Secret Trails of Medieval Spain
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Start in Madrid and end in London! With the hiking & trekking tour Secret Trails of Medieval Spain, you have a 8 day tour package taking you from Madrid to London and through Madrid, Spain and 7 other destinations in Europe. Secret Trails of Medieval Spain is a small group tour that includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
- Rather Poor
- RDReinholdWritten on October 17, 20174.0 - GoodXavi, the trip guide, was a friendly and knowledgeable person, particularly about wildlife and plants. The walks went through some beautiful and historic areas. I expected a moderate (Level 3) experience as described, instead the experience was at Level 1-2. Due to several slower participants, waiting and stopping tine was excessive. Hikes described as 5 hours in the description often ended at 6-1/4 to 6-1/2 hours. The hotel was historic and clean, though somewhat noisy in the front rooms until about 10:30 at night due to the bar and terrace below. The meals, described as excellent, were actually mostly fried chicken, pork, fish, with french fries, sliced meats and cheeses, and basic salads. The soups and desserts, however, were good and food and wine were plentiful. The hotel owner was friendly and helpful.Show detailed ratings
- AnonymousWritten on November 3, 20135.0 - ExcellentA really lovely holiday in a beautiful little known area of Spain. The walks are between 10 and 13 miles a day with ample time take in the " Wild West" scenery, small villages and wildlife. The village of Covarrubias is a great centre for walking with lots of choice of routes, afew small shops and bars, lots of character and a feeling of the real Spain.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The landscape and old villages, a bird list of 40 species, including an azure-winged magpie and countless spotless startlings.What did you think of your group leader?Excellent. A very competent trek leader so one felt happy with his level of skills on the hill.He knows the area well and he was always very personable.Â Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Book it!Is there anything else you would like to add?A very enjoyable break!
- AnonymousWritten on October 14, 20135.0 - ExcellentVery relaxing trip in a wonderfully unspoilt region. Covarrubias is a beautiful Medieval village, full of character and charm.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Highlights of the trip include; the vultures, the visit to Saint Domingo de Silos, the stunning views, the village of Covarrubias and the relaxed informality of the hotel.What did you think of your group leader?Our group leader was very effecient but also relaxed and friendly.Â
- AnonymousWritten on June 18, 20134.0 - GoodWe had a wonderful week, thoroughly enjoyed the walks and visits to the various villages etc. The hotel was very comfortable and the owner could not do enough for youWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The views were magnificent, it is lovely getting to see the un-spoiled countryside.The hotel accommodation is very comfortable but as has been said before there is no sound proofing so if you are a light sleeper you may need earplugs, although having said that the hotel owner is extremely considerate and will turn down the sound on the TV, etc if you have gone to bed before others.What did you think of your group leader?Bob is an excellent guide, he knew the area, fauna and flora very well and had an excellent relationship with the locals.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Even though we were there the last week of May the weather was chilly and did rain, but we also managed to get sunburnt noses on one day so remember to be prepared for every type of weather and eventuality!
- AnonymousWritten on June 8, 20135.0 - ExcellentMost likely I was the youngest traveler ever on that journey, but despite my age of 22 I truly enjoyed the holiday! The whole trip is so much more than "only" a walking holiday. Things like the visit to the monastery where we went to see some Gregorian chants and to the winery for a tasting of locally produced wines added a lot to the whole walking experience. Furthermore I enjoyed the scenic landscape! Thinking back now, the views we had throughout most of the week (and especially during lunch) were absolutely stunning! Walking along gorges, passing small villages, ascending moderate hills- very varied walking all in all. It is also a must to mention the hotel: (way too much) delicious food and very warm hearted owners made it a very pleasent stay! Last but not least, there is one more highlight: the vultures! I have never seen them before in their natural environment. I shall never forget observing those majestic birds!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?It is difficult to pin that trip down on only one inspirational moment. But I think I would choose the silent and peaceful ones that we encountered day and day again whilst walking. During the whole trip we met less than a handful of people!What did you think of your group leader?Bob did an excellent job! Has a lot of local knowledge- but also about history and Spain in general! There is always some interesting information that he tells you and that makes you look differently at things. Everything was very well planned.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Book it!Is there anything else you would like to add?I have nothing more to add, except that it exceeded my expectations!
