France & Spain Trip Notes

France & Spain

Last Modified: 20 Apr 2016
France & Spain
Trip code: AMSQC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Join this adventure from romantic Paris to cosmopolitan Barcelona and be captivated by the culture and history of France and Spain. Visit castles, cycle through the Loire Valley and hike in the majestic mountains of the Pyrenees. Peruse paintings, admire Gaudi's quirky architecture and marvel at an illustrious Moorish past in Spain's byways and boulevards before partying the night away. This trip will make sure you come away with the best memories of two of Europe's most-visited countries.
Table of Contents
StylePhysical ratingJoining point description
ThemesIncluded activitiesJoining point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Important notesFinish point
Why we love itGroup sizeFinish point description
MapAccommodationFinishing point instructions
ItineraryMealsEmergency contact
Itinerary disclaimerJoining point
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- In Sarlat, the group will take a kayaking trip, which is a great way to discover the area. To participate, you'll need to be comfortable with canoeing on calm water. The activity will be supervised by your tour leader, but if you wish to skip it and do something else instead, there are other optional activities to choose form. These can be organised locally, so please speak to your leader at the beginning of the trip.
- In Tours, the group will take a bike ride to the beautiful gardens of Chateau Villandry. To do this, you'll need to be comfortable with cycling for about 30 kilometres at an easy pace on flat ground. If you'd like to skip this activity and organise an alternative mode of transport, please speak to your leader at the start of the trip.
- If you want to hike through the Pyrenees mountains, you'll need to be fairly fit and healthy, and will need to bring sufficient footwear and clothing. If you don't want to hike, you're welcome to simply relax and take in the breathtaking scenery.
- The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning, toilets, and a snack bar (or vending machine). Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.
- As there are potholes and cobblestones in many European cities, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags or cases at home and bring a backpack instead.
- Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
- As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.
Why we love it
- Be romanced by Paris, the City of Love. The Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees are unforgettable when lit up at night
- Enjoy a day of cycling through the Loire Valley, and tour the exquisite 16th-century ornamental gardens of the Chateau Villandry
- There's nothing like tasting wine from the source. Visit one of the many wineries in Bordeaux to gain insight into the wine-making process
- Canoe down a calm river in the unspoiled Dordogne region of southwestern France
- Hike through the forests and slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains. This mighty range separates the Iberian peninsula from the rest of Europe
- Experience the Basque way of life on the sandy shores of San Sebastian. Indulge at the local pintos bars and throw yourself into northern Spanish nightlife
- The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover's dream. In one small stretch you can browse the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, one of the world's most celebrated galleries
- Experience the fiery passion and rhythm of a traditional flamenco dance performance in Seville
- It's a pretty special thing to chill out on a beach in Andalusian Spain, knowing North Africa is just across the water. Explore the scenic Costa de la Luz, and kick back with some tapas and sangria in Tarifa
- The town of Ronda is split in two by a deep rocky chasm. Follow in the path of the Romans, as you cross from one side to the other along an ancient bridge
- Discover Cordoba's great mosque - the Mezquita, one of the most accomplished examples of Moorish architecture in the world. The lavish gardens and opulent rooms of Granada's spectacular Alhambra Palace aren't bad either
- Witness a spectacular Spanish sunset on a beach in Valencia, while feasting on a bowl of the world's best paella.
- The cosmopolitan city of Barcelona pulses with culture, art and an outstanding drinking and dining scene. Discover the eccentric modernist architecture of Antonio Gaudi, who made Barcelona his artistic playground. The unfinished masterpiece of La Sagrada Familia is particularly mind-blowing
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Paris
Bonjour! Welcome to France.
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.
Rich in museums, art galleries, monuments, fashion and fabulous food, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and hidden treasures to discover.
As there is limited time for sightseeing in Paris we recommend you make arrangements to arrive a few days early to see the highlights of this beautiful city.
Optional Activities
  • Eiffel Tower - EUR17
  • Louvre Museum - EUR15
  • Musee d'Orsay - EUR14
  • Palace of Versailles - EUR15
  • Palace of Versailles gardens - Free
  • Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR65
  • Arc de Triomphe - EUR12
  • Catacombs - EUR10
  • Centre Pompidou - EUR14
  • Napoleon's tomb - EUR10
  • Notre Dame Towers - EUR8
  • Picasso Museum - EUR11
  • Rodin Museum - EUR10
  • Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR15
  • Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR25
  • Fat Tires bike tour - EUR32
  • Urban Adventures - Secret Paris: Cheese, Art, and Local Life - EUR49
  • Urban Adventures - Experience Bohemian Paris - EUR49
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Tours
    Say au revoir to Paris this morning and travel by train to Tours (approximately 3 hours). On arrival, the day is yours to spend as you please. This city is based on the lower reaches of the River Loire. Being a crucial frontier between northern and southern France, it held many feudal strongholds, country seats and even some of the posh playhouses of many of the French nobles. You'll soon see why the city of Tours is acclaimed as a town of art and history. Explore the narrow streets, the outdoor cafes and bars in the main square, and the Rue Colbert and Rue Grand Marche, lined with half-timbered houses. This is also a great place for a tipple, as the city is well known for its wines.
    Included Activities
    • Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
    • Cycling tour
      Optional Activities
      • Cathedrale St-Gatien - Free
      • Hot air balloon - EUR250
      • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR5
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 3 Tours
        There are many ways to discover the beauty of Loire Valley, but cycling is perhaps best for exploring this rolling countryside and its historic chateaux. Enjoy a day's cycling and tour the Chateau Villandry, which has a beautiful ornamental garden dating back to the 16th century. This is where French and English kings used to discuss peace. It was brought to today's shape by Joachim Carvallo in the 20th century. You'll see just by looking at it what an enormous amount of money and time it took. It's known to many as one of the most beautiful set of gardens in the world. In the late afternoon or early evening, the rest of your day is then free.

