Where better to marvel at stunning Moorish architecture, discover vibrant traditions such as flamenco dancing and wander around palaces and rich historic sites than Andalusia?
This multi-stop, seven-day tour takes in the best of this region’s culture and history, while treating you to indulgent experiences – including a private tour of a sherry bodega where you can taste its sherries – and wonderful authentic hotels throughout the holiday. Many of the sights we encounter will provide incredible settings for photographs and our experienced guide, Simon, will use his knowledge and passion to illuminate their histories along the way.
From the Giralda Bell Tower and the Alcázar of Seville to a national park that is home to threatened bird species and important ecosystems, we explore it all. Soak up the November sun in this glorious part of Spain, sample sumptuous regional produce and lose yourself in the rich tapestry of culture, heritage and traditions to be found here.
This morning we fly to Malaga and upon arrival we drive to Osuna, a charming town with distinctive Baroque style houses, where we check into our hotel and get to know each other over a welcome group dinner and drinks.
We drive to historic Córdoba, the ancient capital of Spain, where we walk through the old Jewish quarter. This network of narrow lanes is packed with history and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. In the afternoon, we will stop for lunch and then we will visit the Palacio de Viana. Here, we can explore this Renaissance palace’s magnificent art collection, its 12 stunning courtyards and surrounding gardens. It was home to the Marqueses de Viana until 1980 and is now open to the public for tours of its antiques.
Today we tour three World Heritage Sites, all of which are picture perfect and ideal for our creative focus. We start out at the Museo de Bellas Artes, which is home to gorgeous artworks from the medieval period to the early 20th century. After a visit here, we walk via the city’s Jewish Quarter to the Giralda Tower and Cathedral. The Giralda Bell Tower has been extremely well preserved and it is a magnificent sight to behold. Seville’s cathedral, meanwhile, was constructed between 1434 and 1517 and is impressive in its scale. Following lunch, we wander through history on our way to the Alcázar of Seville – a breathtaking palace with lovely shaded gardens. Interestingly, several movies were filmed at this location, including ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and Ridley Scott’s ‘Kingdom of Heaven’.
Crossing the Guadalquivir River, we make our way to Doñana, discovering the different ecosystems of the national park along the way – beach, dunes, pinewood, marshlands and finally an ancient village of huts. This area of outstanding natural beauty is a mosaic of land and water, which provides a fantastic habitat for birds and has become an important wetland in mainland Europe. Five threatened bird species also call this park home.
Wine production, flamenco dancing and fine horses – an exciting chance to visit the area’s famed Royal Riding School and also to take an exclusive tour of a traditional sherry bodega, where we will get to sample some of its amazing produce. Once we have enjoyed a private tasting here, we will head back to Sanlúcar for the remainder of the afternoon.
Today we explore the ecologically outstanding area known as Grazalema National Park. Declared a UNESCO Biosphere reserve back in 1977, it is revered for its rugged limestone landscape that boasts dramatic gorges, caves and cliffs. Afterwards, we make our way to Ronda and here, above the magnificent gorge, we enjoy lunch at the Parador. There will be time to explore this striking mountaintop city later on.
We depart early this morning for our flight back home.
A fluent Spanish speaker, Simon has lived in Southern Spain for over twenty-five years now and will be your tour leader on our cultural discovery of Andalusia.
We stay in three equally charming hotels on our cultural tour of Andalusia, all of which have been chosen both for their charm and also their convenience to the centre of town. La Casona de Calderon is a 17th century building in the heart of Osuna. Hotel Barrameda is a modern hotel situated in the central square of Sanlúcar. Hotel del Pintor is a boutique hotel located in the heart of Malaga’s Old Town.