David Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish
$4,995 per person, land only, double occupancy
$6,278 including air from New York, includes airline taxes & departure fees. (Currently $683 per person.)
Prices for other gateway cities are available.
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Join Professor David Gies on this northerly version of our very popular paradores and pousadas trip. Fortified cities and tiny fishing villages, rugged Atlantic coastline and commanding Pyrenees peaks, iconic shrines to both religion and fine art, and intimate lodgings in historic paradores and pousadas – it all awaits on this singular small group journey from Lisbon across the north of Spain, ending in vibrant Barcelona.
- Unique itinerary through Northern Spain
- Small group trip limited to 22 participants
- Enjoy stays in distinguished historic lodgings
- Visit Queluz Palace in Lisbon
- Cruise the Douro River and partake in a port wine tasting
- Pilgrimage to the site of Santiago de Compostela
- Stroll Bilbao’s Guggenheim and Fine Arts museums
- Explore the rugged, beautiful Basque coastline and vibrant Barcelona
- Spend two nights in the Pyrenees Mountains region
- Enjoy guided touring and ample free time
David Gies, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish
David T. Gies is Commonwealth Professor of Spanish and former Chairman of the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. An expert on the literature of Enlightenment and Romantic Spain, and contemporary Spanish film, Gies has published 12 books and critical editions of Spanish literature. He has authored more than 80 articles and 100 book reviews, and has lectured at universities in the US, Canada, England, Italy, Germany, France, Argentina and Spain. He edits Dieciocho, a journal dedicated to the study of the Spanish Enlightenment, and has been awas lectured at universities in the US, Canada, England, Italy, Germany, France, Argentina and Spain. He edits Dieciocho, a journal dedicated to the study of the Spanish Enlightenment, and has been awarded numerous grants from agencies such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society and the Spanish Ministry of Culture. In 1992 he won the University of Virginia Outstanding Teaching Award. In 1999-2000 he served as Chair of the Faculty Senate, and in October 2000 he was awarded the highest recognition presented to a member of the University of Virginia community, the Thomas Jefferson Award. David also served as the Academic Dean of Semester at Sea.
Day 1 - Friday, May 29
Depart the U.S. for Lisbon, Portugal
This evening you’ll depart for Europe, with a connecting flight to Lisbon.
Day 2 - Saturday, May 30
After arriving in the Portuguese capital, this afternoon is at leisure to relax before tonight’s welcome dinner.
Accomodations: Tivoli Lisboa
Meals: Dinner (D)
Day 3 - Sunday, May 31
This morning’s city tour includes a visit to the majestic Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a monastery built to house some of Portugal’s treasures from the discoveries of Vasco de Gama and other explorers. We also see the nearby Tower of Belem, a symbol of Lisbon and the most photographed monument in Portugal, and we stop by the inspiring Monument to the Discoveries, commemorating Portugal’s seafaring and literary heritage. Then we head outside the city to tour the lovely National Palace of Queluz, the former summer home constructed between 1658 and 1758 that ultimately became the residence of Portuguese royalty. After returning to Lisbon, the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore as we wish and for dinner tonight on our own. Later you might wish to venture out to a local club to hear Portugal’s haunting traditional Fado music.
