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On this tour, you will embark on a carefully curated magical journey around Moorish Andalusia to discover some of Spain’s main World Heritage Sites. Accompanied by a local tour leader and guided by art historian experts, you will explore and learn about the history of exceptional places in the region, such as Granada’s legendary Alhambra Palace, Cordoba’s distinctive mosque, and Seville's majestic Cathedral. Accompanied with some local cooking classes and tapas tastings, this tour is also a gastronomic journey through centuries of history and culture.
At Just Explore, they understand one of the biggest worries when booking a holiday is the standard for your hotel. That's why, they only use previewed character hotels with great locations to help you relax and enjoy your stay with them.
Your accommodation will be made up of 3 and 4-star hotels with double or twin rooms sharing. All of the hotels will be centrally located, and will include breakfasts. Your rooms will be equipped with air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms.
Your overnights will go as follow:
Upon arrival in Malaga, meet with your tour leader with whom you will spend the next seven days exploring Southern Spain and the rest of your group.
Your private driver will then transfer you all to your hotel in Granada's historic centre (approximately 1.5-hour drive along the scenic coastal road).
After check-in, you will be taken on a short orientation walking tour of approximately 1.5 hours to get acquainted to the city, especially the Albaycin Moorish quarter.
It is constructed on a medieval town plan with cobbled streets and small squares, which will lead you to the San Nicolas viewpoint, offering magnificent views of the Alhambra, Granada, and the Sierra Nevada.
Your tour guide will then take you to some of the most authentic tapas bars in town to sample traditional dishes and get you immersed in the “granadino tapas” culture and traditions.
Built as a stronghold by the Arabs, the Alhambra sits in a hilltop location overlooking Granada. Besides the incredible architecture expect awe-inspiring views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the rolling hills of the Andalusian countryside.
This is a 2.5-hour tour of the Alhambra Palace and the beautiful Generalife gardens with your local fluent English-Speaking art historian guide. This tour includes entrance tickets and 'skip the line' access.
Lunch will be at a nearby restaurant with beautiful views. Free afternoon and evening to simply relax, explore the city alone, or maybe do some shopping? You will be provided with maps, tips, and recommendations for local bars and restaurants.
For those looking for something a little different, a nice session can also be arranged for you at the famous Arabian Baths or a Flamenco show as an optional extra.
On this exciting tour, you will venture out into the countryside to explore the beautiful hills of Montilla. Your first stop will be a family-run olive oil mill where you will discover the full process of olive oil making. You will enjoy a tour of the family groves and learn about the different characteristics, culinary uses and health benefits of olive oil followed by a tasting of two of their delicious varieties along with freshly baked bread made by the very same family!
The second experience of the day is a visit to a local family-run winery located right in the heart of the Sierra de Montilla, a stunning rural landscape with endless vineyards and rolling hills. Today, not only will you learn about their winemaking and get to taste some of the unique wines of this region but you will also enjoy an authentic hands-on cooking class at this wine-producing farmhouse.
This day of adventure ends with you enjoying the food you have prepared in a friendly and casual atmosphere!! A truly exceptional experience!
Get acquainted with this beautiful and historical city with a 2-hour orientation walk focused on the city centre and the San Basilio district, famous for featuring some of the most hidden treasures and private courtyards in Cordoba.
Walking tour with historian guide of approximately 3 hours to discover the main sites of this UNESCO-listed city. Includes: the Mosque and Cathedral, the Jewish quarter, and the Royal Alcazar/Palace. The tour will end at the Julio Romero Museum (the Old Charity Hospital from XVIc), where you will have some free time to visit the museum alone.
Lunch will be at the famous “Bodegas Campos”, a traditional Córdoba house with stunning courtyards and a private wine cellar. Free afternoon to relax or explore the city alone.
Today, you are invited to take an exciting trip in time, back into the Middle Ages. Come and explore the incredible Castillo de Almodóvar! The towers and battlements, the dungeons, the parade-ground and the hexagonal chapel will transport you back to centuries gone by, giving you a first-hand view of the roots of Andalusian history.
Your private driver will take you to Almodóvar Del Río (approximately 40 minutes) where you will have a guided tour of approximately 1 hour of this Moorish 8th-century castle.
