Paris to Madrid Trip Notes

Paris to Madrid

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 22 October 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 18 Aug 2016
Paris to Madrid
Trip code: AMSF
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 22 Oct 2016
From the romantic capital of France to magnificent Madrid, this adventure is packed with art, nature, culture and history. Enjoy the sparkling lights of Paris, visit the royal Chateau at Villandry and hike among the towering peaks of the Pyrenees. Cross into Spain and kick back on a sunny beach to recharge before perhaps embarking on a big night out. Finally, hit the Spanish capital to discover a multitude of chic boutiques or lose yourself in the wonder of the world-famous Prado and Reina Sofia museums. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017: From the 1st of January 2017 this trip will have slightly improved itinerary on Day 7. Due to past traveller’s feedback, we have decided to replace the vineyard tour outside of Bordeaux with highly ranked wine museum visit. The guided tour includes visit of the cellars where you will learn about history of the wine trade in Bordeaux, ageing process in oak barrels, inventions of the bottles and labels, and a commented wine tasting.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point description
ThemesAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderHealth
Physical ratingSafetyTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining pointA couple of rules
Important notesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Group sizeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersFinish pointFeedback
Is this trip right for you?
- In Sarlat, the group will take a kayaking trip, which is a great way to discover the area. To participate, you'll need to be comfortable with canoeing on calm water. The activity will be supervised by your tour leader, but if you wish to skip it and do something else instead, there are other optional activities to choose form. These can be organised locally, so please speak to your leader at the beginning of the trip.
- In Tours, the group will take a bike ride to the beautiful gardens of Chateau Villandry. To do this, you'll need to be comfortable with cycling for about 30 kilometres at an easy pace on flat ground. If you'd like to skip this activity and organise an alternative mode of transport, please speak to your leader at the start of the trip.
- If you want to hike through the Pyrenees mountains, you'll need to be fairly fit and healthy, and will need to bring sufficient footwear and clothing. If you don't want to hike, you're welcome to simply relax and take in the breathtaking scenery.
- The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning, toilets, and a snack bar (or vending machine). Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.
- As there are potholes and cobblestones in many European cities, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags or cases at home and bring a backpack instead.
- Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
- As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.
Why we love it
- Be romanced by Paris, the City of Love. The Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees are unforgettable when lit up at night
- Enjoy a day of cycling through the Loire Valley, and tour the exquisite 16th-century ornamental gardens of the Chateau Villandry
- There's nothing like tasting wine from the source. Visit one of the many wineries in Bordeaux to gain insight into the wine-making process
- Canoe down a calm river in the unspoiled Dordogne region of southwestern France
- Hike through the forests and slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains. This mighty range separates the Iberian peninsula from the rest of Europe
- Experience the Basque way of life on the sandy shores of San Sebastian. Indulge at the local pintos bars and throw yourself into northern Spanish nightlife
- The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover's dream. In one small stretch you can browse the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, one of the world's most celebrated galleries

Day 1 Paris
Bonjour! Welcome to Paris. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting which is usually around 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you have all these to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, get out and explore this 'City of Light'. Perhaps go for a wander around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the bohemian Montmartre. This will give you a good feel for the city. Arriving earlier to see Paris' iconic sights is highly recommended.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the meeting. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Eiffel Tower - EUR17
  • Louvre Museum - EUR15
  • Musee d'Orsay - EUR14
  • Palace of Versailles - EUR15
  • Palace of Versailles gardens - Free
  • Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR65
  • Arc de Triomphe - EUR12
  • Catacombs - EUR10
  • Centre Pompidou - EUR14
  • Napoleon's tomb - EUR10
  • Notre Dame Towers - EUR8
  • Picasso Museum - EUR11
  • Rodin Museum - EUR10
  • Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR15
  • Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR25
  • Fat Tires bike tour - EUR32
  • Urban Adventures - Secret Paris: Cheese, Art, and Local Life - EUR49
  • Urban Adventures - Experience Bohemian Paris - EUR49
  • Fragonard Perfume Museum - Free
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Tours
    Say au revoir to Paris this morning and travel by train to Tours (approximately 3 hours). On arrival, the day is yours to spend as you please. This city is based on the lower reaches of the River Loire. Being a crucial frontier between northern and southern France, it held many feudal strongholds, country seats and even some of the posh playhouses of many of the French nobles. You'll soon see why the city of Tours is acclaimed as a town of art and history. Explore the narrow streets, the outdoor cafes and bars in the main square, and the Rue Colbert and Rue Grand Marche, lined with half-timbered houses. This is also a great place for a tipple, as the city is well known for its wines.
    Optional Activities
    • Cathedrale St-Gatien - Free
    • Hot air balloon - EUR250
    • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR5
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 3 Tours
      There are many ways to discover the beauty of Loire Valley, but cycling is perhaps best for exploring this rolling countryside and its historic chateaux. Enjoy a day's cycling and tour the Chateau Villandry, which has a beautiful ornamental garden dating back to the 16th century. This is where French and English kings used to discuss peace. It was brought to today's shape by Joachim Carvallo in the 20th century. You'll see just by looking at it what an enormous amount of money and time it took. It's known to many as one of the most beautiful set of gardens in the world. In the late afternoon or early evening, the rest of your day is then free.

