Is your chosen tour suitable for you?

Albatross Tours include some quite amazing sightseeing, site visits and guided tours. As you would expect, a certain degree of mobility and fitness is therefore necessary to fully enjoy your experience. Below, we detail what to expect on a standard coach tour and address specific challenges you might need to know about on a ‘tour by tour’ basis.
 
If you are not sure about anything and wish to speak with someone, please contact us for clarification.
 

Is there anything we need to know?

Are there any physical or medical diagnosed conditions that we need to know about that could affect your ability to handle travelling on tour with relative ease? If in doubt, contact us to speak with one of our experienced European tour specialists. 
 

What level of activity is required on tour?

Every tour involves getting on and off coaches, and sometimes other forms of transport such as buses, trains and boats. We include a wonderful array of visits to castles, villas, fortresses, ruins and historical sites which often include steps and stairs, and uneven ground. We are in Europe and some towns and villages may have cobbled stone surfaces, and short, steep streets and walkways. This is particularly applicable to those beautiful hilltop towns in Italy, where the coach drop-off point is sometimes a 10-15 minute walk from the town centre.
 
Most importantly we also include numerous city sightseeing and walking tours which may require you to be on your feet, walking at various paces, for between 1 and 2 hours. Please keep in mind as you are travelling in a group, you will be expected to keep up with your fellow travellers. 
 
Remember that you are never obliged to join the walking tours and can easily opt to ‘sit this one out’ and relax in a café or sightsee by yourself.
 

Hotels and Baggage Handling

Hotel porterage is included where possible. Albatross Tours are proud to select hotels with character and style, and some are set in ancient buildings in some stunning locations. There are therefore rare occasions you may be asked to wheel your bags maybe up to around 100 metres to your hotel. This may be across rough or cobbled surfaces. In addition, you may be asked to transport your own bags on and off any boats, hydrofoils and trains. (these are specially noted below against your chosen tour).
 
 

What about the specific tour you have chosen?

Each Albatross tour is different and on occasion they require higher levels of physical fitness and/or mobility. Therefore, to make your tour as enjoyable as possible we want you to be fully aware of what you can expect on your chosen tour. Stressing, our tours are NOT adventure, hiking or outward-bound tours. They just see and do more! They suit anyone who is moderately fit and healthy, and who has reasonable mobility. 
 
Please remember you will have an expert Tour Manager on hand at all times to help and assist. Very often they can advise on how to better deal with some of the more challenging elements you come across, and if an activity is becoming challenging, they will be able to make alternative suggestions for you. But it will be up to you to ask for this advice.
 

2020 Europe & UK Summer Tours

Italian Grande

  • In mid-summer, the heat may be energy sapping.
  • Being in Italy there are a number of beautiful hilltop towns we visit. In Siena the coach drop off point is between a 10- and 15-minute walk on cobbled stone streets, from the central square.

Italian Lakes & Tuscany

No special mobility challenges

Italy, the Deep South & Sicily

  • In mid-summer, the heat may be energy sapping.
  • In Alberobello and Matera or unique style of accommodation is incredible. In Alberobello we stay in Trulli which are scattered, self-contained ‘beehive’ houses. Whilst spread around a relatively small area of town, you will need to make your own way to and from the coach meeting points and breakfast centre. In Matera our Sassi or ‘Caves’ are the genuinely authentic.  They are all quite easily accessible, in a small area close to the office, but accessed via stone steps and uneven ground. Porterage is not available.    
  • Matera is set on a hill and access to the upper levels is by foot up winding, stone streets
  • Mount Etna is exactly that - a mountain! The first part of this excursion is easy. Coach to the first level, close to smaller extinct craters. The next section is also relatively easy being small bubble cable cars up to the restaurant and museum. The altitude here is 2,500 metres so should not be a problem to anyone. The last section can be a little more difficult as you are travelling by 4WD up to 2,900 metres. From here we enjoy a walk around a (quiet!) volcanic crater which takes us up over a ridge.  It is not that it is far, it is that you are suddenly at moderate altitude (which is why the views are amazing!) and your breath comes with more effort. The gravelly dust has less immediate grip but is not slippery. You can choose to stay and enjoy the views from the 4WD drop off point or join the 500 metre guided walk. The guide makes a number of stops, each about a hundred metres apart. There is plenty of time, and it is not a race.  From experience, with patience and taking it easy, anyone with moderate fitness can do it if they pace themselves.  The experience at the top is exhilarating but, above all, you will have the choice as to how far up you want to go.

Italian Alternativo

  • In mid-summer, the heat may be energy sapping.
  • In Montegridolfo our rooms are set below the castle. The walk to the breakfast and dinner area in the castle is maybe a 200 metres walk, easily negotiated, but uphill.
 

