Since Moorish times, the Andalucians have been building exquisite houses and palaces to celebrate their wealth and good fortune. From the intricate architecture of The Moorish Kings to the lavish designs of the Spanish nobility after the conquest of The New World. Many of these treasures have now been carefully converted into luxurious hotels that have conserved these riches for those of us lucky enough to visit.
Beautiful handmade tiles, dramatic staircases, columns, arches and cool internal patios that are the most beautiful that Andalucía has to offer. This journey through history takes you from the jewel in the crown The Parador of The Alhambra to a tucked away Kings palace in the centre of Seville. These superb hotels also offer sublime dining experiences and are all excellently situated to capture the atmosphere of the whole region as you travel around its main highlights.
This holiday can start on any date you request and we can arrange for you to collect your car from a number of different airports
Day One - Arrive Granada and transfer to your hotel in Granada for 2 nights
Times have changed since Washington Irving whiled away his time within the walls of The Alhambra; sleeping inside the Nazrid palace and eating dinner in the Patios de los Leones. Alas this is no longer possible but staying in the Parador de la Alhambra is the next best thing. Stopping to take one last look out of your bedroom window over the floodlit gardens and fountains of the Generalife, before laying your head in one of the most precious and beautiful monuments of the world is a truly amazing start to any holiday.
Day Two – Private Guided visit to The Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens
The Alhambra Palace, was short-listed to be one of the New Seven Wonders of The World. It is an absolutely stunning complex of palaces, summer gardens, fountains and courtyards which once seen is never forgotten and often revisited time and time again. Built during the reign of the pleasure loving califas, every view inside the complex is a picture of harmony and balance with natural light and the sound of running water creating the perfect environment for meditation and relaxation; which was the essence of Moorish life at this time.
This morning you will be met by your own personal expert and guide who will give you a three hour tour of the palace complex and gardens that will bring every corner to life through its history and legends.
Free afternoon in Granada City
Down below The Alhambra you find the "new" Granada created by the conquering Kings" Isabel and Fernando. The cathedral is a symbol of their final victory over Spain and next door you can also see their humble tombs in the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel).
Late afternoon/early evening is the best time to wander around the Albaicin, the medieval quarter of Granada which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Winding your way up you will eventually reach the Plaza de San Nicolas where local flamenco artists gather to practise their art, overlooking the famous panoramic view of The Alhambra with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada behind. We can also book you dinner in one of our favourite restaurants where the food is great but the highlight is the floodlit view of the Alhambra from your table!
Day Three - Transfer to Cordoba for 1 night
Tonight your hotel will be a converted palace in juderia of Cordoba which once belonged to the aristocratic Castejón family and was classified as a monument of national cultural interest in 1982. In medieval times Cordoba was the most advanced city in the whole of Europe, a centre of culture and learning where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together in a thriving society. Today it is a quieter Andalucían city with an unpretentious atmosphere, different from the passion and flamboyance of Seville.
The streets surrounding the mezquita are filled with ancient bodegas and tapas bars. The great mosque was built to rival Mecca and is a building of incredible mystic powers and the first glimpse inside is a jaw dropping experience. This jaw then drops further when you encounter a huge catholic cathedral almost hidden inside! Surrounding the mezquita is the delightfully crumbling juderia; a fascinating place to get lost in as you wander around the narrow maze of streets, lined with geranium filled balconies and green shady patios.
There are many things to discover in the juderia from original Moorish bath houses, to one of only three synagogues that survived the expulsion of The Jews from Spain.
Day Four - Transfer to Seville for 2 nights
Your palace in Seville will be the former home of the King of Baeza, a beautiful building which has been creatively restored into a luxury hotel combining all the traditional features with state of the art hotel facilities. The city of Seville is the most vibrant in the whole of Andalucia and there are so many things to see and do: The Río Guadalquivir, from where Columbus sailed to The Americas, the Tower of Gold where all the riches were stored and the Maria Louisa Park which was created for the Fair of The Americas in the early 19th Century.
