Andalucia itinerary 29 September – 10 October 2020
29 September-10 October 2020
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 29TH
Arrive at Hotel Gravina. Transfers can be arranged to the hotel for an additional fee.
Formerly an illustrious 20th century Sevillian Palace, this charming and luxurious boutique hotel built around two interior courtyards has recently undergone a major refurbishment and now combines style, comfort and luxury in its 38 rooms. Its location, right in the heart of a very desirable area of town and close to the river, means we have plenty to explore nearby and the main sights within easy reach.
Guided Tapas Tour, three hours. Tapas is one of Spain’s most famous and enjoyable ways of having a meal. It normally involves visiting a number of bars during the course of an evening, trying local delicacies and sharing each dish with your companions. The challenge for many visitors is knowing where to go, how to order and what to expect. Our local experts will take you off the tourist trail and into Seville’s side streets and hidden plazas. They will introduce us to the local bars with their buzzing atmosphere and busy barmen. We will also learn about numerous Spanish wines. Taste the local delicacies and soak up the sights, sounds and smells of a true night out in Seville.
Dinner & Drinks included
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH
Guided Walking Tour of Seville, three hours. Meet our guide and set off to explore Seville’s greatest monuments. Visit the Santa Cruz suburb and the old Jewish quarter. This is an area peppered with narrow, meandering streets and charming plazas. Learn about Seville’s great cathedral, the largest gothic cathedral in the world and site of the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Visit the Alcázar, a royal palace built by Moorish kings, with beautiful gardens and the finest examples of mudejar architecture to be seen today. Learn about the fascinating relationship between Peter the Cruel and Mohamed V which allowed for the Alcázar to benefit from the finest artists and architects in Spain.
Tickets to the Alcazar and the Cathedral are included
Our driver and vehicle will be with us throughout the afternoon to help us explore the city of Sevilla.
Visit a Guitar Workshop OR a Flamenco Dress Workshop
Visit the guitar workshop of Alberto, is one of the last true flamenco guitar artisans, making just 12 guitars a year! His humble workshop is a small temple of flamenco art, photos and materials devoted to the flamenco guitar. Alberto honours his profession by maintaining the old and true methods, producing some of the most beautiful and unique guitars in the flamenco world. This is a very special visit.
OR Private Visit to a Flamenco Workshop
As an alternative to the guitar workshop, this afternoon we can visit one of the city’s most famous flamenco dress makers. On arrival, we’ll be welcomed and shown upstairs to the private areas of the shop. We’ll be told all about the origins and history of the brand and its journey through flamenco history. Meet the artisans in charge of hand-making some of the finest dresses in the country. Downstairs we will also be shown around the shop floor itself with its dresses, fans, manila shawls and more.
A Flamenco Jamming Session, two hours.
Late this afternoon we’re going to meet some of the flamenco world’s rising stars. These young, professional flamenco artists have recently graduated from the most renowned international flamenco academy in Spain. Think of the Oxford/Cambridge of flamenco academies. Since graduating, these artists have been working on the flamenco scene around Andalucia. They’re young, professional, enthusiastic and superb artists. Instead of a flamenco show format in which artists and audience sit well apart and there is no interaction, we will experience a kind of “flamenco amongst family”. The artists will tell us all about themselves, their love of flamenco, their background and studies, the origins of flamenco and answer any questions that we may have. Between explanations, they will perform different types of flamenco music live for us. Think of this as being like a Jazz jamming session.
Traditional Sevillano Dinner
This evening we’ve arranged dinner for us at a favourite local restaurant. The Antigua Abaceria de San Lorenzo is a traditional establishment, specialising in “mama’s home cooking” dishes in a relaxed atmosphere, full of sounds, smells and authenticity!
Dinner not included, reservation only.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 1ST
Private Art Restoration Visit, 2.5 hours
In the old town of Seville, hidden down a small side street, a simple, nondescript door opens to welcome you into a nineteenth century abode filled with artistic treasures. Renowned art restorers, Jesus, Pablo and Virginia, invite you (and your local guide) into their home to share their passion for their profession and reveal the techniques they use to save age-old pieces and bring them back to life. Far removed from museum queues and shuffling tour groups and in the privacy of their home, these experts in their field, talk us through the numerous works of art that are being restored. Depending on the day, you might find Golden Age paintings, rococo mirrors, ivory crucifixes or Roman pottery over 2000 years old. This is a truly magical experience for art lovers.
