Classic Spain and Portugal Trip Notes

Travel through Spain and Portugal. Visit Madrid, Granada, Seville, the Algarve, Lisbon, Porto, Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca, Barcelona, Pamplona, Longrono and San Sebastian.

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    • Explorer
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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Classic Spain and Portugal.
Print Version
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2014
Classic Spain and Portugal
Trip code: ZMSJC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Tour Spain and Portugal's pin-up attractions on this classic adventure. Soak up art and history in Madrid, be staggered by the grandeur of Alhambra Palace in Granada and take in the dramatic spectacle of a flamenco performance in Seville. Travel to Portugal to chill out in the Algarve, get footloose with Lisbon locals in the Bairro Alto and imbibe delectable port wine in Porto. Back in Spain, visit Santiago de Compostela and Salamanca en route to Barcelona – the epitome of all things stylish, cultural and fashionable – before continuing on to Pamplona, Longrono and the glorious beaches of San Sebastian.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesFinish point instructions
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Classic Spain and Portugal
Itinerary
Day 1 Madrid
Hola! Welcome to Spain.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Madrid offers a remarkable blend of sights, sounds and experiences. Soak up the art, be wowed by the architecture and swoon over the exceptional food.
As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid we recommend you make arrangements to arrive a few days early to see the highlights of the city and surrounds.
While away hours on the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk, for a panoramic perspective of Western art history. Start with the Museo del Prado, one of the world's finest collections of European art from the 12th-19th centuries and an unmissable stop on any art tour. Discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia's 20th century collection. Finish with the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which spans eight centuries of European painting.
Take a break in the oasis of Real Jardin Botanico, a botanical wonderland dating from the 18th century.
Optional Activities
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR18
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR10
  • Museo del Prado - EUR14
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR2
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Granada
Travel by bus to Granada. (approx 5 hours)
Home to the stunning Alhambra Palace and set against a backdrop of the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is one of Andalucia's most enchanting cities.
Visit the Renaissance cathedral with its ornate facade and gold-and-white interior, dating from the 16th century.
Take a walk around the Albaicin, the old Arab quarter, a labyrinth of crooked streets with alleyways, fountains, plazas, whitewashed houses and villas. If you are feeling energetic continue on and watch the spectacular sunset from the most famous viewpoint in Granada - the Mirador de San Nicolas, located at the top of Albaicin's steep streets.
Explore the Alhambra Palace, which was first built by the Moors as a fortress. Its instantly recognisable exterior hides richly decorated rooms and luxurious gardens with bubbling fountains, and a walk through the compound gives us an idea of the decadent lifestyle the Moorish kings used to enjoyed.
Granada was one of the region's most important cities during the Muslim rule of Spain and the Alhambra is a very good example of this period. The Alhambra is made up of three parts: the Alcazaba, the 11th-century Muslim wing where you can get spectacular aerial views from the tops of its towers; the Palacio Nazaries, the centre of the complex; and Generalife, the summer palace of the sultans.
Included Activities
  • Alhambra entrance
Optional Activities
  • Jose Guerrero Centre - Free
  • Mirador de San Nicolas - Free
  • Science Park - EUR5
  • Science Park Planetarium - EUR2
  • Renaissance Catedral and Capilla Real - EUR3
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Seville
Travel by train to Seville, one of the most vibrant cities in Spain (approx 2.5 hrs).
Seville is renowned for its oranges, tapas and flamenco - all three are ingrained in the fabric of the city and its proud people.
Visit the Alcazar - a magnificent palace dating from Moorish times.
Explore the world's largest Gothic cathedral. You can also the climb the cathedral's adjoining 76-metre Moorish tower, known as La Giralda, well worth it for the excellent views of the city and surrounding area (be prepared for a line-up).
Catch a glimpse of true, local flamenco - filled with emotion and drama, it's a real highlight.
Included Activities
  • Flamenco performance
Optional Activities
  • Torre del Oro - EUR2
  • Santa Paula Convent - EUR2
  • Indias Archive - Free
  • Museum of Fine Arts - EUR2
  • Archeological Museum - EUR2
  • Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre - EUR2
  • Alcazar - EUR13
  • Art and Popular Customs Museum - EUR2
  • Catedral and Giralda Tower - EUR8
  • Casa de Pilatos - EUR8
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Algarve
Travel by public bus crossing into Portugal and the seaside town of Faro on the Algarve (approx 4 hours).
