23 independent reviews for Learn Spanish and walk the Camino de Santiago, Spain

Reviews for Learn Spanish and walk the Camino de Santiago, Spain

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review 21 Oct 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Spanish Lessons and some wonderful walks in the Picos de Europa

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Difficult area to arrive to from the UK. Flights into Santander and Bilbao are good but not frequent. Bus travel very good. Weather in October can be unpredictable. Expect overcast weather but can be wonderful when the sun is out.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes I tried to eat in various places and bought local products. I hope that my travels shown on social media will encourage more to experience this lovely area. I used local transport to get around and I and kept my impact on the area to a min. No rubbish!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Really enjoyed the Spanish lessons as the teachers were very tolerant, patient and fun. The guided walks were excellent with a good variety of scenery, culture and history. The B & B was also excellent as the owners very friendly and accommodating (I had a bad cold)

review 18 Sep 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Learning and practising speaking spanish in the village.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Think about what additional activities you would like to combine with learning. I walked but there were other activities available.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The payment I made supported the salaries of the teachers and also payment for the accommodation and food etc supported local employment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent - Loved the classes and the afternoon walking. Friendly group and we had many nice meals together in the village.

review 11 Sep 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The walk and talk team, the other students as well as the beauty of the area and the food. Our accommodation was great.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

To get to Panes in plenty of time to relax and get your bearings before the classes start.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, it benefitted local people and supported the local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Enjoyable and challenging

review 29 Aug 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The lessons were excellent, clear and very absorbing. The time flew by! The walking was varied and the countryside and mountains are beautiful. Panes is a lovely little town with some good restaurants and bars

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Hire walking poles from the school, don't try to get your own through as hand luggage. Book a taxi direct with a taxi in Panes. The school transfers are very expensive and if shared you can end up waiting around a lot and you find you each pay the full rate!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It probably benefited the town's economy generally. No other environmental or conservation issues.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent

Read the operator's response here:

Hola Sue, Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We think there might be a couple of misunderstandings regarding the poles and the transfers, so we'll clarify them for future students looking at this review. First, the school does not hire walking poles. We have a couple at the school students are welcome to borrow if they need them and can't travel with them. As for our transfers, they are actually a lot cheaper than paying a taxi (either at the airport or Panes). The local taxis give us preferential rates because of the volume of work we generate for them. In the few occasions when students can share a transfer, we always ask them if they are happy to hang on for their fellow student and only if it's a reasonable amount of time between their arrivals. As we explained at the time, no refunds are made on transfers if students decide to share them once they're here for a number of reasons: we have already paid taxes and commissions on them, which cannot be claimed back, and, most importantly, we have a commitment to our students to take them to their destination, so if any last minute changes were needed (such as illness, flight time changes, etc.) we would still have to take them separately. We hope this clarifies things for other students reading this. Don't hesitate to ask any questions, we're always happy to help. Best wishes, Ana.

review 13 Aug 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Beautiful hikes on the Asturias coastline and meeting great people

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

the kit list was a bit over the top for summer time, so only bring what you really think you will need for this time of year

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I would think that the holiday definitely supported the local economy of the area as the language school was very good in terms of recommending local restaurants, bars etc. and obviously through the school's contacts with with third party businesses such as the outdoor activity company. I don't know what their policy was in terms of the environment. though I did notice that the did have a recycle bin at the school! Our hiking guides definitely had a very clear love and appreciation for their native countryside & environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I can't recommend our holiday provider highly enough. On the languages front, the classes were very well pitched to my level, the material was interesting and very diverse and the teachers were very professional as well as being MUY majos! The hikes are great fun and again, they are quite varied in terms of terrain and the stunning scenery of the Picos area. Our very knowledgeable and affable guides really added to the the overall experience. I had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Elena while in Panes. It's a beautiful guesthouse run by the very hospitable & very friendly Antonio & Angeles. Overall, my experience made for a really enjoyable holiday. It gave my Spanish a good boost and has given me wonderful memories - particularly on my birthday when my lovely classmates and teachers made a real fuss of me!

review 25 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Afternoon post lesson walks led by a teacher helping us to converse in Spanish throughout. Also the excellent teaching in a very pleasant atmosphere.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Read the packing list before you travel ( I didn't!)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we were spending money in local shops & restaurants etc. The village looks a little impoverished in places so it probably helps a little.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent.

review 15 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The friendliness of and welcome from the course organisers/teachers and the guided walks in the Picos National Park.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Reasonably stout walking shoes and wet weather gear should be in your luggage.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. The area of the Picos Europa was new to us but we would certainly recommend it a holiday destination and we will be making return visit - hence of some benefit to the local traders.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A thoroughly enjoyable week - particularly if, as in our case, you're travelling in a small group.

review 22 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The scenery in Asturias was absolutely stunning.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent; a lovely place, useful lessons and lovely walks.

