ES2 ' Eternal Andalucia ' TOUR

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'Eternal Andalucia'

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Toledo, Granada, Cordoba - World Heritage cities; Madrid: City tour & Prado; Granada & the Alhambra; Arab, Jewish, Christian, Roman, Visigothic legacies; Andalucia: Orange groves, flower-filled patios

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Thu 24 Sep 2015Sat 03 Oct 2015 $2540
Thu 21 Apr 2016Sat 30 Apr 2016 $2540
Thu 21 Jul 2016Sat 30 Jul 2016 $2540
Thu 22 Sep 2016Sat 01 Oct 2016 $2540

Optional Single Supplement: $550 (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


Spain is a land of many wonders and the sheer artistry of the entire area

cannot be so easily put to words and, therefore, only first-hand accounts

can justify any testaments to its real beauty. A relaxing stroll along the

cobblestone streets of Granada eventually leads us to one of the many sprawling plazas. View the Despenaperros mountains from afar and see how such majesty has inspired centuries of art such as displayed at the Prado Museum in Madrid. Spain's people form a mosaic of character that is an artwork in itself. The multiculturalism of Cordoba especially shines through its many places of worship, raging in religion and denomination. A walk rough the Synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the city entices one to learn more about its intricate history. Seeing the Cathedral-Mosque, the only Catholic cathedral built in the heart of a mosque, is an inimitable experience.

Regions visited: Western Europe
Countries visited: Spain


Testimonials


Everything was awesome!!!! All the meals were excellent, we had plenty of free time to walk around and discover each town we visited on our own. Alhambra was a definite highlight of the tour...I also really enjoyed Ronda and seeing a smaller town.

Laura was FANTASTIC! She handled any and every situation with calm, pleasant, reassuring demeanor.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrive in Madrid
Today we arrive in Madrid and transfer to our hotel.

The capital of Spain, located in the heart of the peninsula and right in the center of the Castillian plain, is a cosmopolitan city, a business center, headquarters for the Public Administration, Government, Spanish Parliament and the home of the Spanish Royal Family.

Overnight in Madrid.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Madrid & The Prado
This morning we have a panoramic tour of broader Madrid, terminating at the Prado Museum for a guided tour. Our route to the museum likely takes us past Plaza Espana point and the Cervantes Monument.

Originally opened to the public in 1819, the Prado houses all of the finest works collected by Spanish Royalty as well as Spanish paintings gathered from other sources over the past two centuries. The Prado is one of the most important repositories of art in the world, including a vast collection of Italian paintings. For the purposes of our visit, however, we will concentrate on works by Spanish masters -- Velasquez, Goya, Ribera, El Greco, Zurbaran, to name a few.

After our tour, we'll head off on foot for an informal stroll up Gran Via and into the old quarter of Madrid. You'll then have free time for lunch and an afternoon of independent exploration. Your Tour Leader can help you plan your free time, with recommended shopping, other historical sites and galleries. You may want to visit the nearby Reina Sofia for the important modern art collection, including Picasso's masterpiece, "Guernica." Or visit the Museo Naval, one of the world's most important Navy Museums, to learn about the history of the Spanish Armada.

Overnight in Madrid.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Madrid - Toledo - Madrid
This morning we travel to Toledo, a city with a unique blend of Arab, Jewish, Christian, Roman, and Visigothic elements. Toledo sits on a rocky promontory isolated on three sides by a looping gorge of the Tagus River. The history of several different cultures is contained within this region, represented by the houses, synagogues, churches, and mosques.

Our excursion includes a visit to the Cathedral, as well as the Santa Maria la Blanca Synagogue, which shows the influence of the Granada Moors. It has an ornate ceiling and carved arabesques, not in Arabic, but in Hebrew. The most elaborate Mudejar interior in the city is hidden behind the deceptively humble facade of this former synagogue, built in the 14th century by Samuel Ha-Levi, the Jewish treasurer to Pedro the Cruel. The interlaced frieze of the lofty prayer hall harmoniously fuses Islamic, Gothic and Hebrew geometric motifs below a wonderful coffered ceiling. Adjoining the synagogue is an interesting museum dedicated to Jewish Sephardi culture.

We also see one of Toledo's most outstanding attractions, El Greco's masterpiece "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz" located inside the Church of Santo Tome.

After lunch and some free time in Toledo, we return to Madrid.

Overnight in Madrid.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Madrid - Cordoba
Today we travel by fast train to travel by train to Cordoba (+/- 2 hours), crossing the Despenaperros Mountains and the border pass between Castile and Andalucia.

During our time in Cordoba (a World Heritage City), we will gain a sense of the city's long and varied past and multicultural nature. Our tour* starts at the Roman Bridge and the Calahorra Tower, an Arab defensive tower. We continue to the Cathedral-Mosque, the only Catholic cathedral built in the heart of a mosque. Next we arrive at the Alcazar fortress, built by King Alfonso XI, and containing mosaics and sarcophagi. Finally we will have a stroll in the Jewish Quarter where the synagogue is located.

Overnight in Cordoba.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Cordoba - Granada
Today we depart for Granada by bus.

We'll include a visit to the Granada Archaeological Museum (likely today upon arrival). The museum is located in the Castril Palace from the 16th century. It hosts many artefacts from the many different civilizations that settled in Granada, including the Carthaginians, Phoenicians, the Romans, and the Arabs.

