Away from the Crowds logoAway from the Crowds

Active, self-guided cycling and walking holidays in unexplored Spain

EagleFAQS: Frequently asked questions

If you do not find an answer to your question, please contact us

Sections:

  • Booking
  • Cycling
  • Donkey Trekking
  • General
  • Walking

Keep it simple and use the most basic part of a word or phrase for best results:

"BOOK" rather than "BOOKING".

"FIT" rather than "FITNESS".

"TYRE" rather than "TYRES".

Can I book directly?

Please get in touch with us before making a payment. We need to check availability first and make sure you have all the right information before paying. We will send you a quote which you can use to pay the deposit.

Can I start any day of the week?

Yes! There are no set dates to start the tour. You can start any day of the week.

How does the booking process work?

It's easy!

  • 1. Initially you can fill in a contact form to request further information or fill in the "Get a Quote" form to receive a quotation.
  • 2. We will answer all your questions, confirm availability and send you a quote.
  • 3. Secure your booking paying a 25% deposit by credit card through our secure website or by bank transfer.
  • 4. We will then book hotels and services for you and send you holiday documentation by post.
  • 5. The final payment will be due a month before departure.
  • 6. Enjoy your holiday!
How far in advance do I need to book?

This very much depends on the holiday you are booking and the time of year that you want to travel.

The Camino de Santiago, Sevilla to Cadiz and Mallorca are holidays where people should book with a lot of time in advance.

Each destination has different, very busy times but generally, July and August are busy in coastal areas and spring and autumn (especially May and September) are busy everywhere else.

What is the cancellation policy?

If you wish to alter your booking (e.g. change the dates of your holiday), we will use all our reasonable efforts to comply with your request.

However, we do reserve the right to charge an amendment fee of 60€ and you will be obliged to pay for any additional expenses that are incurred as a result (e.g. cancellation fees payable to hotels and other suppliers).

If you decide to change your holiday in any way once it has commenced (e.g. change accommodation or the duration of your stay), we accept no liability for any loss, damage or additional expense and we cannot guarantee a refund of any costs already paid by you.

Time of cancelation before start of holiday: Cancellation charge (per person and as a % of the total booking price):

  • More than 56 days: Administration expenses: 60€
  • 56 days- 42 days: 5%
  • 41 days- 28 days: 15%
  • 27 days - 15 days: 25%
  • 14 days - 48 hours: 50%
  • Last 48 hours: 100%
Are a cycling helmet and a water bottle provided?

Helmet yes. Water bottle not always.

Can I bring my own bicycle?

Sure. In this case please let us know if you need us to transport a bike suitcase or bag each day from hotel to hotel as they can be quite big!

Can I bring my own pedals?

Yes, we can help you to fit them on to the rental bike but you must remember to bring the necessary tools to take them off at the end of the tour as you might not meet the mechanic again at the end.

Do I need to be really fit for a cycling holiday? What’s your advice?

No. You need to be healthy and active. Not really fit.

Every year we have 70-80 year old cyclists doing these tours. The difficulty of a cycling tour is very tricky to gage as it is totally relative.

The best thing to do is to check the distances and climbs involved in an average day for the tour you plan on doing and to try a similar cycle at home to see how you feel about it.

Do you provide GPS tracks?

We can do on request at no cost.

How many miles a day can I expect to cycle? Will there be a lot of climbing?

It depends on the tour you choose but on average around 45 kms.

Again, the climbing depends on each tour, but around 500m each day.

If I can’t manage a days cycle, would you provide help?

Of course! Just phone us and we will send you a taxi that can take you and your bike to the hotel. You might have to pay for this service.

If my partner is not a keen cyclist. What do you recommend?

This is not unusual. We can do one of two things:

  • We could offer your partner an e-bike. They are brilliant!
  • Your partner could travel in the taxi which moves the luggage.
Is there a bike fitting at the beginning of the tour?

Yes. A bike mechanic will meet you at the reception of your hotel in the morning of your first cycling day to adjust the bike to your height and cycling style and to show you how it works, just in case it is different from the one you have at home.

What equipment is provided with the rental bikes?

One per person: helmet, map holder and rear pannier.

One per two persons: pump, lock, multi-tool, spare inner tubes, tire levers and patches.

What happens if I have a problem with my bike?

If you have a mechanical problem with your bike which you cannot solve we would ask you to get in touch with the bike rental service (the number will be in the roadbook) or with us if that is easier for you.

Depending on your location, a mechanic might go out to you to sort the problem or he might bring you another bike.

If you are very far away from the bike rental centre we will probably send you a taxi that can take you and your bike to the nearest bike shop to have it repaired.

We might even decide to take you directly to the hotel and take care of the bike repair ourselves.

What kind of bikes do you provide?