Tivoli Lisboa (B)
Day 4 - Monday, June 1
Leaving Lisbon and driving north, we stop in the small fortified town of Obidos, where we take a walking tour through its medieval streets and squares. The Romans and the Moors had settlements here until Portugal’s first king wrested it from the latter in 1148. Known as the “Wedding Present Town,” Obidos formed part of King Denis’ dowry to his queen, Isabel, on their wedding day in 1282 and we will see why Portuguese kings continued the tradition of presenting this charming town as a wedding gift for over 500 years. We continue on to the seaside village of Nazaré, where we have free time for lunch on our own and where Hawaiian surfer, Garrett McNamara, rode a record-breaking 78-foot wave in 2011. Legend holds that the Virgin Mary miraculously rescued a knight, Dom Fuas, from a fatal fall here in the 12th century; the chapel he built to commemorate the miracle still stands on the cliffs. Mid-afternoon we reach our pousada in lovely Oporto, Portugal’s second largest city, one of Europe’s oldest urban centers, headquarters of the port wine trade, and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Pousada do Porto (B, D)
Day 5 - Tuesday, June 2
Today we tour this city with a rich history dating back to the Phoenicians who established a settlement here in the 8th century BCE; the Romans later founded the town of Portus (“port”) in the 1st century BCE. The city lent support to the explorations of its native son, Henry the Navigator, in the 15th century, and Portugal owes its constitutional government to the Liberal Revolution of 1820 that began here. Highlights of our city tour include the colorful Bolhao Market; the historic city center; the Baroque Clerigos Church, with its imposing bell tower; and the sophisticated Foz oceanfront district. Then we enjoy a “six-bridge” cruise on the Douro River, source of the microclimate responsible for the grapes that make the city’s famous port wine and upon whose banks the Romans planted grapevines centuries ago. Our tour ends with a visit to a port lodge for a tasting of the fortified wine exclusive to the region. British merchants once added brandy to Oporto wine to protect the wine during its shipment to England. By the mid-19th century the practice had evolved to fortifying the wine with brandy before it had fully fermented as doing so yielded a more desirable vintage better suited to aging. This afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration. Visit the art galleries on Rua Miguel Bombarda; check out the vibrant Bolhão Market; or sip a drink at a café on Avenida dos Aliados in the city center and watch the tripeiros, as Oporto residents are known. We dine tonight at our hotel.
Pousada do Porto (B, D)
Day 6 - Wednesday, June 3
Oporto/Pontevedra/Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Today we journey to Santiago de Compostela, last stop of the celebrated pilgrimage route of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) traveled by thousands of peregrinos (pilgrims) for 1,200 years and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to tradition, the apostle St. James came to the Spanish region of Galicia as a missionary, and after Herod had him beheaded his followers bore his body back for burial. Upon discovery of his remains in the early 9th century, Galicians constructed a shrine and people began making the pilgrimage to it, taking various routes throughout Europe. The “Codex Calixtinus,” written the 12th century and known as the first European guidebook, provided pilgrims guidance for the Way; Francis of Assisi, Dante Alighieri, Charlemagne, and El Cid number among the many who have undertaken the journey. Those who can demonstrate they have walked at least 100 kilometers – today determined by stamps in a “pilgrim passport” from wayside stops – earn a compostela or certificate of completion upon arrival in Santiago. The Pilgrims’ Office awards well over 100,000 compostelas to pilgrims from over 100 countries each year. En route this morning to this storied city, we stop in the old Galician town of Pontevedra where we take a walking tour through the pleasing historic city center. We continue on to Santiago, capital of Spain’s northwest Galicia region, arriving mid-afternoon at our parador, where we dine tonight.
Parador de Santiago de Compostela (B, D)
Day 7 - Thursday, June 4
Santiago de Compostela
Presumed repository of the remains of St. James the Apostle, Santiago de Compostela also ranks among Spain’s most beautiful and visited cities. We discover this important cultural and educational capital on today’s city tour, featuring the Cathedral housing the silver crypt believed to hold the remains of St. James, and the statue in his honor. The Spanish king commissioned the rebuilding of the Cathedral after the original church’s destruction in 997; construction lasted from 1060 to 1211 and stonemasons added the elaborate Baroque façade between the 16th and 18th centuries. After designated masses, eight men known as tiraboleiros swing the renowned Botafumeiro, a massive censer suspended by a pulley from the ceiling. Reputedly implemented to mitigate the odor of the many pilgrims who slept in the Cathedral in centuries past, the Botafumeiro stands over five feet high, weighs over 175 pounds, and swings in a 213-foot arc. We exit the Cathedral through the magnificent 12th-century Portico de la Gloria (“Port of Glory”) and enter Plaza de Obradoiro, the monumental square surrounded by Santiago’s most important – and impressive – buildings. The plaza’s four sides encompassing us display four architectural styles – neoclassical, baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic – and are said to represent the four primary aspects of civic life: the religious with the Cathedral, the political with the Town Hall, the cultural with the University of Santiago’s rectorate building, and the commercial with the Hotel de los Reyes Católicos, our historic parador. This afternoon is free for lunch on our own and independent exploration in this eminently walkable World Heritage city. Churches, Alameda Park, the marketplace – possibilities abound and your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director will be happy to offer suggestions. We dine together at our parador tonight.
