As a poor college student, I tried to look for deals everywhere around Europe, trying to get the best bang for my buck, if you will. One thing I took advantage of most Sandeman’s New Europe tours. These walking tours are offered in thirteen locations across Europe and are offered FREE! The cities that offer this awesome deal include:
• Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Berlin, Germany
• Brussels, Belgium
• Dublin, Ireland
• Edinburgh, Scotland
• Hamburg, Germany
• Jerusalem, Israel
• London, England
• Madrid, Spain
• Munich, Germany
• Paris, France
• Prague, Czech Republic
• Tel Aviv, Israel
From what I experienced, most of the tour guides were in their middle twenties and were very passionate about travel and sharing their knowledge with others. The free tours are usually about three hours long and guide you through the hotspots of the city. They really want to show tourists the culture and history firsthand.
For each city, there are two or three times that tours start; usually one in the morning, early afternoon, and sometimes later afternoon. There are various pick up points around the city where there is typically a sign of display. One great thing about these tours it that you do not have to worry about making any kind of reservations–just show up to the meeting spot and wait for your guide! I would suggest getting there about ten minutes early to mingle with other people who are going on the tour, and also to make sure you do not miss the pickup!
The country of Spain is a beautiful place to travel to. With so many sights to see you will need at least ten days to experience Spain and it’s countryside. Tourists are treated like kings all over Spain. The cities of Madrid and Barcelona are the most exciting cities with so much to do. The running of the bulls is one of the most interesting sights to see in the world. Spain’s official currency is the Euro (EUR). One Euro is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at bureaux de change and major hotels, but banks give the best rates. All major credit cards and travelers cheques are widely accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining money.
Sometimes I’m asked what Spanish sites are not to be missed in a visit to Spain, to which I normally respond: the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Cordoba, etc. Funny thing is, some of the Spanish places I have the fondest memories of are not on my “must see list,” things like my visit to the cave home in Guadix, the walled city of Laguardia, the Roman ruins in Merida, and the Palace of Lebrija in Seville.
For an individual who has weak Spanish speaking abilities (and perhaps even for someone fluent in Spanish), entering the Madrid and Barcelona Train Stations can be disorienting–people rushing here and there, Regionales signs, signs for EuroMed, AVI, Cercanias and (non-staffed) information booths all compete for your attention.
For traveling out of the Madrid and Barcelona train stations, I recommend either arriving at the station early or visiting the station the day before your date of travel. By doing a quick walk around, you can locate the manned information booth(s), the Regionales (Regional Trains), Cercanias (local commuter trains), and Largo Recorrido (long distance trains) ticket windows. At this time, pick up train schedules for potential destinations and determine which ticket window sells train tickets to your particular destination. Putting together one’s own travel group is perhaps one of the most overlooked options for bus travel.