        Notes: The cycling trip is a mostly flat 35 kilometres, but you will need appropriate footwear (no flip-flops) to cycle in. Bring a day pack for your essentials such as water, sunglasses, sun cream and a camera.
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 4 Dordogne Region
        Journey south by train to the small medieval town of Sarlat, located in the Dordogne region (approximately 6 hours). This is a great area to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life, known for its rich cuisine and prehistoric history. Time seems to have stood still in Sarat-la-Caneda itself, with a slow winding river and a town so impeccably preserved that it still resembles its 14th-century state. On arrival, check into your hotel and use your free time getting to know the town. Simply enjoy the atmosphere of Sarlat by sitting in one of the roadside cafes and watching locals going about their everyday tasks.
        Included Activities
        • Canoeing - Sarlat
          Optional Activities
          • Gabarre tour - EUR8
          • Domme Caves - EUR9
          • Bike hire per day - EUR22
            Accommodation
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast
            Day 5 Dordogne Region
            Today's a fun, active day. Head out on the Dordogne River, where you'll paddle a canoe down the river for around 15 kilometres. This is a picturesque setting, and you'll be able to take in sights such as the gorgeous Chateau de Beynac. It sits atop a limestone cliff, dominating the townscape and north bank of the Dordogne River. Another option for later in the day is to hire a bike, which is the ideal way to get around in this pretty region. Check with your leader for timings, though, as often it may be difficult to fit both canoeing and cycling on the same day. The evening is yours to spend as you please.
            Accommodation
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Day 6 Bordeaux
            Travel by train to the capital of the Gascony region, Bordeaux (approximately 3 hours). On arrival, drop your luggage off at the hotel and start to get a feel for the place. Famed for its wine, this region has some fascinating history, and most of the architecture visible today in Bordeaux dates from the 18th century (which is considered its golden age). Perhaps scale the Gothic bell tower of the Tour Pey-Berland for great views of the city. Visit famous Cathédrale St-André, as well as its many fine and contemporary art museums and 18th- and 19th-century mansions. Public gardens line the curving river quays, and grand Place de la Bourse opens to the water, with the Three Graces fountain at its centre. The rest of your day is then free to do as you wish.
            Included Activities
            • Wine tasting Bordeaux
              Optional Activities
              • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR4
              • Pey Berland Tower - Cathedale St Andre - EUR6
              • CAPC Musee d'Art Contemporain - EUR5
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 7 Bordeaux
                Today you will find out for yourself why Bordeaux wines are so popular all over the globe. Venture out on a day tour to a nearby vineyard for a tasting of some of the region's vintages. Perfect your palate as you're taken through some of France's most celebrated grapes. In the evening, enjoy some free time. Perhaps pop out for dinner with the group to spoil your taste buds even more. Bordeaux has a long list of excellent places to dine. Ask your leader for the best recommendation; or, if you’re adventurous, take a chance on one that looks promising.
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 8 Pyrenees
                Travel by train and bus to the French Pyrenees and the spa town of Bagneres de Luchon (approximately 6 hours). The French Pyrenees stretch from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and form a natural 450-kilometre barrier between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. As well as their spectacular natural beauty, they are also famous for their thermal springs; curistes (those seeking a cure) have been coming here for centuries. Luchon is one of the spa towns, and a great base for exploring the surrounding trails. There won't be too much time to explore today, so perhaps take a brief walk around town before you head out for dinner.
                Included Activities
                • Hiking in the Pyrenees
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 9 Pyrenees
                  Today is another active day. Kick things off nice and early as you take to the hills for a day of hiking in the Pyrenees. Be prepared for some steep ascents through the forest. You'll arrive at a fantastic vantage. If the weather is clear, you'll see some incredible mountainous vistas from up here. These surrounds are well and truly alpine, so try not to forget your camera! The terrain can be quite unpredictable, so remember to bring appropriate footwear. Sturdy trainers or light hiking boots will suffice. Pack your waterproof items, plenty of water, and energy bar or two so you can be in peak condition to enjoy the beautiful hills.