Lunch: Transfer to the picturesque town of Carmona (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes on the way to Seville) where you will enjoy a delicious lunch at the Parador Hotel. Thanks to its strategic location, the hotel’s restaurant offers the most spectacular views over the Guadalquivir valley.
After lunch, it is off to Seville, which is at only a 30 minutes' drive on the motorway.
On this gastronomic and folkloric tour, you will discover (and taste!) why Seville is the true home of tapas, and experience the mysteries, the emotion, and the power of true flamenco!
Too many people visit Seville without really understanding how locals eat tapas or finding where the best tapas are served. Or, they see a flamenco show but never truly grasp the origins or meaning of this magical art form. On this evening tour, you will fill your bellies and minds - giving you the keys to eating tapas like a local and a rich, lasting flamenco experience.
The evening begins as you dive into two of the favourite family-run taverns where your expert, English-speaking guide will serve up local delicacies and drinks and give you a crash course in eating tapas in Seville (an art form in its own right!).
Then, over plates of delicious acorn-fed Iberian ham and local wines, your guide will then lead you through a fascinating explanation of the roots and mysteries of flamenco - from its unclear origins to its current worldwide fame. And you will learn how Seville fits into this remarkable story.
Then, you head for the show! Tucked in the city’s gorgeous Santa Cruz neighbourhood, in a fabulous 15th-century building, you will experience the power, passion, and sheer drama of real flamenco. With your new-found knowledge about flamenco, you will be able to savour this spectacular performance by world-class dancers, powerful singing, and magical guitar playing.
After the performance, you will sit down for dinner at your final stop of the evening - a hidden family-run tapas bar that serves up incredible freshly cooked tapas, local wines and - of course - dessert. It is the perfect end to a magical evening in Seville!
Today, you will be heading to Seville's famed Triana food market for a tour of the market and a 3-hour hands-on cooking class at Taller Andaluz de Cocina, a cooking school that is located right inside the market. During the guided tour, you will learn about fresh and seasonal products, locally grown and produced, such as olive oils and table olives, Iberian hams and other cured meats, cheese, fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, seafood, fruits and vegetables.
You will discover the fascinating history of the Triana Market and participate in selecting locally grown, fresh and seasonal products and will participate in the selection of some ingredients that will be used later in the cooking class. You will also meet many vendors, some of whom have been there for generations.
The Spanish cooking class will be taught in English by a professionally trained chef. Since classes are designed for both novice and experienced cooks, you will be able to learn and develop new techniques and skills. You will have the chance to get involved in the preparation of the dishes. A truly fun experience!
All ingredients and materials will be provided by the school. In addition, you will enjoy complimentary sangria and table olives during the class. This day of adventure ends with you enjoying the food you have prepared in a friendly and casual atmosphere!! (There will be a choice of soft drinks, Spanish wine, or local beer). Once back home, you will be able to practice what you have learned as you will be given you written recipes and lots of tips!
Your art historian guide will meet you at the lobby of your hotel for an introductory walking tour of approximately 3 hours to discover the main historic sites in Seville. The tour will include a visit to the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Seville, the world's largest Gothic Church, whose constructions lasted for over a century.
You will then head to the Royal Alcazar/Palace, a beautiful example of Mudéjar architecture in the Iberian Peninsula. The tour will take you through the city's Santa Cruz Jewish quarter, this labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys designed to provide protection from the oppressive sun of the Sevillian summer are scattered with lovely green and lively plazas.
You will have the evening free to do some shopping or to further explore Seville at your leisure. You will be provided with maps, tips, and recommendations for local bars and restaurants.
Today, you will spend a wonderful day in the beautiful Andalusian countryside, exploring the picturesque little town of Ronda and enjoying everything it has to offer from incredible views of the surrounding landscape to fantastic wines and delicious local cuisine.
Your private driver/guide will pick you up from your hotel and will take you to the picturesque town of Ronda (approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes' drive). You will enjoy a panoramic tour of the most amazing viewpoints over the gorge and cliffs and a short introduction walking tour through the old town and visiting some of the town's most iconic sites including the new bridge, the main square and the bullring building.
After the visit of Ronda's historic centre, you will enjoy a fabulous wine experience at a family-run boutique winery, located just few kilometres outside the old town.
Miguel and Isabel are a lovely Spanish couple who own and run this small family vineyard. Here, you will learn all about wine production in Ronda and get to taste the most delicious tapas dishes. After a brief tour of the winery and vineyard, you will be seated for lunch in either the dining room or the guest house courtyard (depending on the weather).
A great selection of homemade products including bread, jams, Spanish omelette, and of course an amazing paella are some of the dishes you will taste during this generous lunch, all of which will of course be accompanied by their fantastic wines. A beautiful setting, passionate and friendly hosts, lovely wines, and delicious home cooked food are what are in store for you in this memorable experience!
Once your stay in Ronda is concluded, you will be transferred to Malaga city centre where you will check-in at the hotel and have the rest of the evening free to explore the city at your leisure. You will be provided with maps, tips, and recommendations for local bars and restaurants.
Your private guide will pick you up from your hotel and will take you for a 3 hours' walking tour of Málaga.
The tour will include an orientation walk through the historic old town to help you get your bearings around this beautiful Mediterranean city and understand the past and the present of its history and traditions.
Along the tour, you will get architectural and historical explanations of the most important sites of the city and their role in the shaping of modern-day Malaga:
You will also go off the beaten track to get a feel for Malaga's authentic essence. This tour will be completed with a stop at the city's oldest bodega (wine bar) where you will enjoy a glass of local wine while learning about the region's rich winemaking culture.
Your morning of adventures will end at the Atarazanas Market where you'll enjoy a short tour of this gorgeous market and will get to sample some local specialties!
This tour will be completed with a farewell lunch at one of the most authentic restaurants in Malaga. Should you need a transfer to your next destination, it will be Just Explore's pleasure to make the arrangements for you (additional costs may apply).
Unfortunately all good things must come to and end. Just Explore hope you enjoy this small group tour with them. If you would like to extend the duration of your trip to explore more of Andalusia and/or other regions of Spain, they will be more than happy to create a customised itinerary for the remain of your stay.
The above itinerary may change at any time due to circumstances beyond Just Explore's control. You will be duly advised of any such changes as soon as possible.
Andalusia is truly a melting pot of culture where history meets and blends with myth. The cultural influences that have washed over Andalusia since the first paintings were etched on cave walls are many: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Vandals. But the most influential of all were unarguably the Moors, who named the region “Al-Andalus” and who’s eighth- century rule left an indelible imprint on the region’s culture and its customs.
The Alhambra is Granada’s - and Europe’s - love letter to Moorish culture, a place where fountains trickle, leaves rustle, and ancient spirits seem to mysteriously linger. Granada was first settled by native tribes in the prehistoric period and was known as Ilbyr. When the Romans colonized southern Spain, they built their own city here and called it Illibris.
The Arabs, invading the peninsula in the 8th century, gave it its current name of Granada. It was the last Muslim city to fall to the Christians in 1492, at the hands of Queen Isabel of Castile and her husband, Ferdinand of Aragon.
Córdoba was an important Roman city and a major Islamic centre in the Middle Ages. It’s best known for La Mezquita, an immense mosque dating from 784 A.D., featuring a columned prayer hall and older Byzantine mosaics. After it became a Catholic church in 1236, a Renaissancestyle nave was added in the 17th century.
The Almodóvar Castle, or Castillo de Almodóvar, sits above the town of Almodóvar, on top of a sheer-walled monolith. Which is why, it can only be seen from a large distance, and offers spectacular views over the entire Guadalquivir Valley.
The fortress dates back to Roman times, the current construction, however, was built by the Arabs in 760. It belonged to the Caliphate of Córdoba and later to the Taifas of Sevilla, Carmona and Toledo. Under the rule of Fernando III, it came under Christian control, and under Pedro I and Enrique II it even served as a royal residence.
Later, the Castle was handed over to the knightly order of Calatrava and then to the order of Santiago. Finally, the Earl of Torralva, the owner at the time, began restoring the castle. The historic structure is therefore amazingly well-preserved.
Carmona, known as the “shining star of Andalucia” is a hidden gem sited on a low hill overlooking a fertile plain planted with fields of barley, wheat and sunflowers. Carmona Founded by the Carthaginians in III-century BC probably on the site of a Turditani Iberian settlement, they named it Kar-Hammon (City of Ball-Hammon) after their great deity-the origin, via the Roman “Carmo”, of its present name.
A major Roman town (from which era it preserves a fascinating subterranean necropolis), it was also an important taifa state in Moorish times. Following the Reconquista, Pedro the Cruel built a palace within its walls, which he used as a provincial royal residence (now hosting the well known Parador of Carmona).
Some cities blast you away, others slowly win you over. Seville disarms and seduces you. The irresistible city of Seville, Andalusia’s capital, is located on the shores of the River Guadalquivir. Its population of about 1.5 million makes it the fourth-largest city in Spain. Its historic center, the third largest in Europe with an area of 4 km2, contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the fabulous Mudéjar Alcázar palace, the Gothic Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies.
Lorded over by a colossal Gothic cathedral, the old town is an intoxicating mix of resplendent Mudéjar palaces, baroque churches and winding medieval lanes. Flamenco clubs keep the intimacy and intensity of this centuries-old tradition alive whilst aristocratic mansions recall the city’s past as a showcase Moorish capital and, later, a 16th-century metropolis rich on the back of New World trade. But what is captivating about the city, as much as the monuments and works of art, is its essential romantic quality, the greatest city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro...
Ronda is a mountaintop city that sits in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda. Set dramatically above a deep gorge and surrounded by lush river valleys, it is a place that is absolutely breathtaking. The gorge, El Tajo, separates the city’s 15th-century new town from its Moorish old town.
Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge spanning the gorge, has a lookout offering stunning views and the new town’s Plaza de Toros, a legendary 18th-century bullring, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. It is said that some of the greatest Spanish wines were created in the legendary city of Ronda.
Winemaking tradition in these parts is a centuries-old tradition that can be traced back to the Phoenicians who arrived in the area by way of the Guadiaro River from the Bay of Cádiz. This tradition in the region continued on through Roman, Moorish and Castilian times to present day where it represents a large portion of the local economy.
Beyond its port and seafront, Malaga city can pleasantly surprise you. The archaeological remains, as well as its monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic, and Christian eras, make the historic center of the city an open-air museum, displaying its rich 3,000-year history.
Overlooking the town and port, the wonderfully preserved fourteenth-century citadels of the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro bear remarkable witness to the city's Moorish past, while the Roman theatre below predates them by over a millennium. The city also has outstanding art galleries, including the spectacular Museo Picasso, housing a major collection of work by this Malaga-born artist.
This tour includes all breakfasts, seven lunches, and two dinners, as well as wine and coffee whenever mentioned to be included in the itinerary.
Did you know that Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world and that 80% of Spanish production is made in Andalusia? The history of olive oil takes us back to the Phoenician and Greek civilizations settled in the Iberian Peninsula over 3,000 years ago. The importance of olive oil to Spanish culture cannot be overstated; locals actually refer to it as "liquid gold".
Spain is also home to an abundance of grape varieties; making it the third-largest wine producers in the world. Home of the famed "Gran Capitan", Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, a Spanish general who fought in the Conquest of Granada and the Italian Wars, Montilla is the center of the Designation of Origin wine zone known as Montilla-Moriles. The olive oil production and winemaking history of this area is quite possibly the oldest in Andalusia.
On day 2, you could also enjoy an authentic, relaxing, and rejuvenating 1.5-hour experience at an Arabian bath at an additional cost. These Arabian baths have been designed to recreate the original structure of the traditional Andalusian Hamman which allows guests to move freely in and out of the hot, warm, and cold pools. An Arab bath experience is not complete however without a steam room and today, you will be able to return to the steam room as often as you wish during the course of your session!
On day 4, you can sign up for a marvellous equestrian exhibition, in which pure bred Spanish horses are the main protagonists. The stage; an emblematic and magical historic building, once the birthplace of the Andalusian Horse and now an unparalleled setting for this enchanting equestrian show.
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