Walking vacation in Catalonia and France

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Date
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15 Apr 2018
US $ 1705
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03 Jun 2018
US $ 1785
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23 Sep 2018
US $ 1705
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14 Oct 2018
US $ 1705
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14 Apr 2019
US $ 1745
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02 Jun 2019
US $ 1855
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22 Sep 2019
US $ 1745
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13 Oct 2019
US $ 1745
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Walking vacation in Catalonia and France

Accommodation and Meals:
During the trip we are based in two small towns along the Catalan coast. The first 3 nights we stay in the Spanish Catalan town of Port de la Selva at Hotel Cap de Creus. The last 4 remaining nights of the trip we are based at Hotel Madeloc in the French Catalan coastal town of Collioure. The breakfasts served in both hotels are homemade from locally produced and sourced goods. Both hotels employ local staff which helps benefit the local community. Hotel Cap de Creus and Hotel Madeloc are conscious of their environmental impact and do a number of things to minimise their impact by having recycling, energy saving and minimal waste policies throughout the hotels.

Local Craft and Culture:
There will be numerous opportunities on the trip to buy local crafts and experience the Catalan culture on French and Spanish sides of the border. The towns of Port de la Selva and Collioure have many craft shops which sell local products and we will also be able to visit the street market of Argeles sur Mer which is a popular market that sells local produce such as vegetables, fruit and fish that has been caught that very same day. There is a strong emphasis on Catalan culture throughout the trip and this can be experienced in the gastronomy and restaurants visited as well as the leader encouraging clients to visit important cultural sights such in each location we stay such as churches, the centre of old towns and other sights of historical and cultural importance along this Catalan coast.

Activity:
Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes, use small businesses to purchase traditional gifts and crafts and get a real impression of the region. We have the chance to explore several coastal towns and villages where our commerce has a really positive impact.

Water:
Water is a really important issue with active trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. Our guides can advise where to fill them and where to recycle any litter.

Waste:
The leader will also give a briefing on how best to manage waste during throughout the trip. Clients are actively encouraged to dispose of waste in bins and to use recycling facilities where possible. Our local partner and leaders ensure they lead by example and provide clients with an appropriate briefing on how to dispose of waste.

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator to run this trip in a way that aims to reduce impacts and to give as much back as possible to the local communities. Part of this is employing local leaders, who are committed to responsible tourism and helping to preserve the way of life in their area. The leaders will give a briefing on responsible tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from your visit.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked to reduce our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.

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