Private tours in the times of Covid: Spain, Portugal, France & Italy
As you can imagine, all of us in the travel industry are waiting expectantly for the European borders to open again now in 2021, so we are able to welcome you, our dear guests from the USA, Australia and Canada :-)
As everywhere, in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy the anti-Covid travel rules update constantly, so we have included links to your countries embassies in the countries of our tours at the bottom, for your future reference.
What will your Post-Pandemic Gourmand Breaks tour look like?
The customs and immigration lines at the airports in times of Covid travel may take longer than usual. To prevent new possible infections from entering the country, in addition to checking your documents, immigration officials may check your temperatures, conduct swab testing, etc.
The current Covid regulations in Spain, Italy, Portugal and many areas of France state that you have to wear masks at all times except when you are in your room/house or private car, when eating or drinking, swimming or sunbathing. At all other times when in public, you need to wear a mask. No ifs or buts. Hygienic sanitizer gel is available and recommended at entering any establishment and usually everybody abides the 2 m social distance rule.
As for the tours themselves, we are very lucky that the type of tours we have offered for 25 years – small private groups where our guests are attended to personally, allow you to travel in your own private bubble to tranquil locations – prove to be the safest way to travel in Covid times.
Our itineraries usually take you to vineyards, lovely medieval villages in the countryside, and authentic local spots away from the crowds. Now more than ever, we carefully check all the venues we take you to, but the quaint rural locations themselves remove some of the risks when travelling during Covid.
How will we ensure your safety when you travel with us in Covid times?
Accommodation wise, we work with boutique hotels and private residences, with personalized anti-Covid social distancing protocols and many of these places can be booked for you alone. You might wish to include a stop in a city, in which case we carefully choose the best tour options, to enhance anti-Covid travel safety.
Transportation – our tours have always included private transportation only. Our chauffeurs and guides throughout your tour will look out for your safety, whilst following strict anti-covid travel safety protocols themselves. Occasionally, in the past we have used the excellent European network of high speed trains. Of course, like planes, trains are more frequently cleaned and masks are compulsory, but now we will normally substitute them with services of our excellent chauffeurs or provide you with a luxury rental car, should you prefer.
Oh, wine! In our post-pandemic world, would you agree that a glass of a really good wine should be classified as part of your essential survival kit? :-) We are lucky to have worked for over 25 years with fantastic boutique wineries, many of them family owned, where you will be able to have a tour and tasting in absolute privacy and of course, anti-covid measures in place. The winery owners will wear their masks, but their charisma and smile will always sparkle in their eyes!
Food is also intrinsic to what we do and we have worked hard to ensure your tastings are only at small venues that will exclusively serve your private “travel bubble”. We still offer our fantastic cooking classes, but also for private “travel bubbles” only. We will only recommend the restaurants that offer ample space between tables and preferably have a nice outdoor eating area. We are lucky that the Mediterranean climate enhances terrace culture in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal and there are many lovely outdoor eateries to enjoy in safety. Of course, the top Michelin starred restaurants also observe very strict anti-Covid measures.
Scenery is a big part of our tours as well. Many include scenic drives in historic rural areas and along breathtaking coastline. Walking the hidden coves and coastal paths (maybe even taking a dip!) proves to be so therapeutic :-) At the height of summer, the access to the beach is controlled to comply with anti-Covid health protocols.
Cultural visits with our fantastic licensed guides have always been a highlight of our tours as well. Now, if you wish, we can still take you inside the museums, but there is so much fascinating history and culture to admire outdoors, while listening to our guide’s engaging tale! Almost all museums are open, except for tiny ones, where safety distance could be compromised. Most limit the amount of visitors and spaces which are too small, are not visitable.
We hope that you stay safe and healthy and we look forward to welcoming you on one of our private relaxing tours, when possible!
If you want to know the current travel situation in Europe, we are here to offer travel advice, always keeping your best interests in mind. Just drop us a line: [email protected] and we will provide all the pertinent information.
Current Travel Situation
At the time of writing in early 2021, there are restrictions in place for American, Canadian and Australian citizens traveling to Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. An update can be accessed from the following websites: