27 October 2016
Spain offers some of the richest cultural heritage to be found anywhere in Europe. And the Andalusia region is an excellent example with its unique blend of Roman, Arab and Catholic inspired influences. A journey along the back roads and through the mountain passes is the best way to discover the well-known icons as well as the charming lesser-known gems which you will discover on this great small group tour which begins and ends in Madrid and takes in other wonderful cities like Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Ronda and Granada.
Your Spanish Inspirations tour begins in the capital city Madrid and from there you head south to Toledo, which is known locally as the Imperial City. This is the former capital of Spain where hundreds of years of history unfold. Accompanied by a local guide you see the impressive cathedral as well as the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca and the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner in a traditional Spanish restaurant. Stay overnight at Hotel Carlos V.
Today you leave the beautiful hilltop city of Toledo and continue south across the vast plains of La Mancha, celebrated for their delicious wines, manchego cheese and, of course, Don Quixote. When you reach Valdepenas you visit a local bodega to sample wines and tapas before continuing to the enchanting city of Cordoba, whose historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend the next two nights at Hotel Casas de la Juderia in Cordoba.
In Cordoba you begin your journey back in time to the Al-Andalus from more than a thousand years ago with a walking tour and a visit to the amazing Mezquita, which is not surprisingly another UNESCO World Heritage site. After taking some time walking around this stunning building you spend the afternoon exploring the Old Town’s narrow streets and private patios at your leisure. Tonight you can pamper yourself during a visit to an Arabic bathhouse.
This morning you say farewell to Cordoba and travel on to the grand city of Seville, the capital and largest city of Andalusia. On arrival you are taken to enjoy a tapas cooking class and learn how to make delicious sangria. This afternoon explore Seville at your own pace and see more of the sights before preparing for an unforgettable Andalusian flamenco show. You will be staying tonight and tomorrow at Hotel Casas de la Juderia in Seville.
After breakfast you have a full day to enjoy more of the delights of this vibrant city. Highlights include a stroll through the Jewish Quarter to the impressive cathedral with its huge tower made big enough for horses to ride up, and the magnificent Alcazar de Sevilla, which is the oldest royal palace in Europe that is still in use. After some more time at leisure meet up with your group again for a memorable tapas dinner with a contemporary twist.
Leaving Seville today you head to the Costa de la Luz to stop for lunch. Located on the Atlantic Coast it is a popular seaside destination for Spaniards and justly famous for its delicious seafood. In Jerez de la Frontera, the hub of sherry production, you discover the secrets of how it is produced with a guided tour and tastings at one of the oldest family wineries. Your final destination today is Hotel Reina Victoria in Ronda, a beautiful town perched on the edge of a deep canyon cut out by the River Guadalevin.
This morning is free for you to explore this pretty town and admire the stunning views across the gorge. Have a walk around Ronda’s ancient streets and visit the historic bull ring, one of the finest in the country. Then leave Ronda and continue east to the unforgettable city of Granada, which was the last stronghold of the Moorish empire in southern Spain until it finally fell to the Catholic kings in 1492. Stay two nights at Hotel Villa Oniria, or similar, and enjoy an evening at leisure.
Your time this morning is dedicated to the magnificent Alhambra, the famous breathtaking Moorish palace and fortress that sits on top of a steep hill adjacent to the city centre. A true tribute to the beauty of North African architecture in Andalusia, the Alhambra contains a huge network of beautiful rooms, patios and gardens. The rest of today is free for you to explore Granada at your own pace. A visit to the stunning cathedral in the city centre is highly recommended.
Today you explore Ubeda and Baeza. Situated just six miles apart, both towns have an outstanding ensemble of 16th and 17th century Renaissance buildings, and have been declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Nicknamed ‘queen’ (Ubeda) and ‘lady’ (Baeza) by the poet Antonio Machado, their quiet streets and plazas are lined with beautiful Spanish Renaissance palaces. After an olive oil tasting, drive to Hotel Puerta de la Luna, a traditional 17th century mansion hotel, to enjoy a delicious farewell dinner.
Today your wonderful Spanish Inspirations tour comes to an end. This morning you leave Baeza and are driven back to Madrid. Time to say farewell to new found friends and possibly stay on for a few days and explore more of this great capital city visiting the Prado museum, art galleries and possibly taking a tour around Real Madrid's famous stadium before heading to the airport to catch your flight home.
Standard fr £1986pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated