Highlights of Andalusia
Embark on a carefully crafted, magical journey around Moorish Andalucia, discovering some of Spain’s most famous World Heritage Sites and delving into the delicious flavors of Spanish cuisine. Your local guides will introduce you to such sites as Granada’s Alhambra Palace, Cordoba’s Mosque, and Sevilla’s majestic Cathedral.
In Andalusia history and myth blend as seamlessly as the international culinary influences that meld into its delicious cuisine. From the time of the first cave paintings, this region has seen profound effects of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Vandals. But it was above all the Moors, who named the region “Al-Andalus” and who rules for eight centuries, who left the largest imprint on the region.
So join us in discovering this unique and culturally rich land on a week-long exploration of its food, sites, and people, while staying in Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, and Malaga.
Highlights of Andalusia Itinerary
- Arrive in Malaga train station or airport, and transfer to Granada, about 1.5 hours away.
- Check in to your hotel and relax a bit before meeting up with your guide, who will take you on an orientation walking tour. Spend about 1.5 hours getting to know the city and the Albaycin Quarter, including the Mirador de San Nicolas lookout point.
- Next, head on to a “granadino” tapas tour for dinner.
- Overnight .
- Depart for your 2.5 hour guided visit of the Alhambra with a local historian who will be your guide. (Your tour will include priority entrance. Please note that proper identification is needed to enter the Alhambra and without it you will be denied entry.) Learn about the Moorish architecture of the palace and its beautiful gardens.
- Lunch at the Parador of Granada to enjoy the terrace overlooking the Generalife gardens.
- Next, walk down into the city center. Meet an art historian guide for a 2.5 hour guided tour of the center, including the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel. Granada was the last Muslim city to fall to the Christians in 1492, and remains one of the jewels of Moorish cultural influences in Spain.
- Free evening to rest after a long day, and dinner on your own.
- Breakfast and check out.
- Depart on a full day trip in the Montilla wine region, which will end in our next port of call, Cordoba.
- Meet your private driver-guide and head into the countryside to explore the unspoiled wine region of Montilla, about 40 minutes from Granada. Olive oil, wine, and good food are intrinsic parts of Andalusian life and you can find all of these in Montilla.
- Stop at a family-run olive oil mill to learn about the process of making olive oil. Spain is the world’s top producer of olive oil, and most of Spain’s olive oil comes from Andalusia. Enjoy a tour of the olive groves and a tasting of two different oils with the family’s freshly baked bread.
- Next head to a family-run winery in the hills of the Sierra de Montilla. Learn about winemaking and taste their wines as you enjoy a hands-on cooking class. Learn to prepare a traditional dish called “Salmorejo” (a cold tomato cream) as well as the national speciality “tortilla de patatas.” Enjoy the meal you have prepared afterwards.
- After lunch, head to Cordoba and check in.
- Next, enjoy a 2-hour orientation tour to get you acquainted with this beautiful city. See the San Basilio district, famous for the beautiful private courtyards of Cordoba, which in the springtime boast the flower-laden “patios.”
- Evening at leisure and dinner on your own, with recommendations from your guide.
- Breakfast, then head out for a guided historical tour of Cordoba. This 2.5 hour tour will show you the main sties of this UNESCO site, including the Mosque/Cathedral, the Jewish quarter, and the Royal Alcazar Patio.
Lunch at a traditional patio restaurant during the tour.
- Free afternoon in Cordoba. You may want to visit the Viana Palace with its stunning gardens, the Julio Romero Museum, the Roman Bridge and Calahorra Tower, the Roman Temple, the Plaza de la Corredera, or the Plaza de las Tenillas, to name a few of your options.
- This evening, you will enjoy a marvelous equestrian exhibition at the Royal Stables, just a 5 minute walk from your hotel. Purebred Spanish horses will wow you in a historical building founded in 1570 by King Feilipe II. After the one-hour show, you can have dinner (not included) in one of the authentic restaurants of the San Basilio district or close to your hotel. (Recommendations will be provided.)
- Overnight .
- Breakfast and check. Say farewell to Cordoba before heading to the archeological site of Medina Azahara, about 20 minutes north of the city. Your art historian guide will lead you on a 3-hour exploration of the site, a fascinating medieval palace city that was once the seat of the 10th and 11th-century Caliphate of Cordoba. The city was built by Abd ar Rahman III in the mid-10th century and was laid to waste during the civil wars of the 10th and 11th Centuries. The remains were rediscovered in the early 20th century. You can see traces of this urban hub, which featured roads, bridges, water systems, and elaborate buildings.
- Continue on to Carmona (about 75 minutes by car) to enjoy lunch at the Parador, which offers great views over the Guadalquivir Valley. Carmona is a beautiful little town, a hidden gem of Andalusia.
- After lunch, finish the driver to Sevilla, about 30 minutes more.
- Check in to your hotel and rest before heading out for your Tapas and Flamenco tour. Discover why Sevilla is considered the “true home” of tapas. Eat tapas like a local, starting at two of our favorite family-run taverns where you taste the local delicacies. While enjoying the acorn-fed Iberian ham and local wines, listen to an explanation of the roots of flamenco before heading to a fabulous historical building to experience an authentic and powerful flamenco show.
- After the show, sit down for dinner at another favorite hidden gem, a family-run tapas bar that serves fantastic hot tapas, local wines, and dessert. The perfect end to a magical evening in Sevilla!
- Sleep in a bit and enjoy a late breakfast.
- Meet your guide around 10:30 am at the Triana Food Market. Tour the market and learn about the fresh seasonal products and locally produced ingredients, from the olive oils, table olives, and hams, to the cheese, fish and produce. Help select ingredients and then head to a nearby cooking atelier right inside the market. The menu varies by season but might include: gazpacho or ajoblanco, tortilla española or Codfish fritters, paella, and a light dessert. Enjoy lunch with wine to follow.
- After lunch your guide will meet you at the market to continue your tour of Sevilla. The 2-hour tour will include the old quarter, including the Royal Alcazar Palace (if available, as it is not open every day), and the Santa Cruz Jewish quarter. It also includes priority entrance to the Cathedral. Sevilla is a fantastic mix of resplendent Medéjar palaces, baroque churches, and winding medieval lanes.
- After your tour, enjoy free time in Sevilla for shopping or further explorations (with suggestions by your guide).
- Dinner on your own and overnight.
- Breakfast and check out. Farewell Sevilla!
- Depart at 9:30 am for the Grazalema Natural Park and the picturesque town of Ronda. The drive through the Grazalema Natural Park will include stops at the picturesque whitewashed towns of Grazalema and Zaharra de la Sierra, one of the most beautiful villages of Spain. Head toward the town of Ronda, a mountaintop town that lies in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda. Set above a deep gorge called “El Tajo,” it is surrounded by lush valleys. Ronda has both a 15th-century “new” town, and an ancient Morrish town. The Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge spanning El Tajo, connects the two. Enjoy lunch in Ronda.
- Next, head to your final stop, Malaga, as city with a deeply rich history from the Phoencian, Roman, Arabic, and Christian rule that it has experienced. Check in and time to explore this pretty city with dinner on your own.
- Breakfast and check out. Leave your luggage with the concierge and head for a 3-hour walking tour of Malaga, a city so rich in history it is like an open-air museum. Visit the historic old town and see some of the most important sites, such as the Renaissance Cathedral, the Roman Theater, the Alcazaba (Moorish fortress), the Picasso Museum (Picasso was born in Malaga), the Thyssen Museum, and the main squares. You will also stop at the city’s oldest bodega for a glass of wine. End at the Atarazanas Market with a short tour and tasting of local products.
- In the afternoon, transfer by taxi (not included) to the airport or train station. (If you’d like to spend additional nights in Malaga, we can assist with those arrangements.)
- Until next time!