Guided Walking Tour of Triana, 2.5 hours
The area of Triana began as a working class settlement on the fringe of Seville city. It was often shunned by the main population, left outside the city walls and unprotected against the wrath of the Guadalquivir River. Against all adversity, it gradually created its own identity. For centuries it was a working class mariners suburb, full of gypsy flamenco, exquisite ceramics, famous bullfighters and the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. In the silent side streets and behind closed doors are hidden tales and legends from centuries past. We will step away from the city centre monuments and the tourist bustle. Enjoy stunning views across the river towards the main city. Delve into Triana and listen to swashbuckling tales from the times of Columbus, discover the origins of their renowned ceramic tradition, hear humbling stories of the Spanish Inquisition and meet some of Seville’s most unique characters of today and yesterday.
Lunch Reservation at Restaurant Arroceria Criaito
Today we have reserved lunch at a specialist rice restaurant. Criaito specialises in dry rices, such as paella, originally from the Valencia region. But they also specialise in local Seville rices, called “arroz caldoso” which is a stock rice. Rice orders must be arranged the day before your meal to ensure the ingredients are just right and the rice is cooked to perfection.
Lunch not included reservation only
FRIDAY OCTOBER 2ND
DAY TRIP TO CÁDIZ, JEREZ & A SHERRY WINERY
We’ll spend a day visiting the beautiful cities of Cádiz and Jerez de la Frontera. Cádiz is the oldest city in Western Europe. It juts out into the Atlantic Ocean with water on all sides and charming colonial architecture that reminds many of Cuba. Jerez is the capital of the sherry region, cradle of flamenco song and home of the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art. We will spend our morning exploring Jerez where we will discover the city with a guided walk then arrive at a local sherry winery where we will enjoy a visit and tasting before travelling to Cádiz. Lunch in the old city before exploring the centre and its charming streets and plazas. In the afternoon, continue to our accommodation in Vejer.
Lunch not included, reservation only.
Hotel La Casa del Califa, Cadiz, two nights. Classic Double Rooms & Junior Suites with Breakfast. La Casa de Califa is a boutique hotel which takes inspiration from the days when Vejer formed part of a great Islamic empire. Almost 500 years of Islamic domination left an indelible mark on the culture of the region and staying at this hotel allows us to experience a taste of that era. The hotel was created by joining eight houses of varying architectural styles through cobblestoned corridors and intimate courtyards.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 3RD
DAY TRIP TO THE COSTA DE LA LUZ
This excursion combines white villages, beautiful coastal scenery and incredible seafood. Spend the morning exploring the winding streets and whitewashed houses of Vejer de la Frontera. Enjoy the views of the Atlantic, the Strait of Gibraltar and the surrounding countryside. Learn all about Vejer’s rich and curious history. Pass through Barbate, Spain’s most famous tuna fishing port. Our drive will take us through the Breña park pine forest before dropping down to perhaps the most beautiful beach in Andalucia. On a clear day, you can gaze across at Africa. Enjoy the silky sand dunes and cool Atlantic waters on the beach, or hike to the lighthouse viewpoint where the Battle of Trafalgar was fought. There will also be the chance to sample some of the renowned seafood of the Costa de la Luz in one of the traditional local restaurants. We’ll explore the “Coast of Light” and its picturesque seaside fishing villages before making your way back to Vejer.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 4TH
DRIVE TO RONDA
Day trip to White Villages Zahara & Grazalema. Prepare yourself for an excursion full of breath-taking scenery and enchanting villages. We travel to the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema, taking in some of the most spectacular views in Andalucia. Driving through olive groves, then rolling meadows, cork forests and mountainous terrain we will visit Zahara de la Sierra & Grazalema, perched atop limestone cliffs like snowdrops, with their immaculate streets, white washed houses and artisanal craft and food producers. There will be the chance to delve further into the Sierra to explore tracks and trails formerly used by bandits and ideal for hiking, taking us through pine forest and nature reserve. Keep an eye on the sky to spot a great array of birds of prey. Sample the renowned local food including Payoyo cheese, cured meats and mountain stews in a local restaurant. Immerse yourself in the true Andalucia, away from the hustle and bustle, where the siesta thrives and the locals are so laid back they’re falling over.
