“Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”-Pablo Picasso, native Spaniard
Arrive at Málaga International Airport and meet your driver as you leave customs. Drive up into the nearby Alpujarra mountains for your first taste of the villages of Southern Spain. Stop in Lanjarón, famous for its mountain springs and spa. Drink the thermal waters before continuing your ascent to Pampaneira, Bubión, Capileira and Trevélez – the highest village in Spain. This entire area was inhabited by the moors until the mid-1500’s when they were expelled from Spain. Trevélez is also known for its Iberian ham which cures ideally in the cold, dry climate. We’ll stop at a ham shop and taste the local products. There are some great nature walks in these mountains. We’ll allow you some free time to discover them. Arrive at your hotel in Granada in time for an early dinner.
Meet your guide at the entrance to the Alhambra. We’ll go back 900 years to visit the 11th wonder of the world. The Gardens of Paradise, Alcázar fortress and renowned Nasrid Palaces are just some parts of the Alhambra Forbidden City that you’ll visit on tour. After leaving the palaces, take some time for an authentic medieval Nasrid lunch at the Parador San Francisco restaurant inside the Alhambra. Later in the day, meet your driver near your hotel to go to the Gypsy caves at Sacromonte just outside the city limits. Watch an authentic display of flamenco guitar and dancing followed by a late night walk through the Albaicín to catch the best views of the Alhambra by moonlight.
Discover these two jewels of the Andalucían Renaissance on a day trip from Granada. We’ll begin at Úbeda, a town on a hill near the valley of the High Guadalquivir River. Walk through its old town past churches, palaces and aristocratic houses. Enter El Salvador Chapel. Next on the itinerary is Baeza, the Olive Tree capital. Walk the streets where carved stone contrasts with whitewashed houses. After your visit to the Cathedral of Baeza, take some time to sample the local cuisine before returning to Granada.
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the ride west to Córdoba. Your guide will meet you at your hotel to begin your tour of what was once the most culturally advanced city in Europe. Enter the mosque, converted into a cathedral after the Reconquest in 1236 and listen to the stories of the sultans and commoners who built it together. Wander the Jewish Quarters, known for their jewelers, strolling among the whitewashed houses and red gardenias. Your guide will explain why the Jews lived in such cramped quarters and some of their customs. End the tour of Córdoba with a visit to one of the few remaining synagogues in Spain. You’ll have some time on your own before the evening show. Enter the Alcazar gardens on the shores of the Guadalquivir River for a light and water show.
Your driver will pick you up in the hotel lobby for the drive to the heart of the villages of southern Spain. Meet your guide at El Torcal Natural Park just outside the village for an easy hike through strange rock formations left by the Mediterranean Sea ages ago. Return to Antequera to check in at your hotel and take some time for lunch. In the afternoon, meet your guide in the hotel lobby for a tour of the prehistoric dolmen grave sites, Roman ruins, Moorish fortress, Renaissance convents and neoclassical churches.
Today we’ll drive north to Sevilla, the river port city that received all the New World riches. Most of the countryside you traverse today will be olive groves. Arrive at your hotel in Sevilla. Your guide will meet you here for a walking tour. Begin at the city walls, passing the Murillo Gardens with several stops in Barrio Santa Cruz. See the Alcázar fortress, Cathedral and Giralda prayer tower. End the tour at the Tower of Gold on the river where you’ll take a slow cruise up and down the Guadalquivir.
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the drive south of Sevilla through the mountains. Discover a small corner of Spain where traditional village life goes on as it has for thousands of years. We’ll make our first stop in Arcos de la Frontera, a village on the edge of Moorish and Christian battlefields during the middle ages. Next is Zahara de la Sierra, birthplace of Arab noblemen, conquistadors and bandits. Walk through its botanical gardens and steep streets before visiting an olive mill for a tour and tasting. Continue on to the tiny village of Grazalema, a town within a natural park. There is some easy hiking along a stream that leaves from the town. Take a break for lunch here.
After lunch, your driver will take you to Ronda, the birthplace of bullfighting. Go inside the bullring to step into the matador’s shoes. Later cross the New Bridge spanning a plunging gorge that separates Ronda’s New and Old Quarters. Once across the bridge, your guide will continue the tour down cobblestone streets into the Collegiate Church and Don Bosco’s Medieval Palace. Return to Sevilla in the evening.
Meet your driver near your hotel for a day trip to Aracena, a white village surrounded by green fields. This is the breeding grounds of the Iberian pig. Discover the secret behind Iberian Ham, Spain’s top gourmet delicacy. You’ll visit the heart of Aracena Natural Park as you learn the whole artisanal process behind a good Iberian Ham. The tour of the smokehouse includes a tasting in the Jabugo mountains. Continue with time on your own to walk through the charming village of Aracena, known for its architecture, gastronomy and Cave of Wonders just under the local castle.
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the driver along Cadiz’ coast to Vejer de la Frontera. Visit this classic Arabic town that towers above the surrounding area on its white cliffs. Stop next at Cape Trafalgar where Lord Nelson fought the famous battle that led to Spain’s liberation from France and his own death. Take some time to walk the dunes and enjoy the views over the Atlantic. Next stop is Bolonia and the ruins of a Roman fishing village called Baelo Claudia. Take some time to sample the local tuna steaks before returning to Sevilla.
Meet your driver for the ride to Sevilla airport.
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