“A great itinerary, although we didn’t get to experience the incredible Alhambra”
First of all – excellent organisation of the booking by Global Journeys – 5 stars. I have booked with Global Journeys on a number of occasions and have had positive experiences every time. Great service. Will definitely continue to use them in the future.
Unfortunately, although the Highlights of Spain and Portugal itinerary was excellent, I feel that I can only give the tour a score of 3 (maybe 3.5) stars, due to the fact that our group did not get to experience a visit to the Alhambra, which meant that we missed one of the major highlights of the published tour. On the first day of the tour, we were advised that Trafalgar had not been able to secure tickets to the Alhambra. Perhaps this was due to the fact that Trafalgar had chosen to run two parallel groups starting on the same date and following the same itinerary? Our group had 48 people and the other coach probably had about the same number. This was extremely disappointing, as I had booked this tour 11 months prior to the departure date and was looking forward to seeing the palaces, gardens, fountains, courtyards etc of the Alhambra.
Apart from that, the tour was interesting and enjoyable. The Travel Director, Tiago, was friendly and efficient and our coach driver, Amaro, was excellent. There were lots of varied ‘cultural’ experiences, informative visits to historical sites, plenty of ‘foodie’ experiences (loved the authentic pasteis de nata - creamy Portuguese custard tarts), and great scenery, particularly in the Algarve region of Portugal. The Regional Meal in Granada was highly enjoyable, and the Be My Guest lunch at the traditional Lusitano Stud Ranch was delicious. The information about the Lusitano horses was very interesting. The majority of hotels were of a very good standard. The Local Specialists who took the included tours were extremely knowledgeable. Due to the large size of the group (48), it would have been better to halve the group and have two guides for each of these tours.
A good variety of ‘optional experiences’ was available and they were an enjoyable way to extend the variety of experiences available on the tour. I participated in all of the ‘options’ and particularly enjoyed visiting the Alcazar of Seville, the coastal region of the Algarve, Sintra and the world heritage site of Segovia. The ‘options’ that included meals were expensive, while the others were reasonably priced. This is a very comprehensive tour and the pace was quite busy, which was to be expected, given the nature of the itinerary. I would recommend this tour and hope that in the future, other travellers do not have to experience the disappointment of not being able to visit the Alhambra.