Real Food Adventure - Northern Spain Trip Notes

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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Real Food Adventure - Northern Spain.
Print Version
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2014
Real Food Adventure - Northern Spain
Trip code: ZMZZ
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Get ready for a journey through northern Spain’s most alluring sights, sounds and tastes. Immerse yourself in the amazing culture, history and cuisine of Barcelona, tasting local produce at La Boqueria market that has been trading since the 1200s, whipping up Catalan specialties in a cooking class and wandering the stunning Las Ramblas and Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). Famous for its tapas and eclectic array of bars, Logrono is a beautiful city in the heart of Spain’s La Rioja wine region. Tapas-hop through the city, learn the workings of a family-run vineyard and explore the medieval streets of La Guardia, a place where underground tunnels and wine caves weave beneath the city. Venture on to the north of Spain’s most celebrated city, San Sebastian, where beautiful beaches, historic buildings and a thriving food and arts scene bask together under a beaming sun. Experience a traditional sagardotegia (cider house), indulge in pintxos (Basque-style tapas) while exploring the Parte Vieja (Old Town) and feast on San Sebastian’s celebrated Basque cuisine. Let this Real Food Adventure take you through the cultural and culinary heart of Spain and taste all the flavours of this exceptional region.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesFinish point instructions
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Food
Map
Real Food Adventure - Northern Spain
Itinerary
Days 1-3 Barcelona
Hola! Welcome to Spain.
Oh Spain… how you dazzle us with architectural feats and artistic treats, enrich us with historic treasures and nourish us with sangria and tapas! From charismatic cities full of boisterous bars and hip galleries, to sleepy villages dotted with run-down farmhouses and olive groves, Spain never fails to open up travellers’ eyes, minds and hearts.
Barcelona's quirky character and fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a groundbreaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won't soon forget.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel 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.
Head out for your first introduction to Catalan gastronomy in one of the city's authentic taverns. Catalans eat lunch after 2pm and start dinner from 9pm, so you may wish to take advantage of a late afternoon siesta to keep up with the locals!
Catalan cuisine is strongly based in the Mediterranean tradition, featuring fresh ingredients such as tomato, eggplant, garlic, capsicum as well as breads and olive oil, much of which is produced from the surrounding countryside. Intensely flavoured fish including sardines, anchovy and salted cod and a myriad of pork products are also celebrated within Catalan food culture. Be sure to seek out Catalan favourites, such as pa amb tomaquet (bread rubbed with cut tomato and drizzled with olive oil), botifarra (pork sausage) and faves a la catalana (broad beans with Iberian ham).
This morning follow your tour guide to La Boqueria. With origins dating back to the 1200s, this incredible food market is considered one of the country’s most vibrant. Why not pull up a stool at one of the surrounding bars, grab some breakfast and watch it come alive.
Enjoy a walking tour along Las Ramblas and the Passeig de Gracia, taking in some of Barcelona’s most celebrated architectural gems by Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi, including the Casa Batllo.
The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the city at your leisure. Alternatively, you have the option to visit the nearby Penedes area. Penedes is best known for its production of cava – Spain’s answer to champagne. For those interested in getting to know the local drop from its source, visit a local winery and taste different styles of cava. At the end you will even be able to produce a bottle of your own to take with you!
Get ready for a truly authentic introduction to Catalan cuisine with a passionate Barcelona foodie and respected chef. Taste your way through the stalls of Santa Catarina Market and pick up some ingredients for a cooking demonstration. Learn to prepare some seasonal Catalan dishes then sit down to a leasurely lunch accompanied by a glass or two of locally produced wine.
Spend the afternoon exploring some of Barcelona’s hidden gourmet treasures – from fresh cheese and jamon to mouth-watering churros and Catalan pastries. Your tour leader will be able to suggest some local favourites so you’ll feel (and shop!) like a local.
Included Activities
  • Barcelona tavern dinner
  • Catalan Cooking Class and Lunch - Barcelona
  • La Boqueria visit & Gotic area food and architecture walk
Optional Activities
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Cable car to Montjuic (one way) - EUR6
  • Casa Batllo - EUR18
  • Contemporary Art Museum - EUR8
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • Picasso Museum - EUR9
  • Penedes cava workshop - EUR38
Accommodation
Hotel Catalonia Roma or similar (3 nts)
Days 4-5 Logrono
Catch the train to Logrono (approx 3.5 hours).
