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Portugal/Spain

Dynamic culture, compelling history, to-die-for cuisine—the Iberian Peninsula really is an embarrassment of riches for every sense and interest. On this adventure, you’ll soak up the Moorish history of Lisbon and Cordoba, be treated to a lively flamenco performance in Seville, explore the astounding red-clay fortress of Alhambra and witness Gaudí’s Barcelona with your own eyes.


Itinerary

June 28 : Lisbon

Arrive at any time.

June 29 : Lisbon

Orientation walk of Lisbon. Wander through the distinct city quarters and the historical area of Belém.

June 30 to July 1: Evora/Lagos

Orientation walk of Evora including a visit to the Church of Bones before continuing to Lagos located on the Algarve coast. Included hike along the Algarve coast, with the option to stop and swim in secluded coves and beaches. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the region.

July 2 to July 3: Seville

Depart Portugal, enter Spain. Orientation walk of Seville and a dramatic evening flamenco performance. Opt to indulge in the local cuisine with a variety of tapas.

July 4 : Cordoba/Granada

Visit to the Cordoba Mezquita (mosque) and the medieval Jewish quarter. Experience the sunset along the banks of the Guadalquivir River.

July 5 : Granada

Orientation walking tour of Granada and guided visit of the architectural masterpiece, Alhambra.

July 6 to July 7: Madrid

Orientation walking tour of Madrid. Evening tapas and wine bar walk. Option to visit the Museo del Prado, a must-see for any art enthusiast.

July 8 to July 9: Valencia

Orientation walk of Valencia's Old Quarter. Opt to visit to the Valencia City of Arts and Sciences or relax at one of the city beaches.

July 10 to July 11: Barcelona

Orientation walk of Barcelona including the Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas, visit Gaudi’s Parc Guell and enjoy an evening of tapas and wine to round out the day. Option to visit the Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi masterpieces, or the Museums of Montjuic and Barceloneta.

July 12 : Barcelona

Depart at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

June 28 : Lisbon

Welcome to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal since its conquest from the Moors in 1147, and a fascinating city with over 2000 years of history.

As your fellow travelers are arriving throughout the day, there are no planned activities, so check into the hotel (check-in time is approx. 3pm) and enjoy the city. In the evening meet your fellow group members at 7pm to go over the details of your trip. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact location of this group meeting. After the meeting, you have the chance to head out for a meal at a local restaurant with the group (optional).

Please make every effort to arrive on time for this important welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please contact the hotel or inform us - contact numbers are provided in these notes. Your Tour Leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.

PLEASE NOTE: All GEEO trips to Europe use public transportation. This means you will need to have luggage you can easily carry with you up and down stairs and walk with comfortably for 10-30 minutes at a time. We recommend that you pack really lightly and do laundry along the way. Sometimes you can have the hotel do the laundry for you, sometimes you bring it to a laundromat and other times the easiest option is washing clothes in your hotel sink. Please take a look at our packing list for recommended backpacks designed for this type of travel.

This trip has a rapid pace and the heat of the summer can make it quite exhausting. Please know in advance, that you will see a lot, but this isn't a relaxing vacation.

The orientation walking tours on this trip are often on cobble stone roads at steep grades and can last several hours in the heat of the summer. Feel free to opt out of these walking tours if you wish to as they can be physically very taxing.

June 29 : Lisbon

This morning you will enjoy an orientation walk of central Lisbon with your tour leader. Afterwards, you will have time to explore at your leisure. The Alfama is one of the oldest quarters in Lisbon, it largely survived the great earthquake of 1755, so it is well worth a visit as the area still retains much of its original layout. Along the narrow medieval streets lined with typical tile-covered façades, you can listen out for Portugal's traditional music, fado, being played and sung at night.

Adjacent to the Alfama are the Castelo and Mouraria quarters, found on the western and northern slopes of the hill where Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George's Castle) is found. The Graça quarter and the churches of São Vicente de Fora and Santa Engrácia are within walking distance of this area. Laid out in the 16th century, the Bairro Alto (literally "high quarter") is one of the most picturesque quarters in the city. Its architecture, traditional shops, restaurants, bars, and fashionable boutiques give it a unique feel. It is also a good area to experience Lisbon's nightlife.

At the top of the Gloria Funicular are the gardens and belvedere of S. Pedro de Alcantara. Continue past them along Rua D. Pedro V until you come to the Principe Real Gardens, under which there is a water cistern, built in 1864 that can be visited on weekdays. You might choose to take the Santa Justa Elevator up to the ruins of the Carmo Convent, destroyed in the 1755 earthquake and the only remaining example of early gothic architecture in Lisbon.