We use fully-equipped touring bicycles: puncture resistant hybrid tires ideal for road cycling but with some tread to give you the security you need on dirt track sections, 21 or 24 gears, comfort seat, front suspension, adjustable handle bars, bike stand, mudguards and bottle holder as standard.

Our bikes are touring hybrid bikes with 28 inch wheels. They are bikes designed for tarmac but with tires which will do short stretches of good tracks without a problem.

They have some front suspension to make them comfortable cycling along cobbled streets or going through potholes but they are not mountain bikes.

We buy well established and recognized brands such as Giant, Trek or Kalkhoff. We have a range of sizes from XS to XL and both high bar and low bar models.

When are the rental bicycles delivered?

Usually (though not always) at 9:30am in the morning of your first cycling day.

If it is a Sunday or a bank holiday the bike rental staff might prefer to deliver the bike the night before.

Can the donkeys carry adults or only children?

At a push yes, they can carry adults, but only for a short while. They are strong, but a long trek for several days would be too much for them.

Can we rent more than one donkey?

Yes, although we always insist that there should be at least one adult to handle each donkey.

Sometimes they travel better when they are not alone, although it can be a bit frustrating if they do not walk at the same pace!

Do I need to have prior experience with horses?

No, we'll teach you how to look after the donkey.

Obviously a lot of what you would learn about looking after a horse also applies to donkeys, but we'll show you how to handle them.

How do we treat a donkey?

With respect and a lot of love.

How many miles a day can I expect to walk?

On average 12km per day, but days vary from 10km to 15km.

How old do the kids need to be to ride on a donkey?

They have to be old enough to be able to sit steady in the saddle and hold on by themselves. Around three or four, depending a great deal on the child!

What are the donkeys like?

They are large, strong donkeys of the Zamorano breed, used for carrying wood and agricultural produce in these parts for hundreds of years. You still see an old man riding on one every now and again.

The donkeys we use for trekking live in the mountains nearby and have a happy life there. There are about 40 donkeys living together in fields most of the year around, although, when it gets very cold in winter, they are taken into a large stable.

They are very used to people and other animals. We select the ones with the best character so that they are harmless and calm, but strong and keen walkers.

They are very intelligent and each of them has his or her own ways. We love them!

What does the picnic include?

Typically a baguette sandwich, fruit, some snack bars and water.

Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements and bring extras to keep kids happy in case of emergency!

When do we meet our donkey?

We will meet you after breakfast on the morning of the first walking day to introduce you to your donkey.

We will show you how to look after him and how to lead him and we will explain everything you need to know about how to put the saddle and tack on and off.

When we arrive at the hotels, is there a suitable place for the donkeys?

Yes, all is arranged so that the donkey is taken to its own quarters, where you feed them and give them water. They need a rest too!

Who feeds and gives water to them?

That's your job, but the staff of each hotel will show you where the food and water is and help you with the task if you need it.

Are all the tours in this website available throughout the year?

No. Most tours take place from April to the end of October.

However, in areas where it is very hot in summer but very pleasant in the winter months, we extend the season to March and November while skipping July and August, when it is just too hot.

This is the case for Andalucia, Extremadura, Valencia and Alicante.

Are there different levels of difficulty?

Yes. Each holiday has its own classification explained on the description itself.

Our holidays are designed for healthy and active people who are not sportsmen/women. There is a leisure element to them, not sport or training.

The levels are:

  • Easy
  • Easy/moderate
  • Moderate
  • Moderate+
Are there places to eat and to buy food along the way?

Not always. There may be some days on walking tours when you are walking all day in the natural environment without coming across towns.

In these cases we include instructions in the roadbook to recommend that you buy things for a picnic or that you ask the hotel to prepare one for you.

On our cycling tours it would be unusual not to come across restaurants during the day where you can stop and eat.

Are your holidays suitable for children?

Not all of them. We have three holidays that are best suited for families with small children: Donkey Family tours and Cycling Catalonia along cycle lanes.

The other tours are suitable for families with older children who can either ride a bike safely on the road without assistance or walk a decent distance.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, you should take your own travel insurance so that you are covered in case of cancelation, or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Does a support vehicle accompany us?

No. All our tours are self-guided, so there is no support vehicle.

If you were unable to finish cycling or walking one stage, you could phone us and we would try to arrange a taxi for you to take you to the hotel, but you would have to pay for this.

How do I get from the airport to the destination place and is this transfer included?

We will give you information so that you can make your own travel arrangements from the nearest airport to the starting point.

Sometimes we offer private transfers from the airport at an additional cost too.

If you are struggling to book a train or a bus we can also help you with that.

How does luggage transfer work?

Just leave the luggage at the hotel reception in the morning and let them know it is there ready for collection.

