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Is a group tour the best solution in this situation?

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Apr 28th, 2014, 02:07 PM
  #1
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Is a group tour the best solution in this situation?

This July, eight of us (ages 17-77) plan to travel for 10 days in Portugal and/or Spain. The group ranges from adventure seekers to sedate seniors and from foodies to vegetarians. We're a multi-generational group who has travelled successfully together before within the US and in Latin America. However, this European adventure seems too challenging to tackle, especially since we'd like to stick to a budget.

I've been researching all sorts of options from River Cruises (too pricey at about $4,000 per person and potentially too low-key for the active set) to looking at apartments and villas in in various cities and cobbling together day tours and guides/drivers.

However, it seems to me that I should just stop fighting it and look into a moderate tour. I don't like the idea of being constantly shifted from one hotel to another and of not being able to absorb atmosphere and just meander. Sigh

What would you do?
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Apr 28th, 2014, 02:12 PM
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However, it seems to me that I should just stop fighting it and look into a moderate tour. I don't like the idea of being constantly shifted from one hotel to another and of not being able to absorb atmosphere and just meander. Sigh
it sounds as if the fighting is the e in your post. ;-)

Well to be honest it sounds impossible to cover everything including in a tour. It will either be to fast for the elders or too slow for the "kids". Looks like a break up of he group at some stage. If so plan your own thing
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Apr 28th, 2014, 02:21 PM
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Why would you have to be constantly shifting hotels? Why not pick two home bases, one in each country, and let people do what they want from there? Just pick places where it's easy to get around and there are lots of varying activities to take part in.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 02:53 PM
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I would not take a tour. Plan a trip to 2 cities, fairly close together, where people can go their own way. The active people can take biking trips (or similar activities), leave early and stay out late. The more sedate in the group can sight see at their leisure, stopping whenever they need to recuperate. If you don't have to drive any place it's easier for the group to split up. Join together in the evening for dinner and everyone can talk about what they did that day. Take trains between cities.

Have you found any tours that cover 2 countries in 10 days? Are 2 of your days travel days or do you have 10 days on the ground?
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Apr 28th, 2014, 03:06 PM
  #5
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True about the fighting. The elders in the group can't plan their own thing. But, maybe if I planned two versions...

Which two cities would you choose St.Cirq?
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Apr 28th, 2014, 03:20 PM
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misha2, I'm hardly an expert on Spain, though I've been a few times, and I've never set foot in Portugal, so I'm far from the best person to advise you. For Spain, though, I think Barcelona would be a good choice: beach, art and architecture, nightlife, good food...much to choose from. There are lots of others here, though, who can give you much better advice.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 04:02 PM
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Why did you chose Spain and Portugal? What were the attractions?

I will assume you want to see Moorish Spain.
If you stay in some place like Seville, which is beautiful and interesting unto itself, you can visit many other worthwhile towns by train.

Then fly to Lisbon. (TAP has a reasonably priced and non-stop flight.) From Lisbon you can visit Cascais and Sintra by train.

Although southern Spain will astonishing hot and Lisbon less so.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 04:15 PM
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I think a two-city trip (fly into Lisbon and out of Madrid or Barcelona) would be easy. 8 is not that huge a group - I once took 13 friends to the UK, one week in London and one week in the countryside. That was more complicated since we had cars the second week. But two cities w/ good public transport wouldn't be difficult at all.

But does your whole group really want the heat of major parts of Spain in July?
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Apr 28th, 2014, 07:04 PM
  #9
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Adrienne, sorry somehow I missed that you had had a similar suggestion to St. Cirq before I replied. There seem to be some Spain and Portugal highlight tours in 10 days. We'll have ten days on the ground.

IMDonehere, I chose Portugal initially because i heard it's more reasonably priced and none of us had been there. Just spoke to the most well-travelled grandparent and realized he had not been to Spain. My husband and I have already been to Barcelona, Sevilla, Marbella, Granada etc, but aI wondered about expanding to Spain for the group's benefit.