Hidden Italy, the Lands of the Etruscans

  • In mid-summer, the heat may be energy sapping.
  • This tour visits a larger number of ancient hilltop towns and villages.  Fortunately, the hardest, highest ones like Orvieto, Perugia, Todi all have either escalators or lifts up to the top of town.
  • One city visit is quite taxing. It is the very nature of the difficulty which make the visit amazing. Civita di Bagnoregio is a medieval gem of a hilltop town accessed by a huge pedestrian viaduct. We drop you at the Belvedere lookout and from there you have about a 300 metre downhill walk to the viaduct and then about a 300 metre walk across the viaduct. In itself it’s not hard, but the last 100 metres of the viaduct up to the old city entrance gets quite steep. Take your time and you can do it.  Whilst this is the only way into town and it is a standard pedestrian walkway, we flag this because it can be quite hard if you have fitness challenges. If you don’t want to do it, then the perfect alternative is to stay up on the shaded terrace of the Belvedere. You will get the absolute best views of the perched city from here, and you can relax in the café and gelato bar terrace.  This is a splendid alternative. 
  • Two other cities stand out as having harder access. Cortona is accessed by uphill, cobbled streets about 200 metres in length. Montepulciano has a much longer uphill street. But here, if you want, you can catch a bus to the top and back down again. You have the choice. From experience you will take your time (and you have easily enough time!) to enjoy the uphill walk as this main semi pedestrian street is so enjoyable with its rows of wine cellars, shops, cheese and produce houses and cafes.  
  • The Via Cava– the carved Etruscan roads outside Pitigliano - are fascinating but being over 3,000 years old, the surfaces are uneven and heavily rutted! The total walkway is about 1 km each way, but the good news is the best bit is an easy walk along the first 200 metres. Again, you have choices.
  • Marmore waterfalls – it is very straight forward to get to the main viewing area. An easy walk. If you want you can walk up alongside the waterfalls, which includes wooden steps and boardwalks, which can be slippery.
 

Sardinia & Corsica, the Lands of Myths and Legends

  • In mid-summer, the heat may be energy sapping.
  • At Barumini the Stone Nuraghe Towers are 3,500 years old. Two thirds of your guided visit are enjoyed outside of the main central tower in the stone ruins outside. This part is easily negotiable. If you have mobility issues of any sort, then this is as far as you go, and you can now enjoy your own time to further explore the ruins by yourself or enjoy a cold gelato in the nearby café. The last part of the guided tour is about 10 metres up a metal staircase (like a broad fire escape) and then down through narrow stone passageways into the heart of the complex.  This is a defensive tower, after all, so the inside access is a little awkward. But, by all means, ascend the metal staircase and take a look down inside. 
  • Whilst staying in the incredible Su Gologone resort we have included a wonderful 4WD trip into the wild Gennargentu Mountains to enjoy a Shepherd’s picnic lunch. 4WD vehicles will not be strange to you and they are designed to take you on rough uneven road surfaces. Whilst the drivers will always take full care and attention, the bumpy terrain could be challenging to any with back problems (or similar). If in doubt, ask your Tour Manager for clarification. As a reminder your Su Gologone hotel is a remarkable place to stay and enjoy anyway, so whether you join the excursion or not, you will have a fabulous day. Again, the choice is yours.  
 

La Grande France

  • No special mobility challenges (apart from the Gouffre de Padirac – see below) however from experience we know that since this tour is packed with so many top shelf experiences people find it more taxing than usual.
  • The Gouffre de Padirac cave visit can be a little more challenging as there are 75 steps down to the underground river level. There are 3 sets of elevators to take you all the way back up. If you want to visit the Salle du Grand Dome it involves 150 steps up and down. Your choice.

Magnifico Spain and Portugal

  • In mid-summer, the heat may be energy sapping.
  • The very grandeur of Spain is in their huge main squares and grand cathedrals. You can expect to be on your feet a little longer than usual as walking tours take more time. 
  • The walk up to Evora centre is uphill and a little harder.
 

Northern Spain & the Pyrenees

  • We include 2 cable car rides up mountains.  Whenever you are at even a moderate altitude breathing becomes a little more laboured when you exert yourself. Having said that, neither summit we visit is very high, and there is no need to do anything but take in the views. So as long as you take things easy and go at a more leisurely pace (and with Albatross we have time!) you will be fine.
 

Croatia & the Adriatic

  • In mid-summer, the heat may be energy sapping.
  • Most of Croatia’s fabulous cities and towns have large pedestrian centres which mean you will be up for more walking. None too hard but take comfortable shoes. 
 

Scandinavia, in the Footsteps of Vikings

  • On this tour we avoid about 10 days of driving by catching a series of planes and a Hurtigruten ferry. When we fly you will need to transport your luggage through the airport terminals, and when we catch the afternoon ferry you will need to wheel your bags on and off the (bumpy) loading platform.
  • In the Lofoten Islands we have included an incredible RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) ride out to the maelstrom.  This will obviously not operate if the weather or seas are not good. Nevertheless, if you have back problems (or similar) you may need to consider your options. This will be weather dependent, so please consult your Tour Manager on the day.
  • If you choose to replace the easy fjord cruise and instead take on the Pulpit Rock hike, then you must have a good level of fitness. Allow 2 hours walk in each direction over very uneven ground, and up and down stone steps.

