Best of Spain

Trip Code: ZMSG

Why we love it

Experience the fiery passion and rhythm of a traditional flamenco dance performance in Seville., It's a pretty special thing to chill out on a beach in Andalucian 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.

Is this trip right for me?

The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train and bus. Spanish trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning. Toilets are always available. Some of the trains have snack bars (or vending machines) and power points next to the seats but that cannot be guaranteed on every journey. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Public buses are also comfortable and often air-conditioned, but there aren't always toilets on board. Please note that you will have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, and also up or down a few flights of stairs as some of the stations may not have lifts. Please make sure your luggage doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'Packing' section of the Essential Trip Information.

Summer temperatures can be extreme in Spain (over 40°C), so it’s important to use sun protection, wear breathable layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Many hotels in Europe have fans, not air conditioning. In contrast, this trip also has departures during the winter months (mid-October to mid-March). This is the perfect time to see the highlights of Spain without any of the crowds, however the weather during this time of year is unpredictable, and possibly cold and rainy. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

As accommodation on this trip is twin-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 and rooms in Europe can seem rather small by American or Australian standards.

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 – 9.30 pm is not uncommon for family dinner time.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 6,7 (Hostel) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. In this case you will be matched up with another traveler of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night. Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. 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 that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

Physical rating

 
2

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some trips may have individual inclusions that may be of a higher physical rating compared to the overall rating of the trip. Please read the day-to-day itinerary carefully to find out more details on each day's activities, and whether they are suitable for you. Activities can be opted out of if you don't want to participate.

Joining your group

Gran Legazpi Hotel, Paseo de la Chopera 71, Madrid, SPAIN, Phone: +34 915396600

The Gran Legazpi Hotel is located in the Legazpi neighbourhood of Madrid, next to the emblematic Plaza de Legazpi, close to Madrid's shopping, cultural and financial centre. It is situated on Metro line 3, with a ride into the centre of Madrid taking approximately 15 minutes. The Gran Legazpi is a modern hotel, offering fully equipped rooms with the latest amenities.

Joining instructions

Madrid International Airport Barajas (airport code MAD) is located within the city limits, just 9km from the city centre. From the airport take metro line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios metro station and then metro line 6 (circular line clockwise) to Legazpi metro station. Alternatively metered taxis are available in taxi ranks outside any of the main terminal exits. Please note that the metro line from the airport to the city centre is particularly notorious for pickpockets, and travellers with backpacks or suitcases are indeed a target. Please ensure you are careful with your valuables on the metro.

Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport: If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +34 657 547 304

Finishing your trip

Hotel Catalonia Sagrada Familia, Calle Aragon 577-579, Barcelona, SPAIN, Phone: +34 932458905

Hotel Catalonia Sagrada Familia is located on Aragon Street, in the heart of Barcelona. Metro Lines L1 and L2 will deliver you to Ciutat Vella (Barcelona's Old Town) and the famous La Rambla. The comfortable and fully equipped rooms come with private bathrooms with shower and hairdryer, TV, phone, room service, safety deposit box, free Wi-Fi, heating and air-conditioning.

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. Alternatively it is easy to catch the frequent direct train from Clot Metro Station to the airport, or a mix of Metro L1 and bus A2 (with a change at Plaza Espana).

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 to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +34 657 547 304

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 7

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 

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. 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. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

BREAKFASTS
There are some continental breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

VEGETARIANS
Vegetarians might find the menu selection in Europe less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

MEAL TIMES IN SPAIN
Please note that meal times in Spain are later than in many other countries. Dinner is usually served between 8pm and 10pm. While this takes some getting used to it is a great way to observe Spanish food culture.

Climate & seasonal information

SUMMER
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 and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

SHOULDER SEASON
In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher altitudes. If you travel at the start or towards the end of the European season please pack accordingly with warm and/or waterproof clothes (preferably layers). The advantage of travelling during this time is that there are less tourists around.

WINTER
The winter months in Europe are usually quite cold and possibly snowy. Temperatures can drop to freezing or below, and snowfalls are common, especially at higher altitudes. You will need to be prepared to travel in varying temperatures and snow. Extra layers, a warm jacket, hat, gloves and good footwear are a must.

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.

In case of emergency

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. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

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

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

If you have booked an arrival transfer, and you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly on the number listed in the joining point instructions in the section above.

Intrepid's Local Operator: +49 8677 9186 657

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties 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 or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

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 BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

FACILITIES
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transportation

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 local train, watching the scenery roll by from the window of a long distance bus, arriving on a high speed train in the city centre of your next destination, or navigating each city's public transport system. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.


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