Authentic Flamenco Show
For your first evening in Seville you will have a reservation at what is known as THE place to watch flamenco in the city. Unpretentious and authentic; it is where you can see the up and coming National stars who are studying the art of flamenco at the prestigious local school. The setting is also perfect; a traditional Andaluz patio on the edge of the barrio Santa Cruz.
Day Five - Private Guided Tour of Seville's Royal Alcazar, Cathedral and Barrio Santa Cruz
Today you will explore the city of Seville, beginning with a private tour of the highlights of the city with a professional local guide. Starting off in the cathedral, one of the largest Gothic churches of the world where from the Arabic minaret La Giralda you get stunning panoramic views of the city. Across the square is the Alcazar; a royal palace for over 1000 years and home to some of Spain's most beautiful Mudejar architecture and gardens, and behind the palace is the romantic barrio Santa Cruz, the medieval part of the city which is a labyrinth of narrow streets and white washed houses with iron grilled windows and geranium covered balconies.
Day Six - Transfer to Arcos de la Frontera for 2 nights
Moving south, your next few nights will be spent in the stunning setting of the Parador of Arcos de la Frontera. Your "room with a view" will have a stunning vista of the river valley down below or the old town. Arcos is one of Andalucia's most dramatically positioned pueblos blancos (white villages), balanced atop a rocky limestone ridge, its whitewashed houses and stone castle walls stopping abruptly as a sheer cliff face plunges down to the fertile valley of the river Guadalete below. The town was declared a national historic-artistic monument in 1962 in recognition of its exceptional architecture and impressive location, the old town is a tangled labyrinth of cobbled streets that lead up to a sandstone castle, the Castillo de los Arcos. As you'd expect from such a spectacular vantage point, there are exhilarating views over the town and the rolling plain below.
Day Seven - Free morning with a Guided Bodega visit with tasting and tapas in nearby Jerez
For the morning you are free to wander the old town, take a hike up to the castillo or sit in the square with a cup of coffee and watch the world go by. A short drive away is the city of Jerez de la Frontera - Sherry and Brandy is what put Jerez on the map worldwide and around lunch time you will be expected at one of the smallest yet most historically important bodegas within the city that is rarely discovered by tourists. Your tour will be detailed and will help you to understand the whole process of making the wines plus the history of the grape in Spain going back over 3000 years. After touring the bodega you will then have a personal tasting session also including a selection of Iberian tapas such as ham and cheese. It may also be possible to include a visit to the Royal School of Equestrian Arts to see the amazing "horse ballet".
Day Eight - Transfer to Ronda for 2 nights
Passing through and stopping off in some of the lesser known "pueblos blancos" on the road from Arcos to Ronda will take up most of your day as you head inland and start to climb up to the stunning hill top town of Ronda. Here your beautiful accommodation will be an intimate, luxury hotel which clings to the edge of the El Tajo gorge, overlooking the "Puente Nuevo" with the most stunning mountain vistas imaginable. The hotels rooms are all individually styled with luxury fabrics and antiques and from your bedroom window you can look down into the gorge to see the Choughs (Raven-like birds) circling below you!
Day Nine - Private Guided Tour of Ronda
This morning you will have a private guided walking tour of the town with the very same guide company that escorted Michelle Obama when she visited Ronda in August 2011. Your walking tour will include all the major sights of the town including the bullring (the oldest in Spain) and where the modern day corrida was born, the Casa del Rey del Moro and the Palacio Mondragon - the medieval palace of the Moorish kings. Ronda is one of the oldest towns in Spain and it is filled with the mystery and intrigue of times gone by. It is positioned on an outcrop of rock in the middle of the sierra and for this reason it has been fiercely defended and fought over for thousands of years. Surrounded by the crumbling Arabic city walls, the two parts of the town are linked by the "Puente Nuevo" which spans the dramatic El Tajo river cut gorge. Ronda's romantic image was forged in the 19th century with tales of banditry and bullfighting which left strong impressions on the minds of travelling dignitaries who then told of Ronda's charm to the rest of the world.
