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France & Spain

From US$ 5,980 US$ 5,083 per person
  • No booking or credit card fees
highlights
  • 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
The France & Spain tour starts in Paris and ends in Barcelona. The France & Spain is an Explorer tour that takes 28 days taking you from Paris to Barcelona and through other destinations in Europe.

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.
Bonjour! Welcome to Paris. Your adventure begins with a welcome
meeting which is usually around 6 pm. Please look for a note in the
hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If
you're going to be late, please inform the hotel. We'll be collecting
your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so
ensure you have all these to provide to your leader. After the
meeting we will head out for an optional group dinner for you to get
to know your fellow travellers. If you arrive early, get out and
explore this 'City of Light'. Perhaps go for a wander around the
Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the bohemian
Montmartre. This will give you a good feel for the city. Arriving
earlier to see Paris' iconic sights is highly recommended.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Today get out on an orientation walk and explore this romantic city further. With free time afterwards to discover as you please, perhaps go for a wander around Notre Dame de Paris, a famous cathedral and one of the most iconic examples of French Gothic architecture. The City of Light has also a great cuisine scene to discover. A selection of Urban Adventures taking you to the secrets sites of food often combined with art is a great way to discover the local way of living. Before moving on, perhaps end the day with glass of wine in one of the famous and trendy wine bars Paris has on offer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Eiffel Tower - EUR 19
  • Louvre Museum - EUR 15
  • Musee d'Orsay - EUR 14
  • Palace of Versailles - EUR 20
  • Palace of Versailles Gardens - Free - EUR 20
  • Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR 65
  • Arc de Triomphe - EUR 12
  • Catacombs - EUR 13
  • Centre Pompidou - EUR 14
  • Napoleon's Tomb & Les Invalides Army Museum - EUR 11
  • Notre Dame Towers - EUR 10
  • Picasso Museum - EUR 12
  • Rodin Museum - EUR 10
  • Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR 15
  • Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR 25
  • Fat Tires bike tour - EUR 34
  • Urban Adventures - Secret Paris: Cheese, Art, and Local Life - EUR 59
  • Urban Adventures - Experience Bohemian Paris - EUR 59
  • Fragonard Perfume Museum - Free - EUR 59
  • Urban Adventures - Gourmet Marais - EUR 78
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Cathedrale St-Gatien - Free -
  • Hot air balloon - EUR 250
  • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR 5
  • Hotel Gouin Museum - Free - EUR 5
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. you'll be back 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
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 Sarlat-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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Gabarre tour - EUR 8
  • Domme Caves - EUR 9
  • Ste Marie Panoramic Glass Lift - EUR 5
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
Optional Activities
  • Bike hire per day
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR 4
  • Pey Berland Tower - EUR 6
  • CAPC Musee d'Art Contemporain - EUR 5
  • Cathedrale St Andre - Free - EUR 5
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Thermes de Luchon - EUR 15
  • Luchon Cable Car - EUR 10
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
Take a private transfer across the border to Spain and continue to the coastal town of San Sebastian (approximately 5 hours). With its family friendly beaches, innovative gastronomy and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is an ideal place to take it easy. Stroll along the promenade, shop, feast on pintxos (Basque-style tapas) or simply laze on the sand and soak up the sun. If you’re up for a different perspective of La Concha (the most central beach), climb or catch a cable car to Monte Igueldo. The panoramic views form the summit makes one feel like a hawk.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Grab Your Pintxo UA - EUR 73
  • St. James Way Adventure - EUR 63
  • Royals, Stars and Surfers - San Sebastian UA - EUR 50
  • Basque by Bike- San Sebastian UA - EUR 43
You have a full free 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 pinxtos in San Sebastian.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Aquarium - EUR 13
  • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free - EUR 13
  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR 16
  • Monte Igueldo Cable Car - San Sebastian - EUR 3
  • San Telmo Museum - EUR 6
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 Castilla. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR 30
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR 12
  • Museo del Prado - EUR 15
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR 4
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR 8
  • Madrid Tapas Adventure - Urban Adventure - EUR 82
  • Markets of Madrid - Urban Adventure - EUR 47
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.
Take a bus to Granada today (approximately 5 hours). 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, or the 'Alcaiceria' (old silk market area) and observe the craftworks on sale that include ceramics, marquetry and leather goods. 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. Granada is the kind of city to leave your guidebook behind and trust your intuition.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