Gifted with a temperate Mediterranean climate, a bounty of beaches and a rich heritage, Portugal casually flies under the European travel radar. Home to culinary greats, effortlessly cool cities, charming colonial towns and magical stone villages, travellers will find that this enduring historic heavyweight still packs a punch.
The southern coastline of Portugal is known for its fertile plains, rich with orange and olive groves, fig trees, almonds and maize fields. Long beaches and hidden coves await us.
Our base is the lively town of Faro. Wander the cobblestone streets and discover this seafaring town's history, or simply relax at the numerous cafes. The medieval quarters play home to museums, churches and even a bone chapel. The lagoons of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa and nearby beaches for which the region is famed for, only add to Faro’s allure.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Lisbon
Head north by public bus to Lisbon (approx 4 hours).
One of Europe's most pleasant and affordable capital cities, Lisbon combines the best elements of Portuguese life, offering fantastic architecture, a multicultural population, delicious seafood and non-stop nightlife.
Lisbon has a number of remarkable museums of modern and ancient art, such as Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art, National Coach Museum, and Carmo Archaeological Museum. However, Lisbon isn't all history and culture - Bairro Alto is the centre of the city's nightlife with various bars and restaurants where fado, traditional Portuguese music, can be enjoyed.
Included is an orientation/sightseeing walk led by your group leader.
Visit the medieval Citadel in the city centre. Lisbon is a city swarming with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. From the citadel, this makes a sharply contrasting panorama when viewed against the deep blue of the sky and ocean.
Included Activities
  • Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Naval Museum - EUR3
  • National Art Museum - EUR3
  • Folk Art Museum - EUR3
  • Oceanarium - EUR10
  • Puppet Museum - EUR2
  • Gulbenkian Museum - EUR3
  • Citadel - EUR8
Accommodation
Pension (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Porto
Take a bus further north to Porto. (approx 3.5 hours)
Porto, the capital of the north sits between the north bank of the River Douro and the Atlantic Ocean. The World Heritage-listed Ribeira district is filled with a collection of twisting alleys, criss-crossing staircases and baroque churches. For a sensational view of the whole town head to the Torre dos Clerigos.
Indulge in a port tasting, Porto being the namesake of the sweet fortified wine. If sampling the best from the region piques curiosity, why not learn more about the history of wine and port making at the Museu do Vinho.
Included Activities
  • Port Tasting
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 12-13 Santiago de Compostela
Travel by bus back to Spain and famous Santiago de Compostela. (approx 3 hours)
Be surrounded by piety in Santiago de Compostela, the finish point for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. Soak up religious fervour in the cathedral where St James, one of the 12 Apostles, is purportedly buried.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 14-15 Barcelona
We'll take a short flight from Santiago de Compostela to Barcelona.
Spain's cosmopolitan second city, Barcelona offers ground-breaking art and architecture, stylish shopping, superb dining and non-stop nightlife.
Visit the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, wander the Rambla - the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard, or take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Cathedral is possibly the most iconic landmark in this city rich with famous sights.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Optional Activities
  • La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona - EUR15
  • Cathedral visit - EUR6
  • Guell Palace - EUR10
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Casa Batllo - EUR18
  • Museum of City History - EUR7
  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR8
  • Picasso Museum - EUR9
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • Cable car to Montjuic (one way) - EUR6
  • Contemporary Art Museum - EUR8
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 16 Pamplona
Travel by train to Pamplona in the heartland of Basque country.
Named after its founder, Pompey the Great, Pamplona has served for centuries as both a military stronghold and an important point on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail.
Following an orientation walk, set out to explore this well preserved fortified medieval town and its impressive 16th century walls and citadel.
Included Activities
  • Pamplona Orientation Walk
  • Gothic Cathedral
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 17-18 Logrono
Travel to Logrono by public bus.
A small, friendly town known for its red wine, Logrono has plenty of tapas bars to explore.
Visit the wine museum (July to September) to learn more about this region's famous tipple. When the museum is closed, our group leader will take us to visit a local winery.
Included Activities
  • Tapas Crawl - Logrono
  • Wine Museum
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 19-20 San Sebastian
Take a bus from Logrono to San Sebastian (approx. 2 hours).
With its great beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop and consume pintos (Basque-style tapas) to your heart's content, or just soak up the sun.
Take a walk up Mount Urgull for stunning views of both the town's beaches.
For a different perspective of the most central beach, La Concha, why not climb or catch a cable car to Monte Igueldo.
If you crave more culture, there's plenty of time to catch a local bus (approx 1 hr) down the road to Bilbao to visit the world-famous and architecturally awesome Guggenheim Museum.
Included Activities
  • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian
Optional Activities
  • San Telmo Museum - Free
  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR11
  • Aquarium - EUR10
  • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 21-22 Madrid
Journey by train to Madrid.
With incredible restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on offer, Madrid is a truly world-class city that exudes confidence and style through every pore.
While away hours on the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk, for a panoramic perspective of Western art history. Start with the Museo del Prado, one of the world's finest collections of European art from the 12th-19th centuries and an unmissable stop on any art tour. Discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia's 20th century collection. Finish with the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which spans eight centuries of European painting.
Take a break in the oasis of Real Jardin Botanico, a botanical wonderland dating from the 18th century.
Enjoy a coffee in one of the atmospheric streets and squares around the famous Plaza Mayor. At night, head out to Chueca, Plaza Dos de Mayo or Plaza Santa Ana, where the pulse of the city will lead you from bar to bar on a night out you are sure to remember.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR10
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR18
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR2
  • Museo del Prado - EUR14
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Classic Spain and Portugal - Single Supplement (ZMSJC)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Best of Spain (ZMSG)
  • The Camino de Santiago Challenge (ZTXC)
Itinerary disclaimer
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. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
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.
Culture shock rating

At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
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.
Money Exchange
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, 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
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
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:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest €1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: 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.
Drivers: You may 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.
Your Tour Leader: 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.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
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.
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
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:
Day 10 & 11 Porto
Days 19 & 20 San Sebastian
Accommodation
Hotel (19 nts), Pension (2 nts)
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.
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.
Meals
6 Breakfasts
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.
EUR 850.00
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.
Transport
Metro, Bus, Train, Plane
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.
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:
If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, the driver will be waiting for you at your meeting point.
Terminal 1 - Please meet your driver at the information point in the arrivals hall.
Terminal 2 - Please meet your driver at the "Pecera" next to the information point in the arrivals hall.
Termianl 4 - Please meet your driver at the "ONCE" stand.
Arrival complications
EUROPE:
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) please follow the instructions under the "Joining point instructions" in order to find our driver. Should you have any problems locating your driver, please call the number for our transfer company which can be found below. Should you continue to experience any difficulties, please call the emergency number for our local operations team which is available on the 'Emergency Contact' section of these trip notes.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Madrid
If you have any issues locating your driver please contact ROLDAN on +34 608 251 777 or hotel beds on +34 660 409 789
Finish point
Gran Legazpi Hotel
71, Paseo de la Chopera
Madrid
28045
SPAIN
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
Finish 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:
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, you will be collected from your hotel 3 hours prior to your flight.
Please reconfirm your departure transfers with your tour leader.
In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you not find the driver please contact to the emergency phone numbers: ROLDAN +34 608 251 777 or Hotelbeds on +34 660 409 789.
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +49 (0) 8677 918 66 57. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
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
Issues on your trip
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.
What to take
EUROPE:
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 to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. 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. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for 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 end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
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 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.
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. 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 group 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 group 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.
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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
SCAMS:
We have become aware of passengers being approached outside of our starting point hotels by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or claiming to be Intrepid employees selling Urban Adventures or Intrepid trips. These people are not employees of Intrepid nor registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you' should suffice. If this does happen to you, please advise your leader or the reception of your hotel immediately so that the person can be reported to the appropriate authorities.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
LIFE JACKETS:
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
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.
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 group 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.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
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:
In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches that modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted.
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.
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$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 270.00 kgs per pax.
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.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.