Just a short drive from Ronda are the Caves of Pileta where you can actually see some of the world’s best examples of Stone Age art. Visits to the cave are on an "if there's enough people we go" basis, and you are then guided by lamplight by a member of the original family that discovered the caves into the deep caverns where the cave paintings can be seen.
Day Ten - Transfer to Malaga airport, deposit your hire car and say farewell to Andalucia!
Your first hotel is the jewel in the crown of Andalucian hotels; this converted 15th Century convent is situated...
This 5 star hotel is located in the medieval centre of Cordoba and is an inspiring mix of past and present, the result of a painstaking restoration project of a 16th century palace...
In Seville you will be based inside the former palace of The King of Baeza, which was given to him by the King of Spain in the 13th century. It is charming in design and luxurious...
Your hotel in Arcos was formally a palace and the Casa del Corregidor. Its location is stunning, atop the cascading village of Arcos…
Luxury hotels from 2420.00 Euros *
* Price per person, based on two people sharing a standard double or twin room:
Please note these prices do not take in to consideration local and national holidays which may increase hotel rates for certain dates throughout the year, particularly Semana Santa (Holy Week) which in 2021 is from Sunday 28th March to Monday 5th April 2021. The Feria de Abril in Seville and the Festival de los Patios in Cordoba.
Please enquire for an exact quote for your required dates and particular room requirements.
We have been fortunate to have travelled extensively throughout the world and Andalucia is 'up there with the best of the destinations'. Whether we visited cities, towns or white villages we loved them all as they had all been efficiently organized by Nicola. The scenery in the sierras was to die for and well worth driving through them. The little extras; the tours and shows were necessary and valuable to understand the destinations and culture of the area.
The hotels were not only delightful but superbly located to appreciate the area; again due to Nicola's knowledge and her determination to please the discerning client. Driving in some of the villages can be described as an experience but with the detailed maps, sat nav, and information provided it was made easier. We will be returning to Spain and Lemon Valley will be our first choice to travel with.
I just got back from my trip yesterday and wanted to write to you right away to tell you how much my friends and I LOVED everything about the trip! I realize I took a leap of faith with Lemonvalley Holidays because I didn't really know anything about you, but my faith was well placed. Every detail was perfect and all of the arrangements happened without a glitch. We had many good meals and wonderful experiences - the Mezquita, the Arab baths, the Seville cathedral in particular. Our first night in Granada we sat on the rooftop terrace of Las Estrellas restaurant and watch dusk fall over the Alhambra and then saw it lit up. It was a magical sight and one we will not soon forget. All in all, this was one of our favorite trips and I can't thank you enough. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful itinerary for us.
As I was the ringleader of this trip, I cannot tell you how fortunate I feel to have chosen Lemon Valley, and I will certainly recommend you to ANYBODY who might ask. Please fell free to use my name or to put people in touch with me. I am totally in awe of Lemon Valley and cannot thank you enough.
Hi Nicola, I can't thank you enough for the arrangements you made for me.... if I was there I would hug you! Everything was completely thorough and above my expectations. The hotels were lovely, paper work organized beautifully and the guides were fun. Whenever someone asked about the type of travel I was doing I recommended your services highly.
This is the ultimate experience of Andalucía; staying in the most beautiful 4 and 5 star luxurious hotels, as you are chauffeured around the great Moorish cities…
This complete tour encompasses all that is fascinating and beautiful about Portugal; after spending time at the capital city of Lisbon you head north stopping at medieval villages and religious shrines…
This journey around Moorish Andalucía, visits the great cities of Granada, Seville and Cordoba plus a few relaxing days to immerse yourself in rural Spain staying in a stunning hilltop White village…