Andalucia, Madrid and Barcelona - Frequently Asked Questions
Spain is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Like most European countries, Spain has daylight savings time. The clocks are moved ahead an hour in late spring and an hour back in the fall, corresponding roughly to daylight savings time in the United States. Daylight savings time is in effect from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in September. When it's noon in Spain, it's 6am in New York and 3am in San Francisco.
NEW YORK CITY
There are so many beautiful things to bring back with you from Spain, so make sure you have space left in your suitcase. Very few places have formal dress codes in Spain. Some people do dress up if they are visiting high-end restaurants and bars, but this is optional. Some churches may require that you cover your bare shoulders and legs when entering, so it's useful to carry a light scarf with you. Since we'll be traveling by train in Spain, please make sure to pack lightly, as you will need to carry your own luggage onboard the train.
A valid passport is needed for visitors from the US, Canada and Australia. Visas are not required for Americans, Canadians or Australians for visits of less than 3 months. If you are a citizen of another E.U. country, you do not need a passport, only an identity card. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the European Union. Before traveling abroad it's a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport, your driver's license and your credit cards. Leave one copy at home with a trusted person and another in your suitcase.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE INFORMATION
This tour starts in Malaga (airport code AGP) and ends in Barcelona (airport code BCN).
The tour starts at 6:00PM on Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Malaga, and your flight should arrive no later than 4:00PM, so you'll probably depart North America on Friday, March 29, 2024. We will arrange for your private airport transfer on arrival, and you will be met by a chauffeur on your arrival in Malaga. If you are prone to jet lag or travel fatigue, we recommend arriving one day early.
This tour ends after breakfast on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Barcelona, and you can schedule your return flight at any time during the day. We will arrange for individual airport transfers in accordance with your flight's departure time.
If you need assistance with pre- and post-tour arrangements, you can contact the Sights and Soul Travels' wonderful travel agent: Lisa Francois. You can contact Lisa through her travel portal: https://www.labelletravel.com, by email: email@example.com or by phone: 910 660 0960.
To avoid jet lag (common when crossing more than five time zones) drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids and eat light meals. Upon arrival, get exposure to natural sunlight, exercise and readjust your schedule (for meals, sleep and so on) as soon as possible.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT AND ROOMMATES
To avoid paying the single supplement, we offer guaranteed roommate matching, and we will try to match you with a roommate of similar age. Otherwise, there are several single rooms available on this tour, but they tend to fill up quickly. Please keep in mind that all shared rooms are non-smoking.
THE TRAVEL GROUP
The Spain group is limited to a maximum of 16 women + the tour director. The minimum group size is 6 women + the tour director. In addition to the tour director, the travelers will be taken care of by private local guides and a bus driver, who will accompany the group throughout the tour.
Spain does not offer free medical treatment to visitors. Travelers from Canada and the United States must pay for medical services rendered, but you will be reimbursed by your traveler's insurance. There are very few health problems encountered while traveling in Spain. The tap water is generally safe to drink, the milk is pasteurized, and health services are good. Occasionally, the change in diet can cause some minor diarrhea, so you might want to take along some anti-diarrhea medicine. Limit your exposure to the sun, especially during the first few days of your trip and between 11am to 2pm. Use a sunscreen with a high protection factor and apply it liberally. Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage, and carry prescription medications in their original containers, with pharmacy labels, otherwise, they won't make it through airport security. Also bring along copies of your prescriptions in case you lose your pills or run out. Don't forget an extra pair of contact lenses or prescription glasses. Carry the generic name of prescription medicines, in case a local pharmacist is unfamiliar with the brand name.
Tap water is generally safe to drink in Spain. If you are in any doubt, ask ¿El agua es potable? (Is the water drinkable?). Otherwise, bottled water is readily available from grocery stores, convenience stores and vending machines.
In Spain they're called aseos, servicios or lavabos and are labeled caballeros for men and damas or señoras for women. Please keep in mind that some public toilets may require payment, so you should always have some coins in the local currency with you to pay for them.
Though Spain has a relatively low rate of violent crime, petty crime aimed at tourists is on the rise in continental Spain. Travelers can become targets of pickpockets and purse-snatchers, particularly at popular sites, in restaurants, and on public transportation. In general, visitors to Spain should carry limited cash and credit cards and should leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents at the hotel safe. Travelers should also avoid using ATMs in isolated or poorly lit areas.
Spanish men today are hip and politically correct, so unless you’re wearing a micro bikini, it’s unlikely that you’ll be whistled at. As always, it's good to avoid deserted streets at night and dress conservatively, especially in remote towns.
During the Andalucia, Madrid and Barcelona tour in Spain, we will travel by bus, by metro and on foot, as well as by train from Malaga to Madrid, then from Madrid to Barcelona. To be able to enjoy the tour and participate in scheduled activities, you need to be able to walk, at a leisurely pace, up to 5 miles throughout the day. You need to be able to stand unassisted for up to 30 minutes, you need to be able to climb stairs, get in and out of vehicles without assistance and be able to manage your own luggage without assistance. Overall, this trip is not strenuous, although it is busy. You must be prepared for a couple of full days and early starts.
Depending on what you’re after, Spain is a year-round destination. In April, the average maximum temperature for Madrid and Barcelona is 63°F, the average minimum 45°F. Malaga is a bit warmer, with an average maximum of 68°F. In general, you can usually rely on pleasant to hot temperatures just about everywhere from April to early November.
Spain's cities have Internet access available in internet cafes, hotel lobbies and in some public places. Internet access in rural areas may be available, but it varies widely. Cellular phone coverage is generally very good in Spain's cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote or mountainous areas. All hotels where we’ll be staying have WiFi Internet available for their guests.
Voltage in Spain is 220 volts AC and the plug is the typical European plug with two round prongs. Many stores in North America sell the appropriate transformers and adapters - adaptors are sold at most hardware stores (ferreteria) in Spain, but converters are hard to come by. Better purchase one before flying off to Spain. If you bring a hair dryer, it should be a dual-voltage one, and you'll need an adapter plug. Any heat generating appliances that you bring need a transformer, and they may still not work properly with the different voltage.
The official language in Spain is Castilian Spanish (or Castellano). Although Spanish is spoken in every province of Spain, local tongues reasserted themselves with the restoration of democracy in 1975: Catalan has returned to Barcelona and Catalunya, even appearing on street signs; this language and its derivatives are also spoken in the Valencia area and in the Balearic Islands. Basque is widely spoken in the Basque region, and Galego, which sounds and looks very much like Portuguese, has enjoyed a renaissance in Galicia. English is spoken in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
Some people like to bring local currency with them when traveling to a foreign country, but it is not needed, and depends on what you're comfortable with. We believe that the easiest way to get local currency is on arrival at the airport ATM. ATMs are common throughout Spain. You'll find them inside and outside all banks, in major shopping centers, in supermarkets and gas stations. The Euro, the new single European currency, is the official currency of Spain. Each Euro is divided into 100 Eurocents.
All restaurant gratuities for group meals as well as gratuities for drivers and guides are included in the cost of this tour. Housekeepers should be tipped 1€ per day, more if you're generous. For cabdrivers, add about 10% to the fare as shown on the meter. Service is included in restaurant bills, but it is custom to tip extra - generous diners tip as much as 10% if the service is good. At the conclusion of the tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director a gratuity. We recommend $15 per person per day if you feel that her services enhanced your experience of visiting Spain.
Fun souvenirs to bring back from Spain include: fans, Manila silk shawls, guitars, capes, hats, embroidery and ceramics. In Barcelona, the perfect place for buying souvenirs is the famous Las Ramblas. Gaudí's Art Nouveau style and the colors of Barcelona FC are particularly popular, you will see them on cups, bags, T-shirts, hats, scarves, fans and etc.