Booking a Tour to Spain

Aug 23rd, 2002, 02:47 AM
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Booking a Tour to Spain

Although I like to plan my own vacations, I've pretty much decided that my next major trip will be a tour to Spain - Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao. Time restrictions, language issues, and crime reports on this board were major factors for me.

Tauck, Globus and Cosmos seem to get the best reviews, but Tauck seems to book up every minute, and I'd like more time on my own. So I'll likely go with one of the others.

My question, finally, is this. How do you book a tour? On the web directly? (I can't locate a Globus/Cosmos website) Through a discount company like (They discount. They pop up first on search engines - Anyone used them?) Local travel agent? (I don't have because, to date, I've done everything on my own)

Thanks for any insight you might provide.
Aug 23rd, 2002, 04:38 AM
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I also like to plan my own vacations, and did so twice in Spain, including renting cars, without incident. So I cannot offer you any advice on tour companies so sorry about that. However I have some experience doing Spain independently.

Madrid, Bilbao, and Barcelona are quite far apart from each other, and you also indicate time restrictions. Since you probably don't have a full day to kill getting from one to the other you will almost assuredly be flying between the cities, and if your time is limited you may have have to choose two out of three. Not a problem but this should factor in your planning. For Madrid and Barcelona, several days each would be needed. I've never been to Bilbao.

I am hardly a fluent speaker of Spanish but was able to get around and get by with what I did know. I could count, I could follow road signs, etc. So I didn't find the language to be that much of a barrier. Regarding crime, even if you are on a tour you'll still be walking around in places like Madrid or Barcelona and would have the same need to be aware of your surroundings and to take reasonable precautions as you would traveling independently. I never left anything valuable in a car, which has been suggested often on this forum.

Since you didn't indicate a timeline I can't go further, but hopefully this is a start.
Aug 23rd, 2002, 06:53 AM
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With minimal Spanish language skill, I'd be anxious enough about train and plane schedules. Couldn't imagine driving.

Unfortunately, I've found a ten day trip I would like to take: Madrid for five days, then a train ride to Bilbao for two days, with a visit to the Guggenheim Museum. Since I'm very interested in contemporary architecture, this is of particular interest to me. From Bilbao there's another train ride to Barcelona for the remainder of the stay.

So what's the problem?

The company that offers this tour, Freegate, has not updated its web page since March 2001, they have not sent the brochure I've reqested, seem evasive on the phone, and nobody I know has heard of them.

So I guess it's back to Square One.
Aug 23rd, 2002, 08:11 AM
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Well, if it's a tour you want, the two main Spanish companies are Julia Tours and Pullmantur. Neither has a website that's very useful, but a travel agent should have information. Julia tours has an office in Miami that you could contact. I believe that both offer a greater number of tours in Spain than the international companies, which, given the geography you want to cover, may prove useful. Good luck.
Aug 23rd, 2002, 12:08 PM
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You may also want to try Petrabax. The are actually a spanish company (english speaking tours) that visit alot of places (Bilbao, San Sebastian, Santiago) that most mainstream tour companies do not.

Aug 23rd, 2002, 04:26 PM
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Globus/Cosmos does have a website:, but I think you need a travel agent to book with them. I've taken several tours with them in years past and the one to Spain and Portugal was one of the best. Happy traveling!
Aug 23rd, 2002, 04:30 PM
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Sorry-their web address is:
Aug 23rd, 2002, 05:11 PM
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M.I. Travel 212) 967-6565] is a reputable travel agency in New York City that represents Julia Tours from Spain. There you want to talk with Jose Alvarez, a Spaniard with 20+ years experience with tours to Spain from the US (my best friend swears by him). Although Julia Tours's specialty is Andalucia, Jose may be able to give you good advice on other available tours.
Aug 23rd, 2002, 05:20 PM
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If you are still thinking on tours, try I found that they have the best tour packages, leaving for you a lot of time for leisure.

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