Best of British

  • No special mobility challenges

The Ireland Connection

  • Blarney Castle is set in a gorgeous location. The walk to it is very easy. If you wish to go to the stop to kiss the stone you need to negotiate a spiral staircase up the equivalent of about 4 storeys.
  • Only one activity on the Aran Islands is physically taxing and that is when we visit the spectacular rock castle of Dun Aengus. The walkway is about 400 metres up a rocky road to the cliff top. It is quite straight forward and you just need to pace yourself and take your time.  It is an incredible experience standing on top of the rock castle above those huge, wave battered cliffs. Alternatively, if you want, you can instead enjoy the woollen shops and café at the start of the walkway. Your choice.
 

Glorious Germany & the Czech Republic

  • No special mobility challenges

The Alpine Adventure

  • Altitude is really the only fitness issue you may have to deal with. On this Mountain adventure we have included a number of sensational cable car and train rides. In particular, The Aiguille du Midi, Gornergrat and Jungfrau Joch rides, take you up above 10,000 feet. In itself this is not particularly high, but since you will be ascending to the top quickly you need to understand that you should now take things very easy. Breathe more deeply, move more slowly and hydrate. These excursions are utterly spectacular and should not be missed, and they require no exertion or activity on your part, so walk and move more gently, get up from you seat a little more slowly, and enjoy being on the roof of the world. Let’s face it, you are with Albatross so what is the rush? 
  • When you take the Little Red Train up to the restaurant station above the Mer du Glace you will see the Glacier down below you. You can take a cable car part way down, but to visit and walk inside the  blue glacier ice caves you will need to descend the metal stairways. You will know your own fitness, so you choose if you walk down them. If you don’t, make sure look up, look around and enjoy the spectacular scenery.  

Black Forest, Bavaria & the Tyrol

  • Neuschwanstein Castle is set high on rocky spur. If you walk up the hill it takes about 15 minutes each way. There is a bus service that can take you up the hill. It will drop you near the top and you will then have a relatively flat 1 minute, scenic walk to the castle entrance. Horse and buggy rides can also be arranged but they are very popular, so you need to expect a long wait. This will drop you about 400 metres from the top. Inside the castle... when Ludwig built the castle he did not install a lift! You will be touring up and down over five levels, however the stairways are not difficult, and not steep, however please be aware that there are nevertheless almost 350 steps in total to negotiate.
  • The Krimml waterfalls are a series of cascades coming down the mountains side. You do not need to walk far for the spectacular views and the further you walk the harder it gets. Again, as always, it is your choice to stop, or your opportunity to get some exercise!
 

Belgium & Holland, Cobblestones and Windmills

  • No special mobility challenges
 

Rhine Castles, Moselle Vineyards & Ancient Cologne

  • No special mobility challenges
 

Innsbruck, Bavarian 'Fairytale' Castles and the Oberammergau Passion Play Experience

  • Neuschwanstein Castle is set high on rocky spur. If you walk up the hill it takes about 15 minutes each way. There is a bus service that can take you up the hill. It will drop you near the top and you will then have a relatively flat 1 minute, scenic walk to the castle entrance. Horse and buggy rides can also be arranged but they are very popular, so you need to expect a long wait. This will drop you about 400 metres from the top. Inside the castle... when Ludwig built the castle he did not install a lift! You will be touring up and down over five levels, however the stairways are not difficult, and not steep, however please be aware that there are nevertheless almost 350 steps in total to negotiate.

Salzburg, Bavarian 'Fairytale' Castles and the Oberammergau Passion Play Experience

  • Neuschwanstein Castle is set high on rocky spur. If you walk up the hill it takes about 15 minutes each way. There is a bus service that can take you up the hill. It will drop you near the top and you will then have a relatively flat 1 minute, scenic walk to the castle entrance. Horse and buggy rides can also be arranged but they are very popular, so you need to expect a long wait. This will drop you about 400 metres from the top. Inside the castle... when Ludwig built the castle he did not install a lift! You will be touring up and down over five levels, however the stairways are not difficult, and not steep, however please be aware that there are nevertheless almost 350 steps in total to negotiate.

The 2 Passion Plays - Sordevolo & Oberammergau

  • Neuschwanstein Palace is set high on rocky spur. If you walk up the hill it takes about 30 minutes each way. There is a bus service that can take you up the hill. It will drop you near the top and you will then have a relatively flat 1 minute, scenic walk to the castle entrance. Horse and buggy rides can also be arranged but they are very popular, so you need to expect a long wait. This will drop you about 400 metres from the top. Inside the Palace… when Ludwig built the Palace he did not install a lift! You will be touring up and down over 2 levels, however being a Palace (and not a castle) the stairways are broad and very easy to manage.

If you have any doubts about the activities described above please contact us to speak with one of our experienced European tour specialists.