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Our story

Born from a shared dream

Virginia Irurita

I was born in northern Spain in 1962 to a family of travelers. Since I can remember, I have been on the road exploring, as my father made sure that I slept in every Parador and Pousada discovering the magic of every monument, church, art collection and regional gastronomy of the Iberian Peninsula.

I eventually settled down to work for Citibank in Madrid and in London for nearly two decades, until I realized that I could not go on living such a boring office life! It became clear that my love for the Iberian lifestyle, history, culture, and art was taking me away from my work, so I decided to follow my passions. I left the banking world and began the wonderful adventure of hosting travelers in Spain and Portugal by founding Made for Spain & Portugal in 1999.

When I am not traveling around the world with Made for Spain & Portugal, I split my time between my homes in Madrid, Cádiz, and the Ribera del Duero wine region. Outside of my professional endeavors, I spend my time reading biographies, cooking, taking pictures and traveling to discover other cultures and different ways of living. When I am at home, I adore aperitif time in busy tapas bars, eating out, being with friends and exploring the countryside.

Alonso Álvarez de Toledo
Alonso Álvarez de Toledo

Once, when I was about 15 years old and while I was on a ski lift almost 7,500 feet up in the French Alps, I thought: “One day I’d like to have my own newspaper and a travel agency”.

Later I dismissed them as thoughts provoked by a lack of oxygen. Well, a few years later I became the editor of my college newspaper, and much later I became the co-owner of Made for Spain, probably one of the best places in the world to develop my professional career as a travel agent.

After having lived in seven countries I must admit that Spain is really unique. I am therefore very happy to share our beautiful, interesting, passionate, fun and surprising country with other people. In my personal life I love to run, hang out with friends, read and, of course, travel.

But above all, I like spending time with my wife Leticia and my two adorable children: Tomás and Isabella.

We were born in 1999 as the serendipitously shared dream of two individuals, Virginia Irurita and Alonso Álvarez de Toledo, who were both deeply enamored of their own country but equally loved exploring the world. 

After decades living, working, and traveling abroad, they each had an epiphany that no one in the travel and tourism industry was doing justice promoting their own culture – the incredibly rich history as well as the artistic and culinary diversity of the Iberian Peninsula.

Though scary at first, leaving the security of the office jobs behind turned out to be the easy part. And while it was exhausting work, the process of crafting from scratch what has become one of the world´s finest travel agencies has been an endless and ever-expanding adventure that continues to inspire and motivate them and the whole Made for Spain & Portugal team every day.

Not only do we get to continue discovering more and more magical corners of Portugal and Spain, we get to see these marvelous cultures reflected in the eyes and experiences of our precious guests. At the end of the day, we are hosts waiting to show the very best of these two countries – and we succeed to do it every time.