      Notes: The cycling trip is a mostly flat 35 kilometres, but you will need appropriate footwear (no flip-flops) to cycle in. Bring a day pack for your essentials such as water, sunglasses, sun cream and a camera.
      Included Activities
      • Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
      • Cycling tour
        Hotel (1 nt)
        1 breakfast
        Day 4 Dordogne Region
        Journey south by train to the small medieval town of Sarlat, located in the Dordogne region (approximately 6 hours). This is a great area to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life, known for its rich cuisine and prehistoric history. Time seems to have stood still in Sarat-la-Caneda itself, with a slow winding river and a town so impeccably preserved that it still resembles its 14th-century state. On arrival, check into your hotel and use your free time getting to know the town. Simply enjoy the atmosphere of Sarlat by sitting in one of the roadside cafes and watching locals going about their everyday tasks.
        Optional Activities
        • Gabarre tour - EUR8
        • Domme Caves - EUR9
          Hotel (1 nt)
          1 breakfast
          Day 5 Dordogne Region
          Today's a fun, active day. Head out on the Dordogne River, where you'll paddle a canoe down the river for around 15 kilometres. This is a picturesque setting, and you'll be able to take in sights such as the gorgeous Chateau de Beynac. It sits atop a limestone cliff, dominating the townscape and north bank of the Dordogne River. Another option for later in the day is to hire a bike, which is the ideal way to get around in this pretty region. Check with your leader for timings, though, as often it may be difficult to fit both canoeing and cycling on the same day. The evening is yours to spend as you please.
          Included Activities
          • Canoeing - Sarlat
            Optional Activities
            • Bike hire per day - EUR22
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Day 6 Bordeaux
              Travel by train to the capital of the Gascony region, Bordeaux (approximately 3 hours). On arrival, drop your luggage off at the hotel and start to get a feel for the place. Famed for its wine, this region has some fascinating history, and most of the architecture visible today in Bordeaux dates from the 18th century (which is considered its golden age). Perhaps scale the Gothic bell tower of the Tour Pey-Berland for great views of the city. Visit famous Cathédrale St-André, as well as its many fine and contemporary art museums and 18th- and 19th-century mansions. Public gardens line the curving river quays, and grand Place de la Bourse opens to the water, with the Three Graces fountain at its centre. The rest of your day is then free to do as you wish.
              Optional Activities
              • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR4
              • Pey Berland Tower - Cathedale St Andre - EUR6
              • CAPC Musee d'Art Contemporain - EUR5
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 7 Bordeaux
                Today you will find out for yourself why Bordeaux wines are so popular all over the globe. Venture out on a day tour to a nearby vineyard for a tasting of some of the region's vintages. Perfect your palate as you're taken through some of France's most celebrated grapes. In the evening, enjoy some free time. Perhaps pop out for dinner with the group to spoil your taste buds even more. Bordeaux has a long list of excellent places to dine. Ask your leader for the best recommendation; or, if you’re adventurous, take a chance on one that looks promising.
                Included Activities
                • Wine tasting Bordeaux
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 8 Pyrenees
                  Travel by train and bus to the French Pyrenees and the spa town of Bagneres de Luchon (approximately 6 hours). The French Pyrenees stretch from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and form a natural 450-kilometre barrier between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. As well as their spectacular natural beauty, they are also famous for their thermal springs; curistes (those seeking a cure) have been coming here for centuries. Luchon is one of the spa towns, and a great base for exploring the surrounding trails. There won't be too much time to explore today, so perhaps take a brief walk around town before you head out for dinner.
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 9 Pyrenees
                  Today is another active day. Kick things off nice and early as you take to the hills for a day of hiking in the Pyrenees. Be prepared for some steep ascents through the forest. You'll arrive at a fantastic vantage. If the weather is clear, you'll see some incredible mountainous vistas from up here. These surrounds are well and truly alpine, so try not to forget your camera! The terrain can be quite unpredictable, so remember to bring appropriate footwear. Sturdy trainers or light hiking boots will suffice. Pack your waterproof items, plenty of water, and energy bar or two so you can be in peak condition to enjoy the beautiful hills.
