© María Nieto Raventós
Travel is the traveler.
What we see isn’t what we see
but what we are.

Fernando Pessoa

And that trip, a trip designed for travelers, is what we offer you at THE REAL THING, a reality that goes beyond the journey and can only be found in good company and with even better organization. For those who know, with those who know.



We want to know what you like and what´s more, if you let us, we want to surprise you with new things. Both those seeking their first Spanish experience and the well-versed traveler to Spain in search of something more, will find what they are looking for with us.

At THE REAL THING we know how to make the most popular places feel special and unique, and how to make the unknown essential.

Spend the day at a well-known bullfighter’s ranch, try your luck bullfighting against some young bulls, ride a beautiful Spanish horse or have a picnic in the countryside. Enjoy an afternoon in a haute couture workshop, looking at patterns and adornments; or at an artist’s studio. Take an eye-opening Spanish cooking course, or learn how to sing flamenco with one of the country’s best. Sample delicious morsels on a terrace with views more beautiful than you could have ever imagine, or discover your passion for traditional, hundred-year old pottery making – and take something special with you when you go. Sleep in a palace with a stunning interior patio, breathe in the raw emotion of a Holy Week procession… Shall we continue?

Our trips are top-quality and tailor-made to fit your interests, needs, passions and means. We want you to go home with a suitcase full of one-of-a-kind experiences and your memory bursting with stories of the other Spain, which we hope you’ll visit many more times in the future.


I studied Art History at the Universitat de Barcelona, and after several forays into the London market, I knew I was meant to be in Barcelona, my city. I started out at the emblematic Sala Metrònom gallery (when it was reopened), founded by the Fundació Rafael Tous, where I organized a wide range of programs such as an International Experimental Music Week, exhibitions, a radio show, an independent film festival… After such an intense period, I spent the next seven years in the art industry, covering the artistic process from beginning to end. My first stop: Edicions T, Toni Tàpies’s publishing house, where we created an exquisite catalogue of graphic works by artists such as John Baldessari, Sean Scully, Sol LeWitt and, of course, Antoni Tàpies. The project grew, and we became a leading gallery. Years later I became Director of the Estrany – De la Mota Gallery. During that period, it was an honor for me to work with other artists such as Jaume Plensa, João Onofre, Jana Sterbak, Ignasi Aballí, Douglas Gordon, Jonathan Monk, Bestué-Vives, Francesc Ruiz and José Antonio Hernandez-Diez, during their exhibitions in the gallery and at major contemporary art events, international museums, and leading art fairs. At the same time I curated the group show Creatures, a place for the absurd.



We developed a fondness for travel, and for fine dining, at an early age. As we have gone through life, and in addition to unique experiences and journeys, we have taken on our own interesting projects, as well as those of others — tips and recommendations on restaurants or must-see landscapes; learning about wine and flamenco; gathering stories about local festivals or comparing notes on hotels. Traveling with someone else’s notebook is always a good place to start — especially when they have a unique point of view.


I started out studying Business Administration in Rotterdam and Madrid, because it’s important to do practical things in life… and once you have, you can then do what’s really important. For me, this meant classes at Sotheby’s Institute in London, followed by studying art history and theory away from the maddening crowds at Bryn Mawr College, on the outskirts of Philadelphia. I later spent time at the MoMa and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, before returning home and continuing with Advanced Studies in Art History at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and working at the Fundación ICO, the Residencia de Estudiantes and the Fundación de Amigos del Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. With these experiences under my belt, I began to develop other projects where I could apply my art training, including pedagogical work for La Casa Encendida, the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales and the Fundación BBVA. Additionally, I created a digital archive for promoting Spanish artists abroad — through the Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior — and implemented continuumlivearts.com, an association and digital platform dedicated to the study and diusion of live arts.



I got my degree in art history from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, but I discovered art while on a scholarship at the Università degli Studi of Florence. Upon my return, and thanks to another scholarship, this time with a focus on the preservation of cultural heritage, I managed to go in and out of the Museo del Prado during the hours it was closed to the public. I entered the world of contemporary art as part of the team that founded La Casa Encendida, where I headed the exhibition department for five years. I then returned to work on RMS La Asociación, a personal and group project, managing an independent space, production projects such as Madrid Abierto, and curating exhibitions at La Panera, CGAC (Galician Contemporary Art Center) and Artium, among others. In 2009, I was invited to help prepare Santander as a candidate for the European Capital of Culture in 2016, during which time I saw how culture could play as important a role in development as economic, social and environmental factors.
Following a brief stint at Laboral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, after so many projects in the north, I realized how much I missed Madrid’s sunny skies. I decided to study again, expanding my training in CSR, first at IE Business School and then as part of a Master’s program at Universidad Camilo José Cela.



THE REAL THING is comprised of a team of intrepid travelers who have spent years traveling: alone, with a partner, with children, or with friends… We have been to many interesting places, some far away, and others right around the corner. And we all share a love for culture — the culture that overflows from theaters and museums and envelopes us, sings to us, and seats us at the table with all five senses —.

We love Spain and with THE REAL THING we want to put people in touch with its vast cultural wealth. At the same time we want to revisit its most common clichés and bring them up to date so that they can be thoroughly enjoyed. We also want to show you a range of different, not-to-miss experiences that are authentically Spanish and unique.

What truly sets THE REAL THING apart is our ongoing desire to improve, and the human and professional qualities of our collaborators.

Our experts design a broad range of proposals encompassing an understanding of Spain’s extensive and comprehensive culture, based on rigor, historical perspective and respect for tradition, while also highlighting our contemporary approach.

© María Nieto Raventós

At THE REAL THING we want to be the best host that any traveler or company to and in Spain could hope for, constantly striving to delight our clients with the quality of our proposals. We know how to make the most popular places feel special and unique, and how to make the unknown essential.

We come from the cultural sector and have worked in cultural related jobs for around 20 years: as gallery directors, head of exhibitions, professors or exhibition curators, developing educational and cultural programs. This extensive experience is our strength, offered to the traveller that comes to Spain looking for an unforgettable experience.

We want travelers to discover those places, surroundings, situations and customs that lend Spanish culture its character, in the broadest sense of the word. And there is no better way to do so than to put yourself in the knowledgeable hands of the most qualified experts, for an authentic and singular experience.

All of the trips and experiences designed by THE REAL THING are tailor-made to meet the needs, interests, desires and budgets of our clients. Our visits are usually private, conducted with small, closed groups, and provide access to exceptional places. This is also our added value in our corporate services, with activities and events geared towards the reach of strategic objectives in line with leisure, culture and personal development of members of the organization.