- AnonymousWritten on October 3, 20124.0 - GoodIt was a very relaxing holiday as the walks were quite leisurely. No huffing and puffing involved. We had plenty of opportunity to chat to each other. The hotel is very cosy and welcoming, the soundproofing, however, almost non-existent. Since we were the only ones staying there, it wasn't a problem as everybody got up and went to bed at more or less the same time. Earplugs still advisable, especially if you go in the last week of September when the local festival goes on for 5 consecutive nights.The food was very substantial and good, even the breakfast which I was particularly grateful for.
- AnonymousWritten on October 1, 20124.0 - GoodThis was a walking holiday where each days walk was very differentWhat was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Although initially the countryside looked very similar when cresting a ridge or exiting woodland the vista never ceased to amaze.Getting close to numerous Griffin vulturesÂ What did you think of your group leader?Bob Mason was excellent, he had a wealth of local knowledge and knew all the local people (eg hotel owner, bodega owner).Due to unseasonal weather Bob (with our consent) changed the itinerary, this did not have any negative impact and may have even enhanced the overall holiday.He also arranged through his local contacts a visit to the local church/museum.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?NoIs there anything else you would like to add?Holiday coincided with loocal fiesta which did affect our sleep in a hotel that had no soundproofing but our leader and the cameraderie of the group still made it a very enjoyable week
- AnonymousWritten on July 2, 20123.0 - AverageAn opportunity to stay in a mediaeval town which feels like 'real' Spain. Covarrubias is a delight and the hotel staff worked hard to make us comfortable. Nearly all meals are included in the cost of the holiday, with a choice of local wine so not many extras to be paid for when you get there. The walking is enjoyable and the extra activities enhance the holiday. What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Seeing the vultures fly overhead. Burgos cathedral was beautiful.What did you think of your group leader?Bob was very efficient, able to plan to the minute how long we would be out. His attention to health & safety was at times a little over zealous for a group of walkers who had considerable experience of walking. TheÂ terrain was not difficult but the temperatures were hard to tolerate at times and he could haveÂ demonstrated more empathy for those used to the English climate. His knowledge of the flowers and the local area was good. He spoke to the Spanish staff and owners on our behalf and arranged the menu choices. He organised many extra activities on the day off (to Burgos and a tour of the town) and in the evenings (to vespers at Silos and a local wine producer) and accompanied us at all times. This may not suit travellers who like a little more independence.Â Do you have any advice for potential travellers?The walking is mostly on tracks and roads so can be hard on the feet and the week we went it was very hot.Â Bob was reluctant to alter the route or timings to avoid the worst of the heat so take a hat andÂ be prepared toÂ carry lots of water!Â Is there anything else you would like to add?This is a good opportunity to practise your Spanish! Take a phrase book to help you talk with the very friendly locals!
- AnonymousWritten on July 1, 20125.0 - ExcellentThis is a great trip - beautiful location with a variety of walks taking in some small villages on the way. The mountains are not very steep and the summits are inaccessible so its more of a moderate than a challenging grade. I found it a very relaxing trip with plenty of time in the evening to relax with a cold beer.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The evening visit to Vespers to hear the Benedictine Monks doing their Gregorian Chant.Watching the vultures perched on the edges of the cliffs and gliding overhead.What did you think of your group leader?Bob was very helpful and knowledgable about the area.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?It was very hot so be prepared for that - bring breathable socks or you could end up with a heat rash.
- AnonymousWritten on June 1, 20124.0 - GoodInteresting scenery sprinkled with a few really, truely spectacular vistas. Dry, Mediterranean forests and farmland, a little bit of fauna and tonnes of fantastic flora in all its flowery and scented glory in Spring. The remains of plenty of interesting ancient and modern history was seen and discussed. Authentic villages, both rundown and renovated, without the fake touristy smiles. I'm even considering doing this trip a second time.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?On (I think) the second day we lunched in the shade of a large rock at the top of a ridge and I looked out on the opposite ridge line, with other ridgelines in the distance (I guess that's the "sierra" bit of the region), and I also saw the broad strip of patchworkÂ farmland in the lower part of the valleys, and sawÂ a sheppard with his/her flock. I loved seeing the overall pattern of the natural and human landscape. I saw it several times over the week, and from more spectacular viewing points, but that first time impressed me the most.What did you think of your group leader?Bob knows the area well, has obviously done his research well and has walked every trail and path in the region. He was always able to explain where we were in relation to Covarrubias (home) and other sites we had visit or were yet to visit. He also pointed out opportunities for short cuts home, so it was good to know that there was a lot of flexibility in our route (if say, a massive storm came through). He also has a very good approach to briefing: we were absolutely clear about what was coming up for the day (unlike other wonderful, charming, and more charismatic leaders I've had with Exodus in the past who kept describing the day's landscape as "undulating" regardless of whether that was flat-undulating or mountainous-undulating, hehehe). I think Bob's approach is ideal for people who prefer the security of knowing exactly what's coming up in terms of physical effort or the most minor of expenses. Despite that, he also kept a couple of nifty "surprises" up his sleeve, which were fun too. What Bob lacks in charisma, he more than makes up for in knowledge and anticipation of the group's needs.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Water: The tap water at the hotel is drinkable so don't waste your luggage space with water purifiers. Laundry: I couldn't see any laundry facilities available at all, so several of us did hand washing, but we were asked not to hang stuff on our balconies outside during the day.Paths: While the paths are mostly perfectly OK, there are a few paths on a slope with a bit of loose stone, so walking sticks are a plus if your legs are a bit wobbly. Additionally, on the routes Bob took on my week, there were two very steep, and potentially slipperyÂ bits of path. They needed all my attention for about 10 minutes each. BobÂ did warn us ahead of time that they were coming up, so it was possible to avoid them (and on one occasion, one person did take the shortcut home). Nonetheless, 99% of the walking was quite easy to moderate and at no point were we ever rushed. The pace was quite leisurely with plenty of breaks, which meant that the group pretty much stayed fairly close together; never more than a few hundred metres between first and last person. Nonetheless, that distance also provided enough space to get a bit of privacy in discussions too, if it was wanted.Is there anything else you would like to add?If you can possibly swing it, I'd strongly recommend going in May: the flowers and scented herbage are at exactly the right growth stage, the weather is warm enough but also cool enough for exertionJust for the record, on my trip, everyone in the group was really lovely and some were quite funny, and most were very interesting. I'm over 45 and was one of the youngest in the group. No one was a fuddy duddy (not at all!) but I guess that the nature of the trip attracts people like us. I suspect that a very modern-type of person in the 18-30 age group might find a group like mine a little boring, socially. I think the social side of these walking holidays is easily 50% of the fun (otherwise you'd do a self-guided trip, right?) so that might be a factor to take into account in selecting the trip.
ItineraryDownload PDF Brochure
- Day 1: Start Covarrubias.
- Day 2: Circular walk in the Valles de Ura, home to numerous species of local flora and fauna.
- Day 3: Full-day circular walk: ascend the Sierra de las Mamblas and circle the distinctive Muela mountain.
- Day 4: Beautiful walk from Rio Arlanza to Santo Domingo de Silos; visit the beautiful Benedictine monastery.
- Day 5: Walk through vineyards and beautiful valleys to the 'The Three Villages', three remote and primitive settlements.
- Day 6: Free day to relax or visit cathedral city of Burgos and its many sights.
- Day 7: Walk along the crest of the Sierra de las Mamblas for stunning panoramic views.
- Day 8: End Covarrubias.
AccommodationRated Average by past passengers
GuideRated Good by past passengers
MealsRated Average by past passengers
TransportRated Excellent by past passengers
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Secret Trails of Medieval Spain
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- SaturdaySep 29, 2018from Madrid8 DaysSaturdayOct 6, 2018to LondonOnly 2 seats left$147$1,285-11%USD $1,138
- SaturdayOct 6, 2018from Madrid8 DaysSaturdayOct 13, 2018to LondonOnly 3 seats left$144$1,195-12%USD $1,051
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About the countries
Useful things to know before you go
- Pound sterlingEngland
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Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.
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- Hepatitis B
- Recommended for Spain. Ideally 2 months before travel.
- Madrid is the starting point and London is the endpoint.
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Covering a total distance of approx 1,752 km.
- Madrid (Spain)
- 183 km
- Covarrubias (Spain)
- 6 km
- Puentedura (Spain)
- 6 km
- Covarrubias (Spain)
- 14 km
- Santo Domingo de Silos (Spain)
- 14 km
- Covarrubias (Spain)
- 4 km
- Retuerta (Spain)
- 4 km
- Castroceniza (Spain)
- 7 km
- Covarrubias (Spain)
- 35 km
- Burgos (Spain)
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