Spain

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Spain

Postby TOGirl75 » Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:41 pm

Hi there,

I'm a new poster and have been seriously considering one of the GAP trips to Spain. Just wondering if anyone else here has been on the Spain/Portugal Sampler, Spain/Portugal Highlights, Highlights of Spain, or Spain/Morocco. Was it everything you had hoped for and would you recommend it to other travellors?

I'm having a hard time deciding on which one would be the best bang for my buck. The Sampler & Highlights seem a little short considering 2 days are spent going and coming back.
I've read that San Sebastian is a must-see while in Spain but unfortunately the Highlights of Spain trip does not include this.

GAP moderators - which of the Spain trips seem to be the most popular with travellors?

Any further info/advice would be greatly appreciated...thanks!
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Re: Spain

Postby poweredbytofu » Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:16 pm

Hola! I've been to Spain solo and Morocco on a trip. I would suggest trying Spain solo, as it's very easy to navigate, safe, and reasonably cheap. Like the rest of Europe, it's ideal for backpacking and you'll meet lots of people at hostels etc. Rick Steves' Spain guide book has some great itinerary suggestions as does the Frommers.com website. I went to Barcelona and Madrid, and loved both!

Morocco on the other hand would probably be more fun on a GAP trip. I did a 3 week Morocco trip and had an amazing time. By being with other people you get to see a more relaxed side of Morocco, especially as a solo female traveler. Maybe you could do a few weeks in Spain and then hook up with a 1 week Morocco trip at the end. Skyscanner.net finds super cheap flights from Spain/Portugal to Morocco.

Cheers!
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Re: Spain

Postby jimshu » Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:15 pm

We've travelled Spain/Portugal and Morocco 7 years ago on a Cosmos tour and thoroughly enjoyed that.So it's a little different in perspective than a GAP tour .But the Spain Morocco tour looks to give a good coverage of those 2 countries, especially if you have time to do more exploring of Spain on your own beforehand, perhaps.
As for safety, Madrid can be very dangerous.There are 1,000's of illegals getting across the Straights from Africa,and the ones that make it are the most desparate.They head for Madrid, no money, no identity, and tourists are a target to them for money and passports.Lone tourists watch out.1 of our party was mugged inside our hotel foyer.Another lost a stash of cash from her leg pocket when hassled and pickpocketed.Our guide warned us that a favourite tactic for them is to follow and observe you and where you have your money when you make a purchase or ATM withdrawal.Then to come up behind you with a wire around your neck,and into your pockets while you're on the ground gasping for air.
I tell you this because it happens.So solo travellers, be aware.Buddy up.Carry a few $s in your pocket enough for the day's purchases which will show them you're not worth the effort.
So yes I fully reccommend a tour for the solo traveller in Spain.
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Re: Spain

Postby Zuleika » Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:15 am

Good heavens Jimshu - you make it sound really dangerous!

I go to Spain every year for hiking trips and to practise my burgeoning spanish and its perfectly safe - I have never come across or heard of, any of these problems but granted I have never been to Madrid - but please dont be put off as its a wonderful country with lovely people, food and wine!!
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Re: Spain

Postby jimshu » Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:56 am

Yep watch out in Madrid.But the rest of the country as safe as anywhere else.Problem seems to be because the illegals gravitate to Madrid,en route to Britain.And no money,no legal identity so crime is their only means of survival.
But the country is wonderful, culture fantastic, and history is complex.Makes up for every thing else.
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Re: Spain

Postby Mafioso » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:24 pm

I took the Spain and Portugal Highlights tour a couple of years ago. Although I never felt threatened, I wouldn't recommend traveling alone specially if you're a female. The bigger Spanish and Portuguese cities have the usual big city problems and I think you'll just increase your chances for trouble by traveling alone.

I noticed a lot of pick-pockets around. Two were stalking our travel group for an opportunity but we shooed them away.

And by the way, I highly recommend the Spain & Portugal Highlights tour.
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Re: Spain

Postby lotuswaterlily » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:04 pm

OMG!

I'll be in Madrid by myself for 2 whole days before the start of the Gap tour... any tips for a single girl aside from not going out ? ;)
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Re: Spain

Postby DanielBMe » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:15 am

I did the Highlights of Spain 5yrs ago with GAP, although it was called something else at the time. It was a fantastic trip! I absolutely loved it! The food, country, people...okay the girls, were wonderful. I highly recommend the trip. I would love to redo the same trip because at the time I didn't have a dslr but a crappy point and shoot camera. Lots of wonderfull photo opps.

I found Madrid very safe. The downtown core where the hotel is, it was very busy and full of people. You certainly won't have any problems finding things to do. Just google Madrid and you'll find a list of must sees. You could check Lonely Planet website and see what's hot in Madrid.
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Re: Spain

Postby chan2000 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:07 pm

What part of spain has the nicest beaches? i am looking to go away to spain this year
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Re: Spain

Postby georginal » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:08 pm

I've done Spain solo, which is easily done on public transport. If you want to do it yourself, look at http://www.raileurope.com (or co.uk) to get an idea of prices. Train fares in Spain can work out quite expensive but they are cheaper in Portugal and Morocco. As for the pickpocketing thing, its perhaps something just to be aware about, don't let it scare you and definately don't go around looking like a scared rabbit. I think in both Barcelona and Madrid I had all day out and then got back to my accommodation maybe 8 or 9pm in the evening.

I hopped over to Morocco and joined a tour. I took the boat (the crossing was a little choppy to say the least!) from Spain to Tangiers and then took the train down to Casablanca where my Tour started. The only place I didn't feel Ok about was the overnight stop in Tangiers. If you decide to to this then make sure you only use a badged guide. They're easy to see, and don't dream of walking off with someone who hasn't got one.

The ATM's in Morocco aren't that well connected on the system to the banks at home (anywhere). They frequently die on you. so if you decide to do it on your own, then never leave it till last minute to get more cash out. It caught me out and I was glad for a Tour Guide in Morocco because he bailed me out and lent me cash. Euro's are easier to exchange in Morocco than Sterling, Dollars or anything else, so if you hop over from Europe, get enough Euro's to last the first few days.

Morocco is fairly well backpacked and potentially an up and coming area for Independent Backpackers, as it is fairly well served public transport wise and has fairly cheap accommodation. Taxis are reasonable to. Overall although a cheaper part of Europe Spain is more expensive than either Portugal or Morocco.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Spain

Postby lbeckett » Mon May 14, 2012 1:29 pm

chan2000 wrote:What part of spain has the nicest beaches? i am looking to go away to spain this year

Realise this post is a bit old but I'm wasting time instead of revising :D

We went to Cadiz last year, brilliant beach there. Its not got the holiday resorts either so not as busy and tacky as some parts of the country. Its also pretty near Seville/Jerez on the bus and train so opportunity for day trips. Definitely a part of the world worth visiting! 8) If you fancy it there are ferry links from that area to Morocco and Gibralter, can't remember the ins and outs though.

Barcelona is a fairly obvious one for the beaches, if you want the big city thing then you can't go far wrong. Last time I was down that way I went to Girona instead - its not got the beach but its a good place to visit if you have a day or two.

Apart from them I've mainly been up north in Spain, there are some nice beaches up there but weather can be a bit hit and miss.
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Re: Spain

Postby moviegeekjn » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:17 pm

chan2000 wrote:What part of spain has the nicest beaches? i am looking to go away to spain this year


Recently back from running of the bulls trip.... If it's beaches you want, Barcelona and San Sebastian are both great picks.
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