Belem is linked to Portugal’s Golden Age of Discoveries as the site where the famous navigators set sail to discover the world. This western suburb has some sights worth checking out such as the Estrela Prazeres, Estrela Gardens, Estrela Basilica, Mouraria Castelo, and the Church of Senhora da Sade, with its beautiful tiles and carved wood altar.

If you have already been in Lisbon for a couple of days, you may wish to make a half day trip out the beautiful hilltop town of Sintra.

June 30 to July 1: Evora/Lagos

This morning we travel by public bus to Evora.

Your tour leader will take you on an orientation walk including the ghoulish "Chapel of Bones" which is constructed almost entirely from the bones of thousands of people, and the centrally located ruins of the Temple of Diana. Erected in the 2nd century, it was transformed into a fortress during the Middle Ages and even a slaughterhouse in the 19th century. There will be some free time to explore this lively student city of medieval alleyways and quaint architecture. You might want to make a stop at Evora's magnificent cathedral.

Afterwards we make our way to the Algarve region, and the coastal town of Lagos, our stop for the next two nights. Lagos is an attractive, cobblestoned town with fabulous, accessible beaches. Make sure to visit the daily fish and veggie market and trek to the Ponte da Piedade (in front of the lighthouse) for fantastic views of Lagos bay as the Monchique hills rise up in the distance.

On Day 4 enjoy an included hike along the famous golden cliffs and sandy coves of the Algarve. The coastal walk is about 7km long.

Estimated Travel Time: Lisbon to Evora by public bus or train, 2 hours
Estimated Travel Time: Evora to Lagos by public bus or train, 5 hours

July 2 to July 3: Seville

This morning we will head south by public bus to Seville, one of the most colorful and exciting cities in Spain. We spend our time here exploring Muslim monuments, parks and gardens at our leisure, getting a feeling of Seville's energetic pulse while savoring some tapas at the city's many bars and cafés. This evening we will head out to an evening flamenco performance.

After your tour leader has taken you on a short orientation walk to get your bearings, you will have time to take in all this great city has to offer. Be sure to explore the wonderful interiors and gardens of the Alcázar, a magnificent palace dating from Moorish times. During Seville’s warm summer nights (until mid-September) you can enjoy a series of concerts in the beautiful setting of the Reales Alcazares. The true heart of Seville lies in the Santa Cruz quarter a charming area with its winding alleys, picturesque lime-washed houses,flowery patios and small squares.

Seville is home to the world’s largest gothic cathedral. The climb to the adjoining tower, known as La Giralda, is well worth the effort for the great views of the city. The 250 ft Giralda was constructed by the Moors as a mosque between 1184 and 1197; after the reconquest Christians fitted the minaret with its bell tower in 1568.

Other attractions include the Museo Arqueológico, the Casa de Pilates and the Parque de María Luisa, which has a maze of paths, garden beds, pretty little patios, fountains and shaded lawns.

Estimated Travel Time: Lagos to Seville by public bus 6 hours.

July 4 : Cordoba/Granada

This morning we travel from Seville to Granada making a worth-while stop in Cordoba. We will visit Cordoba's most famous monument, its extraordinary mosque. Built in 785 by the Moors, in the 16th century a Christian cathedral was built right in the middle of the mosque. Afterwards, we will stroll Cordoba's historic medieval Jewish quarter, full of narrow winding lanes and traditional houses.

Cordoba’s gastronomy features a cuisine steeped in Roman, Moorish, Christian and Jewish traditions. Why not head out tonight and sample some dishes such as the thick, hearty stew called "caldereta de cordero" or cool off with "ajo blanco," a hearty white gazpacho soup.

After exploring Cordoba we will continue on our journey to Granada.

Estimated travel time: Seville to Cordoba by public bus 2 hours.
Estimated travel time: Cordoba to Granada by public bus 3 hours.

July 5 : Granada

Today we include a visit to the Alhambra, one of the greatest accomplishments of Islamic art and architecture, and the highlight of the trip for most visitors. During the Muslim rule of Spain, Granada was one of the region’s most regal cities. The greatest Muslim legacy in Europe, the Alhambra, is located in Granada. The Alhambra has captured the imagination of visitors for years, and much has been recorded about the history and purpose of this area. No amount of reading or study can truly prepare you for your first visit—it is simply breathtaking.