Hotel La Fuente de la Higuera, Double Rooms & Classic Suites with Breakfast, three nights). This tastefully furnished hotel of only 11 rooms and suites on the outskirts of Ronda is based in a centuries old olive mill surrounded by olive and fig trees. Fuente La Higuera combines rural luxury with a very personal touch to make what we believe is the ideal hotel near Ronda. The centrepiece of the lovingly-tended garden is the pool, with sweeping views over the hills and valleys. Ronda, the historic and charming town is 10 minutes away by car.
Dinner in Hotel La Fuente’s Restaurant – Included
MONDAY OCTOBER 5TH
FULL DAY IN AND AROUND RONDA
Our driver will collect us from our hotel in the morning and will be with us throughout the day.
Walking Tour of Ronda, three hours. This morning one of our favourite locals will take us on a private guided tour of the Ronda very few visitors get to experience. We’ll stroll through the tiny backstreets of one of the oldest towns in Spain, past incredible buildings and be absolutely mesmerised by the views of the River Tajo from the Ronda Bridge.
(Ronda monument tickets are included)
Guided visit and lunch and wine tasting, three hours
Ronda is a small wine region that is making a lot of noise amongst wine connoisseurs. Varying altitudes and microclimates and a broad variety of grapes and techniques make it a very interesting vinicultural region. We have arranged a special visit to one of the area’s smaller, family run bodegas. Learn all about their journey before sitting down to taste their finest wines with our delightful and very chatty host before a special lunch to accompany the wine
Lunch & wine included
TUESDAY OCTOBER 6TH
DAY TRIP TO HIKE IN THE GENAL VALLEY & VISIT A MOUNTAIN VILLAGE WITH LOCAL HOST
Today our guide is going to take us to a beautiful rural area, to the South of Ronda, the Genal Valley, sandwiched between the Sierras and the sea. Here we’ll be able to explore tiny towns and beautiful countryside with a hike, really getting under the skin of the local culture and far removed from the areas that are more frequented by tourists.
A Day in the Life of an Andalucian Mountain Village, four hours.
When we arrive at this little mountain village, we will meet Pepe, a warm and jovial local resident who will be our guide and host. Pepe will take us for a wander through the local countryside, telling us all about the local lifestyle, the fruits and products that they farm and their seasons. We’ll meet donkeys, dogs, cats, local neighbours and we’ll take in some breath-taking views of the village and the surrounding sierra. Drop down into the settlement itself and let Pepe show us around this charming village of 300 inhabitants. Visit the restored olive mill and the local bread maker. See how they make their bread in an 18th century oven and chat with the owners as well. Pepe will then take us to his pride and joy, his 300 square foot winery. Once we’ve met Pepe’s family and he’s told us about the wines he’s making, sit down to a sumptuous lunch, prepared by Pepe’s wife and enjoy a true country meal “en familia”. A personal and touching experience.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 7TH
DAY TRIP FROM RONDA, ANTEQUERA TO GRANADA
We leave Ronda behind us and travel east towards central Andalucia and the impressive mountain range of El Torcal and a visit to the Natural Reserve Fuente La Piedra .
Hidden just out of sight, but spanning for miles across the Antequera flatlands lies the beautiful and protected Laguna de Fuente Piedra. Once we’ve parked and climbed up to the visitors centre and viewpoint, you’ll be blown away by this incredible and enormous lagoon, packed full of wildlife. Here we will meet our local hostess and guide who will give us a tour around the centre. From here we will then travel off-road to a nearby olive grove to take up a privileged position to watch the wildlife and learn all about the birds and their ecosystem here. Weather permitting, (done inside or outside!) we will have a picnic lunch of delicious local products such as artisanal breads, local almonds, raisins, hams, cheese, tomatoes, seasonal fruits, jams and marmalades with local wines that will be tasted and explained by our hostess.
Afterwards, if there is time, we can pop into Antequera for a stroll before continuing around one hour to Granada.
