We’re thrilled to announce the newest member of our travel design team here at Spain Savvy: Cyra Alcock. Cyra comes to us with years of experience in the tourism industry. With her expert knowledge and deep love for all things Spanish culture, she’s already been a fantastic addition to Spain Savvy. She’s only been with us a few months, but she’s already sent over 35 clients on some of the most incredible journeys around Spain and Portugal, and done so with great success!

Read on to learn more about Cyra—you’ll be lucky to have her as your travel designer.

cyra alcock travel designer

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Sydney, Australia where I lived until I decided I wanted to head over to Europe and explore the world. It was supposed to be a gap year….

How long have you been living in Spain? And what first brought you here?

I actually was based in Italy before living in Spain, and worked there for a company called Intrepid Travel as a Tour Leader. I began leading tours in Italy, which eventually grew to leading tours through Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. So in the beginning I was lucky enough to travel all over Spain and Portugal (and even had a brief stint living in Logroño in La Rioja). While travelling in Spain I met a ton of people in industry, including someone who had just started what was then a new food tour start-up in Madrid, Devour Tours. Eventually, I decided to move on from leading group tours and so I joined Devour Tours and moved to Seville to lead the operation of Devour Tours in Seville and drive the subsequent expansion of the company to two other cities in Andalusia. I’ve been living in Seville for nearly 9 years now (and travelling almost full time in the country – at least during the high season! – for a few years before that, too).

What inspired you to start working as a travel designer?

One of my first jobs in London (nearly 20 years ago!!!) was actually in a travel agency. It was an entry level job, very boring and not creative at all, but I was always curious to learn more about it. Given that for 12+ years all of my work has revolved (and continues to revolve) around creating amazing travel experiences, it’s something that I’ve always had in the back of my mind that I’d like to give a shot. As it turns out, I really enjoy it!

You’re very well traveled. What do you think is one of the biggest benefits of working with a travel designer?

For me the biggest benefit is being able to share the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years and being able to help people have the best trip possible! I truly get a kick out of it!. I’ve actually been to almost every place and eaten in almost every restaurant personally that I recommend to my clients which honestly is rare – if someone was using a travel designer based locally to them, they would not have so much first hand experience. I’ve been to every region in Spain and the top destinations more times than I can count (places like Barcelona I have been to 50 to 100 times, probably closer to 100 by now!) so that is a ton of experience that I love being able to share.

Tell us about a trip you designed that you’re really proud of or were really excited about.

One of the first trips I designed was for a family who were travelling in Northern Spain. I was so proud of that itinerary as it really was Spain ‘off the beaten path’. Also, they were into nice food experiences which is what I love most, so I had food envy just putting together their trip for them! It made me want to revisit Northern Spain, that’s for sure.

What’s a great destination in Spain, Portugal, or Morocco that you think folks HAVE to explore? Or a place people overlook that they shouldn’t?

That’s really, really, hard but if I had to choose one that I know a lot of people don’t visit or don’t dedicate more than a day trip, it would be Ronda! Maybe that’s because it’s only a couple of hours from Seville, but I have taken so many visitors to Ronda (both as a tour leader and people who come to visit me in Seville) and it’s always the place that people expected the least from (or didn’t know what to expect) but ended up falling in love with. For me and my interests, it’s got a bit of everything – some great restaurants, amazing local wines (and wineries you can visit just walking from the city), beautiful hikes, and it’s just super cute to wander around and enjoy being there!

And just for fun, what’s your absolute favorite Spanish dish? 

Also a really tough question and I could honestly list 10 different things, but if I had to choose one – and perhaps not an obvious one – one of my favourite dishes is papas con choco (cuttlefish or calamari stewed with potatoes). And, I’ll never say no to a perfectly prepared papas aliñas.