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Day 10 San Sebastian
                  Travel using a private transfer to San Sebastian (approx 5 hrs).
                  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.
                  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.
                  Optional Activities
                  • Grab Your Pintxo - EUR65
                  • St. James Way Adventure - EUR55
                  • Aquarium - EUR13
                  • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free
                  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR13
                  • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian - EUR3
                  • San Telmo Museum - EUR6
                    Day 11 San Sebastian
                    You have a full day to explore San Sebastian today. Perhaps catch the one-hour local bus to Bilbao. If you do decide to head there, the world-famous and architecturally sublime Guggenheim Museum is well worth your time. If you have enough time in the afternoon, the San Telmo Museum displays a good collection of history, art and photography of the Basque country. Otherwise, San Sebastian has still plenty on offer. An interesting thing to see is the well-known Aquarium, which is proud to be the first natural science museum founded in Spain. Since opening in 1928 it has hosted 12 million visitors, and though it has undergone some remodelling over the years its original character and principles has remained true. In the evening, it might be a good idea to enjoy one more night of tapas in San Sebastian.
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Day 12 Segovia
                    Say goodbye to San Sebastian and head to the remarkable walled town of Segovia. You'll get there by train and bus (approximately 6 hours). There's plenty to do and see in this town, which is located in the heart of mountainous Castile. There's stunning scenery, twisting alleyways and delicious local cuisine, not to mention the world's highest concentration of Romanesque churches. Check out the aqueduct – the largest and best-preserved of its kind. For something different, there are two rivers bordering the medieval walls, and an extensive green belt park with miles of shaded walks. Enjoy your evening relaxing and taking in the atmosphere.
                    Included Activities
                    • Alcazar Segovia
                      Optional Activities
                      • Casa de los Picos - Free
                      • City walls - EUR2
                      • Esteban Vicente Museum - EUR3
                      • Segovia Fortress - EUR5
                      • Segovia Museum - EUR2
                      • Zuloaga Museum - EUR2
                        Accommodation
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Day 13 Segovia
                        Today you'll take a sightseeing walk of the World Heritage-listed old town, visiting the spectacular fortified castle of Alcazar. As an inspiration to the iconic Walt Disney structure, this is where Queen Isabel met with Columbus before he set sail on the epic journey that led to the discovery of the Americas. Alcazar rises out on a rocky crag above the river and, due to its interesting shape, looks a bit like the bow of a ship. You'll have plenty of time to explore this most distinctive Spanish landmark, so make sure you take comfortable footwear for your walk. Rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax.
                        Accommodation
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Day 14 Madrid
                        Journey by train to Madrid this morning (approximately 1 hour). On arrival, perhaps while away the hours on the Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) for a panoramic perspective of western art history. Perhaps wander through the pristine gardens of Real Jardin Botanico and then delve deeper into the art of the city at Museo Reina Sofia and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Sports fans, if you're lucky enough for your trip to fall on match day, you can don a white t-shirt and head to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to watch the mighty Real Madrid.
                        Optional Activities
                        • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR27
                        • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
                        • Museo del Prado - EUR14
                        • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR4
                        • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Day 15 Madrid
                          Today is free for you to enjoy as you please. Set out to discover Madrid in more detail.With great restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on offer, Madrid is a world-class city exuding confidence and style through every pore.

