Northern Spain & Rioja Valley - Sport Coat Required?

In 37 short days we will be doing back to back Tauck tours. The first is Spain & Portugal and then we do Northern Spain. We recently got the detailed itinerary and under Clothing & Packing Suggestions it states that Sport coats for men are required for the palace dinner. I know some men do bring these on tours, but my husband just brings a dress shirt and slacks and that has been fine for the 3 trips we have been on to date. Since we will be traveling a total of 30 days, we would prefer not to bring a sport coat. Does anyone have experience with this tour and the requirement? Will we be unable to go to the "palace dinner" (I'm not even sure what palace dinner they are referring to on the itinerary). If not, we will make other arrangements. Thanks!


  • When Tauck says required, it usually means that the venue or restaurant has a dress code. How strictly they enforce that dress code is up to the venue. Sometimes I've seen men get by not meeting the dress code because the restaurant doesn't want to upset Tauck customers, but you shouldn't count on it. I'm guessing the venue in question is the farewell dinner (in your hotel, which is a converted palace). Check with Tauck to be sure. If it were me, I'd bring a coat.

  • edited March 2022

    They are probably able to loan jackets. It’s likely to be too warm to keep a coat on anyway. My husband would be reluctant to bring a jacket for one dinner in 30 days. Or, we would ask them to bring the dinner up to our room. With rules to only bring one suitcase, it’s tough.
    We were on one tour where we were going to be in a palace fr dinner. When it came to the day, the TD said there was no need to dress up, it would only be Tauck anyway.
    It, I guess as Ken says, call Tauck and they will probably give the generic answer.

    You know, if Tauck are wanting to attract younger customers for the future, and there are plenty with lots of money. they are going to have to accept that people are much more casual about clothing these days.
    Funnily enough. My girlfriend was just saying they had been invited to a wedding and it would mean her husband might need to buy a suit and he would rather not go.

  • The palace dinner is on the grounds of the hotel you will stay at in La Seu d'Urgell. I do not recall if jackets were mandatory, but I certainly remember how elegant the evening was. I believe we had a seven course dinner that lasted for hours.

    The Spaniards like to dress for their meals, especially in Madrid. Just something to think about as you plan your attire.

  • We will be on this tour from June 1 to June 14. It is going to be hot so I doubt if my husband will bring a jacket. Beginning on June 18 we will be taking the Douro river cruise on Viking. The four days in between we will stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lisbon and take some Viator tours before joining the Viking group.

  • Noreen - We will be on the Lisbon to Madrid Douro River tour next year. Spending a few days before in Lisbon. If any of your Viator excursions are great, please let’s us know. Thanks in advance.

  • Noreen, I too would like to hear your Viator tour experiences. We don't go til Oct and I want to spend some of our extra time going to Sintra. Looked at several Viator tours and weighing whether to use them or just hop a train and do it on our own.

  • If the restaurant is in the castle at the Sea d'Urgell, it will be only for the Tauck group. We were there in 2013. There was a mix of men with and without jackets. The picture shows a very well set table for the seven course dinner but even the man with a jacket had it on over a sportsshirt. We did not stay at the same hotel for the last night in Madrid. I cannot comment on that hotel.

  • edited March 2022

    While it looks as if most of your tour is all women, I do spy one man at the end of the table in just an open shirt.
    Just as a note to Madrid. That’s where I was the last time I went to Spain. I took dressy clothes, I was not on a tour but was there for several days. I also thought the locals dressed up, they did not by any means. I was the most dressed up in the restaurants. It’s a modern world out there, no one cares.
    I guess we mix with a younger age group, not stuffy old people. Some of our friends have nose rings and lots of tattoos, some like skimpy outfits. We all have to same hobby and care for each other, that’s all that matters.

  • There were more men on the other side of the table. None of them had on jackets. The setting was spectacular.

  • I will let you know about the Viator tours. We are thinking of taking one to Sintra but there are lots to choose from and I need to read and study them more before we make a decision regarding which one is best.

    It was wonderful seeing the photos of men without jackets. Kathy M, my husband will appreciate it and thank you for posting it.

  • Thank you all for your comments and especially the pictures! I did call Tauck and the agent looked it up and said their material said sport coats were optional. That's all the excuse my husband will need! Just doesn't make sense to bring one for one night in 30 days. Nice to see the pictures to know we will be OK with what we planned to bring. We are getting very excited to travel with Tauck again!!

  • Although the itineraries have changed slightly since I took these tours years ago, they are both fabulous and the food glorious. And if you are fortunate to have Todd H. and Patricia H. as tour directors, you will be very, very delighted. Have safe and happy travels. I look forward to reading your reviews.

  • Just returned from this tour. Sport coats not required.

  • Janrose - Thank you!

  • Bravo, Mr. S., way too much time spent on this Forum discussing attire. I agree that casual is the new normal, but I wouldn't say this is a function of age. There are numerous factors at play: lifestyle, profession, climate, simple personal preference. Don't think I've ever owned evening wear, thank goodness never had to wear a suit to work (I look terrible in navy), prefer comfortable natural fibers, whether traveling or at home. I'll take wrinkled linen over sparkly sequins any day.

  • You're right Market Art - lots of factors. I spent years in the DC area where business attire was common but now live back in the SW where few men own or wear suits. I have come to believe that each tour group sort of has an ethos of its own. Our first river cruise all the men had sport coats and ties for the dress up dinners. The next year during an Oct Rhine cruise there were very few. Mostly dress shirts and a warm pullover sweater. Lots of dresses on the first cruise and virtually none on the second. River cruises have for sure gotten more casual. Even the wait staff dresses more casual than they used to.

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