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10 Day Southern Spain Tour
TOURCODE: ES2
Duration: 10 Days Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
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10 Day Southern Spain Tour

Eternal Andalucia
10 Days
TOURCODE: ES2

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

Tour Overview
Tour Overview
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Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

If you have trouble determining a destination based on deciding between the culinary delights, architectural feats, or cultural marvels, then our Southern Spain Tours are the answer.

Spain is the land of many wonders, where intricate history weaves its way into everyday life.

Where charismatic cities are like the tapas, bursting with flavours found around every corner. Where the serene countrysides are full of run down barns, rolling cattle ranches, and olive groves.

For travellers on our tours of Southern Spain, there is the chance to explore a little bit of everything.

It seems fitting that the homeland of one of the world's strongest empires is a grand showcase of art and culture.

Discover palaces such as that in Sevilla, where King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella once resided as Spain entered the golden age of discovery.

The grandeur of galleries such as the Prado found in Madrid which houses all the finest works that were collected by the Spanish Royalty, epitomize the vast wealth collected by the Iberian nation.

For those who follow history, perhaps one of the most interesting influences to cross this Iberian peninsula was not the Armada that was sent abroad, but the Moors who invaded and conquered the land.

From 711 AD, the Moors conquered Spain and left in their wake of a 700 year rule, some of the most elegant and refined cities of Europe.

Tours of Southern Spain visit Granada, a city with rich history set against the backdrop of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, Spain's highest mountain range.

Wander the cobblestone alleyways of this ancient city, with tapas bars serenading visitors with flamenco music, tempting with spicy aromas, and begging for a leisurely visit with sangria on special.

Known as the city of castles, it is the allure of the Moorish palace of Alhambra that brings people to this region.

The Islamic decor and landscaped gardens found within this 13th century fortress are sure to impress, as will the ornate and precise 'lace in stone' architectural details found within the embellished palace. There is no doubt, in Europe, this monument is without rival.

There are many more impressive Moorish sites beyond the Alhambra. The Alcazar Palace, a 14th century palace, is set in the picture-perfect city of Andalucia, complete with restored Andalusian architecture, orange groves, castanet-rattling Gypsies and flower-filled patios.

In Cordoba, our tours of Southern Spain visit the Mezquita-Catedral, or Great Mosque of Cordoba, one of the oldest structures still standing which was built by the descendants of the exiled Umayyads.

Away from the city we partake in visits to 25,000 year old Neolithic and Paleolithic drawings found in the Pileta Caves, and step into a bullring after a visit to a bull breeding farm to understand a controversial part of current culture without having to witness the act of bullfighting.

We will peer into the dramatic escarpments and views that are found on the southern end of this dynamic country.

With vast treasures spanning thousands of years, tours of Southern Spain are sure to leave visitors speechless, and always eager for more.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table.

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Optional Single Supplement: $580 USD (number of singles limited).



$500 USD DEPOSIT REQUIRED per person
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Full Itinerary
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.

Included Meal(s): 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.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 3 Madrid: Toledo Day Trip
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.

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.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 4 Madrid - Cordoba: City Tour
Today we travel by fast 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. Next we arrive at the Mezquita-Catedral, or Great Mosque of Cordoba, one of the oldest structures still standing from the time Muslims ruled Al-Andalus. The buildings on this site are as complex as the extraordinarily rich history they illustrate. Historians believe that there had first been a temple to the Roman god, Janus, on this site. The temple was converted into a church by invading Visigoths who seized Cordoba in 572. Next, the church was converted into a mosque and then completely rebuilt by the descendants of the exiled Umayyads -- the first Islamic dynasty who had originally ruled from their capital Damascus (in present-day Syria) from 661 until 750.

We visit 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.

Please note: Our official meal plan for today is "breakfast & dinner"; however, due to other variables, however (such as hotel location), your Tour Leader may choose to include lunch instead of dinner today. You will, of course, be advised in advance.

Overnight in Cordoba.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 Cordoba - Granada
Our tour continues to 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.

On arrival we visit the Royal Chapel, featuring tombs carved out of marble by the Tuscan sculptor Domenico Fancelli. As both Queen Isabel and King Fernando died before the Royal Chapel was finished, they were first buried in the Friary of San Francisco in the Alhambra. They were then later moved to the chapel once it had been completed, and buried alongside King Felipe and Queen Juana. Although their original idea was for all future Spanish Kings and Queens to be buried here, this did not happen as the monastery in El Escorial was used instead.

Overnight in Granada.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 6 Granada: The Alhambra
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; in your free time, you may choose to explore the old Moorish quarter of the Albaicin.

Overnight in Granada.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Granada - Reserva Tauro - 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 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. Of course this cultural/historical practice is controversial, but the farm does a good job in presenting bull fighting in an even, objective way without in any way promoting or excusing it.

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. 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.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 8 Ronda - Pileta Caves - Sevilla
Today we travel to Seville via a stop at the well-preserved rock paintings at the Pileta Caves (walking required on wet stone with no hand rails - speak to your leader for further guidance). 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.

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 at a viewpoint for a panoramic photo opportunity.

Overnight in Sevilla.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and 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.

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.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 10 Depart
Departure from Sevilla.

BUEN VIAJE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

 

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
International airfare to/from the tour. 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. Please also note that, due to the narrow and winding nature of the streets and the size of our vehicle, we may need to park some distance away from our hotels in Granada, Córdoba, and Rhonda and walk our luggage a short distance.

This trip is typical of most of our European tours, which are ambitious and involve full days of travel and sightseeing. While we don't have any actual strenuous activity (ie hiking) built into the program, you will do a lot of walking on this trip. These walks will mostly be in the form of walking tours of towns and cities and short walks to dinner. Being Europe, and a hilly/mountainous area, cobbles, uneven surfaces, and slopes/stairs are common. If you are accustomed to typical "bus tours," which rely heavily on vehicular transport for all sightseeing activities, you should be aware that this tour is considerably more active.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.


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
10-18 (plus Tour Leader)

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

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


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.


Hotel Emperador
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Madrid
Country: Spain
In a 1940s stone building amid the shops and nightlife on bustling Gran Via, this refined hotel opposite Santo Domingo metro station is an 8-minute walk from the Royal Palace ... Madrid. Warm, elegant rooms have minibars, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.
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Eurostar Maimonides
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 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 the Convention Center makes it a tourist reference point in ... 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
01. What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?
Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.
02. Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?
Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.
03. How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website. A non-refundable deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
04. What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing, by letter, e-mail, or by fax immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% nonrefundable/ nontransferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, nontransferable. Name changes are not permitted. Insurable risks may be covered under trip cancellation insurance policies, if purchased. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated. We may cancel departures if forced to do so by circumstances such as war, civil or political unrest or what is commonly referred to as force majeure. In these instances we will refund all passengers in full if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date; or, if circumstances do not permit, an alternative will be offered at that time. We will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline change fees, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage under such circumstances. If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you. If this is not acceptable, all monies paid will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given approximately 60 days prior to departure.
05. I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
06. Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

What People are Saying
Barbara M.
Saint Paul, MN - US
The excursions I enjoyed the most were the he Prado and Royal Palace, The Toledo Cathedral, the Mosque/Church at Cordoba, the Alhambra, and the bull farm. All local guides were knowledgeable. I really enjoyed this tour and I know a lot of it had to do with the tour leader.. Her choices of dining places, especially. the last night overlooking the river in Seville made the trip much more memorable.
Carol Anne H.
Toronto, ON - CA
I particularly enjoyed the Alhambra, mosque/ churche in Córdoba, Cathedral in Seville, pueblos Blancos, Toledo and Rhonda. Local guides spoke excellent English and were very knowledgable. They were first class. Our tour leader did an amazing job choosing restaurants and all evening meals great. She was very outgoing, knowledgeable, dedicated, caring and extremely conscientious. She is perfect for the job. Couldn't have done a better job. She is an excellent tour guide. Loved the tour! Would highly recommend it to others!
Michael C.
Otobicoke, ON - CA
The Mosque in Cordoba was wonderful as was the Alhambra in Granada. Really enjoyed visiting the Pueblo Blancos, and of course the Prada in Madrid. All of our local guides were very good. Transportation was very good. All meals were well planned and of exceptional quality. A good variety of food and type of restaurants. Our tour leader was terrific. She went out of her way to make sure everyone in the group was comfortable and all there needs looked after. She was very upbeat and everyone had a good time. She knew the locations well and she made our dinners into dining experiences. She was very sensitive to our individual needs.
John H.
Toronto, ON - CA
Particularly enjoyed the Alhambra, caves near Ronda, and stops in the "pueblos blancas". All the local guides were knowledgeable. The meal plan definitely lived up to my expectations, the tour leader always did an excellent job of finding local specialties for us to try. Our tour leader always went to extra mile to please the group. Always very gracious and nothing seemed too much to ask for. Another excellent AA tour.
James G.
Annandale, VA - US
All excursions were very good. All local guides were very good as well. Transportation was all excellent. We had incredible meals. Our tour leader, was very attentive to our needs/wants. Our tour leader was perfect: fun, attentive, inclusive. Her local and knowledge were excellent. This was our third trip with Adventures Abroad and all have been excellent. We hope to travel with you again.
Giselle P.
Las Vegas, NV - US
Laura was FANTASTIC! She handled any and every situation with calm, pleasant, reassuring demeanor.
Carolyn B.
Lowell, MN - US
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.
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