                  Included Activities
                  • Hiking in the Pyrenees
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Day 10 San Sebastian
                    Take a private transfer across the border to Spain and continue to the coastal town of San Sebastian (approximately 5 hours). With its family friendly beaches, innovative gastronomy and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is an ideal place to take it easy. Stroll along the promenade, shop, feast on pintxos (Basque-style tapas) or simply laze on the sand and soak up the sun. If you’re up for a different perspective of La Concha (the most central beach), climb or catch a cable car to Monte Igueldo. The panoramic views form the summit makes one feel like a hawk.
                    Optional Activities
                    • Grab Your Pintxo - EUR65
                    • St. James Way Adventure - EUR55
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      Day 11 San Sebastian
                      You have a full day to explore San Sebastian today. Perhaps catch the one-hour local bus to Bilbao. If you do decide to head there, the world-famous and architecturally sublime Guggenheim Museum is well worth your time. If you have enough time in the afternoon, the San Telmo Museum displays a good collection of history, art and photography of the Basque country. Otherwise, San Sebastian has still plenty on offer. An interesting thing to see is the well-known Aquarium, which is proud to be the first natural science museum founded in Spain. Since opening in 1928 it has hosted 12 million visitors, and though it has undergone some remodelling over the years its original character and principles has remained true. In the evening, it might be a good idea to enjoy one more night of tapas in San Sebastian.
                      Optional Activities
                      • Aquarium - EUR13
                      • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free
                      • Guggenheim Museum - EUR16
                      • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian - EUR3
                      • San Telmo Museum - EUR6
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Day 12 Segovia
                        Say goodbye to San Sebastian and head to the remarkable walled town of Segovia. You'll get there by train and bus (approximately 6 hours). There's plenty to do and see in this town, which is located in the heart of mountainous Castile. There's stunning scenery, twisting alleyways and delicious local cuisine, not to mention the world's highest concentration of Romanesque churches. Check out the aqueduct – the largest and best-preserved of its kind. For something different, there are two rivers bordering the medieval walls, and an extensive green belt park with miles of shaded walks. Enjoy your evening relaxing and taking in the atmosphere.
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Day 13 Segovia
                        Today you'll take a sightseeing walk of the World Heritage-listed old town, visiting the spectacular fortified castle of Alcazar. As an inspiration to the iconic Walt Disney structure, this is where Queen Isabel met with Columbus before he set sail on the epic journey that led to the discovery of the Americas. Alcazar rises out on a rocky crag above the river and, due to its interesting shape, looks a bit like the bow of a ship. You'll have plenty of time to explore this most distinctive Spanish landmark, so make sure you take comfortable footwear for your walk. Rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax.
                        Included Activities
                        • Alcazar Segovia
                          Optional Activities
                          • Casa de los Picos - Free
                          • City walls - EUR2
                          • Esteban Vicente Museum - EUR3
                          • Segovia Fortress - EUR5
                          • Segovia Museum - EUR2
                          • Zuloaga Museum - EUR2
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            Day 14 Madrid
                            Journey by train to Madrid this morning (approximately 1 hour). On arrival, perhaps while away the hours on the Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) for a panoramic perspective of western art history. Perhaps wander through the pristine gardens of Real Jardin Botanico and then delve deeper into the art of the city at Museo Reina Sofia and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Sports fans, if you're lucky enough for your trip to fall on match day, you can don a white t-shirt and head to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to watch the mighty Real Madrid.

