Best of Spain Trip Notes

Best of Spain

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


Last Modified: 15 Aug 2016
Best of Spain
Trip code: ZMSG
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Kick off this colourful Best of Spain tour in Madrid and let your imagination unfold on a journey through the beautiful Andalucian region. Visit the cities that reflect Spain's diverse history and culture. Experience a fiery flamenco performance in Seville and explore the mysterious maze of alleyways of the old Arab quarter in Albayzin. Follow your tastebuds to a tapas bar and wander among Gaudi's handiwork in Barcelona - this Spanish adventure is as colourful and diverse as the land itself.
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
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train and bus. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. European trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning, toilets and a snack bar (or vending machine). Public buses are also comfortable and often air-conditioned, but there aren't always toilets on board. Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off trains and buses, 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
- Experience the fiery passion and rhythm of a traditional flamenco dance performance in Seville
- It's a pretty special thing to chill out on a beach in Andalusian Spain, knowing North Africa is just across the water Explore the scenic Costa de la Luz, and kick back with some tapas and sangria in Tarifa
- The town of Ronda is split in two by a deep rocky chasm. Follow in the path of the Romans, as you cross from one side to the other along an ancient bridge
- Discover Cordoba's great mosque, the Mezquita, one of the most accomplished examples of Moorish architecture in the world. The lavish gardens and opulent rooms of Granada's spectacular Alhambra Palace aren't bad either
- Witness a spectacular Spanish sunset on a beach in Valencia, while feasting on a bowl of the world's best paella.
- The cosmopolitan city of Barcelona pulses with culture, art and an outstanding drinking and dining scene. Discover the eccentric modernist architecture of Antonio Gaudi, who made Barcelona his artistic playground. The unfinished masterpiece of La Sagrada Familia is particularly mind-blowing
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Madrid
Welcome to Madrid, Spain. The sassy central capital is known for its elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks, but it also pulsates with energy, and is without doubt a vibrant city. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at around 7pm – double check with reception to confirm the time and place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance, passport details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive early. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid, we recommend arriving a few days early to explore. Perhaps while away the hours along the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk, for an expansive history of Western art. Start with the Museo del Prado, then discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia. Finish at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which displays eight centuries of European painting. After the welcome meeting, perhaps get into the mind of a Madrileño with some tapas and Rioja, or head to the Gran Via hotspots to dance the night away.
Optional Activities
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR27
  • Museo del Prado - EUR14
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR4
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Granada
    Take a bus to Granada today (approximately 4.5 hours). Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is packed with Moorish architecture, great tapas bars and natural beauty. Take a walk around the old Arab quarter of the Albaicin, a labyrinth of crooked alleys, fountains, plazas and whitewashed houses, or the 'Alcaiceria' (old silk market area) and observe the craftworks on sale that include ceramics, marquetry and leather goods. If you're feeling energetic, climb the steep streets up to the Mirador de San Nicolas for sunset views over the famous Alhambra. If you have time, perhaps check out the historic Renaissance Catedral and Capilla Real. Granada is the kind of city to leave your guidebook behind and trust your intuition. Discovering the narrow streets of Albaicin and the white-walled house garden of Realejo quarter may lead your adventurous spirit to find something that you have long been looking for. For the best view of Granada at sunset try the Mirador de San Nicolas at the very top of the city's steep streets. In the evening, perhaps head to one of the small flamenco taverns around the city.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 3 Granada
    Today make a visit to Granada's impressive Alhambra Palace. An entrance ticket is included in the trip and grants you the visit of Nasrid Palace and the Gardens. Audio guides in multiple languages are available on the day for EUR 4. The Alhambra was first built by the Moors as a fortress during the Muslim rule of Spain. A walk through the compound's luxurious rooms and gardens gives you an idea of the decadent lifestyle of the Moorish kings. The Alhambra is made up of three parts: the Alcazaba, the 11th-century Muslim wing which features spectacular views from its towers; the Palacio Nazaries, the centre of the complex; and Generalife, the summer palace of the sultans. This evening, unearth the restaurants in the tangled streets of the Albaicin and dine with the best views of the Alhambra.

