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 the stunning hilltop White village of Arcos de la Frontera.
After the “sherry triangle” including Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz and Sanlucar de la Barrameda; the journey then takes you inland to Ronda; a beautiful and fascinating hilltop town and home to Spain’s oldest bullring and finally to Malaga – a truly Mediterranean City overlooked by many visitors. Drive through stunning & varied scenery as you discover some of Europe's most precious treasures including The Alhambra Palace of Granada, the great mosque of Cordoba and the Royal Alcazar of Seville.
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. Also, if you prefer not to drive all the time the first part of the itinerary can be done by train, collecting your rental car for the last few days only.
Day One - Arrive Malaga airport, collect hire car and transfer to Granada for 2 nights
After you have settled into your hotel, take a short walk to the souk like streets of the Alcaiceria surrounding the cathedral. Here you can try the delicious array of tapas that Granada offers from broad beans cooked with ham; meat balls with almond and saffron, to crumbling slices of Manchego cheese and the best jamon serrano from the Alpujarran village of Trevelez.
Day Two - Pre-booked 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. Your visit will include the entire complex including the gardens and inner Royal quarters of the Nazrid palace.
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 through the cascading streets, you will eventually reach the Plaza de San Nicolas where local flamenco artists gather to practise, overlooking the famous panoramic view of The Alhambra with the back-drop of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada.
Day Three - Transfer to Cordoba for 1 night
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 austere atmosphere, quite different from the passion and flamboyance of Seville. The streets surrounding the mezquita are filled with ancient bodegas and tapas bars and a glass of the local sherry-like Montilla is a must.
Day Four - A Morning in Cordoba
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. The jaw then drops further when you encounter a complete catholic cathedral hidden in the middle!
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 plazas. There are many things to discover in the juderia from original Moorish bath houses, to one of the only three synagogues to have survived the expulsion of The Jews from Spain.
After lunch transfer to Seville for 2 nights
The flamboyant Andalucían capital city of Sevilla combines its Moorish history with the legacy of the Spanish Golden Age when Columbus brought back immeasurable wealth from The Americas. The beautiful Arabic minaret "la Giralda" towers over one of the largest gothic cathedrals in the world and the colourful Plaza de España contrasts with the Mudejar palaces of the Royal Alcazar.
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 Guided walking tour of Seville
A local guide will give you a 2 hour walking tour of the city showing you the most famous historical sites plus many hidden gems that only the locals know. The guide's enthusiasm for their home town really brings the city to life and gives you an insight that the guide books never can.
After lunch you are free to further explore the city including a visit to the Royal Alcazar and cathedral, climb to the top of La Giralda, take a boat trip up the Río Guadalquivir or relax in the shade of the Marie Louisa Park.
Day Six - Transfer to Arcos de la Frontera for 2 nights (collect your hire car if taking the first part of this tour by train)
Today you head out into the huge open countryside of Andalucia to Arcos de la Frontera in the rural province of Cadiz, which is one of the most dramatically positioned pueblos blancos (white villages). The village is balanced atop a rocky limestone ridge and its whitewashed houses and stone castle walls stop abruptly as a sheer cliff face plunges down to the fertile valley of the river Guadalete below.
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.
The evening can be spent wandering through the medieval streets of Arcos where there are many small plazas with pavement cafes and bars as you make your way up to the top for the views from the castle.
Day Seven - A day exploring the province with a guided tour of a bodega with sherry tasting and tapas
The city of Jerez de la Frontera, just a short drive away, is encircled by vines that thrive in the chalky soil, and is the home and heartland of Sherry, (the word sherry itself is an English corruption of the word Jerez).
The great bodegas are situated in the heart of the town and the tweed wearing, Polo playing family dynasties have created a unique “English” feel to the city. 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.
Not far from Jerez you find the city of Cadiz; an island spit which still looks much as it did during the great days of The Spanish Empire. If you like fish then it does not come any better or fresher than in Cadiz. Stop for a late lunch overlooking The Bay of Cadiz and gaze out over The Atlantic Ocean as many have done before!
You could also visit the sleepy riverside town of Sanlucar de la Barrameda; another major sherry town just 8km from Jerez which sits on the estuary of the Rio Guadalquivir. Columbus sailed from here on his third voyage to The Americas. Sanlucar is famous for its seafood and one of the best restaurants in Andalucía sits overlooking the Côto de Doñana National Park across the river.
Day Eight - Transfer to Ronda for 2 nights
The hilltop town of Ronda sits on a ridge of The Serrania de Ronda and has been a strategic fortified village for thousands of years. Spread either side of the El Tajo gorge, the old and new towns are joined by the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). The views from Ronda are breath-taking and the excellent restaurants on the edge of the ridge offer lunch overlooking distant mountains, deep green valleys and clusters of white villages.