                            Notes: As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid, staying longer is highly recommended. Our reservations team can help with booking accommodation (subject to availability).
                            Optional Activities
                            • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR27
                            • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
                            • Museo del Prado - EUR14
                            • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR4
                            • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
                            • Madrid Tapas Adventure - EUR82
                            • Markets of Madrid- UA - EUR47
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 15 Madrid
                              Your adventure ends after breakfast today. There are no more activities planned and you're free to leave your accommodation at any time.
                              Itinerary disclaimer
                              ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                              OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

                              BOOKING MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS IN ADVANCE: To avoid disappointment we have outlined (where applicable) some important information on some of the major museums and attractions in Europe. Some of our groups have experienced long lines of up to four hours to visit some of the major sights, while some sights are so popular they are booked out completely months in advance, making it impossible for you or your leader to arrange a visit while you are on the trip. Please note that many museums and attractions in Europe are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where possible. If applicable we've given you information in the day-to-day itinerary which outlines which day of the trip is a suitable time to make your reservations, as well as any other information that may help with planning your visit.
                              Physical rating

                              Included activities
                              Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
                              Cycling tour
                              Canoeing - Sarlat
                              Wine tasting Bordeaux
                              Hiking in the Pyrenees
                              Alcazar Segovia
                              Important notes
                              A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

                              Group size
                              Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                              Your fellow travellers
                              GROUP TRAVEL
                              As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                              SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                              Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

                              SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
                              A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
                              Hotel (14 nights)
                              The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                              TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                              Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

                              CHECK-IN TIME
                              Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                              PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
                              If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

                              Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.
                              Meals introduction
                              While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

                              There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar.). However, there are generally opportunities to stop for a beverage or a snack along the way.

                              Vegetarians should be aware that a meat and fish diet is the norm some areas of Spain. Most vegetarians have not experienced problems, however please be prepared to be flexible.

                              Mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 21:00 and 21.30.
                              4 breakfasts
                              Bicycle, Bus, Kayak, Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Train

                              TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
                              Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world's most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.
                              Money matters
                              The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.

                              The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.

                              You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.

                              When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.

                              Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.

                              You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.

                              For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.

                              SPENDING MONEY
                              When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                              If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                              DEPARTURE TAX
                              All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                              Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries.

                              Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                              EMERGENCY FUNDS
                              Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                              Group leader
                              All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                              Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                              Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                              We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                              Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                              For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:


                              FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                              Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                              TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
                              Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                              PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                              While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
                              Joining point
                              Hotel Des Arts - Bastille
                              2 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac
                              Phone: +33 143797257
                              Joining point description
                              Hotel des Arts is a small boutique-style property ideally located in the district of la Bastille. Rooms offer a safe, free WiFi, direct dial telephone, satellite TV and a small en-suite bathroom. The hotel also offers a 24hr front desk, elevator and luggage storage facilities.
                              Joining point instructions
                              Take the metro to Charonne, line 9. Take the rue de Charonne exit. Walk down the street with the green boulanger and red Brasserie L’ngenu on either corner. Walk 250 metres to Rue Godefroy Cavaignac on your right. Hotel des Arts is the first building on the right.

                              Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport: If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name at the arrivals hall. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +33 (0)6 15 035 427.
                              Finish point
                              Gran Legazpi Hotel
                              71, Paseo de la Chopera
                              Phone: 34 914023280
                              Finish point description
                              The Gran Legazpi Hotel is a centrally located modern hotel, offering fully equipped rooms with the latest amenities. The hotel is located next to the emblematic Plaza de Legazpi, making it close to Madrid's shopping, cultural and financial centre
                              Finishing point instructions
                              If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.

                              If you have pre-booked a departure transfer: You will be collected at your accommodation 3 hours before your flight departure time.
                              In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +34 91 747 7570
                              Emergency contact
                              In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on the number listed below:

                              For general contact details please use the following page:

                              While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                              We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                              You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                              Peak Marrakech: +49 867 791 866 57
                              Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                              Australia: No - Not required
                              Belgium: No - Not required
                              Canada: No - Not required
                              Germany: No - Not required
                              Ireland: No - Not required
                              Netherlands: No - Not required
                              New Zealand: No - Not required
                              South Africa: Yes - in advance
                              Switzerland: No - Not required
                              UK: No - Not required
                              USA: No - Not required
                              What to take
                              On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.


                              TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
                              It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas inside the bus or your cabin. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

                              LUGGAGE STORAGE
                              Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage during included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.

                              WATER BOTTLE
                              Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
                              Climate and seasonal information
                              SPANISH SIESTA:
                              Please note that shops, attractions, sights and businesses may be closed for up to 5 hours in the middle of the day for siesta time. This gives the locals time to escape the heat and spend time with their families, eat a large lunch or simply sleep through the most uncomfortable time of day. This means of course that people work later into the evening and dinner time can seem quite late: 9.30pm is not uncommon for family dinner time.

                              One of the great things about our trips is that we encourage every member of the group to spend time interacting with local people. In order to best be able to do this in Spain, we recommend that you try to do as the locals do - avoid the heat of the day, and stay out later at night.
                              All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                              You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
                              Travel insurance
                              Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                              When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                              If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                              A couple of rules
                              Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                              Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                              Responsible Travel
                              We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                              DRESS CODE
                              In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.

                              The Intrepid Foundation
                              Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                              The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:


                              After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.