It is important to label each piece of luggage (we will provide you with luggage tags).

How much luggage can I bring?

On the Camino de Santiago tours only one piece of luggage is included in the price.

If you want to bring more than one piece of luggage you can do so, but you will have to pay a small surcharge.

In all other tours you can bring as much as you need and we will move it for you.

We would ask you to keep the weight of any particular piece of luggage reasonable. Our backs have to last us a long time!

Is it possible to extend my holiday by a few days?

Of course. We positively encourage that. It is possible to book extra nights at the beginning or at the end of the tours.

It is often a good idea to stopover at the city where you fly from, be this Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Palma or the other major cities.

What can you tell me about the weather in Spain?

Well, the weather in Spain is generally wonderful and this is one of the reasons why we do have so much tourism.

I suppose we could separate Spain in different climatic zones:

  • The South (including Andalucia and Extremadura), where spring and autumn is wonderful and winters are very mild but July and August are too hot for active tourism.
  • The Northern interior, where summers are a lot more tolerable. The northern plateau can be as high as 1000 meters above sea level, so in summer it cools right down at night and top temperatures are not extreme.
  • Early spring can be quite cool here too. This area includes our routes in Segovia and Avila to Salamanca, La Rioja and the Camino.
  • The Northern Coast of Spain is Green Spain because it rains more. The climate is mild and summer temperatures are perfect for active tourism.
  • Finally, the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands: Here you can enjoy very mild weather most of the year although July and August can be hard work as the heat and humidity combined can be too much.
  • In these months you should look for hotels with pools and opportunities for swimming in the sea or in rivers.
What documentation and materials do you provide to follow the routes?

You will be provided with a very detailed roadbook with step by step instructions to follow your route. The roadbook is to be used alongside a set of maps which give you further information.

Additionally, in some of our walking tours you are provided with a GPS with the tracks of your itinerary installed so that you will not get lost.

For all our cycling tours we have the gpx files available should you wish to use your own GPS or an app on your phone to follow the route.

What does half board mean?

Half board means dinners included.

What is "self-guided", and does it apply to all trips?

Self-guided means that there will not be a guide with you during the holiday. You will not travel as part of a group and you might not even meet a local rep.

In order to make this type of travel work effectively, you will be provided with all the documentation and material you will need to make sure you find your way at all times and know what you are supposed to be doing when.

You will be provided with the following:

  • List of hotels and services.
  • Hotel and services vouchers.
  • Road book with detailed instructions.
  • Set of maps.
  • GPS (in some tours).

You will not be alone. If you have any question or if you hit any problem along the way, you will be able to phone us and we will respond to your needs to make sure you are looked after.

What kind of food can I expect? Do you cater for special diets?

A lot of our tours take place in areas with little international tourism, so a lot of the food you will come across is local food.

In Spain, each region has its own cuisine, so it is impossible to describe it all, but generally you will find that there is vegetable/soup starter and a meat or fish main course.

It is sometimes difficult for strict vegetarians to find dishes to choose from in central Spain, but, if you tell us before you arrive, we can talk to the hotels and make sure they have appropriate alternatives.

Spanish hotels and restaurants actually cater very well for some special diets such as celiac or lactose free diets, but they do need prior notice.

What type of accommodation can I expect?

This depends very much on the holiday. There is a specific section on each holiday on the website describing the hotels.

Generally, we tend to use three and four star hotels.

Sometimes the hotels are very rural, with a lot of character but lacking the full services of larger, city hotels.

In cities we try to go for hotels in historic buildings and try to provide comfortable and characterful hotels.

What will happen if I encounter problems along the way?

You will not be alone. If you have any question or if you hit any problem along the way, you will be able to phone us and we will respond to your needs to make sure you are looked after.

Sometimes we can sort out a situation by phone, but if not we might send you a taxi or send a bike mechanic to fix your bike.

Do I need heavy walking boots?

Yes for the two walking tours in mountains that we sell: Somiedo and Sierra de Salamanca.

For the Camino and Segovia, comfortable lighter walking footwear is good enough.

Do I need to be really fit for a walking holiday? What’s your advice?

No. You need to be healthy and active. Not really fit. Every year we have clients who are 70 to 80 years old and they do well.

The best thing to do is to see the distances and climbs involved in an average day for the tour you are planning on doing and to try a similar walk at home and see how you feel about it

Do you provide GPS tracks?

We can do on request at no cost.

How many miles a day can I expect to walk?

It depends on the tour you choose but on average around 15km.

The one exception is the Camino de Santiago tour, where distances are on average around 25km per day.

Will I need to carry a lot of water?

You may have to if the weather is very hot, as you will not come across many fountains in most areas in the summer.

On the Camino de Santiago, you will come across cafes on a regular basis so this is not so important (some cash will be handy!).