                          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.
                          Day 16 Granada
                          Today take a four-and-a-half hour bus to Granada. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is packed with Moorish architecture, great tapas bars and natural beauty.

                          Take a walk around the old Arab quarter of the Albaicin, a labyrinth of crooked alleys, fountains, plazas and whitewashed houses. If you're feeling energetic, climb the steep streets up to the Mirador de San Nicolas for sunset views over the famous Alhambra. If you have time, perhaps check out the historic Renaissance Catedral and Capilla Real, or get geeky at the city's extensive Science Park.

                          As many suggests, Granada is a city where you should leave your guidebook behind and trust your intuition. Discovering the narrow streets if Albaicin and the white-walled house garden of Realejo quarter may lead your adventurous spirit to find something that you have long been looking for.
                          Included Activities
                          • Alhambra entrance
                            Optional Activities
                            • Jose Guerrero Centre - Free
                            • Mirador de San Nicolas - Free
                            • Catedral de Granada - EUR5
                            • Science Park Planetarium - EUR2
                            • Science Park - EUR5
                              Accommodation
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 17 Granada
                              Today make a visit to Granada's impressive Alhambra Palace. An entrance ticket is included in the trip and grants you the visit of Nasrid Palace and the Gardens. Audio guides in multiple languages are available on the day for EUR 4. The Alhambra was first built by the Moors as a fortress during the Muslim rule of Spain. A walk through the compound's luxurious rooms and gardens gives you an idea of the decadent lifestyle of the Moorish kings. The Alhambra is made up of three parts: the Alcazaba, the 11th-century Muslim wing which features spectacular views from its towers; the Palacio Nazaries, the centre of the complex; and Generalife, the summer palace of the sultans.

                              Note: If you would like to take an in-depth guided tour of the Alhambra or enter the gardens and palace at night time, we strongly recommend you book tickets in advance. You can reserve these online at alhambra-tickets.es. To collect your tickets you will need to present the credit card that was used to make the booking. A maximum of 10 tickets may be bought for the same day on the same card. Please book any tickets for your second day in Granada only. Included ticket is usually booked for the morning but that depends on availability. Entrance to Nasrid Palace is booked for particular time (please enquire 3 weeks before your departure if you would like to know the time). Apart from that you are free to spend as much time within the whole complex including gardens as you wish.
                              Accommodation
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Meals
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 18 Seville
                              Travel two-and-a-half hour by bus and train to the vibrant city of Seville.

                              If we would believe the legends, Seville was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. By the Romans, it was called Hispalis, Moors named it Isbiliya. Now, the capital of Andalucia, was one of the first conquests of the Moors. After the Christian reconquest, it became thought of as the portal to the 'New World'. Known for all its important monuments and fascinating history, Sevilla is universally famous for being a joyous town. Sevillians are well known for their wit and sparkle and the city itself is striking for its vitality. Seville is the largest city in Southern Spain, the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro.

                              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. As the balance of the day is free for you to explore, why not go and experience it all in person?
                              Included Activities
                              • Flamenco performance
                                Optional Activities
                                • Alcazar - EUR14
                                • Archeological Museum - EUR3
                                • Art and Popular Customs Museum - EUR2
                                • Catedral and Giralda Tower - EUR9
                                • Museum of Fine Arts - EUR2
                                • Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre - EUR3
                                • Casa de Pilatos - EUR8
                                • Indias Archive - Free
                                • Real Maestranza Bullring - EUR7
                                • Santa Paula Convent - EUR3
                                • Torre del Oro - EUR3
                                  Accommodation
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  Meals
                                  1 breakfast
                                  Day 19 Seville
                                  Today is a free day to discover Seville. Checking out the world's largest Gothic cathedral is a must. You can also 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. In the afternoon visit the magnificent Real Alcazar, a complex of palaces used by Moorish and Christian rulers through the ages. Wander through the fragrant gardens and examine the 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. In the evening, catch a local flamenco performance with the group (it is included; your tour leader will pass all details on the day). Charged with emotion and drama, this powerful, fiery show is a real highlight.
                                  Accommodation
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  Day 20 Costa de la Luz
                                  Today travel south by three-hour bus to the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light). On the western side of Andalusia, the coast faces the Mediterranean and North Africa. Your base for the next two nights is Tarifa, a laid-back beach town endowed with spectacular rocky scenery, a sea fortress, a lighthouse and plenty of character.

                                  The afternoon is free to relax. Perhaps catch a bus to the 10 kilometre-long Playa de Los Lances or hole up at a beach bar on Playa de Valdevaqueros. In the evening, why not grab some dinner in town and join in Tarifa's vibrant nightlife?
                                  Optional Activities
                                  • Morocco day trip - EUR60
                                  • Whale watching - EUR33
                                  • Gibraltar day trip - EUR48
                                    Accommodation
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    Day 21 Costa de la Luz
                                    Today there are plenty of optional activities to choose from. Perhaps head out on a whale and dolphin watching expedition on the Iberian Peninsula. At this unique place, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and where Europe meets Africa, you will get the chance to see 7 different species of whales and dolphins. Alternatively, take a day trip to Northern Africa and the town of Tangier in Morocco, just 45 minutes away by ferry. Once a hotspot for artists, secret agents and millionaires, Tangier has been going through something of a renaissance of late. The city's medina and kasbah are well worth exploring, as are the cafes and patisseries around the Place de la France in the Ville Nouvelle. Other intresting option is to go on day tour across the border to the British territory of Gibraltar, home to the famous Rock of Gibraltar.
                                    Accommodation
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    Day 22 Ronda
                                    Leave the coast and head inland by bus and train to the town of Ronda in the Andalucian hills (approximately four hours altogether).

                                    Ronda is the birthplace of bullfighting in Spain. The highlight of the town is the spectacular Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), one of the most photographed structures the country. Built in 1751, it bridges the 100-metre deep gorge that splits the town in two. Check out the old Moorish town on one side, home to many historic buildings including the House of the Moorish King, and the newer El Mercadillo on the other side. East of the town are well-preserved Arab Baths and of course, the famous Plaza de Toros.

                                    In the evening find a spot form which you could enjoy a scenic sunset; this won’t be a problem in Ronda.
                                    Included Activities
                                    • Gorge Walk
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • Bandits Museum - EUR4
                                      • La Ronda Bullring - EUR8
                                      • Santa Maria la Mayor Church - EUR3
                                        Accommodation
                                        Hotel (1 nt)
                                        Day 23 Ronda
                                        The Plaza de Toros is one of the oldest bullfighting rings in the country. Adjoining the bullring is the Bullfighting Museum, which displays relics of Ronda's bullfighting history. The gardens behind offer panoramic views over the surrounding mountains, which once proved a perfect hideout for bandits and smugglers. A visit to the Museum of Bandits gives an entertaining insight into their history.

