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We are Stephen and Gloria, and together with our 2 girls (aged four and two) we’ve taken a year out from our lives in Sydney to travel the world. We are 5 months into our trip, which so far has included Tokyo, London, Geneva, Seville and Madrid.
We are travelling slowly, and are aiming to spend weeks or months in each location so we get the chance to know places well. After Spain we head to Mexico and Central America, so we’re learning Spanish while we’re here.
“The range of tours available was impressive, with small group sizes and a variety of options available within Madrid (and other cities too).”
First impressions of Tours By Locals
We hadn’t heard of Tours By Locals before Susannah promoted them on the Our Tribe Travels website, so we were keen to see the tours on offer. The range of tours available was impressive, with small group sizes and a variety of options available within Madrid (and other cities too).
We decided upon Caroline’s Green Bike Tour of Madrid, as we are all cycling fans and we love getting around on two wheels.
Communication with Caroline was easy, and we exchanged a few messages via WhatsApp to organise meeting at a local bike store, where they set us up with bikes and child seats for the kids.
We then set off through the city to find the first of the many “green” spaces on the tour. This presented a slight issue – Madrid is a large and bustling city with lots of impatient drivers, and it was a bit nerve-wracking to jostle for space with the cars and trucks. At one point a taxi driver got impatient and tried to barge past us while yelling at us to pull over, despite the obvious presence of two young kids in the bike seats. We’re used to impatient drivers in Sydney, but at least there you’re allowed to cycle on the pavement with kids under 12.
Once we got off the busy roads, the tour improved immensely and we were able to cycle freely through many parks, boulevards and cycle ways. Caroline was very knowledgeable about the history and architecture of Madrid, and took us to many places we would never have otherwise found.
“Caroline was very knowledgeable about the history and architecture of Madrid, and took us to many places we would never have otherwise found.”
A great example of this was the Madrid Rio region, which is a huge riverside area containing many playgrounds, parks and paths along the river. This isn’t mentioned in any of our guidebooks so is exactly the type of local knowledge we were hoping to find. In fact we loved it so much we returned again 2 days later, and spent the entire day there.
Although Spanish isn’t her native language, Caroline was happy to adapt her tour to speak with us mostly in Spanish, which really helped us with our language practise. She was also relaxed and comfortable around our girls.
Unfortunately the weather in Spain has been pretty terrible for the past few months, to the point where the local papers are talking about the incessant rain. It wasn’t raining on the day we did our tour, but it was seriously cold, and our girls really felt it on the back of the bikes (we also had numb fingers on the handlebars). But we all soldiered on despite the arctic temperatures, and saw some lovely green spaces – which is exactly what we were hoping to see.
“We would happily recommend Tours By LOCALS, and in particular we believe Caroline’s tour would be good for families with older kids who are comfortable on bikes.”
We would happily recommend Tours By LOCALS, and in particular we believe Caroline’s tour would be good for families with older kids who are comfortable on bikes, bearing in mind that there are a few hills to navigate and some sections where you will have to ride on main roads.
Many thanks to Our Tribe Travels and Tours By LOCALS for making this possible.
Any suggestions to improve the experience?
In truth the Tours By LOCALS’ website was a bit cumbersome to use, and we quickly found that it was difficult to bookmark pages and return to them later (the URLs were temporary, and didn’t work later on). This also meant it was difficult to send suggested tours to each other.
Tours By LOCALS’ response:
There is a shareable URL at the bottom of each tour page that people can copy and paste. You can also log in and create wish lists to save and share with others (like Airbnb). Unfortunately this isn’t very clear so thank you for your comments – we appreciate the feedback.
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Green Bike Tour Madrid
If you would like to book the same family friendly bike tour with Caroline, or view the other unique Madrid experiences, you can view the details here.
$20 Discount Code: ZNW4LZ
Tours By LOCALS are offering Our Tribe Travels members $20 discount off any tour.
This code needs to be redeemed by the end of December 2018, but your booked tour can be taken after this date.
WHO ARE TOURS BY LOCALS?
Launched in 2008, Tours By LOCALS provides private tours for travellers through their carefully selected network of local tour guides, each of whom is keen to share their knowledge, experience and expertise. It’s a great way to discover places that are off the beaten track and experience what a city has to offer through the eyes of a local.
THE TOURS BY LOCALS EXPERIENCES ARE PERFECT FOR FAMILIES BECAUSE;
- The tour groups are small – perfect for one family which gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace.
- You can select the guide that you feel would best suit your family dynamics. To help you to choose you can read the guide’s profile, watch their video introductions and read their reviews.
- You can customise a tour to suit your family’s interests and the age of your children. The website allows you to liaise directly with your chosen guide to discuss your bespoke experience.