Overnight in Granada.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Granada: The Alhambra
Today we tour Granada, set in the heart of Andalucia with the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop. Conquered by the Moors in AD 711, Granada blossomed into one of Europe's wealthiest and most refined cities. The legacy of Granada's rich history and heritage remain visible throughout the city centre with its cobblestone streets and lovely plazas. In 1992 Granada celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Christian re-conquest by the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella.

The focus of our sightseeing today is Granada's main attraction, the Alhambra, a mighty fortress that houses an extraordinarily delicate and beautiful Moorish palace begun in the 13th century. This was the palace of the Nasrid Sultans, rulers of the last Spanish Moorish Kingdom. A fantasy of "lace in stone" surrounded by arabesque gardens and fountains, it affords superb views of the Old Quarter and Sacromonte, a mountain occupied by gypsy cave dwellers. In many ways, the Alhambra represents the Moorish concept of life itself -- something glorious to be ennobled by learning and enlivened by every kind of pleasure.

We also visit the nearby Generalife Gardens as well as the old Moorish quarter of the Albaicin.

Overnight in Granada.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Granada - Pileta Caves - Ronda: Town Tour
We continue our tour (by road) to Ronda, a historic town located on a towering plateau in the mountains of Malaga Province. En route we visit the well-preserved rock paintings at the Pileta Caves (some walking required). The 25,000 year old Neolithic and Paleolithic drawings of black, ochre, and red are mostly just lines or patterns, but there are also horses, goats, cattle, and a rare giant fish, made from a mixture of clay and fat. This is not a well-developed tourist attraction; you must be steady on your feet and prepared for some slow walking.

In Ronda, we will walk around the old town where you will learn the origins of this ancient town where Romans, Arabs, and Christians left their traces. We visit the Mondragon Palace, built in a Mudejar style and finally to the Bullring, the oldest in the country. Ronda is famous for its dramatic escarpments and views, and for the deep El Tajo gorge that carries the rio Guadalevin through its centre. We suggest a walk to the 18th century Puente Nuevo 'new' bridge, which straddles the 100m / 328 ft chasm below, for its unparalleled views out over the Serrania de Ronda mountains.

Overnight in Ronda.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Ronda - Reserva Tauro - Sevilla
Today we travel to Seville via a stop at Reserva Tauro, a 500 acre bull and horse breeding farm. Here we have the opportunity to get close to bulls and gain an understanding of the culture without attending a bull fight.

We then follow (by road) the route known as "the route of the white villages" for the singularity of the scenery. Lunch and time to explore Grazalema, a white hill down nestled in Grazalema National Park. Prior to arrival in Sevilla (Seville), we stop in the little hilltown of Zahara, for a nice walk up to the castle.

Overnight in Sevilla.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Sevilla: City Tour
Sevilla, the fourth largest city in Spain, is the picture-perfect image of Andalucia, complete with restored Andalusian architecture, orange groves, flower-filled patios, and castanet-rattling Gypsies.

While in Sevilla we visit the largest cathedral in Spain, built in a Gothic style with lovely stained glass windows, choir, and chapels. We visit the Giralda Tower, with its spectacular views of the city. We will also see the Moorish Alcazar Palace, a 14th century palace, the oldest royal residence in Europe and still in use. King Juan Carlos resides here while in Sevilla, as King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella once did. Later we will walk along the Guadalquivir riverbank and view historic monuments like the Maestranza Bullring, the Torre del Oro, and the Monument to the Tolerance by Eduardo Chillida.

Overnight in Sevilla.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Depart
Departure from Sevilla.

NOTE: As Seville is a smaller centre with fewer flight options and maybe higher fares, you may consider taking the fast train to Madrid (2.5 hours, 85 Euros), and flying from there.

BUEN VIAJE!

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Sol Melia Tryp Rex

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Madrid
Country: Spain

The Tryp Rex hotel is located in the Gran Via. Between the Plaza de España and the Plaza Callao, close
... the famous museums and the historical city center of Madrid. Rooms feature bathroom with hair-dryer, individual climate control, satellite TV, safe deposit box, wireless internet connection (WI-FI)throughout the hotel.

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Eurostar Maimonides

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Cordoba
Country: Spain

Its privileged location in the very heart of the Jewish Quarter (in front of the Mosque) and 50 meters from
... Convention Center makes it a tourist reference point in the center of Córdoba. The Hotel has 82 bedrooms with spectacular sights of the old town, all of them completely equipped, provided with Air Conditioner, Central Heating, Amenities, PC and Fax connection, Minibar, Parabolic TV, Telephone, Hair Dryer and Desk.


Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner (hotels & local restaurants) daily. All transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered in spring, summer, and fall the most popular of which are spring and fall when temperatures are milder and crowds thinner. Spring is also popular for green landscapes. Showers are possible in spring, unlikely in summer, and possible in fall.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Land transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have some full bus days, road travel is not particularly arduous as there are plenty of stops of interest. Train journeys are comfortable (2nd class). YOU MUST BE ABLE TO MANAGE YOUR OWN BAGS ON / OFF TRAINS AND IN TRAIN STATIONS. Roads are in good condition though winding on some stretches. Numerous walking tours on uneven surfaces.

Accommodation

Well-located, air-conditioned, mid-range hotels (3 star) throughout. All hotels have en suite bath, though some may have shower only. Porter service is sometimes available though you should be independent with your luggage. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, driver, local step-on guides in various locales.

Group Size

10-21 (plus Tour Leader)