                                        Note: While bullfighting is a significant part of Spanish culture and history, its practice is contrary to our Responsible Travel philosophy. Intrepid does not support or attend bullfights, as the bulls are subject to torment and fear and are often killed inhumanely. Long a controversial issue in Spain, a landmark decision in July 2010 banned bullfighting in the state of Catalonia from January 2012.
                                        Accommodation
                                        Hotel (1 nt)
                                        Meals
                                        1 breakfast
                                        Day 24 Cordoba
                                        Today our new destination is Cordoba. We will reach it by train.

                                        Muslim, Jewish and Christian influences are present in Cordoba's architecture, culture and cuisine. The group will visit the famous Mezquita - once the third largest mosque in the world and one of the most beautiful. It was consecrated into a Roman Catholic cathedral in the 13th century when the Christians reconquered Cordoba. Time permitting, you might also like to visit the castle, gardens and 10th-century Moorish bathhouse of the city's Alcazar.

                                        The evening is free to sample more delicious Spanish cuisine. Salmorejo (a cold soup made of tomatoes, bread and olive oil served with chopped up boiled egg and cured ham) is a specialty of Cordoba, as is rabo de toro (oxtail soup). There are also plenty of good-value eateries in the Juderia (Jewish Quarter).
                                        Included Activities
                                        • Mezquita
                                          Optional Activities
                                          • Alcazar - EUR5
                                          • Palacio Museo de Viana - EUR8
                                            Accommodation
                                            Hotel (1 nt)
                                            Meals
                                            1 breakfast
                                            Day 25 Valencia
                                            Today take a five-hour train to Valencia. Long the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, Valencia has the special charm of a sea port city. Busy markets, clean beaches, spectacular mountains and a fascinating mix of old town and new town makes up the best of Valencia. Perhaps rent a bike from one of the many bike stations that are dotted around the city. Cycle through the park that runs through the centre of the city and to the impressively designed Museu de les Ciencies Príncipe Felipe (Arts and Science Museum).

                                            Over the next couple of days, you have a lot of free time to wander around the city and see the sights. Valencia is also built with separate cycle paths, so it's really easy to get around the city.
                                            Included Activities
                                            • Picnic
                                            • Bike rental - Valencia
                                              Optional Activities
                                              • Fallas Museum - EUR2
                                              • Gonzalez Marti Museum - EUR3
                                              • Miguelete Tower - EUR2
                                              • Principe Filipe Science Museum - EUR8
                                              • The Silk Exchange - EUR2
                                              • Valencian Institute of Modern Art - EUR2
                                                Accommodation
                                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                                Day 26 Valencia
                                                Spend the day discovering Valencia. Visit the Cathedral, housing what is claimed to be the Holy Grail, the chalice Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. For something a little more quirky, head to the Museum of the Fallas, which contains a history of the Valencia fire festival and giant papier mache figures that have been spared from the burning. Perhaps visit the gothic Miguelete Bell Tower or the Valencian Institute of Modern Art. There are many fine parks and gardens to explore in the city, or you might prefer to head to Playa de la Malvarrosa to soak up some sun. For lunch, do as the locals do and head to Las Arenas for a delicious and affordable paella.
                                                Accommodation
                                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                                Day 27 Barcelona
                                                Board a five-hour train 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. There are plenty of things to keep you busy while you're here. Wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. Grab a fresh juice at the colourful La Boqueria market while you're there. Perhaps pay a visit to the Picasso Museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. In the evening, feast on delicious tapas in the funky neighbourhood of El Born.
                                                We strongly recommend that you book the entrance tickets to all main attractions in Barcelona beforehand to secure availability.
                                                Included Activities
                                                • La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona
                                                  Optional Activities
                                                  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
                                                  • Casa Batllo - EUR22
                                                  • Guell Palace - EUR12
                                                  • Museum of City History - EUR7
                                                  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
                                                  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
                                                  • Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
                                                  • Picasso Museum - EUR14
                                                  • Cathedral visit - EUR7
                                                  • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR69
                                                  • Snapshots of Barcelona - EUR47
                                                    Accommodation
                                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                                    Day 28 Barcelona
                                                    Join your leader on an orientation walk around Barcelona today. See some of the city's main sights, including a visit to Antonio Gaudi's incredible La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. The architect worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death, and it remains in constant construction. Gaudi was the master of the unique Catalan Modernista architecture for which Barcelona is famous, and his work is dotted all over the city. Perhaps check out the Neo-Gothic mansion of Guell Palace or the wave-inspired structure of Casa Batlo. For more insight into the artist himself, head to the Gaudi House Museum inside Parc Guell, which is home to more colourful sculptures including a long mosaic-covered bench overlooking the city. For something a little different, perhaps have a poke around the Old Santa Creu Hospital.
                                                    Accommodation
                                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                                    Meals
                                                    1 breakfast
                                                    Day 29 Barcelona
                                                    Today your adventure comes to an end. As there are no activities planned, you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                                                    Meals
                                                    1 breakfast
                                                    Itinerary disclaimer
                                                    Physical rating