review 27 Aug 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Great Spanish classes & lots of good walks & meeting wonderful people in a lovely part of Spain.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book the apartments. Opposite the park & walking/jogging track & 2 mins from the school. My apartment was 3/3. Top floor with large terrace. 1 big double bedroom & another bedroom with 2 beds (could be made a double I think) with its own toilet & vanity basin. Share shower. Good open plan kitchen & sitting area & has washing machine.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Benefited local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great. Suggest a quick reception on the Sunday night to meet other guests before classes start.

review 28 Apr 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole holiday was absolutely spot on. The teaching at the school was excellent. We had one main teacher (although he was not the only one) and he really cued in not only to our level of Spanish (nil in my case) but what we needed and the way we learned best. The walks in the afternoon were absolutely spectacular. Yolander was an excellent guide, good company, and also helped us with our spanish. Every afternoon walk with her was memorable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Dont bother with a head torch!! but otherwise just take everything they suggest on the list and enjoy it. Best if you are used to walking up hills to make the most of your week.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We booked an appartement so used local shops, restaurants, buses and of course the school is local so, yes, our money, apart from the air travel, went directly to the local envronment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A great holiday. We learnt Spanish from good, friendly and helpful teachers, had great walking, saw griffin and Egyptian vultures and ate a lot of local cheese - what not to like? It far exceeded our expectations on all fronts. Would totally recommend this holiday if you want those kind of experiences.

review 20 Apr 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Everything was very enjoyable and I could not single out one thing. The Spanish lessons were very successful and so was the walking. We all very much liked the three teachers at the school.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Panes is a small village but with lots of facilities. All the hotels are very central. I particularly liked Villa Elena but the others in the group also liked their hotels. Be prepared to practise uour Spanish aas no one in the village really speaks English.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The holiday was very much a local affair. The lessons took place in the village, we all stayed in village hotels and took all our meals in local restaurants or bought from the shops. in the village. It was clear that the local people liked the person who ran the Language school and were happy to have visitors there. We explored the local area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I felt that I learned a great deal of Spanish and had plenty of opportunity to practise. I also loved the countryside.

review 18 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole week was fabulous. The friendliness and professionalism of everyone I met was outstanding. ═˝igo,Celina, and Ana. The afternoon walks with Diego and Jesus were wonderful. It is one of the most enjoyable holidays I have had. My utter ineptitude at foreign languages did not phase the tutors at all. I'm not entirely sure why not. They were incredibly patient.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Buy some good phrase books. Lonely Planet do some excellent little ones. Google Translate and Sapnish Dict are very useful apps. Take waterproofs, the weather is very unpredictable. I booked Rural Villa Elena, family run, by a delightful couple, I loved it. Two minutes from the school.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes , I used all the local facilities daily.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent .. I didn't want to leave Panes.

review 14 Nov 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The stunning views and unspoilt peace of the Picos de Europa.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you hire a car, beware of hidden costs such as advice to take out extra insurance and bear in mind you might queue for an hour to collect your car.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It definitely benefitted local people in terms of bringing in income to local businesses and grocers and bars.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was an amazing experience. I went with my 15 year old son in order to practise Spanish for his GCSE exam. We were looked after by a local mountain guide in the mornings who knew the mountains like the back of his hand and took us on some strenuous hiking through beautiful, unspoilt and mostly deserted terrain whilst speaking to us in Spanish. We had 4 hours language tuition in the late afternoon/evenings at the local language school. The teachers were well trained, well equipped and flexible. They adapted to meet our needs and the lessons were really worthwhile. The 4 hours just whizzed by! They also helped us to feel welcome and experience a taste of Spanish village life.

review 5 Aug 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The beautiful views and stunning walks in the mountains and on the coast.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I think that the joining instructions were very comprehensive. I would advise to bring good walking boots and all the other kit recommended, as the terrain and weather are variable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think that the holiday supported local people involved in the language tuition, catering and also outdoor activities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the school. The combination of language learning and outdoor activities was just what I was looking for. I particularly appreciated the kind and careful attention offered by the tutors and the friendly and welcoming atmosphere in Panes. I would say that this holiday completely lived up to expectation.

review 29 Mar 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The entire week was good fun and well organised. I was a complete beginner in Spanish and was surprised at how much ground we managed to cover. The teachers and walking guide were all very friendly and accommodating. It's a really pretty area and we saw a variety of local villages, sites and landscapes on the walks. Panes is small but we had surprisingly little free time to fill and there are enough local bars and restaurants to keep things interesting for a week - all our meals out were excellent! I stayed at the Villa Elena which was charming and the staff were lovely, like everywhere else in the village they spoke virtually zero English but we managed to communicate just fine.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pack lots of layers outside of summer. We were there in late March and although it only rained properly on one day it generally felt colder in the village than the temperature indicated as it was quite damp.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, insofar as we used entirely local services