Ronda is a great place to just walk out from your hotel and wander around to see what you can see. There is no major agenda to be followed; just meander through the narrow streets, stop for a beer, wander a bit more, and soak up the atmosphere of this ancient town.
Day Nine - A day to explore Ronda and the Sierra de Grazalema
TJust outside Ronda you find the unique geological Natural Park of the Sierra de Grazalema. The park holds over 1 third of all Spanish plant species and also the rare Spanish Fir Pinsapo which has survived in the parks microclimate since the last ice age. The scenery is stunning with craggy peaks and deep gorges where Europe’s largest colony of Griffon Vultures circle overhead.
Each village you will encounter has its own cuisine and speciality dishes, handcrafted products and wine. Whilst driving through the sierra you can also visit the Pileta Caves where a member of the family who discovered the caves, will guide you on a lamp lit tour to see the 25,000 year old cave paintings.
Day Ten - Transfer to Malaga for 1 night
Malaga is a city often overlooked by visitors to Andalucía who never get to experience the heart of this truly Spanish city with a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. Tiny narrow streets lined with fresh fish restaurants and bodegas, lead off from wide palm lined avenues with their majestic buildings and designer stores. The Malageños say the best fresh fish of Andalucía is found in Malaga, the best wine of Andalucía is made in Malaga and the best fiesta of Andalucía is celebrated in Malaga; their pride for their city and priorities in life makes a stay here very pleasant.
Visit to The Picasso Museum
Picasso was born in Malaga and in the city you can visit the Picasso Museum (set in a beautiful building with stunning remains of the cities Phoenician walls on the lower floor) plus there is the house of his birth in the Plaza de la Merced which is towered over by the Moorish Alcazaba and close to the newly excavated Roman theatre. Malaga is also now home to the new Carmen Thyssen museum; a beautiful private collection set in a 16th century Baroque palace.
An evening stroll takes you along the seaside "paseo maritimo" where the air is filled with the aroma of skewered sardines "espetos" cooking on the open fires of the beach side "chiringuitos" and you can also visit the recently finished port area; an exceptional new development with dock-side restaurants, entertainment and a chance to walk alongside some of the super yachts and cruise liners that make a stop off in Malaga during their journey through The Mediterranean.
Day Eleven - Transfer to Malaga airport, deposit hire car and say farewell to Andalucía!
Your first hotel is a family owned, newly restored 16th Century house, situated in The Albaicin barrio of Granada, just below The Alhambra Palace...
In Cordoba your base will be a lovely 9 bedroom hotel located in the heart of the Juderia, where the rooms are located within four beautiful protected houses...
Located in the heart of Seville, this hotel is based around the theme of classical music where magic, comfort and hospitality combine. Adapted from a XVIII century...
Your hotel in Arcos was formally a palace and the Casa del Corregidor. Its location is stunning, atop the cascading village of Arcos…
This lovely 4 star hotel in Ronda sits on the edge of the 120m deep El Tajo gorge in the very centre of the old town. It has a splendid yet cosy interior…
16th November 2020 – 28th February 20211st July 2020 – 31st August 2020
From 1445.00 Euros *
1st March 2021 – 30th June 2021
1st September 2020 – 15th November 2020
From 1565.00 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.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for a wonderful holiday in Andalucia. We loved the country, people, hotels, food, history and of course the wine. We greatly appreciated your notes and visited many of the sites and bars you recommended. We will return to Spain again now that you have whetted our appetite.
We arrived home a week ago and have not had time to email you. Usual excuses! The holiday you organized went like clockwork! Everyone was most helpful and courteous. The places we visited were superb and we benefited from the guided tours in Granada and Seville, they were able to bring some local colour to the sites. All the hotels were comfortable and charming in their different ways, clearly all well situated and within easy walking distance of anything and everything. We would both like to thank you and your company for your help and be assured we will be recommending.
Thank you for arranging a really marvellous holiday. ALL your plans worked out perfectly with smooth connections and easy directions, we had no difficulties or hassles. We loved having the strain taken away without feeling organised. (I know we were organised but it was a gentle touch!!). We especially loved the location for our hotels which were excellent. They were bang in the heart of things with character and we did not waste time getting to the historic and beautiful sights.The holiday was everything that I had hoped for and more. I will certainly hope to return - the Alhambra particularly stole my heart!
We arrived home a week ago after having a wonderful holiday. This was partly due to the fantastic organization by you of the Spanish section! . Thank you so much for the arrangements you made for us in all the parts of Spain that we visited. The Hotels, their situations, and the detail you provided for us was just fantastic. We could not have asked for anything better!. We had a marvellous time, thank you!
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