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. 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. This evening, unearth the restaurants in the tangled streets of the Albaicin and dine with the best views of the Alhambra.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Jose Guerrero Centre - Free -
  • Mirador de San Nicolas - Free -
  • Catedral de Granada - EUR 4
  • Science Park Planetarium - EUR 2
  • Science Park - EUR 7
  • Capilla Real - EUR 4
Travel approximately 3 hours by bus and train to the vibrant city of Seville. If the legends are to be believed, Seville was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. To the Romans it was Hispalis, to the Moorsm Isbiliya. After the Christian reconquest, it became thought of as the portal to the 'New World', and is today the capital of Andalucia and the largest city in southern Spain. Known for its important monuments and fascinating history, Seville 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 and flamboyance – the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro. Seville is also 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 rest of the day is free for you to explore, why not go and experience it all in person. Barrio Santa Cruz, with its multicultural history, is a great place to start. This shaded warren was designed in medieval times to provide refuge from the great Andalusian heat. Or maybe spend your evening San Jacinto, the bustling main street of the Triana quarter, and discover the interesting and adventurous food on offer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Guided tour of Seville including Alcazar Seville - EUR 13
  • Archeological Museum - EUR 3
  • Art and Popular Customs Museum - EUR 2
  • Catedral and Giralda Tower - EUR 8
  • Museum of Fine Arts - EUR 2
Today is a free day to discover Seville. Checking out the world's largest Gothic cathedral is a must. You can also the climb the cathedral's adjoining Moorish tower, known as La Giralda. While you might have to line up, it's well worth it for the views over the city. Visit the magnificent Alcazar, a complex of palaces used by Moorish and Christian rulers through the ages, and now gaining international fame as a shooting location for ‘Game of Thrones’. Wander through the fragrant gardens and examine the Moorish and Mudejar architecture. If you feel like an injection of culture, explore Seville's Museum of Fine Arts or the Archaeological Museum. As Seville is the tapas capital of Spain, be sure to sample some of the tasty morsels on offer in one of the city's many tapas bars. In the evening, catch a local flamenco performance with the group (included). Charged with emotion and drama, this powerful, fiery show is a real highlight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre - EUR 3
  • Casa de Pilatos - EUR 8
  • Indias Archive - Free - EUR 8
  • Santa Paula Convent - EUR 3
  • Torre del Oro - EUR 3
Today travel south to the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) (approximately 3 hours). 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 sands of Playa de Los Lances – a haven for kite surfers – or hole up at a beach bar on Playa de Valdevaqueros. One of the best ways to appreciate the area is simply to wander, along the promenade under the old castle, past restaurants brimming with fresh seafood, and appreciate this rare underdeveloped stretch of Spanish coastline. The surfers lend the old town a laid-back, international vibe, along with hints of the North Africa that lies just across the water. In the evening, why not grab some dinner in town and join in Tarifa's vibrant nightlife.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
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 seven 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. You can unwind and take in the charms of the city on the recently reconstructed beach promenade. Another interesting option is a day tour across the border to the British territory of Gibraltar, home to the famous Rock of Gibraltar. Here you can take a cable car up to the rock’s peak, explore formation-filled caves, a Moorish castle, and wander the main street, discovering the interesting blend of old British life and Spanish flavours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Morocco day trip - EUR 65
  • Whale watching - EUR 35
  • Gibraltar day trip - EUR 48
  • Tarifa Castle - EUR 4
Leave the coast and head inland by bus and train to the Andalucian hills and the whitewashed town of Ronda (approximately 4 hours). In a landscape of poster-paint green forests and white limestone mountains, 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. You can walk across it, stopping to peer over a vertiginous drop from one of its balconies. 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 from which you could enjoy a scenic sunset; this won’t be a problem in Ronda.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Santa Maria la Mayor Church - EUR 4
  • Bandits Museum - EUR 4
Today you’ll take a walk through the beautiful valley of Los Molinos surrounding the city. From the old town you can head down the cliffside of the gorge and get a great view of the bridge and town from below. The rest of the day will be free for you to explore. 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. Surrounding the town are prize-winning wineries and beautiful national parks – the Reservatauro walk takes you through the holm oak meadows where fighting bulls and thoroughbred horses are raised.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Continue north to Cordoba by train (approximately 2 hours). Discover the mesh of Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures in the architecture and cuisine of this southern city. Visit the famous Mezquita, with its golden arches and intricate columns, 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 stroll through a labyrinth of cobbled laneways in the old quarter, discovering open squares and quirky cafes. 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).
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Palacio Museo de Viana - EUR 8
  • Torre de la Calahorra - EUR 4
  • Museo Vivo de Al-Andalus - EUR 6
  • Casa de las Cabezas - EUR 5
  • Tablao el Cardenal - EUR 23
  • Museum of the Inquisition - EUR 3
Take a train and head east to the coastal town of Valencia (approximately 5 hours). Known for being the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, Valencia has a large port, beautiful beaches, restaurants and a beach promenade along the waterfront. The old town is set back from the seafront through, and in the centre you will find the beautiful monuments and historical buildings. Busy markets, clean beaches, picturesque hills and a fascinating mix of old town and new town makes up the best of Valencia. Over the next couple of days, you have a lot of free time to wander around the city and see the sights. 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 to the impressively designed Museu de les Ciencies Príncipe Felipe (Arts and Science Museum). Valencia is also built with separate cycle paths, so it's really easy to get around. This evening perhaps head out to bar-hop and eat tapas in the Ciutat Vella (old town).
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Take the day to explore. You will hop on a bike today and pedal along Turia Park all the way to the iconic city of Art and Science. This activity is done in leisure pace and you certainly don’t need to be an expert to participate. After cycling, why not visit the 13th-century cathedral, which houses what's claimed to be the Holy Grail, and climb the 207 steps of the Miguelete tower for the best views of the city. For something a little quirkier, 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. The Museo de Bellas Artes has Spain's second-biggest art collection, housed in a beautiful 17th-century convent. There are also many fine parks and gardens, or you may want to head to the beach of Playa de la Malvarrosa to soak up some sun. To try the paella that Valencia is famous for (rabbit and chicken), do as the locals do and head to the restaurant area of Las Arenas for a hearty and reasonably priced lunch. Tonight, maybe head south to Ruzafa, one of the city’s coolest areas, where the locals only start to head out as the clock strikes midnight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Fallas Museum - EUR 2
  • Gonzalez Marti Museum - EUR 3
  • Miguelete Tower - EUR 2
  • Principe Filipe Science Museum - EUR 8
  • The Silk Exchange - EUR 2
  • Valencian Institute of Modern Art - EUR 2
  • Valencian Treats and Tastes - Urban Adventures - EUR 55
  • Street Art in Old Valencia - Urban Adventure - EUR 35
  • Museum of Fine Arts Valencia - Free - EUR 35
Today take the train up the coast to Barcelona (approximately 3.5 hours). 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. In the afternoon, there are plenty of options to keep you busy. 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. Maybe 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. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. The heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre and so this evening perhaps head out to taste the reputation for yourself. You can take a tapas crawl through rustic Catalan dishes in the funky neighbourhood of El Born.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free -
  • Casa Batllo - EUR 24
  • Guell Palace - EUR 12
  • Museum of City History - EUR 7
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR 6
  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR 12
  • Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR 10
  • Picasso Museum - EUR 14
  • Cathedral visit - EUR 6
  • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR 70
  • Snapshots of Barcelona - EUR 48
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. Along with the Camp Nou football stadium, it is possibly the city's most iconic landmark. 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. For your final night, perhaps finish the day with a sip of red wine from a porro – a traditional glass pitcher.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Today your Spanish adventure comes to an end in the morning. There are no more activities planned and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time. If you'd like to spend a few more days in Barcelona, then our reservations team can help book accommodation (subject to availability).
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Hotel (27 nights)
Meals
  • 8 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Transport
  • Bicycle , Bus , Kayak , Metro , Private vehicle , Public bus , Taxi , Train
Included Activities
  • Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
  • Cycling tour - Tours
  • Canoeing - Sarlat
  • Wine Museum Bordeaux
  • Hiking in the Pyrenees
  • Alcazar Segovia
  • Alhambra entrance
  • Flamenco performance
  • Leader led tour of Cordoba & Mezquita visit
  • Cycling in Valencia
  • Picnic in Valencia
  • La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to Paris and from Barcelona are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this France & Spain tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 28 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 12 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Paris/ Barcelona
image description
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for France & Spain
Availability
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Good to know
Payment

