What it is: This is a 10 day group trip of the highlights of Spain and Portugal. This includes 2 nights in Barcelona, 2 nights in Granada, 1 night in Porto and 3 nights in Lisbon. The target dates are July 18-July 27, 2023. The target group size is 8-10. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. Sign up by March 14th.
Goal: The primary goal of this trip is to explore the culture and history of the Iberian Peninsula. The secondary goal is to have fun doing it. I cannot promise you that I won’t make any mistakes as a newbie tour guide, but I can promise that I will be responsible to solve it. You can just relax and enjoy the ride! Along the way you can anticipate 1000+ years of history, late night dinners, tapas, hot summer sun, and gelato! There will be plenty of gelato.
Day 1: A Trip’s Beginning
Leave your home and head to the airport. Pack a pillow, it’s going to be a long flight!
Day 2: Arrive in Barcelona, Spain
We will use the first day to gather ourselves and explore. Barcelona is a city made popular by hosting the 1992 Olympics. This is when the world discovered the layers of history, color, and culture this city holds. It is now a city with more tourists than locals annually. It is located on the coast in Catalonia, a region of Spain with its own language (Catalan) and culture (and palm trees). As the home of historical creatives, including Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudi, the city is splashed with color and textures beyond your imagination.
Day 3: Dig In
We’ll start our day with a bike tour to orient ourselves with an overview of the city. Since Barcelona has so much to offer, you’ll have to make some decisions for your afternoon. Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, and the Barcelona History Museum are all worthy places to visit. Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia are both architectural works of Antoni Gaudi. The park (pictured above) offers views of the city with mosaic scenery for $11. The Sagrada Familia, the world’s longest, still active, construction site is a funky and detailed cathedral. We will see the exterior from our bike tour, but if you want to see the interior, tickets are $28. The History Museum houses underground Roman ruins for $6. If you are interested in all 3, we should be able to fit them all into the afternoon, if we keep it moving. Or, you may select the ones of interest and spend your free time resting or exploring.
Day 4: Fly to Granada
Due to the accessibility of budget airlines in Europe, a quick flight is our best option for reaching Southern Spain. Granada is located in Andalucía, a unique state of Spain that was ruled the longest by the Moors, the African Muslims that ruled Spain for 800 years. They were expelled from Spain in 1492 but have left their mark in the culture, architecture, and food in that region. We will spend the afternoon with free time to explore and the evening enjoying a flamenco show, a traditional dance from the region.
Day 5: Visit the Alhambra
Spend the afternoon in a guided tour of the Alhambra, a massive Moorish palace and last standing grounds of the Moors in Spain. Known for its beautiful architecture and gardens, the guided tour will give us the context we need to enjoy the views. We’ll end the day exploring the white walled Muslim quarter for shopping, hidden gardens, and scenic views of the city.
Day 6: Fly to Porto, Portugal
The city from which Portugal got its name is the second largest city in Portugal and a reported, must see, on everyone’s travel list. Since we only have 1 night here, we will use our time wisely with a walking tour to orient ourselves and free time to explore.
Day 7: Train to Lisbon, Portugal
Enjoy the scenic route to Portugal’s largest city, Lisbon, by train. Upon arrival we will explore the Carmo Convent and Pink and Green Streets.
Day 8: Day trip to Pena Palace, Sintra,
We’ll take the train to discover Sintra’s beauty and history, its romantic Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, and Quinta de Regaleira, on a full-day trip from Lisbon.
Day 9: Explore Lisbon
Another walking tour will start our day before we enjoy a ride on a scenic tram, eat egg tarts, and explore the city’s ancient, hilly streets. An optional guided day tour of Lisbon by walking, bike, tram, and boat is available for an additional $45, should you want more structure and explanation.
Day 10: Fly home, from Lisbon
It’s our last day! Breakfast and flights are what is in store for us.
What to Expect of Europe in August: August is peak travel season and we aren’t the only ones looking to experience the classics. You can expect it to be hot and warm and you can expect large crowds. You can also expect smaller serving sizes and family style dining. Spain is famous for its ‘tapas’ dinners made entirely of shared appetizers. They also tend to eat slow meals and late at night, so prepare yourself for that!
Also, you can expect to walk, a lot. As you may have noticed, much of our itinerary involves roaming. It is the best way to see a place that’s dominated by stairs, hills, and cobblestone streets. Plus, you have to work off all the carbs. Not to mention, we will be relying on public transportation. Europe is very walking and training friendly, but that also can make it tiring. You should be physically and emotionally prepared to walk 10,000 steps or more a day.
Note on the flight: You will be responsible to get yourself to Barcelona, Spain by July 19th and from Lisbon, Portugal on July 27th. If you find that it is cheaper to fly back to Barcelona in order to have a round trip route, you are free to do that.