Parador de Santiago de Compostela (B, D)
Day 8 - Friday, June 5
Leaving Santiago this morning, we travel east to vibrant Léon, another stop on the Way of St. James pilgrimage route and known for its religious festivals and Easter Week processions. A Moorish ruler sacked Léon in the 10th century; the Spanish rebuilt it and it became the seat of Western Europe’s first parliament under King Alfonso IX in the 12th century. Upon arrival, we have some time for lunch on our own before our afternoon city tour. This afternoon we encounter the city’s impressive historical and architectural heritage as we visit the 12th-century Léon Cathedral, one of Spain’s most beautiful with its sculpture-covered façade and impressive stained glass windows; Casa Botines, a Modernist structure by architect Antoni Gaudi; and the notable Castille Leon Museum of Contemporary Art (MUSAC), known for its outstanding architecture and up-to-the-minute modern art collection. Tonight we dine together at our parador.
Parador de Léon (B, D)
Day 9 - Saturday, June 6
Continuing our journey, we stop in the elegant port city and Cantabrian capital of Santander. Spanish kings made this city situated in one of Spain’s most beautiful bays their residence in the early 20th century. Our touring reveals this city’s charm; some highlights include Santander’s beaches, the cape of Cabo Mayor with its cliff-top vista and iconic lighthouse, lovely Pereda gardens, and a stroll through the renowned gardens of Magdalena Palace. After lunch at a local restaurant we travel on to Bilbao, the industrial port city on the Bay of Biscay almost magically transformed by the construction of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997. Now increasingly known for its burgeoning art scene, which we will see for ourselves, the city’s original reputation derived from its centuries-old iron industry – Shakespeare alludes to swords of Bilbao origin in “Hamlet” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Dinner tonight is on our own, and Bilbao is known for its outstanding cuisine.
Melia Bilbao (B, L)
Day 10 - Sunday, June 7
This morning’s tour begins in Bilbao’s medieval Old Town, with a charming mix of narrow cobblestone streets and inviting squares. We see the Catedral de Santiago (c. 1379), once a stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compestela; monumental Plaza Nueva; and busy riverside La Ribera market. Then our local guide takes us on a tour of the Guggenheim and its contemporary art collection. Designed by award-winning architect Frank Gehry, the jaw-dropping structure of limestone, titanium, and glass has drawn acclaim, attention, and visitors to this popular, revitalized city. Our last stop is Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum, with a rich collection of Spanish and Basque artworks, which you have the opportunity to explore on your own. Then we have the afternoon at leisure for lunch and for more exploration on our own, perhaps to walk along Santiago Calatrava’s spectacular glass footbridge spanning the Nervion River. We dine together tonight at a local restaurant.
Melia Bilbao (B, D)
Day 11 - Monday, June 8
A day-long excursion takes us through countryside historically home to the Basque people of Spain’s Atlantic Coast and western Pyrenees. Our first stop is a poignant one: Gernika (Guernica), heart of the Basque region and the town razed by Nazi bombing in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War that was immortalized in the namesake painting by Pablo Picasso. Here we visit two cherished symbols of democracy and self-governance for the Basque people – the Assembly House and the storied Tree of Gernika, a descendant of the tree under which representatives from each Biscayan village met to formulate provincial laws. Departing Gernika, we stop for a photo opportunity in the medieval fishing village of Mundaka, where we enjoy magnificent views of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve of streams and a salt marsh surrounded by sheer cliffs. We make another stop at the picturesque islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, with its 10th-century hermitage dedicated to St. John the Baptist which we view from a distance perched atop the rocky crags. Following lunch at a local restaurant we continue to a winery to sample the Basque coast’s unique “Txakoli” wine, grown in vineyards overlooking the sea. Traditionally only made for local consumption, Txakoli began to gain broader recognition in the late 1980s. Our full day of Basque country touring complete, we return to our hotel and have the remainder of our evening free with dinner on our own.