The Alhambra is divided into three sections: the Alcazaba, the Palacio Nazaries and Generalife. The Alcazaba is the Alhambra's Muslim 11th century wing, offering spectacular views of the city from the tops of its towers. The Palacio Nazaries is the center of the Alhambra, and is most famous for its detailed works and gardens. The Generalife was the summer palace of the Sultans. We include a full guided visit of the Alhambra to help you make the most of this truly memorable experience.

Granada, however, has so much more to offer than just the Alhambra, magnificent as it is. Take a wander through the whitewashed historic quarter of the Albaicin, with its narrow lanes and fantastic views back to the Alhambra - this is a great place to go for sunset. A trip to Granada wouldn't be the same without a night on the town, the city is filled with trendy tapas bars and has a lively music scene.

July 6 to July 7: Madrid

Madrid has it all — history, architecture, museums, galleries, beautiful parks and a wild nightlife. The capital's most exciting street is the Gran Vía, but be sure to visit the Plaza Mayor –the true heart of Madrid. Enjoy a coffee in one of the plaza’s many cafes and watch the world go by.

A trip to the Museo del Prado, one of the greatest art galleries in the world, is a definite highlight. The main emphasis of the museum is 15th to 19th century Spanish, Flemish and Italian art. There is plenty of Goya and you'll find a wealth of paintings by Diego Velázquez. For a more modern take and one of the best art history lessons you'll ever get, check out the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, a private assembly of paintings from Titian to Picasso.

The beautiful Real Jardin Botánico, near the Prado, is a good spot to recover from an art overdose. To see what style the kings and queens lived in, visit the Palacio Real, where you'll get a chance to see some of the most elaborately decorated and furnished rooms. The epicenter of Madrid's nightlife is Plaza del Dos de Mayo, in the area known as Malasaña – head here after hours to have a taste of Sangria and dance to the latest music!

The Escorial, a magnificent palace and mausoleum constructed by Felipe II is also a major tourist attraction within the capital area. The building’s magnificent style is a worthy monument to the power and wealth that was Spain during the 16th century. The Escorial also became a great center for learning and has an outstanding library.

Estimated travel time: Granada to Madrid by public bus 6 hours.

July 8 to July 9: Valencia

A long travel day today as we head to the shores of the Mediterranean and the vibrant city of Valencia. Spain's third-largest city, historical yet cosmopolitan, Valencia is the home of paella, the Holy Grail, the birthplace of the inimitable architecture of Santiago Calatrava and one of Europe’s newest and most impressive science museums. Valencia is a fun and fascinating study in contrasts.

Established in the fertile terrain on the shores of the Mediterranean, close to the mouth of the river Turia, the luminous city of Valencia comes as a pleasant surprise to many. At night people fill the bustling open terraces and street cafés in the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, the cobbled streets of the Carmen district, or the romantic dance clubs with live music on the Malvarrosa beach. Everywhere, world class restaurants, discos, nightclubs and pubs provide the scene for enjoying a night out in Spain's "fiesta" capital.

You'll almost certainly want to try Valencia's famous dish, paella - your tour leader will arrange an optional evening out to a local paella restaurant where you can eat your fill. Don't forget to try a few of the great Valencian wines!

Estimated Travel Time: Madrid to Valencia by public bus 7 hours.

July 10 to July 11: Barcelona

We take a morning bus to Barcelona. Upon arrival your tour leader will take you out for an orientation walk to familiarize you with the city's layout. Spend the rest of today and Day 14 at your leisure exploring the city’s museums and cathedrals, or feel free enjoy some of the best shopping in Europe. In the evening, we meet again and head out on a tapas and wine bar stroll- a real must do in Barcelona.

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city, but it is the capital when it comes to fashion, architecture, food and music. Known worldwide for its dynamic atmosphere and exciting style, Barcelona never disappoints. There is plenty of history too: visit the old Gothic Quarter with its maze of dark streets, historic cathedral, medieval buildings, bars and cafes. Stroll the Rambla, a large tree-lined pedestrian boulevard perfect for people-watching and window shopping, ending at the harbourfront facing the Mediterranean Sea.

Make sure to view Gaudi’s most famous life work, the cathedral La Sagrada Familia, an inspiring yet bizarre testament to the artist’s unique vision. Should you need some quiet time away from it all, a visit to the city’s imaginative Parque Guell will cure all ills, as you stroll the tree-lined paths and admire more of Gaudi’s creative genius at play.