Logrono, situated in La Rioja on the banks of the Ebro River, is the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region and is also touted as having one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in Spain.
Go on an evening walking tour of the Old Quarter, which boasts more than 50 taperias (tapas bars), each with one individual specialty dish. This will be our first opportunity to sample some of the specialties of the region. When in season, seta (mushroom) is a must!
Take a local bus to the nearby village of Fuenmayor and be transported to a vineyard.
Enjoy a guided stroll around the vineyard and get a true ‘grape to glass’ insight from an expert.
Throughout the year there are interesting things to do in the vineyard. Depending on the season, harvest grapes, gather fallen bunches, prune the vines – even remove the unwanted suckers and leaves from the vines.
It is important to wear appropriate shoes and clothes (jeans and trainers or riding boots are best).
After work, stop for a snack (a picnic of homemade chorizo, bread and paté) and drink wine from a goatskin bag, just like the locals have been doing for many years.
Finish at a small, traditional Rioja winery with a vault hewn out of rock, dating from the 16th century. Descend into the vault to learn about the aging process and to taste wine directly from the barrel. Bottle your own signature drop to take away.
Next head to the walled village of La Guardia, perched atop a rock foundation. La Guardia is one of the most perfectly preserved medieval villages in Spain and is surrounded by an ancient wall. A walk around the wall is a must as it has great views out over La Rioja to the mountains. The entire centre of La Guardia is traffic free as underneath the town lies a maze of tunnels and caves that have been used for centuries to make and store wine.
Return to Logrono via some of the region’s most architecturally notable wineries.
Included Activities
  • Tapas Crawl - Logrono
  • Rioja Wine Experience - Logrono
  • La Guardia visit
Optional Activities
  • Vivanco Wine Museum - Logrono - EUR8
Accommodation
Hostal Numantina or similar (2 nts)
Days 6-8 San Sebastian
Take a bus from Logrono to San Sebastian (approx. 2 hours).
Travel to the hallowed Basque region, home to some of the world’s best restaurants, most experimental chefs and a distinct food culture all its own.
Enjoy a walking tour of San Sebastian's Parte Vieja (old town) to get your bearings.
In the evening, why not jump onboard an evening txikiteo (Basque-style tapas crawl) in San Sebastian’s Parte Vieja, perhaps also taking in lesser-frequented places on the other side of the river. Enjoy an array of pinxtos (the Basque answer to tapas) and don’t forget to wash them down with txakoli, a slightly fizzy white wine that’s the region’s signature drop.
Visit a sagardotegi, a traditional cider house, and enjoy a tasting of this sherbetty, apple-based liquid, followed by a lunch of delicious local Basque produce.
Perhaps enjoy your final night in San Sebastian with a taste of new Basque cuisine in the glowing modernist cubes of the Kursal, located beside Zurriola Beach. It's part of a group of restaurants owned by Spanish culinary visionaries Andoni Luis Aduriz and Bixente Arriente, and just one of the ways your trip leader may suggest to end this Northern Spain Real Food Adventure.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • Sagardotegia (Basque cider house) Tasting and Lunch - San Sebastian
  • Parte Vieja Guided Tour - San Sebastian
Optional Activities
  • Txikiteo Crawl - San Sebastian - EUR20
  • San Telmo Museum - Free
  • Aquarium - EUR10
  • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free
  • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian - EUR3
Accommodation
Hotel Codina or similar (2 nts)
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.
  • Real Food Adventure Spain (ZMZZ) - Single Supplement (ZMZZ)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Real Food Adventure - Galicia (ZWZG)
  • Real Food Adventure - Turkey (ERZZ)
  • The Camino de Santiago Challenge (ZTXC)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

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

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A number of activities on this itinerary may have an alcohol component. Relevant local laws governing the legal age for consumption of alcohol apply to this trip. If you are below the local drinking legal age, you will not be able to participate in any trip activities involving alcohol. No refund will be offered for those activities.
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.
Money Exchange
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.
You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
If you're happy with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: We suggest EUR1-2 per person per day for local guides.
