As a global tour operator, we are committed to operating every one of our trips in a way that respects and benefits local people, their culture and economy, while minimising our impact on the natural environment.
We travel in small groups – on this trip the maximum group size is 12 passengers – which means we can stay in small, locally-owned or family-run hotels and guesthouses as we travel through Spain. Wherever possible we use public transport, and on this journey you will travel from Barcelona to Pamplona and from San Sebastian to Madrid by train. The remaining journeys are made by public bus, and if you choose to take a day trip from San Sebastian to nearby Bilbao we also recommend taking a local bus.
Northern Spain is renowned for its food scene and your tour leader will suggest authentic local restaurants, bars, markets and other eating places where you can sample locally-sourced produce and regional specialities, for example La Boqueria market in Barcelona offers a wealth of fresh produce, there is a tapas crawl in Logrono which means we can support a number of small bars and restaurants, and we visit a wine museum to learn about (and sample) the locally-grown red wine for which Logrono is famed.
There are a number of churches and cathedrals that we can visit on this trip, including the iconic La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona and the Gothic cathedral in Pamplona and we will ask passengers to dress respectfully if they wish to enter, covering their knees and shoulders and avoiding skimpy tops. This is just one of the responsible travel guidelines that we provide to passengers on our website and while travelling with us, to ensure that they respect local customs and cultural differences.
This tour is operated on a carbon neutral basis. We have managed to reduce the emissions to just 97kg of CO2 per passenger, and we offset these by making contributions to a range of internationally accredited renewable energy projects in destinations where we travel. After a three-year process, we were proud to become a carbon neutral company in 2010 and we have an ongoing programme to measure, reduce and offset the carbon emissions from our offices, stores and trips. We also offer passengers who book their flight through us the option to offset those emissions. To date, we have offset more than 45,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
As a tour company, our responsibilities don’t stop when our tours end. In 2002, we established a charitable foundation so that our passengers and staff could support grassroots community projects around the world. To date, it has raised over £2million for over 75 projects involved with health care, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development, and environmental and wildlife protection. We match every donation made by passengers and pay the administration costs, so every penny that is donated goes to a good cause.