Find time to tour the beautiful Palau Musica, built between 1905 and 1908 as a home for Catalan music, it is full of light and of color. For nightlife, the highest concentration of beautiful young locals dancing, both in the bars and on the street, can be found near the intersection of Santaló and Mariano Cubi streets. Here you can always find good music, good drinks and lots of fun. Another good nightlife spot for meeting the fashionable locals of Barcelona is on the Plaza Francesc Maciá.

Estimated Travel Time: Valencia to Barcelona by public bus 4 hours.

July 12 : Barcelona

Depart at any time.

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our Morocco or Italy's Amalfi Coast programs which end just before this program starts.

Another option is combining this program with our Turkey program. This program starts soon after this program ends.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

Stuff You Need to Know

Introduction

All GEEO trips to Europe use public transportation. This means you will need to have luggage you can easily carry with you up and down stairs and walk with comfortably for 10-30 minutes at a time. We recommend that you pack really lightly and do laundry along the way. Sometimes you can have the hotel do the laundry for you, sometimes you bring it to a laundromat and other times the easiest option is washing clothes in your hotel sink. Please take a look at our packing list for recommended backpacks designed for this type of travel.

This trip has a rapid pace and the heat of the summer can make it quite exhausting. Please know in advance, that you will see a lot, but this isn't a relaxing vacation.

The orientation walking tours on this trip are often on cobble stone roads at steep grades and can last several hours in the heat of the summer. Feel free to opt out of these walking tours if you wish to as they can be physically very taxing.

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They 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. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places. Your tour leader will be able to help you find a local guided tour in each location if you would like one.

Packing List

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a large multi-day backpack, plus a small daypack, like a messenger bag or purse, or better yet, something like this. There are lots of different backpacks out there, but in general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 50 to 80 cubic liters. For an example click here. (Please email jesse@geeo.org if that link does not work)

You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down several flights of stairs. Luggage space on public transport is limited so again, smaller is better.

Suggested Checklist

•Insect repellent
•Small Flashlight
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•USD cash (small denominations preferred, see personal spending money and FAQ)
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket or umbrella
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for hot weather (We recommend packing 8 or 9 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once. You may want to do a sink laundry so quick dry materials are great.)
•Comfortable walking shoes (You will be walking a lot)
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (Your hotels will have soap and shampoo. Don't go overboard with make-up)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Camera
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Dramamine
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Light fleece top (Just for the flight. You won't need it once you arrive.)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Flip-flops/Sandals
•Ear Plugs (These are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Ziplock bags for wet clothing
•Washcloth (Most hotels don’t have them and some people like having a washcloth)
•Reading/writing material
•Binoculars
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Phrase books

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas, additional passport photos or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than others. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

Portugal and Spain are in the Eurozone and the unit of the currency is the Euro.

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euros, traveller’s cheques and cards is best. Avoid relying on traveller's cheques alone as these are less and less readily cashed as clients use them very little.

Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Lisbon

Castello Sao Jorge - €5
Elevator Santa Justa - €5
Scenic tram 28 - 24 hour tram ticket €5
Belem - Entry to Jeronimo Monastery €8 / Entry to Belem tower €5
Sintra - €12 transport + €8 Palace entrance
Various museums - Modern Art / Carriages / Ancient Art / Design / Tile from - €3-€15

Evora

Roman Temple - Free
Cathedral Cloister and Tower - €5
Evora Museum - €4

Faro

Boat to Island €10
Guided trip of Nature Reserve €25
Beach chair and Umbrella Rental €10

Seville

Real Alcázar - €8
Cathedral and Giralda - €8
Climb the "Setas" - €2
Bull Ring and Bull Fighting Museum - €7
Casa Pilatos - €6
Arab Baths (Hammam) - €28

Granada

Cathedral - €4
Royal Chapel - €3.50

Madrid

Prado Museum - €8
Hop on hop off bus - €20
Reina Sofia Museum - €6 (Closed Tuesdays)
Botanical Garden and Retiro Park - Free
Thyssen Museum - €8
Palacio Real - €10
Day Tour to Avila & Segovian - €75
Day tour of Toledo - €50
Day tour El Escorial - €43
Sight-seeing tour & Bull Fight (season depending) - €40-€60

Valencia

Combined Entry (Hemisferic, Oceanografic (Aquarium), Science Museum) - €35 (separate entries also available)
Fine Arts Museum – free
Sun Bed and Umbrella Rental on beach €10

Barcelona

Hop on/off Tourist Bus - €24
Sagrada Familia - €16(additional €1 - €10 for guided tour)
Picasso Museum - €11
Other Gaudi Houses - €8 - €15
Palau Musica- €12
Barcelona Football Club - €8.50 (museum only), 13 Euros(museum & tour)
Various other museums €5 - €13

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Very few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$2,389 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$120-$350 USD, See optional activities tab to get a better idea of your budget.