                                                    Included activities
                                                    Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
                                                    Cycling tour
                                                    Canoeing - Sarlat
                                                    Wine tasting Bordeaux
                                                    Hiking in the Pyrenees
                                                    Alcazar Segovia
                                                    Alhambra entrance
                                                    Flamenco performance
                                                    Gorge Walk
                                                    Mezquita
                                                    Picnic
                                                    Bike rental - Valencia
                                                    La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona
                                                    Important notes
                                                    A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

                                                    Group size
                                                    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                                                    Accommodation
                                                    Hotel (16nt)
                                                    Meals
                                                    10 breakfasts
                                                    Joining point
                                                    Hotel Des Arts - Bastille
                                                    2 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac
                                                    Paris
                                                    FRANCE
                                                    Phone: 33 143797257
                                                    Fax: 33 143790660
                                                    Joining point description
                                                    Hotel des Arts is a small boutique-style property ideally located in the district of la Bastille.

                                                    Rooms offer a safe, free WiFi, direct dial telephone, satellite TV and a small en-suite bathroom.

                                                    The hotel also offers a 24hr front desk, elevator and luggage storage facilities.
                                                    Joining point instructions
                                                    Take the metro to Charonne, line 9. Take the rue de Charonne exit. Walk down the street with the green boulanger and red Brasserie L’ngenu on either corner. Walk 250 metres to Rue Godefroy Cavaignac on your right. Hotel des Arts is the first building on the right.

                                                    Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport: If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name at the arrivals hall.
                                                    In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: + 33 (0)6 15 035 427
                                                    Finish point
                                                    Hotel Catalonia Sagrada Familia
                                                    Calle Aragon, 569 BIS 08026
                                                    Barcelona
                                                    SPAIN
                                                    Phone: +34 932458905
                                                    Finish point description
                                                    The Catalonia Sagrada Familia Hotel is located on Aragon Street, at the heart of Barcelona. It is ideal for cultural and gastronomic trips to the Condal City, as it lies close to the Hispanidad and Gaudi squares, the area of El Clot, Els Encants and Glories square.

                                                    The 18-square-metre double rooms of the Catalonia Sagrada Familia Hotel are the ideal accommodation for a cultural trip to Barcelona as a couple: comfortable, elegant and fully equipped accommodation with bathroom with shower and hairdryer, TV, Channel+, telephone, room services, safe deposit box, free WiFi, heating and air conditioning.
                                                    Finishing point instructions
                                                    If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.

                                                    Pre booked departure transfer to the airport:
                                                    You will be collected at your accommodation 3 hours before your flight departure time.
                                                    In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +34 91 747 7570
                                                    Emergency contact
                                                    Peak Marrakech: +49 867 791 866 57

                                                    Peak Marrakech: +49 8677 9186 657

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