What to expect from me: If you don’t know me well, you can read about me here. If you want to learn more about my travel style, I blogged about my favorite experiences here. By the time of this trip I will have been to 23 countries, the majority of which I have had a significant role in planning. I do enjoy figuring out the details, but I also love the travel itself. Sometimes things don’t go as planned but my favorite part is when they go better than planned. So I keep planning and going because I love the surprises that travel brings. I’m excited for the opportunity to share these surprises with you and want to thank you profusely for even thinking this is an idea worth reading about.
What I expect from you: I expect that you are adults. I am agreeing to coordinate but I’m not agreeing to be a chaperone or a maid. I ask that everyone is considerate and responsible, that you ask for help if you need it, chip in where you can, keep track of your own travel documents, and you don’t wander off without telling someone.
I always say that travel is a gift. It’s an incredible privilege and my hope is that we can all keep this in mind as we go. Gratitude and grace go a long way about half way through a trip when the sun is beating down and you don’t know where the nearest bathroom is and maybe your travel coordinator is scrambling to pull the group together. So, I am asking that you bring your gratitude and your flexibility because we’ll be growing together.
Luggage Policy: If you haven’t traveled much in Europe you are going to be surprised by my next statement, but everyone will be allotted one carry on suitcase and one hand bag/backpack. First, because we are being budget friendly and probably basic economy airfare. Second, because Europe= stairs and you do not want to be lugging a full sized suitcase over the notorious hills of Lisbon. Also, we will be traveling by train and public transportation. You will be very thankful for packing light, even if it means you have to decide what you will wear before you get there. In light of this, I will be booking accommodations with a washer and dryer at some point on our trip in case you need to do any laundry.
$1300 depending on final domestic flight costs, size of the group, and lodging needs. Should this change, you will be given adequate warning.
What Is Included
Trip Planning Fee: itinerary formation and managing tour and within trip transportation bookings
Transportation between cities: Flights from Barcelona to Granada and Granada to Porto. Also, train from Porto to Lisbon.
Accommodations: These are double occupancy accommodations, assuming that you will be willing to share a bed. If you would like to pay extra for your own bed, or your own room, this is available upon request and for a fee. Some locations may be hotels and some may be airbnbs. I prefer airbnbs as they get you into local neighborhoods, but I will be cross-referencing prices and booking hotels if they are better options.
A sim card for phone data and calling within Spain and Portugal. This will keep us from getting too lost in the city and from each other.
Tours: Tickets to the Barcelona bike tour, Alhambra tour, flamenco show, Porto walking tour, Lisbon walking tour, and Sintra day trip.
What Is Not Included:
Your international flights and public transportation. It is impossible for me to guess how much tickets will cost from each of your homes, or to calculate how many subway rides we will be taking, so I am not able to include that in the price. However, I am happy to help you with booking, if you have any questions, and will be helping you purchase public transit tickets upon arrival.
Meals and food: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee shop stops, churros con chocolate, etc are not included in the price. This is to allow you maximum control over your food budget and preferences. The internet recommends budgeting an additional $35-$45 a day to cover this cost, although I would keep in mind the rising price of food. I am not opposed to getting groceries for breakfast some days, or packing lunches, if the group wants to cut some corners.
Extra tours or excursions. Currently the options include:
Park Guell entrance: $11
Barcelona History Museum: $6
Sagrada Familia entrance: $28
Lisbon walking, biking, traming, and boating guided tour: $45
You will have the opportunity to sign up for desired tours when you book the trip. If you opt out of the tours, you are welcome to use your free time as you wish.
Travel insurance (including health insurance). Given the events of 2020, I do recommend travel insurance. I have found World Nomad’s Travel Insurance to be reasonable in the past, although I haven’t needed to file any claims yet.
You can sign up by following this link SIGN UP and completing the trip application.
The Payment Plan
If you have read all the way to the bottom of this page, I’m assuming you are pretty interested in this trip. Hooray! If you are ‘in’ and ready to make it official here’s the plan:
- Follow the link to Sign up and confirm your spot.
- The sign up is open until March 7th. At this point, I will contact everyone who has signed up with the verdict on if the trip is officially happening. If it is, you will be notified on how to pay a $100 non refundable deposit that will go towards the total cost of your trip. If, for some reason, I need to cancel the trip, I will refund the money to you, no cost.
- On March 18, 2023 the final payment of $1200 + optional tours will be due.
- Pack your bags because…
- July 18th, we will head out on the adventure of a lifetime!
NOTE: Payments are accepted via zelle and venmo. I will share my accounts to receive payment when you sign up. This trip is non refundable and any travel insurances that you wish to purchase will be additional costs to you. Prices are subject to change, with adequate notification to participants.
There! That’s the whole thing! (I think)
If you have any questions, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact on my socials.
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