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1000-$1700 USD, See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$35- $200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $60 USD for your G Adventures tour leader.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow €315-415 for meals not included. (About $400-$500 USD)

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

Make sure you budget for these types of expenses. For drinks, it is necessary to buy water each day to stay hydrated during walking tours, etc. Depending on where the water is purchased, this can become a noticeable expense. The water is drinkable from the taps so that is a good way to save money.

Airport and Departure Taxes

Normally this included in the cost of your flight

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals. In fact, in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places.

• We try to set up either a school visit or a meeting with local teachers. Sometimes this is not possible due to time constraints, summer vacations, etc. Please understand this is not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of trip departure. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

Americans do not need a visa for travel in Portugal and Spain. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender.

What is group travel like?

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 travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers 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.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 800 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each Participant in our programs is permitted to bring one friend or family members who is not a teacher. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

You do not need any vaccinations to travel on this program.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi or use public transportation.

The taxi is about a 20 minute ride and costs between 20-30 Euro depending on when you arrive and how much luggage you have.

If you use public transportation you will probably end up taking the Aerobus, which goes from the airport into the center of Lisbon. It runs everyday from 7:45am to 8:15pm every 20 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on board for about 2 Euros.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel (Typically we use the Residencial Florescente), our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

What are the hotels like?

It is important to note that accommodation in Europe tend to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and rooms are generally old and may not have been renovated or maintained to the highest standard. Downtown hotels in Europe were not built to be hotels but rich owners houses, which have been changed into hotels. Therefore unusual room sizes are common as large rooms have been partitioned in the past, resulting in rather "thin" walls. Reception areas, rooms and bathrooms tend to be very small as they were often added into an existing room, and may have a hand nozzle rather than a conventional shower head.

On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations.

Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service. As accommodation is in short supply, especially during the summer months, hotels can charge a premium and there is sometimes little motivation to improve facilities

Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?

You may want to stay longer in Lisbon at the start of the trip or Barcelona at the end, so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later. We are not able to book extra hotel nights on this program so you will need to book them on your own. Just give us a call and we can tell you what hotels we are scheduled to use.

What type of transportation do we use on this trip?

Intercity transport on this trip will be by local bus and train. The bus and train systems in Spain and Portugal are generally very good, most offer seat reservations, some buses have toilet facilites and others don't, but drivers often stop en route for service station breaks. Between transport and hotels you may be required to carry your luggage short distances (up to 20mins walk), in larger cities you may travel by metro or city bus, and occasionally the group will take taxis to and from hotels.

In Europe it is very rare to find elevators in train stations, hotels or other public places. We use public transport on this trip, which means you will need to carry your luggage from platform to platform, in and out of trains and buses etc. and also possibly up several flights of stairs. You will also need to be able to stow your luggage safely on trains and buses. It is therefore essential that you pack light and bring luggage which is compact and lightweight, and which you can easily transport. The carrying of your luggage remains your responsibility at all times.

Do you recommend spending any extra days?

Answer from GEEO Executive Director:

"This itinerary does include enough time for you to get a feel for both Lisbon and Barcelona, but if it you have the time it would be worth spending an extra day or two in both cities.

Seeing the main sites in Lisbon will take a at least a day and a half. If you have the time I am sure you will enjoy a day trip up to Sintra which has some amazing castles and hiking. You can reach Sintra easily by train.

Our itinerary has about a day and a half scheduled for Barcelona. You can rush and see many of the sites in that time, but it is worthwhile to take your time and soak up the atmosphere. For a side-trip, I really enjoyed visiting Girona, which is a short day trip away from Barcelona."

If I wanted to extend my stay in the region, is there any other tour you would recommend?

Want more adventure? GEEO will give you a discount for booking more than one program in the same summer! Book two or more GEEO programs and receive 10% off on the lesser value program (up to 3 programs). For more details please click here.

This program can be combined with our Morocco or Italy's Amalfi Coast programs which end just before this program starts.