Melia Bilbao (B, L)
Day 12 - Tuesday, June 9
We travel today to the Pyrenees town of Bielsa, stopping en route in fabled Pamplona, known for its annual “Encierro” or Running of the Bulls tradition. Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” helped publicize a practice that began in the 16th century of running bulls the half-mile from Pamplona’s corral to its bullfighting ring. Our tour here features the striking Monument to the Encierro, a bronze sculpture created by Bilbao artist Rafael Huerta to commemorate the bulls and thousands of daring participants – 15 of whom have died since 1910 – that run daily during the annual festival of San Fermin from July 7–14. We also visit the city’s favorite meeting place, Plaza del Castillo, known as “Pamplona’s Living Room,” where residents have gathered since the Middle Ages. For lunch on our own, you have the opportunity to sample the local “pintxos,” the Navarre region’s signature tapas – perhaps at multiple establishments as the Pamplonans do. After lunch we continue into the Pyrenees over mountain roads to Bielsa and our parador, arriving late afternoon. Tonight we dine together at our parador.
Parador de Bielsa (B, D)
Day 13 - Wednesday, June 10
Fresh mountain air and stunning scenery are on tap today as we visit Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. A royal decree established Ordesa, Spain’s oldest national park and one of Europe’s first, in 1918 and the government has since expanded it to include more than 56,000 acres. This dramatic, glacier-carved landscape provides habitat for 171 bird species and 32 mammal species including the endangered ibex and the lammergeier, a bearded vulture. Touring by smaller vehicles, we take in the beauty of the limestone Pyrenees mountain chain with its lush valleys dotted with clear blue streams and beech, fir, and pine trees, making stops for photo opportunities. This afternoon is free to hike or simply relax amidst the natural beauty. Tonight we have dinner together at our parador.
Parador de Bielsa (B, D)
Day 14 - Thursday, June 11
En route to Barcelona, we stop in the Catalonian city of Lleida where we have some free time for lunch on our own. People remain divided over the origins of our destination, Barcelona, with one legend saying Hercules founded it 400 years before Rome’s birth and another insisting that Hannibal’s father Hamilcar Barca founded it in the 3rd century BCE. Now Catalonia’s capital, Spain’s second largest city, and one of Europe’s most popular vacation spots, Barcelona had no beaches prior to the 1992 Olympics, when it relocated the industries that had occupied the seaside and reclaimed more than 2½ miles of beachside. The city loves its walkers, too, as we will see, boasting the equivalent of 260 football fields designated as pedestrian zones; roughly 3,500 people stroll down the Portal de l’Ángel, Spain’s most-traversed street, each hour. We reach Barcelona late this afternoon with the remainder of the day at leisure and for dinner tonight on our own. Our hotel’s location in the heart of this city renowned for its walkability gives you a great starting point for exploration and dining options aplenty; your Odysseys Unlimited tour director will happily provide suggestions.
Hotel Avenida Palace (B)
Day 15 - Friday, June 12
Today we travel to nearby Montserrat, where we take the rack railway up the mountainside to visit Santa Maria de Montserrat, the Benedictine abbey hosting the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary. Founded in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 19th century, this iconic monastery nearly 4,000 feet above sea level – long Catalonia’s most important religious retreat – welcomes us with breathtaking vistas of the valley below. One of Europe’s oldest music schools began here in the 13th century and the monastery acquired a printing press in 1499, now said to be one of the world’s oldest continuing presses. We take a guided tour then have free time to admire the sacred space and magnificent views. This afternoon is at leisure in Barcelona; tonight we bid !adios! to Spain, and to our fellow travelers at a farewell dinner featuring Spanish paella at a local restaurant.
Hotel Avenida Palace (B,D)
Day 17 - Sunday, June 14
Depart for U.S.
We transfer to the airport this morning for our connecting flights to the United States. (B)
We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. But sometimes unexpected obstacles – or opportunities – may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change. We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure.
For Land Only Guests
When you purchase Across Spain and Portugal as “land only,” airport transfers and luggage handling at the arrival and departure airports at the beginning and end of the tour are not included. However, should you be at the arrival airport concurrent with the group of arriving Odysseys Unlimited travelers and see the signs for our motorcoach transfer, you are welcome to transfer with the group at no charge, providing additional seating is available. Please note that the motorcoach cannot wait for you; you must be aboard when the coach is leaving. Similarly, when departing from the last hotel for your flight home, you are also welcome to take advantage of the group transfer, provided there is room and you are on board when the coach is leaving.
