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Margarita was our main tour guide - she was amazing! Full of information and always willing to help. The accommodation for the 4-star version was great. The hotels were in good locations to go out and explore after getting in for the day. Our local guides were all spectacular. The only hiccup came with Felipe and Eduardo during our tour of the Alhambra.
When our guides arrived for our tour of Alhambra, we realized they were given the wrong set of tickets since very few peoples names were on the tickets they had. Since Alhambra asks for identification, we knew this could be a problem. After about 20 minutes, they decided to hand out the tickets and told us that if we were asked for our passports at the gate, to say we didnt have them. This didnt work. We waited for another 40 minutes with no updates, until we realized the guides were handing out new tickets, this time with mostly correct names. Our tour guides then snuck us in the back gate to Alhambra to start the tour. The tour felt very rushed, since we were about an hour behind schedule. As there were no updates, we did not have the opportunity to get food while we were waiting, so we were unable to get food until after 4pm.
Though we did eventually get to see Alhambra, the whole experience felt rushed and uncomfortable, between being given the wrong tickets, being asked to lie to the guards, sneaking in the back, and the guide cursing under his breath every time we passed a checkpoint. At one point, we were left behind in the gardens because we stopped to take pictures. Im not sure where the problems began, whether it was a mistake on the part of Julia Travel or the Alhambra ticketing office, but the guests and guides were the ones left to feel the brunt of the issue.
Jam-packed sight seeing with very good guide English/Spanish with lots of time on bus covering southern Spain countryside. With 2 items needing improvement: 1. Extra tours must be paid in cash functional ATMs not always accessible. An improvement would be to state this fact before trip w/ price for each tour. AND 2. Bus leg room was poor less than a really deeply discounted airline. I am 1.95 meters about 6'3 and legroom was understandably non-existent but nearly everyone on bus complained about very tight spaces for many hours on bus. Thank you
THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE EVER!!! Wish that there were tours like this in EVERY country that we visit. It was so awesome to go into little towns and cities that you have not heard of and learn about them, and the wine that was so cheap but GREAT was an added touch. Some days were long because of the driving but it was overall amazing AND we made friends that we still talk to and have visited since this trip! Hugo was amazing!!
The tour went really well. It was well organized, the bus was comfortable and the hotels good value - we went for the higher priced hotel and feel it was worth it. All of our tour operators were friendly and knowledgeable, particularly the lady who accompanied us on the tour Gracia. The only small issue is that we did not have enough time at some of the venues and I would actually recommend taking the 6-day tour if possible - hopefully this would allow more time at the Alhambra.
Be careful which of the optional tours you select the boat trip in Seville I think it was was a waste of money, and we did not have good seats at the Flamenco dancing, though the dancing itself was very good.
As another reviewer stated, this tour should be renamed, THE GAS STATIONS OF SPAIN
Hotels were decent I had the 4 star package
Get to see a lot of Spain in a short amount of time
You spend 75 of this tour on a coach bus
Lunches are usually at rest stops/service stops/gas stations
The included breakfast/dinners are hotel buffets
There is virtually little to no free time to explore on your own when visiting cities
The local tour guides can be a hit or miss
First off, take the train alternative from Barcelona! I took the coach bus option believing we'd be making stops at 2 towns, the first town Lerida, was basically a rest stop that we stopped at while driving through the area of Lerida. Then, we only got 1 hour to see the town of Zaragoza. Due to a Spanish law that mandates that the bus driver must stop every 2 hours basically meant that we spent most of our time on the bus and rest stops for the 1st day as well as the entire tour. It took us about 9 hours to go from Barcelona to Madrid.
This was basically how the rest of the tour played out where we drove and drove, stopped at gas stations or service stops for bathroom breaks and lunches. They only allotted a few hours in each city so there was virtually no free time to explore on your own unless you forgo the local walking tour with the guides. After seeing jewish quarters, mudéjar architecture, moorish styles and their history in each of the cities, you kind of get bored of seeing the same thing. Sure, I do like the history and the style but we don't need to see the same thing in each city, they could have mixed it up a bit and shown things like parks, local food markets, clothing markets, etc.
There were optional tours that were not included in this package, I only opted to go to one which was a flamenco show in Granada which I wouldn't say is a must see but worth it if you have nothing better to do at night. The other optional tours I can not vouch for but from what I heard, they were all pretty meh.
Overall, I wouldn't book anything with Julia Travels again but if you're a lazy traveler and want something that will provide transportation and accommodations where you just follow along, then sure go for it.
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