Another option is combining this program with our Turkey program. This program starts soon after this program ends.

If there is a part of the world that you would like to see that we aren't offering this summer, let us know. We may be able to help you arrange such a trip or we will consider offering it as GEEO program next summer.

When should I purchase my flights?

This trip is confirmed to run so feel free to purchase your flights.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Your trip begins in Lisbon and ends in Barcelona. Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Lisbon by. You can arrive at anytime of the day you choose, however we strongly urge you to arrive by 7PM on Day 1 for our group meeting. You can depart from Barcelona anytime on the final day of the trip.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $35 card (The individual plus option) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits.

To sign up for the card you can follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html.

We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option.

Another option is www.insuremytrip.com. They offer different options from many different companies. You can also get your insurance directly through G Adventures if you wish.

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is the water safe to drink?

Yes, the water is safe to drink.

What is the weather like?

Portugal and Spain are hot and dry in the summer, with temperatures typically in the 80's F.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

There are Internet cafes in all of the places we visit and most of the hotels also have computers that can be used as well as free wifi. Expect to be able to check your email almost every day. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/netbook/tablet computer if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of you valued items.

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

Shoulders should be covered while visiting churches and cathedrals. Ask your Tour Leader for more specific advice.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Spain and Portugal use a European-style two circular prong plug. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $300-500 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.

I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."

Do you have advice on tipping?

It is customary in Europe to leave a small tip for service providers, such as waiters, if you are pleased with the service (€1-2 for snacks or 10% of a meal bill). Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €20-25 per person, per week can be used.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

The schools are closed during the summer so instead we try to set up a meeting with local teachers.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Quotes from past participants:

"The walking tours of 3/4 of the cites involved walking on uneven cobblestone streets and at a very steep grade. That, coupled with the intense heat, could be troublesome for some people. The 'Need to Know' page says light walking--our city orientation walking tours ran from 2-5 hours, depending on the city. With the hills and heat, I would consider that more than 'light'."

"I know that the FAQ says that participants should be able to manage their own luggage, but maybe that statement just needs to have some more examples with it--such as, some hotels do not have elevators and you may be required to carry your luggage up several flights of stairs. I was prepared for that, but other people had supersize suitcases that were so full and heavy that they had to have help in carrying it."

"It's warm! No need to bring any gear to keep cool. Also, no need to bring any 'dress up' clothes (I did bring one set which I never wore)."

"Sometimes the walk between our bus and the hotel would be tedious with all our luggage. I would ask your tour leader how long the walk will be and if it more than ten minutes you may just want to pay a bit extra to take a taxi if you have a lot of luggage. That said, you will enjoy this trip a lot more if you pack light and follow GEEO's packing list."

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling.

Always keep an eye on your belongings especially in major cities, bus and train terminals.

Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

G Adventures UK office
+44 (0) 2072439878

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, from calls within North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from within UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from within Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from within Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from within New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

For absolute emergencies after office hours please contact +44 7817 262559
If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

What happens if GEEO doesn't reach the minimum number of participants needed for this trip?

Typically we reach the minimum number for our groups in the month of April. If we do not have the minimum number of participants needed we will re-price the trip for the amount of people signed up, adding on a surcharge. It will be up to each individual whether they still wish to travel with the group at the new rate. If they choose to withdraw from the program at that time they will be issued a full refund. If need be we will cancel a trip and issue the entire group a full refund. It is important that you do not book your flights before a group is confirmed! It is pretty rare for us to have to cancel trips.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. 2013 was the first time we offered this program. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip, have been running trips all over the world for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. Please note that they are only offered to teachers in a limited number of pre-selected school districts around the country.


Want more adventure? Save money by also booking our Italy's Amalfi Coast or Turkey programs through our Multi-Trip Discount.

2389.00 USD

*Based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included

Availability: +7

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

What's Included

  • Lisbon orientation walk. Evora orientation walk. Church of Bones visit. Algarve Coast hike. Seville orientation walk. Flamenco performance. Cordoba Mezquita (mosque) and Jewish Quarter visits. Granada orientation walk. Alhambra guided visit. Madrid orientation walk. Valencia's Old Quarter orientation walk. Barcelona orientation walk including Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas. Parc Güell visit.

  • G Adventures Tour Leader throughout, local guides as well

  • No meals included. (Allow EUR315-415 for meals not included.)

  • Local bus, train, walking

  • Hotels (14 nts)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions