Joseph was an excellent guide for this tour. He looked after us very well and really made the trip. It was great for us being first timers in Spain. We met lovely people and really would like to go back to Spain with a bit longer in each city.
This tour has two parts. Don't expect to be in one tour group for the entire duration.
Our tour guide Joseph was excellent! He took care of us from Cordoba, Seville and Granada. Loved all the local tour guides. We covered all the important sites. I just wish we were given more time to explore and take in the beauty of the Alhambra. We just went in then out of the place. Too fast.
I found the tour group too BIG on this leg. Also the air-conditioning system of the bus didn't work for a couple of hours. But they were able to address this concern. They should have checked the bus before leaving for a 7 day tour.
We were then transferred to another tour group/bus for Valencia-Barcelona-Zaragoza-Madrid. Our tour guide Hugo, was the opposite of our first tour guide. He was just ok. : Local tour guide for Valencia and Barcelona were good as well.
Hotels for superior hotels were all good except for the one at Barcelona. They should change the beds. So old and used. Pillows were not fluffy as well.
We didn't proceed to Zaragoza-Madrid as we took the train going to France.
Best way to see Spain.
The tour was well planned,we had a friendly tour guide namely HUGO and enjoyed the whole tour.
Overall it was excellent, guides were great! We had a great time and saw many places and learned a lot about the history here. Only negative was we booked the "superior" hotels and seems the standard were every bit as good or better. Save your money and book the standard rooms.
Our tour was very much enjoyable but once we bought the tour package 'Viator' did not provide any information about it, like time schedule of arrival and departure from different cities, hotels, we needed to know before - they just referred to 'Julia Travels'. Otherwise the tour guides, bus transportation, hotels were good. We would sure consider tours like this through Viator in future.
We enjoyed all the cities we visited. We think it is unnecessary to offer 2 grades of hotel. There was very little difference in the standard, both 4 star. In 2 cities the superior grade was closer to the inner city but each day we wasted time visiting 2 hotels, finding,loading or unloading luggage and waiting for passengers. The guide was non strict enough about times. We changed buses and drivers after 5 days as the 1st driver had done his hours. The secondbus had no wifi and was not a coach. On our way to Granada our guide announced that the local tour operator did NOT have tickets for us to enter Alhambra Palace and that we were doing a night tour of the Generalife Gardens. ALL TRAVELERS were very angry and disappointed. We felt we had been cheated out of visiting the number one tourist place in Spain and had no come back to the local tour operator. I visited their office in Madrid and they felt that Viator had misadvertised the tour!!!! The local guides were very good and our tour guide very friendly. There were some long days of travelling but I guess that was necessary to cover all the cities. At the end of the tour we were staying in an airbnb address so were dropped off at the first hotel, not where we had been picked up the first day , which was what was stated on the itinerary. This resulted in a long walk , asking directions. All that aside, we had a good time and saw many places, enjoyed the countryside, vines and olive trees.
Review of 7 days trip across Spain - First let me cover the negative points: Whole trip is just like riding on a long distance Grey Hound Bus on a multi-day journey only with the exception of getting additional hotel arrangements with free breakfasts and few free selective dinners. In seven days the tour operator does cover 6 cities with brief stop overs and they arrange local tour guides to escort the entire bus tourists in every tourist spot. Evenings they put us in their pre-arranged hotels. Some hotels are above average and some are below average. But all hotels do serve horrible food and sometimes the food can be a real nightmare! If you are a vegetarian forget it, salad is the only choice!! Most terrible thing is almost all restaurants Julia travels took us do serve pork or ham which is typically avoided by Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and even many Christians don't bother taking it since this affects one's collestral level ...perhaps this is something to do with entire Spain culture rather than Julia travels or the particular hotels, so I won't hold it against them.
- Not all the hotels are located in a great area so that we can walk around freely in the neighborhood
- Most of the day you will end up in riding the Bus traveling city to city.....and it could be boring since we get nothing to do otherwise
- The most annoying part is they cover only few tourists attractions in all cities and they will let you roam on your own by giving you some hours of free time to cover other attractions on our own!
- Especially one entire day was wasted by spending 50% in the Bus journey /transfer and then the rest of the day wasted by leaving us alone in Valencia - which was not fair!
- The rip off part is - Julia Travels do provide some optional side tours in the evening for some extra cost such as 30 euros a person for some stupid Flamenco or some gypsy trips...we strongly discourage you from participating in these side trips, since this is a waste of money and you can use that money and time wisely elsewhere!
- Almost all places they stop at some kind of church or basilica or cathedral or mosque. Nothing wrong with that but there plenty of other things to see as well. Most of the time church is the only stop over
- At one spot in Seville they do drop off the tourists and ask them to walk around and explore that part of that city and ask you to walk back yo hotel....that was about 45 minute walk! We pay for the trip and we had to walk on our own to reach hotel!
- I have paid about $870 per person (for 3 of us it costed us about $2700 USD) and yes we had covered lots and lots of miles across the length and depth of Spain, but what exactly we had seen was not that much in 7 days.
Now let me cover positive points as well:
+ Price wise it is very reasonable. If you add bus ticket cost for all the 6 cities and 6 night hotel cost plus few dinners and all breakfasts plus local tour guide fees, it will cost more than a thousand bucks compared to what they charge due to the nature of the package.
+ You don't have to tax your brain what to see and how to get to each place and where to stay, etc. Basically someone is handling all the logistics for you.
+ Imagine getting in and out of planes or trains or private busses and then catching taxis to get to the hotels and arranging our own tourist visits and trips in each and every city. That will not only cost us lots of money also consumes plenty of time and lots of hassles to go with it. We just leave all the issues with one professional company and let them take care of all issues for a very reasonable price. We just need to sit and relax.
+ Some times half the fun is to get there. By traveling by the tour bus from one city to another city across the Spain you get to see the varying landscapes. In addition to seeing each city it is also important to see the country side and the beautiful landscapes. This is the best way to enjoy a country in a traditional way rather than taking a flight and making surgical trips (pre-selective and isolated visits)
+ English language is spoken by the bus guide and also by local guides
+ Friendly staff
- In nutshell is it cheaper? yes! But could we have seen more places? hell yeah!!
- Good for family with kids and for older couples who don't have the luxury to do 'run-around' business and handle all kinds of 'logistical' issues....or for someone who wants to relax and see few places as well along the way. But not recommended for those hardcore-avid travellers with lots of things in mind to achieve in a shorter time.
Over-All I would give 2.5 stars out of 5!
Too much time on bus. Included tours were weak and addtional tours seemed like a rip off. They should have been included. Having two levels of hotel waisted time going from one hotel to the other. Should have only been one.
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