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.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
SPANISH SIESTA:
Please note that shops, attractions, sights and businesses may be closed for up to 5 hours in the middle of the day for siesta time. This gives the locals time to escape the heat and spend time with their families, eat a large lunch or simply sleep through the most uncomfortable time of day. This means of course that people work later into the evening and dinner time can seem quite late: 9.30pm is not uncommon for family dinner time.
One of the great things about our trips is that we encourage every member of the group to spend time interacting with local people. In order to best be able to do this in Spain, we recommend that you try to do as the locals do - avoid the heat of the day, and stay out later at night.
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Accommodation
Hotel Catalonia Roma or similar (3 nts), Hostal Numantina or similar (2 nts), Hotel Codina or similar (2 nts)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience a vast array of dishes, beverages, dining experiences, ingredients and produce.
To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, the trip price does not include all meals. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility – whether you wish to partake in budget, mid-range or high-end dining options. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. Generally, our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company, however there's no obligation to do this.
For travellers wanting to eat at a particular high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurant, there will be specified free nights in certain locations where you can make your own restaurant reservations. It is recommended you make reservations for high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurants well in advance of your departure, as there can be long lead times for booking in some instances.
Meals
7 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
EUR 300.00
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.
Mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 21:00 and 21.30.
Your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. These instances will be indicated in the ‘trip notes’ itinerary. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.
For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
Transport
Minibus, Bus
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. You can expect your Intrepid Food Adventures group leader to be passionate about the local food scene and keen to share their insider knowledge on the best authentic local food and drink experiences throughout your trip.
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
Hotel Catalonia Roma
Avinguda de Roma, 31
Barcelona
08029
SPAIN
Joining point description
Hotel Catalonia Roma is just minutes from Barcelona Sants AVE train and metro stations and close to the Barcelona fairgrounds. The city centre can be reached in 10 minutes from the nearby Metro or bus stops.
Rooms are clean, comfortable and practical with air conditioning and heating, a safe, free WiFi, a minibar, hair dryer, direct dial telephone and satellite TV.
The hotel also offers a restaurant, bar, elevator, 24hr front desk, laundry services, and a currency exchange facility.
Joining point instructions
Train from the airport:
Take the R2 to Barcelona Sants Station (22 mins, cost approx. €4). They depart every 30 mins. Walk out the front of the station and cross the Placa deis Paisos Catalans to Avenida de Roma. Walk down the street for 5 mins. The hotel will be on your left.
Taxi from the airport:
Alternatively there are taxi ranks opposite the arrivals areas of terminal T1, the Barcelona-Madrid shuttle, and terminals T2 A and T2 B. A taxi will cost approx. €25 to the hotel.
Arriving by metro:
Entença metro stop is 100 meters away from the hotel (Line 5, blue line) and Sants metro stop is 300 meters away (line 3, green line).
Pre booked transfer from the airport:
If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, the driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall, holding a board with your name on.
Arrival complications
EUROPE:
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) please follow the instructions under the "Joining point instructions" in order to find our driver. Should you have any problems locating your driver, please call the number for our transfer company which can be found below. Should you continue to experience any difficulties, please call the emergency number for our local operations team which is available on the 'Emergency Contact' section of these trip notes.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Barcelona
If you have any issues locating your driver please contact Grup Limo on +34 687 838 887 or Hotelbeds on +34.660.409.789
Finish point
Hotel Codina
Avenida Zumalacarregui 21
San Sebastian
SPAIN
Finish point description
Hotel Codina is just 250 metres from Ondarreta Beacha and 1km from the centre of San Sebastian. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, and rooms are ensuite with a flat-screen TV and minibar.
Finish point instructions
Hotel Codina is approximately 20 minutes walk from the city centre. Your group leader will be able to provide recommendations for onward travel via public transport from here.
The nearest airport is San Sebastian (EAS) which is 17.8 km / 11 miles from the hotel. If you would like to travel by taxi, please ask the hotel reception to arrange this for you.
Pre booked transfer to the airport:
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, you will be collected from your hotel 2 hours prior to your flight.
Please reconfirm your departure transfers with your tour leader.
In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you not find the driver please contact to the emergency phone numbers: +34 625.784.966 or Hotelbeds on +34 660 409 789
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +49 (0) 8677 918 66 57. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
EUROPE:
On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
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
Health
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches that modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 270.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.