Highlights tour of Central Spain

“Enjoy a week-long overland tour of central Spain as part of a small group with high speed trains and private minibuses allowing you to explore efficiently and in comfort.”


Madrid | Toledo | Segovia | Salamanca | Pedraza | Rueda | Avila |

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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.

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.
“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?”
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: Highlights tour of Central Spain

Accommodation and Meals:
We will spend 7 nights in a mix of well-located 3 and 4 star hotels that are locally owned and staffed, providing employment to many young Spanish people in a country where high unemployment is a real issue. Central Spain is renowned for its delicious cuisine and there will be a strong focus on gastronomy on this trip. Lunches and dinners are mostly taken in local restaurants or cafes, so that clients can enjoy various local authentic delicacies made from local produce and at the same time support numerous local businesses. In central Spain, food is commonly a rustic style of cooking with influences of Jewish, Muslim and Christian cuisines and the guides take pride in sharing their local cuisine with visitors.

Local Craft and Culture:
We will visit the main highlights of this region of Spain with a focus on history, culture and cuisine. Starting off in the lively capital of Madrid the itinerary includes local produce tasting at the San Miguel Market and a tapas tour. We then move onto Toledo, declared a UNESCO world heritage site because of its extensive cultural and monumental heritage. In Toledo, there is the chance to participate in a marzipan cooking class and learn about the traditional recipe of this famous Toledo delicacy. Other cultural sites of interest on the trip that we visit are the Roman aqueduct in Segovia, the vibrant university town of Salamanca. In Salamanca discover the UNESCO World Heritage old town and enjoy a tapas tour. The itinerary also includes a visit beautiful mediaeval village of Pedraza and a wine and produce tasting in Rueda. The tour will finish up in El Escorial, known for its magnificent monastery, also a UNESCO world heritage site which we will visit. Throughout the tour we visit local markets that are for local people, not tourists, and the guide will be placing a strong emphasis on the cuisine of the region as this is a foodie tour. There will be ample opportunity to sample and purchase local crafts and produce along the way.

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.

Water is a really important issue during 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 as the water in Spain is safe to drink from the tap. Our guides can advise where to fill them and where to recycle any litter.

This trip is designed to allow a high degree of economic benefit to the local communities; we buy local produce, eat local food and use local services, thus ensuring that as much money as possible is sites and paying entrance fees, we are contributing towards maintaining, restoring and protecting these valuable monuments and facilities. By visiting a large number of cultural and historic sites such as the El Escorial Monastery and Salamanca Cathedral and paying entrance fees, we are contributing towards maintaining, restoring and protecting these valuable monuments, UNESCO World Heritage sights and facilities. By visiting smaller rural towns such as Pedraza, we hope to engage locals with tourists and contribute to sustaining their businesses by visiting local shops and markets throughout the trip.

Group size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people.

UK office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, 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.

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