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good indeed, really happy with it :-)

review 24 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I met some wonderful people and it felt like we had shared an adventure.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure that you are clear about the week's itinerary and dont be shy about putting forward your own views.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It absolutely benefits the local community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I had a great time in ways I didn't expect. The area is stunning and I loved the local food.

review 9 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was all wonderful. I loved the town where the Spanish lessons were held, and the teachers were fantastic. The hikes each day were beautiful and "not too hard, not too easy." Several days we hiked in the rain, but it was soft and still fun.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be sure to pack a notebook and pen for your class notes. Plan on a daily siesta. Know that you will be in a very small town so nightlife is limited. I found the vacation to be ideal.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

No question that the money coming into the community was important to both the individual suppliers and the town as a whole. I was pleased that the hikes were very conscientious about being low impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was fantastic, and I would do it again tomorrow if I could!

review 25 Jun 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Glorious mountain scenery and wonderful walks, combined with well-constructed and fun language course run by patient and interesting tutors. Enjoyed the company of great co-students/travellers.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Good bus service from airports to Unquera (ALSA).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The hotel felt very much part of the local community, as did the many restaurants and cafes which provided excellent choice and quality of local food. The entire environment felt calm, pristine and unspoilt by the hustle and bustle of modern life.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Wonderful, educational, invigorating yet calm. Has generated enthusiasm for more language tuition and to repeat a similar trip in the future. I wish there was an opportunity for 4.5 stars!

review 2 Sep 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Walking up the mountains - amazingly beautiful. Excellent, entertaining and fun guide - Javier. The course - well organised, very kind and friendly teachers. Very welcoming. The village - there was one family restaurant we booked twice for - most excellent food, the cook/manager is a smart woman indeed. Ask Ana - she'll tell you where to go. Highly recommended.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared to learn more than you expect - you will certainly be able to understand what people are saying to you by the end of the week.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - the school was environmentally aware - things like recycling etc in place. The village was small but clean and perfectly functioning. People were very nice. I stayed at a family run hotel, Elena I think it was called. Really warm people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Just to say how much I enjoyed this trip. Amazing how much you can learn in 15hours beginners course. Caring, responsible and responsive team of teachers and walking guides. Great mountain views, coastal paths... unforgetable visit to the caves to see prehistoric painting - sofisticated.

review 25 Aug 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Both the language teaching and the walks were excellently guided by really friendly experts. It was great to have both elements to the holiday. Small group size- five in total also a bonus.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book hotel accommodation but on b& b basis not half board as this gives maximum flexibility but close proximity to language school.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Benefitted local people through use of local bars, restaurants, hotels etc but not a holiday with conservation aims.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent opportunity to learn Spanish while having very enjoyable holiday. Would thoroughly recommend it. Have given four stars not five because the tour company still needing to fine tune a few elements. Feed back on these given direct.

review 25 Aug 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The walks and the Spanish learning

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Get hotel accommodation, not staying with a family. Be clear about your level of Spanish and your level of waling ability

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, in all three ways

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Good

review 30 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Spanish lessons were really enjoyable and I could hardly believe the progress we made in the few short days we were there. The village of Panes was an ideal place to practice our beginners' Spanish and the Picos de Europa are stunning. The afternoon walks along the coast(Camino del Norte) were well organised and brilliant fun. The idea of a small group worked really well and spending time with Ana, our teacher was a brilliant introduction to Spanish life and culture. She even made some "Tortos" for us to sample. I am a language teacher myself(French and German) but I was really impressed by this course, the Camino Taster, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to others. It's difficult to pick a highlight, but just outside the school is the most gorgeous view of those mountains, I think I could have sat there all day except there was so much else to do.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I was doing a beginner's course but you will have more fun and get more out of your stay if you learn a few of the basics before you go. It's not essential but it's nice to chat in the shops and cafes. I brought trekking poles for the first time on a walk and found them useful when we climbed one of the Picos. They were invaluable when we climbed La Ruta del Careas.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All of the group shopped and dined in the village. It's not tourist Spain but I would imagine these small little groups coming on a regular basis do contribute to the local economy. We were all fairly conscious of the environment, it's beautiful there, but this type of tourism has no negative effect on the environment as far as I could see.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I loved everything about this trip. Excellent teacher, varied and interesting lessons, lovely peaceful rural village, stunning scenery, great excursions, good fun, good introduction to culture and gastronomy of Spain.

review 13 Sep 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The hiking was gorgeous

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Get to Panes early enough to walk around the town and have a lay of the land before starting the week.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. The local economy is able to support this kind of tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We greatly enjoyed this unique adventure in learning the language and experiencing a culture and having an action-oriented vacation. And we are in our 60's.

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