It is important to note, however, that a motorcoach may not be used for transfers in all cases. Depending upon the number of guests arriving or departing, we may utilize taxis or smaller vans. At such times, space restrictions will preclude your joining the group transfer and you will be responsible for your own transportation to or from the airport.
Barcelona on Your Own Post-Tour Extension:
DAYS 17 & 18 – June 14-15
No need to transfer anywhere: you’re right at home for the next two nights. Enjoy experiencing the energy of this trendy, vibrant city on your own. Seemingly everywhere, you’ll find unusual buildings with the distinctive stamp of the architect Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s favorite son. His life’s work was La Sagrada Familia, a cathedral with awe-inspiring spires that was left unfinished when he died in 1926. Another Gaudi masterpiece is La Pedrera, whose stone façade seemingly ripples, wave-like, around a street corner.
The city’s focal point is Las Ramblas, a pedestrian boulevard packed with entertainers and merchants. Spend some time meandering there and through Bari Gòtic, the nucleus of old Barcelona. Within its cluster of Gothic buildings, mazelike streets, and public squares you’ll find the Catedral, one of Spain’s greatest Gothic buildings. Art lovers – and even nonaficionados – won’t want to miss the city’s most-visited museum, the Museu Picasso, housed in three beautiful mansions. If time remains, visit Montjuïc, a hill overlooking Barcelona’s center that’s dotted with fine art galleries, parks, and the main 1992 Olympic sites.
Hotel Avenida Palace (B)
DAY 19 – June 16
Return to the U.S.
Early this morning, you’ll be transferred to the Barcelona airport for your connecting flight to the United States. (B)
Well located in the heart of Lisbon on the city’s main avenue, the Tivoli Lisboa blends traditional Portuguese hospitality with contemporary amenities.
Pousada do Porto
The public areas of the Pousada do Porto were converted from a former palace built in 1742 on the banks of the Douro River, which exemplifies Portuguese Baroque architecture and has been classified as a National Monument.
Parador de Santiago de Compostela
Considered one of the world’s oldest hotels, the Hostal dos Reis Catolicós as it is also known was built by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1499 as a hospital for pilgrims.
Parador de Leon
Originally a 16th-century monastery and an impressive example of Renaissance architecture, this parador once housed the knights of the Order of St. James charged with protecting the pilgrims on the Way of St. James.
The contemporary Melia Bilbao is located in the city center close to the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and other cultural attractions, shops, and restaurants.
Parador de Bielsa
Perched on the mountain slopes of the Pyrenees in Monte Perdido National Park, the Parador de Bielsa offers sweeping views of this mountainous region of Northern Spain from its terrace.
Optional Post-Tour Extension – Barcelona On Your Own Accommodations
Hotel Avenida Palace
Built in 1952, Hotel Avenida Palace stands in the heart of Barcelona and offers a good location from which to explore.
16 Breakfasts, four lunches, 11 dinners
$4,995 per person, double occupancy, land only.
A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1,395 to the per person, double occupancy rates.
- Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
- 15 nights accommodations: 8 nights in Deluxe and Superior First Class hotels; 7 nights in First Class paradores and pousadas
- 28 meals: 15 breakfasts; 3 lunches; 10 dinners
- Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
- Services of an experienced Tour Director
- Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
- Luggage handling for one bag per person
- Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
Does not include:
Airfare when purchasing a land only tour package; costs of passports and visas, if required; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a land only tour package; communication charges; optional sightseeing; gratuities to your Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuity: $10-$15 per day per traveler); travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.
$6,278 including air from New York, includes airline taxes & departure fees. (Currently $683 per person.)
$6,478 from Washington Dulles, includes airline taxes & departure fees. (Currently $683 per person.)
Prices from other gateway cities are available.
Includes: airline taxes and departure fees. (Currently $662 per person).
General Terms & Conditions
Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.
Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (February 23, 2015) before departure.
Not Included in Tour Price: Airfare when purchasing a land only tour package; costs of passports and visas, if required; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a land only tour package; communication charges; optional sightseeing; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuity: $10-$15 per day per traveler); travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.
Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund. If a guest makes any changes between 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.
Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.
Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in fairly good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. If you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.
Air Transportation – Important Information: Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities and contracts with those airlines they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air scheduled approximately 2 ½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and departure fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, land only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservation, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.