Explore Spain and Portugal Trip Notes

Explore Spain and Portugal

Last Modified: 19 Jan 2016
Explore Spain and Portugal
Trip code: ZMSI
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Follow an enticing trail of delicious tapas, avant-garde art, architectural triumphs and centuries-old culture on this incredible tour through Spain and Portugal. Travel the scenic route from Madrid to Barcelona, visiting cosmopolitan metropolises, sleepy seaside villages, quaint towns set amid rolling green hills and atmospheric medieval citadels along the way. Admire the masterpieces of Picasso, Dali and Gaudi, experience the passion of flamenco, taste some of the best port in the world and be graced by the style and sophistication of Madrilenos, Lisboetas and Barcelonians – this history- and culture-packed adventure flaunts the very best of Spain and Portugal.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxFinish point instructions
ThemesImportant notesEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Group sizeEmergency funds
Why we love itYour fellow travellersVisas
MapSingle travellersIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationWhat to take
Also available to purchaseMeals introductionHealth
We also recommendMealsSafety
Itinerary disclaimerTransportTravel insurance
Culture shock rating Group leaderResponsible Travel
Physical ratingJoining point A couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyFinish point
TippingFinish point description
Style
Original
  • Our Original style trips have a great balance of included activities with your group and free time to explore independently. Where we stay ensures we keep our travellers firmly entrenched in a region’s people and culture, and provides them with unique local experiences that benefits the community too. In most locations we stay in simple tourist-class hotels (i.e. 2-3 stars), plus on many trips you'll also get to experience a night with a local family on a homestay or something a little different like a Bedouin camp in the Sahara. Original style trips come with all manner of transport modes and use a mixture of local and private transport. You might find yourself sailing in a dhow in Zanzibar, jumping on a rickshaw in Sri Lanka or sailing on a yacht through the Galapagos. No matter the mode, it's all about minimising our environmental impact and making getting around part of the adventure.
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- 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
- Gaze in awe at the artistic feats of the Spanish masters in Madrid, and experience a different sort of mastery with a fiery flamenco performance in Seville
- Get lost in the labyrinthine streets of the Albayzin in Granada, before crossing the river to visit the imposing Moorish fortress of the Alhambra
- Unwind in a laidback fishing village in the Algarve, Portugal's scenic south coast. Soak up the sun on a beach and enjoy a cocktail-coloured sunset over the Atlantic Ocean
- Lisbon and Porto are two of the most visited cities in Portugal, and for good reason. Explore a medieval fortress in the middle of cosmopolitan Lisbon and sweeten your day with a port tasting in, well, Porto
- People from all over the world come to Spain to walk the famous Camino de Santiago. Join pilgrims along the last leg of the journey, as they reach the historic cathedral in Santiago de Compostela
- Rub shoulders with the chic in the exciting city of Barcelona. Pulsing with culture, art and an outstanding drinking and dining scene, the city is also home to fascinating architecture; the star of which is Antoni Gaudi's cathedral, La Sagrada Familia
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Madrid
Hola! Welcome to Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 7pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. 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.
As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid on this trip, we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. Madrid offers a remarkable blend of sights, sounds and experiences. Soak up the culture, be wowed by the architecture and swoon over the exceptional food. If you're an art buff, don't miss the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk. Start with 12th-19th century European art at the Museo del Prado, discover modern Spanish masters including Picasso and Dali in the Museo Reina Sofia and finish with the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Take a break in the 18th-century oasis of the Real Jardin Botanico.
Optional Activities
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR26
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR10
  • Museo del Prado - EUR14
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR3
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Granada
Today take a five-hour bus to Granada. Set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is one of Andalucia's most enchanting cities. Take a walk around the old Arab quarter of the Albaicin, a labyrinth of crooked streets packed with alleyways, fountains, plazas, whitewashed houses and villas. If you're feeling energetic, climb to the top of the neighbourhood and watch a spectacular sunset from the Mirador de San Nicolas view point. Back in town, perhaps visit the city's 16th-century Renaissance cathedral, or watch the world go by as you indulge in some tapas at a bar.
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, though you will need to pay a little extra to visit 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.
Note: If you would like to take an in-depth guided tour of the Alhambra or enter the gardens and palace at nighttime, 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 Activities
  • Alhambra entrance
Optional Activities
  • Jose Guerrero Centre - Free
  • Mirador de San Nicolas - Free
  • Alhambra Gardens - EUR6
  • Science Park - EUR5
  • Science Park Planetarium - EUR2
  • Renaissance Catedral and Capilla Real - EUR4
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Seville
Take a two-and-a-half hour train to the vibrant city of Seville. Now the capital of Andalucia, Seville was one of the first conquests of the Moors. After the Christian reconquest, it became thought of as the portal to the 'New World'. Seville is famous for its oranges, tapas and flamenco, all three of which are ingrained in the fabric of the city and its proud people. On arrival, take a walk through the cobbled streets, or perhaps have a poke around in one the city's museums, such as the Archeological Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts. In the evening, catch a local flamenco performance with the group (included). Charged with emotion and drama, this is a real highlight.
Included Activities
  • Flamenco performance
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
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 Alcazaar, a complex of palaces used by Moorish and Christian rulers through the ages. Wander through the fragrant gardens and examine the Moorish and Mudejar architecture. As Seville is the tapas capital of Spain, be sure to sample some of the tasty treats on offer in one of the city's many tapas bars.
Optional Activities
  • Torre del Oro - EUR3
  • Santa Paula Convent - EUR3
  • Indias Archive - Free
  • Museum of Fine Arts - EUR2
  • Archeological Museum - EUR2
  • Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre - EUR3
  • Alcazar - EUR14
  • Art and Popular Customs Museum - EUR2
  • Catedral and Giralda Tower - EUR9
  • Casa de Pilatos - EUR8
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 6 Algarve
Today board a five-hour bus and cross the border into Portugal. Travel through landscapes of orange orchards, olive groves and maize fields to the Algarve, Portugal's stunning southern coast, where your destination is the seaside town of Lagos. Set on the banks of the Rio Bensafrim, Lagos is gifted with a temperate Mediterranean climate, a bounty of beaches and a rich heritage. On arrival, you might like to take an optional boat trip out on the water. In the evening, why not head to dinner at a restaurant in town before throwing yourself into Lagos' pumping nightlife?
Optional Activities
  • Boat trip - EUR23
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 7 Algarve
Most of today is free to enjoy Lagos and its surrounds. Perhaps pack a book and towel and head to the beach. Meia Praia is over four kilometres long, and is peppered with beach bars, cafes and sun lounges. Plenty of water sports are on offer in the summer. Praia do Porto de Mos and Camilo Beach are also good options. Take a stroll through the quaint alleys of central Lagos, or head down to the waterfront to watch the boats come in. In the middle of the day, join the group for an included picnic on the beach.
Included Activities
  • Beach Picnic
Optional Activities
  • Boat trip - EUR23
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 8 Lisbon
Today head north by public bus to Lisbon (approximately four hours). One of Europe's most pleasant and affordable capital cities, Lisbon offers fantastic architecture, a multicultural population, delicious seafood and non-stop nightlife. On arrival, head out on a guided orientation walk of the city to see the sights. There are some great modern and ancient art museums to check out, such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art or the National Coach Museum. As the sun goes down, some of Lisbon's best nightlife centres on the neighbourhood of Bairro Alto, where you can enjoy an emotional fado performance (traditional Portuguese music).
Included Activities
  • Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Fado Show with Dinner - EUR25
  • Lisbon Sunset Fado & Tapas - EUR55
  • Experience Lisbon Walk - EUR38
Accommodation
Pension (1 nt)
Day 9 Lisbon
Today is a free day to further discover Lisbon. Climb up the hill to visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge, the medieval citadel in the city centre. Great views can be enjoyed over the city's squares and terracotta roofs. Afterwards, perhaps catch a tram or hire a bike and cycle along the water to the historic neighbourhood of Belem. Make sure you try a sumptuous custard tart at the famous Casa Pasteis de Belem. Relax at a cafe in hilly Alfama, or check out the fascinating street art spread throughout the city.
Optional Activities
  • Naval Museum - EUR3
  • National Art Museum - EUR6
  • Folk Art Museum - EUR3
  • Oceanarium - EUR14
  • Puppet Museum - EUR2
  • Gulbenkian Museum - EUR5
  • Citadel - EUR8
  • Belem Tower and Monastery - Lisbon - EUR10
Accommodation
Pension (1 nt)
Day 10 Porto
Continue north on a three-and-a-half hour local bus to Porto. Stretching along the banks of the River Douro, Porto is one of Portugal's most romantic cities. Surprise surprise - Porto is also the birthplace of the fortified wine, port. Indulge in an included group tasting at one of the many wine houses across the river. Most of the grapes are grown and harvested in the nearby Douro Valley. If you're interested, why not learn more about the history of wine and port making at the Museu do Vinho?
Included Activities
  • Port Tasting
Optional Activities
  • Experience Porto's Bites and Sights - EUR39
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 11 Porto
Today is a free day to explore Porto. The city's World Heritage-listed Ribeira district is packed with twisting alleys, staircases and baroque churches, and is great to explore on foot. For a sensational view of the whole town head to the Torre dos Clerigos (Clerigos Tower). Boat cruises along the Rio Douro operate several times a day, and offer insight into the history of Porto's six famous bridges. A cruise also offers the opportunity to snap some great photos of the colourful tiled houses lined up along the riverbank.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 12 Santiago de Compostela
Today board a three-hour bus bound for Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The city became a symbol of the Spanish Christians' struggle against Islam, and is famous as the finishing point for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. Soak up the religious energy in the cathedral where St James, one of the 12 Apostles, is purportedly buried.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 13 Santiago de Compostela
Today you'll have the opportunity to join pilgrims on the last stretch of the Santiago de Compostela route. Take an early bus to O Amenal village where the 15 kilometre walk begins. The trek will take you through the villages, fields and rivers of Galicia. In Lavacolla village you'll cross the river in which pilgrims used to wash before entering Santiago. From here, head to Mont de Gozo, which offers the first view of the city's cathedral, the end point of the journey. The entire walk takes approximately four hours to complete. It is important that you wear comfortable footwear and bring a rain coat, as weather in this region of Spain can be unpredictable, even during the summer months. For those not wanting to do in the walk, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained in town for the day.
Optional Activities
  • Visit to a local Cheesemaker- Santiago de Compostela - EUR20
  • Bike hire- Santiago de Compostela - EUR10
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 14 Barcelona
Today take a short flight from Santiago de Compostela to your final destination of Barcelona. Spain's cosmopolitan second city, Barcelona offers ground-breaking art and architecture, stylish shopping, superb dining and non-stop nightlife. Enjoy a free afternoon to wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter or navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. You can take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of the city. Perhaps pay a visit to the Picasso Museum or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Don't miss a look at Antonio Gaudi's incredible La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Gaudi was the master of the unique Catalan Modernista architecture for which Barcelona is famous, and his work is dotted all over the city. In the evening, why not head to the funky neighbourhood of El Born for some tapas with the group, and toast to the last night of your adventure?
Optional Activities
  • La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona - EUR15
  • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR52
  • Snapshots of Barcelona - EUR45
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 15 Barcelona
Today your Spain and Portugal adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned so you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there's so much to see and do in the exciting city of Barcelona, however, we recommend extending your stay for a few nights. If you need further accommodation, our reservations team would be happy to assist (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Cathedral visit - EUR6
  • Casa Batllo - EUR22
  • Cable car to Montjuic (one way) - EUR6
  • Contemporary Art Museum - EUR8
  • Guell Palace - EUR12
  • Museum of City History - EUR7
  • Picasso Museum - EUR14
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Old Santa Creu Hospital - Free
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
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.
  • Explore Spain and Portugal - Single Supplement (ZMSI)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Madrid to Marrakech (ZMSH)
  • North Spain Discovery (ZMSN)
  • Classic Spain and Portugal (ZMSJC)
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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. 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.
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, 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
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.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries.
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.
INTERNAL FLIGHT:
The luggage limit for airlines we use for the domestic flight on this trip is 20kg. Exceeding this limit will incur an excess baggage charge, payable by the traveller. However, we must stress that due to the adventurous nature of this trip and the amount of public transport we use on it, this limit far exceeds Intrepid's recommended luggage weight for this tour (10kg).
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.
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
Accommodation
Hotel (12 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.
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.
Meals
7 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch
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 525.00
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, Train, Bus, Public bus, Taxi, Plane
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.
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:
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
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 your driver. Should you have any problems locating your driver, please call the number of our transfer company which can be found under the joining point instructions as well. 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 in 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
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.
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:
You will be collected at your accommodation 3 hours before your flight departure time.
In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +34 91 747 7570
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +49 (0) 8677 918 66 57.
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.
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.
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.
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). 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.
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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
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 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.
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.
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:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 544.00 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.