A deposit of 400 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 57 days before departure. For any departures within 20 August 2018 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The France & Spain tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this France & Spain tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this France & Spain tour. You can cancel the tour up to 58 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 57 days of departure.
Trip Details
  • Last modified (date)

    22 Jun 2018

  • Trip title

    France & Spain

  • Trip code

    AMSQC

  • Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2018

  • Introduction

    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.

  • Style

    Original

  • Themes

    Explorer

  • Transport

    Bicycle,Bus,Kayak,Metro,Private vehicle,Public bus,Taxi,Train

  • Physical Rating

    3

  • Physical preparation

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.

  • 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 to find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +33 (0)6 15 035 427.

  • Finish point description

    The Catalonia Sagrada Familia Hotel is located on Aragon Street, at the heart of Barcelona. It is ideal for cultural and gastronomic trips to the Condal City, as it lies close to the Hispanidad and Gaudi squares, the area of El Clot, Els Encants and Glories square.

    The 18-square-metre double rooms of the Catalonia Sagrada Familia Hotel are the ideal accommodation for a cultural trip to Barcelona as a couple: comfortable, elegant and fully equipped accommodation with bathroom with shower and hairdryer, TV, Channel+, telephone, room services, safe deposit box, free WiFi, heating and air conditioning.

  • Finish point instructions

    If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.

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

  • Group leader

    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

  • Visas

    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

    Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, US and British citizens currently do not require a visa to enter countries visited on this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassy or consulate in their home country for up to date visa information.

    Passports have to be carried, but normally you do not need to show them. Stamps are no longer issued at border crossings.

  • Is this trip right for you

    As this is a combination of 2 trips, your leader and the composition of your group may change in Madrid.

    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. European 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. Please note that you will have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, and also up or down few flights of stairs as unfortunately some of the stations may not have lifts. In that case it is recommended to bring a backpack instead of rigid wheelie suitcase. Make sure the luggage doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.

    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.

  • 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 Travel 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 before departure. Pharmacies are well equipped in Europe and widely available, however, 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 in some of the rural 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.

  • Food and dietary requirements

    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. There's no obligation to do this though.

    Food in Europe is varied and differs significantly between countries and regions. Expect to sample delicious local meals in almost every location you’ll visit on this trip. However, if you do not feel like having a local delicacy, world type food is also widely available, especially in bigger cities. European diet is mostly meat based; vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and choices may be limited to soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets will 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 included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

    European breakfasts are often basic and may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar.)

  • Money matters

    The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe 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. The safest option is to bring cash in either Euro or US dollars. 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%. Taking all that in to account, we do not advise bringing traveller’s cheques to Europe.

    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
    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

    TIPPING
    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

    EMERGENCY FUNDS
    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

    BUDGET Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest EUR 950.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

  • A couple of rules

    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders, local operators or locals.

    Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

  • Accommodation notes

    We've sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Europe may be different to the standards you are used to. Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges and in particular destinations, rooms may be rather small.

    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 (even when you book single room supplement). You will always be shared with the person of the same sex.

    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.

  • Transport notes

    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.

  • Your fellow travellers

    GROUP TRAVEL
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

  • Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

    BOOKING MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS IN ADVANCE:
    To avoid disappointment we have outlined (where applicable) some important information on some of the major museums and attractions in Europe. Some of our groups have experienced long lines of up to four hours to visit some of the major sights, while some sights are so popular they are booked out completely months in advance, making it impossible for you or your leader to arrange a visit while you are on the trip. Please note that many museums and attractions in Europe are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where possible. If applicable we've given you information in the day-to-day itinerary which outlines which day of the trip is a suitable time to make your reservations, as well as any other information that may help with planning your visit.

  • Accommodation

    Hotel (27 nights)

  • 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.

  • Climate and seasonal

    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, 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.

    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.

    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.

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