JanisJ thanks for the reassurance. Actually, more than half the group can't tolerate the heat. So, I should probably eliminate southern Spain.

Okay, I feel like I can approach this again. Now to decide which two cities/town to focus on.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 07:20 PM
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If you go to Madrid which will also be sweltering, they have world class museums and is an excellent base for day trips such as Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, and Cuenca. Once again the trains and buses are excellent and reliable.

Then fly to Lisobon.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 07:43 PM
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If they can't stand the heat then they shouldn't go to Portugal or Spain. I couldn't stand the heat in central Portugal at the end of September, beginning of October. Go some place where it's cooler such as Scotland, Belgium, or Netherlands.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 07:46 PM
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If some of them can't take heat . . . then you need to go to a different part of Europe - or - travel at a different time of year. Simple as that.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 07:58 PM
  #13
 
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It's obvious that mishap needs some help, but it's also obvious mishap needs to rethink this entire adventure before it turns into a nightmare. 17 to 77 is too great a range unless the family is very tight.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 08:04 PM
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I personally don't think the age range is much of an issue. Especially if they stick to a couple of cities that have something for everyone. The young or adventurous ones can do 'adventurous' things and the old fogies can stick to museums and people watching. Which is simply another reason a group tour isn't viable. few if any would accommodate that range of ages/abilities/interests.

But heat - that could be a deal breaker.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 08:24 PM
  #15
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Oh dear. I took a travel agent's word that the weather was not too hot and should have looked more myself before spending time researching. It does seem like Porto and places like San Sebastian are reasonable in terms of weather--highs in the mid 70's as far as I can tell. Various members of the group have traveled to Belgium, Scotland and the Netherlands. So, combined with what I've been told about price, I was looking at these areas. Wonder if I should start exploring Northern Spain and Southern France. Sorry to have bothered all of you without having done all my research.

Might start reading the Iceland forums in between exploring the Northern Spain, Southern France options.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 08:36 PM
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San Sebastian/Donostia is a favorite summer playground of many Spaniards and rooms go quickly during the summer, especially for someone who seems to need four.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 09:44 PM
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How about Germany, Bavaria in particular and Austria, say 2 cites, 5 nights in each and then say 4 nights in a scenic, country area.
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Apr 29th, 2014, 01:23 AM
  #18
 
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Some apartments/villas in Belle Epoque San Sebastián, the culinary capital of Spain, if not all of Europe. European Capital of Culture 2016:
http://www.booking.com/apartments/ci...sebastian.html
http://www.friendlyrentals.com/en/ap...rrencyCode=EUR
http://sansebastianapartments.net/

About San Sebastián, should be more than enough for everybody to do, see, experience and - not least - eat here:
http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...stian-tourism/
http://www.sansebastianturismo.com/en/
NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/tr...anted=all&_r=0
Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...lin-stars.html

"Is San Sebastián the best place to eat in Europe?":
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandst...rink.shopping2
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Apr 29th, 2014, 04:28 AM
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A vote for Northern Spain, so different to what you expect from your idea of Spain and so rich in culture, tradition and landscapes. And where my homeland, the Basque Country, is!
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Apr 29th, 2014, 05:33 AM
  #20
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Northern Spain sounds wonderful! Wonder if I can do Porto and Northern Spain? Bavaria and Austria sound great also. I would just need to check if the well-travelled grandparents have been there already. I'm really trying to focus on brand new experiences for them since they have a mission to explore new places before they're less mobile. But, if not...

I can see myself getting obsessed with all the San Sebastian links. Thanks kimhe. In fact, I've started exploring (will be late getting to work already) and if we want to go there, I need to work fast!

Gosh, I really should have started this last year. So much to learn, so much to explore. Once the main details are down -- where and how -- the fun part should start. But, right now I'm just stressed. So grateful for all the help on this forum.
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