    Note: If you would like to take an in-depth guided tour of the Alhambra or enter the gardens and palace at night time, we strongly recommend you book tickets in advance. You can reserve these online at alhambra-tickets.es. To collect your tickets you will need to present the credit card that was used to make the booking. A maximum of 10 tickets may be bought for the same day on the same card. Please book any tickets for your second day in Granada only. Included tickets are usually booked for the morning but that depends on availability. Entrance to Nasrid Palace is booked for particular time (please enquire 3 weeks before your departure if you would like to know the time). Apart from that, you are free to spend as much time within the whole complex and gardens as you wish.
    Included Activities
    • Alhambra entrance
      Optional Activities
      • Jose Guerrero Centre - Free
      • Mirador de San Nicolas - Free
      • Catedral de Granada - EUR5
      • Science Park Planetarium - EUR2
      • Science Park - EUR5
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 4 Seville
        Travel approximately 2.5 hours by bus and train to the vibrant city of Seville. If the legends are to be believed, Seville was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. To the Romans it was Hispalis, to the Moorsm Isbiliya. After the Christian reconquest, it became thought of as the portal to the 'New World', and is today the capital of Andalucia and the largest city in southern Spain. Known for its important monuments and fascinating history, Seville is universally famous for being a joyous town. Sevillians are well known for their wit and sparkle, and the city itself is striking for its vitality and flamboyance – the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro. Seville is also famous for its oranges, tapas and flamenco, all three of which are ingrained in the fabric of the city and its proud people. As the rest of the day is free for you to explore, why not go and experience it all in person. Barrio Santa Cruz, with its multicultural history, is a great place to start. This shaded warren was designed in medieval times to provide refuge from the great Andalusian heat. Or maybe spend your evening San Jacinto, the bustling main street of the Triana quarter, and discover the interesting and adventurous food on offer.
        Optional Activities
        • Alcazar - EUR14
        • Archeological Museum - EUR3
        • Art and Popular Customs Museum - EUR2
        • Catedral and Giralda Tower - EUR9
        • Museum of Fine Arts - EUR2
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 5 Seville
          Today is a free day to discover Seville. Checking out the world's largest Gothic cathedral is a must. You can also the climb the cathedral's adjoining Moorish tower, known as La Giralda. While you might have to line up, it's well worth it for the views over the city. Visit the magnificent Alcazar, a complex of palaces used by Moorish and Christian rulers through the ages, and now gaining international fame as a shooting location for ‘Game of Thrones’. Wander through the fragrant gardens and examine the Moorish and Mudejar architecture. If you feel like an injection of culture, explore Seville's Museum of Fine Arts or the Archaeological Museum, or head to the Real Maestranza Bullring for insight into the Spanish tradition of bull fighting. As Seville is the tapas capital of Spain, be sure to sample some of the tasty morsels on offer in one of the city's many tapas bars. In the evening, catch a local flamenco performance with the group (included). Charged with emotion and drama, this powerful, fiery show is a real highlight.
          Included Activities
          • Flamenco performance
            Optional Activities
            • Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre - EUR3
            • Casa de Pilatos - EUR8
            • Indias Archive - Free
            • Real Maestranza Bullring - EUR7
            • Santa Paula Convent - EUR3
            • Torre del Oro - EUR3
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Day 6 Costa de la Luz
              Today travel south to the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) (approximately 3 hours). On the western side of Andalusia, the coast faces the Mediterranean and North Africa. Your base for the next two nights is Tarifa, a laid-back beach town endowed with spectacular rocky scenery, a sea fortress, a lighthouse and plenty of character. The afternoon is free to relax. Perhaps catch a bus to the 10 kilometre-long sands of Playa de Los Lances – a haven for kite surfers – or hole up at a beach bar on Playa de Valdevaqueros. One of the best ways to appreciate the area is simply to wander, along the promenade under the old castle, past restaurants brimming with fresh seafood, and appreciate this rare underdeveloped stretch of Spanish coastline. The surfers lend the old town a laid-back, international vibe, along with hints of the North Africa that lies just across the water. In the evening, why not grab some dinner in town and join in Tarifa's vibrant nightlife.
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Day 7 Costa de la Luz
              Today there are plenty of optional activities to choose from today. Perhaps head out on a whale and dolphin watching expedition on the Iberian Peninsula. At this unique place, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and where Europe meets Africa, you will get the chance to see seven different species of whales and dolphins. Alternatively, take a day trip to Northern Africa and the town of Tangier in Morocco, just 45 minutes away by ferry. Once a hotspot for artists, secret agents and millionaires, Tangier has been going through something of a renaissance of late. The city's medina and kasbah are well worth exploring, as are the cafes and patisseries around the Place de la France in the Ville Nouvelle. You can unwind and take in the charms of the city on the recently reconstructed beach promenade. Another interesting option is a day tour across the border to the British territory of Gibraltar, home to the famous Rock of Gibraltar. Here you can take a cable car up to the rock’s peak, explore formation-filled caves, a Moorish castle, and wander the main street, discovering the interesting blend of old British life and Spanish flavours.
              Optional Activities
              • Morocco day trip - EUR60
              • Whale watching - EUR33
              • Gibraltar day trip - EUR48
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 8 Ronda
                Leave the coast and head inland by bus and train to the Andalucian hills and the whitewashed town of Ronda (approximately 4 hours). In a landscape of poster-paint green forests and white limestone mountains, Ronda is the birthplace of bullfighting in Spain. The highlight of the town is the spectacular Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), one of the most photographed structures the country. Built in 1751, it bridges the 100-metre deep gorge that splits the town in two. You can walk across it, stopping to peer over a vertiginous drop from one of its balconies. Check out the old Moorish town on one side, home to many historic buildings including the House of the Moorish King, and the newer El Mercadillo on the other side. East of the town are well-preserved Arab Baths and of course, the famous Plaza de Toros. In the evening, find a spot from which you could enjoy a scenic sunset; this won’t be a problem in Ronda, but try Paseo de Blas Infante.
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 9 Ronda
                Today you’ll take a walk through the Tajo, the gorge that splits Ronda in two. From the old town you can head down the cliffside of the gorge and get a great view of the bridge and town from below. The rest of the day will be free for you to explore. The Plaza de Toros is one of the oldest bullfighting rings in the country. Adjoining the bullring is the Bullfighting Museum, which displays relics of Ronda's bullfighting history. The gardens behind offer panoramic views over the surrounding mountains, which once proved a perfect hideout for bandits and smugglers. A visit to the Museum of Bandits gives an entertaining insight into their history. Surrounding the town are prize-winning wineries and beautiful national parks – the Reservatauro walk takes you through the holm oak meadows where fighting bulls and thoroughbred horses are raised.

                Note: While bullfighting is a significant part of Spanish culture and history, its practice is contrary to our Responsible Travel philosophy. Intrepid does not support or attend bullfights, as the bulls are subject to torment and fear and are often killed inhumanely. Long a controversial issue in Spain, a landmark decision in July 2010 banned bullfighting in the state of Catalonia from January 2012.
                Included Activities
                • Gorge Walk
                  Optional Activities
                  • Bandits Museum - EUR4
                  • La Ronda Bullring - EUR8
                  • Santa Maria la Mayor Church - EUR3
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 10 Cordoba
                    Continue north to Cordoba by train (approximately 2 hours). Discover the mesh of Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures in the architecture and cuisine of this southern city. Visit the famous Mezquita, with its golden arches and intricate columns, once the third largest mosque in the world and one of the most beautiful. It was consecrated into a Roman Catholic cathedral in the 13th century when the Christians reconquered Cordoba. Time permitting, you might stroll through a labyrinth of cobbled laneways in the old quarter, discovering open squares and quirky cafes, and visiting the castle, gardens and 10th-century Moorish bathhouse of the city's Alcazar. The evening is free to sample more delicious Spanish cuisine. Salmorejo (a cold soup made of tomatoes, bread and olive oil served with chopped up boiled egg and cured ham) is a specialty of Cordoba, as is rabo de toro (oxtail soup). There are also plenty of good-value eateries in the Juderia (Jewish Quarter).
                    Included Activities
                    • Mezquita visit
                      Optional Activities
                      • Alcazar - EUR5
                      • Palacio Museo de Viana - EUR8
                        Accommodation
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 11 Valencia
                        Take a train and head east to the coastal town of Valencia (approximately 5 hours). Known for being the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, Valencia has a large port, beautiful beaches, restaurants and a beach promenade along the waterfront. The old town is set back from the seafront through, and in the centre you will find the beautiful monuments and historical buildings. Busy markets, clean beaches, spectacular mountains and a fascinating mix of old town and new town makes up the best of Valencia. Over the next couple of days, you have a lot of free time to wander around the city and see the sights. Perhaps rent a bike from one of the many bike stations that are dotted around the city. Cycle through the park that runs through the centre of the city to the impressively designed Museu de les Ciencies Príncipe Felipe (Arts and Science Museum). Valencia is also built with separate cycle paths, so it's really easy to get around. This evening perhaps head out to bar-hop and eat tapas in the Ciutat Vella (old town).
                        Included Activities
                        • Picnic
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Day 12 Valencia
                          Take the day to explore. Why not do as the locals do and start the day with a breakfast of tortillas or churros at the colourful stalls of the Mercado Central. Then, visit the 13th-century cathedral, which houses what's claimed to be the Holy Grail, and climb the 207 steps of the Miguelete tower for the best views of the city. For something a little quirkier, head to the Museum of the Fallas, which contains a history of the Valencia fire festival and giant papier mache figures that have been spared from the burning. The Museo de Bellas Artes has Spain's second-biggest art collection, housed in a beautiful 17th-century convent. There are also many fine parks and gardens, or you may want to head to the beach of Playa de la Malvarrosa to soak up some sun. To try the paella that Valencia is famous for (rabbit and chicken), do as the locals do and head to the restaurant area of Las Arenas for a hearty and reasonably priced lunch. Tonight, maybe head south to Ruzafa, one of the city’s coolest areas, where the locals only start to head out as the clock strikes midnight.
                          Included Activities
                          • Bike rental - Valencia
                            Optional Activities
                            • Fallas Museum - EUR2
                            • Gonzalez Marti Museum - EUR3
                            • Miguelete Tower - EUR2
                            • Principe Filipe Science Museum - EUR8
                            • The Silk Exchange - EUR2
                            • Valencian Institute of Modern Art - EUR2
                              Accommodation
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 13 Barcelona
                              Today take the train up the coast to Barcelona (approximately 3.5 hours). Barcelona's quirky character and fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a groundbreaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won't soon forget. In the afternoon, there are plenty of options to keep you busy. Wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. Maybe grab a fresh juice at the colourful La Boqueria market while you're there. Perhaps pay a visit to the Picasso Museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. The heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre and so this evening perhaps head out to taste the reputation for yourself. You can take a tapas crawl through rustic Catalan dishes in the funky neighbourhood of El Born.
                              Optional Activities
                              • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
                              • Casa Batllo - EUR22
                              • Guell Palace - EUR12
                              • Museum of City History - EUR7
                              • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
                              • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
                              • Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
                              • Picasso Museum - EUR14
                              • Cathedral visit - EUR7
                              • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR69
                              • Snapshots of Barcelona - EUR47
                                Accommodation
                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                Day 14 Barcelona
                                Join your leader on an orientation walk around Barcelona today. See some of the city's main sights, including a visit to Antonio Gaudi's incredible La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. The architect worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death, and it remains in constant construction. Along with the Camp Nou football stadium, it is possibly the city's most iconic landmark. Gaudi was the master of the unique Catalan Modernista architecture for which Barcelona is famous, and his work is dotted all over the city. Perhaps check out the Neo-Gothic mansion of Guell Palace, or the wave-inspired structure of Casa Batlo. For more insight into the artist himself, head to the Gaudi House Museum inside Parc Guell, which is home to more colourful sculptures, including a long mosaic-covered bench overlooking the city. For something a little different, perhaps have a poke around the Old Santa Creu Hospital. For your final night, perhaps finish the day with a sip of red wine from a porro – a traditional glass pitcher.
                                Included Activities
                                • La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona
                                  Accommodation
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  Meals
                                  1 breakfast
                                  Day 15 Barcelona
                                  Today your Spanish adventure comes to an end in the morning. There are no more activities planned and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time. If you'd like to spend a few more days in Barcelona, then our reservations team can help book accommodation (subject to availability).
                                  Meals
                                  1 breakfast
                                  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
                                  Alhambra entrance
                                  Flamenco performance
                                  Gorge Walk
                                  Mezquita visit
                                  Picnic
                                  Bike rental - Valencia
                                  La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona
                                  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.

                                  A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
                                  The price of the Single Supplement doesn't include the following nights where single rooms may not be available. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
                                  Days 6-7 - Costa de la Luz
                                  Accommodation
                                  Hotel (12nt)
                                  OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
                                  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.

                                  FACILITIES
                                  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.
                                  Meals
                                  6 breakfasts
                                  Transport
                                  Bus, Metro, Public bus, Taxi, 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
                                  There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip. While we do not make arrangements for specific shopping excursions due to our passengers feedback, there may be opportunities where your local guides can offer services if you are particularly interested. Please note it is customary for local guides (not Intrepid group leaders) to accept commission from the factory or shop in exchange for their service. You are under no obligation to purchase anything from local guides and we do encourage you to enjoy shopping in the markets to compare prices and quality.

                                  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).

                                  TIPPING
                                  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.

                                  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.
                                  Safety
                                  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:

                                  http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

                                  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.

                                  Please note that the Madrid metro is particularly notorious for pickpockets, and travellers with backpacks or suitcases are indeed a target. Please ensure you are careful with your valuables on the metro.
                                  Joining point
                                  Gran Legazpi Hotel
                                  71, Paseo de la Chopera
                                  Madrid
                                  28045
                                  SPAIN
                                  Phone: 34 914023280
                                  Joining 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
                                  Joining point instructions
                                  Madrid International Airport Barajas (MAD) is located within the city limits, 9kms from the CBD. Options for arrival transport include:

                                  By TAXI
                                  Metered taxis are available in taxi ranks outside any of the main terminal exits. Expect to pay around 20--25 EUR plus an additional charge for each bag. Journey time is 20-25 mins.

                                  By TRAIN:
                                  From the airport take metro line 8 from Nuevos Ministerios and then metro line 6 (circular line clockwise) to Legazpi. The hotel is just off the plaza next to the Gas Station - Respos.
                                  Journey time is approx 30 minutes and tickets are EUR3 for a one way journey available from ticket machines.

                                  Please note that the metro line from the Madrid airport to the city centre is particularly notorious for pickpockets, and travellers with backpacks or suitcases are indeed a target. Please ensure you are careful with your valuables on the metro.


                                  Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport:
                                  You will be met on arrival by your transfer driver who will be holding a board with your name or Intrepid's logo in the arrivals hall.
                                  In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact to the emergency +34 91 7477 570

                                  Finish point
                                  Hotel Catalonia Sagrada Familia
                                  Calle Aragon, 569 BIS 08026
                                  Barcelona
                                  SPAIN
                                  Phone: +34 932458905
                                  Finish point description
                                  The Catalonia Sagrada Familia Hotel is located on Aragon Street, at the heart of Barcelona. It is ideal for cultural and gastronomic trips to the Condal City, as it lies close to the Hispanidad and Gaudi squares, the area of El Clot, Els Encants and Glories square.

                                  The 18-square-metre double rooms of the Catalonia Sagrada Familia Hotel are the ideal accommodation for a cultural trip to Barcelona as a couple: comfortable, elegant and fully equipped accommodation with bathroom with shower and hairdryer, TV, Channel+, telephone, room services, safe deposit box, free WiFi, heating and air conditioning.
                                  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.

                                  Pre booked departure transfer to the airport:
                                  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
                                  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.

                                  For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                                  In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on the number listed below:

                                  Peak Marrakech: +49 8677 9186 657
                                  Visas
                                  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.

                                  Visas for Spain are not required for passport holders of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. All other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.
                                  What to take
                                  PACKING
                                  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.

                                  http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                                  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.

                                  On some of our trips in Europe it is possible to purchase responsibly sourced reusable water bottles. Thirty per cent of the cost of each bottle is donated to the Intrepid Foundation, specifically to the Support to Life project, which offers humanitarian assistance to Syrian Refugees in Turkey. Please ask your leader for further information regarding this initiative and the availability of the bottles.
                                  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.
                                  Health
                                  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.

                                  http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                                  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.

                                  http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                  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:

                                  http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                  Feedback
                                  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.

                                  http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback