher end for the splurgers. We suggest arriving to Spain with approximately 300 local Euros.
Joe J. - USA
November 5, 2019
Just got back from an amazing trip to Spain with Detours. I would recommend them wholeheartedly. They're highly responsive - including answering a slightly panicked email from me within 15 minutes at 9:00 on a Monday night. The trip itself was amazing. Dan was our tour leader and I couldn't have asked for a more knowledgeable, fun, and helpful person to lead us. I had some reservations about the open tour format - it felt like there would be a lot of open time for us to figure out on our own, but the reality is, they'll keep you going on as big or small itinerary as you want. And if you want to do everything, there's always good folks on the tour to join you. The group bonded straight away and we had a blast together. I don't mind saying there were a few tears shed at the end of the trip. Such a wonderful experience. I hope to take another Detours trip again in the near future.
Larry C. - USA
November 3, 2019
I was on the Spain tour in 2019 and had a terrific time. Our trip leader, Dan, was really fabulous. He had amazing energy!
My husband and I have been on 16 tours, to-date. Most of them were with gay travel companies. How does Detours compare? VERY WELL.
The trip price is very reasonable. The hotels were very nice. Some of the other tour companies put us up in seedy hotels, but not Detours. He took us to amazing restaurants. Dan was extremely knowledgable about our Spain trip. He knew everything.
The excursions were really great. The company is very, very organized.
José L. - Brazil
September 4, 2019
The August 2019 Spain Tour with Detours was just amazing. The tour leader James Langill was so kind and interested in helping us. He spent a lot of time making sure everyone was happy. We had plenty of time in each town to enjoy ourselves. Excellent lunches and dinners in restaurants with beautiful views. I'm sure I'll travel with Detours in the near future.
Justin S. - USA
August 31, 2018
I completed the August 2018 Spain tour and I wanted to take this opportunity to compliment James and the entire Detours team for a trip of the lifetime!
When I Googled “Gay group travel,” Detours came up, and I appreciated all the detail on the website. I liked how Miles answered my questions honestly and succinctly, so I booked in early June. To be completely honest, I was not 100% sure what to expect. I went on a non-LGBT group trip in Summer 2016 that was poorly organized and did not provide participants with the quality James and Detours provided.
I arrived in Barcelona alone on a Sunday morning and went to the RoomMate Carla where I was allowed to check in at 9 am. The quality of the RoomMate is excellent and it was a great first impression of what Detours provides its customers.
Rather than run through the entire itinerary, I will mention some highlights. When I came down to our 4 PM meeting, I was anxious. Would I like the other guys? Would I simply tolerate them or would I dislike them? James’s warm personality made all 11 of us feel at ease immediately. From the beginning, I was impressed with how James gave the group an excellent overview of what to expect, Detours policys, and more information. The “freestyle” trip culture allowed for people to do what they wanted when they wanted without anyone feeling excluded.
James’s knowledge of the various restaurants, bars, excursion providers and other vendors, and relationships with their staff afforded our group excellent treatment for 12 days. James explained to us what to expect next during our brief bus rides to the airports and other destinations, so everyone could plan their time appropriately.
As I told James during the trip, this was not just a trip of a lifetime but an experience of a lifetime because I had 12 days with a bunch of other men completely comfortable in their skin 24 hours a day. I am writing this message on a Google Doc during my flight home, and I am dreading a return to reality. As James explained from the beginning, he is a traveling concierge, facilitating all the group members’ desires. I’m confident I speak for the whole group in that we all have nothing but praise for Detours and James.
I write this note with so much gratitude that I went on a Detours trip and a strong sense of gratitude for James and his colleagues that worked behind the scenes to ensure a successful vacation for all of us. Even though we all have busy professional lives at home, we all quickly escaped to the Detours experience. When I return home, I’m pretty sure I’m going to embrace my inner authentic self like James modeled - “doing me” and taking lots of fun, cute selfies along the way.
Gary R. - USA
May 20, 2018
I just returned from the Spain trip (hosted by Dan Clarke) and I must say this adventure was utterly fantastic! I quickly became friends with some fun travel companions—the sights were amazing—the accommodations relaxing—and the weather perfect. Dan was an exceptional tour guide. He often took us on daily excursions away from the busy tourist areas which was greatly appreciated. The photo ops were many—I just downloaded 1,400+ images which I will be posting as soon as I am finished curating! Stay tuned...