Hotel Ladrón de Agua, Superior Rooms with Breakfast for three nights. This 16th century mansion house has been skilfully restored into a beautiful hotel with just 15 guestrooms in the heart of the Albayzin (also Albaicín, the old town) in the foothills of the Alhambra. The name of the hotel ‘El Ladron de Agua’ means the ‘Water Thief’ and was taken from the title of a poem by local poet Juan Ramon Jimenez. The hotel’s décor incorporates water symbols and images that are important in Granada’s history.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 8TH
GRANADA TRANSFER FROM HOTEL TO ALHAMBRA
Tour of Alhambra, three Hours. This morning will be one of the highlights of our tour of Spain with a guided tour of the truly magnificent ‘Alhambra’. With as many myths and legends as there are arches and fountains, the Alhambra is enthralling so expect the next few hours to fly by. It’s also got the best views in Granada. After the visit, you’ll have free time to explore the Alhambra at your leisure and then make your own way back down to Granada when you’re ready.
Traditional Tapas Lunch – Reservation Only
Today we’ve reserved lunch in the delicious Asador de Castilla. Famed for their grilled meats, but also for fresh local produce and vegetables, this is one of the top spots in Granada.
Lunch not included reservation only
FRIDAY OCTOBER 9TH
GRANADA TOUR OF ALBAYCIN, 2.5 HOURS
A relaxed, informal exploration of the Albaicín district, the one-time Moorish quarter of Granada and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our guide will show us how this medieval Islamic city has kept its identity into the modern age, explaining its social history and character in anecdotal style, and also answering our questions about current-day Spain. As we walk through its twisting alleyways we will come across stunning views of the city, the majestic Alhambra palaces and, beyond, the often snowcapped mountains of the Sierra Nevada. We will pass by churches built on the sites of mosques, stroll underneath the walls of the scented gardens of carmenes and stop in squares to take in the slow rhythms of daily life in this most traditional and yet singular neighbourhood.
Private Transfer from Hotel to Restaurante Aben Humeya
Traditional Granadino Dinner – Included
A visit to Granada wouldn’t be complete without experiencing an alfresco dinner in the courtyard of a traditional ‘Carmen’ (Moorish palace house). Overlooking the Alhambra, with the whisper of running water in the background and traditional Granadino food, this restaurant is sure to be one of the highlights of our trip. As we stroll back to our hotel after dinner, we`ll find ourselves on tiny cobblestone streets lined with Moroccan tea houses and stalls selling everything from clothes and shoes to traditional tajines – don’t resist the temptation to stop and browse.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH
TRANSFER FROM HOTEL TO GRANADA AIRPORT
Our driver will be waiting for you in the foyer to transfer you to the Granada Airport for your onward journey, OR select the optional two-day extension to Cordoba.
Cost: $7830 per person twin share
- Breakfast every day except Day 1 (arrival day), 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
- 11 nights in hotels on a twin share basis
- All admission fees and activities in the itinerary
- All tips in restaurants where meals are included
- Guided tours in all regions
- Liz and Michael with the tour at all times
- Still water with meals and on the bus
- Safe and comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
- International flights
- Travel Insurance
- Items of a personal nature – eg. laundry, alcohol and soft drinks, phone charges, spa treatments and other optional services provided by the hotel
- Meals not specifically included in the itinerary
- Private Guided Tapas Tour in Seville visiting a number of bars and trying local delicacies
- Visit to a Guitar Workshop OR a Flamenco Dress Workshop
- A Flamenco Jamming Session with some of the flamenco world’s rising stars.
- Private art restoration visit. Renowned art restorers, Jesus, Pablo and Virginia, invite us, and our guide, into their home to share their passion for their profession
- Explore Jerez and enjoy a tasting at a local sherry winery
- Day trip to White Villages Zahara & Grazalema. Prepare yourself for an excursion full of breath-taking scenery and enchanting villages.
- One of our favourite locals will take us on a private tour of the Ronda very few visitors get to experience.
- Visit and picnic in the Natural Reserve Fuente La Piedra
- Experience a day in the life of an Andalucian mountain village with Pepe, a warm and jovial local resident who will be our guide and host.
- Tour of the truly magnificent ‘Alhambra’.
- Farewell dinner in Granada in the courtyard of a traditional ‘Carmen’ (Moorish palace house)
Aracena Jamon Day Trip 28 October 2020
Cordoba 2 day extension 11-12 October
Download the itinerary here : Andalucia Itinerary
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