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7 Days VBT Tours Cycling and Culinary Holidays in Spain

7 Days VBT Tours Cycling and Culinary Holidays in Spain

  • Palma del Rio - Cordoba - Zuheros - Granada

Cycling and Spain Culinary Tour

Here, in the sunny south of Spain, you will embrace the nation's diverse heritage through visits to Christian cathedrals that once stood as Moorish mosques and by enjoying the regions varying cuisine. You will dine with locals and even learn how to prepare your own paella with an Andalusian chef. And when you're not experiencing village life, you will be enjoying peaceful rides past olive groves, through rustic farmland and along delicate plains, ending the day at charming hotels. Join VBT as they explore the history, culture, and the stunning scenery of Spain.

Highlights

  • 5 cycling trips
  • Andalusian cooking class
  • Wine tasting, oil olive tasting
  • Visit Alhambra Palace, Unesco site
  • 6 breakfasts, 4 dinners, 3 lunches
  • 6 nights luxury accommodation
  • Mezquita of Cordoba tour
  • 3 days with instruction
  • English
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Monasterio de San Francisco - 3 stars, Palma del Rio, Spain / 1 night

The hotel in Palma del Rio is Monasterio de San Francisco. As the name suggests, it was a Franciscan convent built in 1492 by the VII Seor de Palma's orders. About 20 years ago it was turned into a charming hotel, which preserves the simplicity and tranquility of a monastery. The hotel has 35 rooms arranged over two floors. Facilities / amenities include free Wi-Fi in all rooms and public areas.

Las Casas de la Judera - 4 stars, Cordoba, Spain / 2 nights

Rooms at the Hotel Las Casas de la Judera are bright, spacious and comfortable. Art and culture is present in Cordoba rooms through the headers of Cordoba, Cordoba fine craftsmanship inherited through centuries. Amenities: satellite TV, desk, accessible windows, minibar, safe, bathroom with tub and separate shower, magnifying mirror, hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers, toiletries.

Hacienda Minerva - 4 stars, Cordoba, Spain / 2 nights

This typical Andalusian farm house has been converted into a beautiful rural hotel, surrounded by olive groves. This boutique hotel also boasts a library, and a restaurant. The Hacienda Minerva is a restored 19th-century property with white walls and attractive arches. All of the rooms have air conditioning, a hairdryer and satellite TV.

AC Palacio de Santa Paula - 5 stars, Granada, Spain / 1 night

The AC Palacio de Santa Paula Autograph Collection is located in the historic center of Granada near the Albaicn and Sacro Monte areas, the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel, the historical Gardens of the Triumph, the Archeological museum, and, of course, the Alhambra. The beautiful hotel, one of the best five star hotels in Granada, is a 75-room restored masterpiece that was also declared an artistic and historic monument.

Day 1 - Meeting point, cycling trip, free time

  • This morning, your trip leaders will host a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride in the surroundings of Palma del Rio. You will be riding on the fertile lowland of the Guadalquivir River. Please be dressed in your biking garments when meeting the leaders as our warm-up ride will be immediately following the safety and bike-fitting session.
  • Upon conclusion of the warm-up ride, you will have time for lunch on your own at the hotel or one of Palma del Rios restaurants.
  • Spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing by the quiet swimming pool, take a peaceful stroll through the vegetable gardens, or further explore the towns sites. *Ambitious riders may opt for an afternoon ride, as well.
  • Tonight, you will gather for a welcome reception, including tapas and sangria, two of Andalusia's regional specialties. You'll learn about the history of the hotel before dinner is served.
  • Hotel: Monasterio de San Francisco.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.
  • Daily cycling options: 9 or 18 miles (13.3 or 26.6 kilometers).

Day 2 - Cycling trip, picnic, free time

  • En route to Cordoba today, you will learn the differences among the typical farms scattered along your route: fincas, huertas, cortijos, and haciendas.
  • You will stop along the way for a picnic lunch at a cortijo to meet a local family, the owners of a very large estate of 1,300 acres (530 hectares).
  • Later in the afternoon, you will arrive at your beautiful and centrally located 4-star Cordoba hotel.
  • In the 11th century, this was the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Europe. A developed system for running water and street lights existed, along with vast libraries where Arabic, Latin and Greek manuscripts were translated. Jews, Muslims, and Christians all coexisted in this cultural crossroads.
  • Exceptional monuments like the Mezquita of Cordoba are a good representation of the blend of these different cultures. Famous sons of Cordoba include the philosophers Seneca (Roman), Averroes (Arabian) and Maimonides (Jewish). Cordoba has been inscribed in the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites since 1984.
  • Your hotel is a few steps from the Mezquita in the Judera - the charming Jewish district and the very heart of Cordoba. It consists of ancient, private homes from the 17th and 18th centuries, with lovely patios and fountains. The property was carefully restored in 2009.
  • Spend the rest of the evening at your leisure, enjoying all the amenities of your hotel.
  • Dinner is on your own this evening.
  • Hotel: Casas de la Judera.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast and lunch.
  • Daily cycling options: 19, 31 or 42 miles (35, 50 or 68 kilometers).

Day 3 - Excursion, free time

  • After breakfast, you will meet your local guide, Imma. With her, you will discover what makes Cordoba such an enlightening city.
  • You will start by visiting a nearby synagogue, and then continue to the Mezquita. Originally built as a temple, lighthouse and warehouse, the Mezquita (literally, mosque), was once the second-largest mosque in the world and was later consecrated as a Christian church, after Cordoba was captured by the Spanish in the 12th century. Today, it is considered one of the worlds greatest examples of Moorish architecture.
  • Around the Mezquita, you will see the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Archiepiscopal Palais, the Roman Bridge with its 16 arches spanning the Guadalquivir River and the Jewish synagogue built in 1315 in La Judera.
  • Cordoba is also an excellent place to shop for pottery, abanijos (fans), cotton and leather goods, embroidered mantillas (shawls) and wooden crafts. Those interested in bullfighting may also visit the Bullfighting Museum.
  • Take time on your own this afternoon to further explore the many sites and shops of Cordoba.
  • You might want to enjoy an ancient local tradition: an Arab bath in one of the nearby hammams. Immerse yourself in its luxurious waters, followed by a relaxing massage with essential oils.
  • Tonight, choose a restaurant for dinner on your own in Cordoba. You might visit a flamenco house in the trendy Paseo Maritimo district, where you can also taste such local specialties as ragout of lamb, Cordero en Caldereta or sausages like Morcilla, Cana de Lomo and Salchicon de Pozo Blanco. Arab influences can be found in the sweet Alfajores and Pestinos with almonds and honey.
  • Hotel: Casas de la Judera - Cordoba.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast.
  • Daily cycling options: non-biking day.

Day 4 - Cycling trip, wine tasting, olive oil tasting

  • After breakfast, you will leave Cordoba and shuttle to the Cordillera Subbetica and the Ruta del Vino, or Wine Road. This hilly region is covered with olive trees and vineyards, and produces excellent white wines and olive oils, which are exported all over the world.
  • You begin biking from Aguilar de la Frontera to Moriles, passing typical lagares and bodegas (where wine is aged but not produced) that sell local wines and goat cheese. One of the most renowned wines produced in this area is the Pedro Ximnez sweet wine, particularly recommended to complement local postres, or desserts.
  • At lunch time, you will stop at one of the oldest and most beautiful bodegas of the area and taste four different wines with your meal.
  • In Lucena, this afternoon, you will get on the Via Verde de la Subbetica, a well-kept bike path built on a former railway line. You will follow this trail through the end of your trip. Avid cyclists looking for some hills can opt for a more challenging route.
  • Arrive at your hotel in the afternoon.
  • Enjoy time to relax by the pool before our cata de aceite, or olive oil tasting, followed by a tour of this historic property and ancient mill. The property also includes a library and a warm taverna bar.
  • Dinner is served in the ancient oil press room.
  • Hotel: Hacienda Minerva.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Daily cycling options: 14 or 25 miles (23 or 40 kilometers).

Day 5 - Cycling trip, picnic, cooking class

  • Today, follow the bike path to Luque, passing peaceful farms, olive groves, and lovely views of the surrounding hillsides. As you pedal along the gently rolling path, keep your eyes open for local wildlife, such as goats, storks, and a variety of other birds.
  • Near Luque, stop at a casa de campo for a picnic lunch made from local ingredients freshly picked in the garden of your host, Balbino.
  • After lunch, retrace your way to Cabra on a scenic route, passing through the quaint white village of Zuheros. Built onto a rocky promontory, Zuheros is considered one of the most beautiful white villages of Spain. It is also known for its cheese and olive oil production. Here, you can purchase many local products made from aceite (oil) and aceitunas (olives), such as soaps.
  • From Zuheros, you can opt for the easy bike path via Verde to the hotel, or continue on a more challenging, scenic route.
  • Back at your hotel, enjoy a short cooking class with a Spanish chef. Learn how to prepare one of Andalusia's seasonal specialties! At dinner, enjoy the fruits of your labor, as well as many other local specialties.
  • Hotel: Hacienda Minerva.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Daily cycling options: 17, 31 or 33 miles (27, 50 or 53 kilometers).

Day 6 - Cycling trip, free time, farewell dinner

  • After breakfast, you will start your journey toward the enchanting city of Granada and, historically, the land of ever-changing borders between Christians and the Andalusi Kingdom.
  • Start your morning ride in the shadow of the impressive castle at Alcala la Real on the road of that fortress. Passing through towns that were heavily fortified in the Middle Ages prior to the final conquest of Granada in 1492, you will pass Colomera, enjoying views of its castle and towering church.
  • As you continue on the Ruta de las Fortalezas, you will also find traces of Roman influence, including a bridge dating back several thousand years.
  • Enthusiastic riders can continue riding into Granada, stopping at leisure for lunch along the way. Those wishing for more time in Granada may shuttle the last 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) to the hotel and enjoy lunch in one of Granada's numerous outdoor cafes.
  • This evening, join your trip leaders for festive farewell dinner in a local restaurant, and sample some of the wonderful culinary delights of this region of Spain.
  • Hotel: AC Palacio de Santa Paula.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.
  • Daily cycling options: 16 or 28 miles (25 or 45 kilometers).

Day 7 - Excursion, departure

  • After breakfast, you will meet your local guide and walk to the Alhambra Palace for an included visit of the Palace and Generalife Gardens, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
  • After the completion of the Alhambra tour, you will return to the hotel, where you can collect your luggage and continue to your next destination.
  • Departure.
  • 3 lunches
  • 4 dinners
  • 5% Frequent traveler credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Free use of VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Full van support
  • Service of two bilingual trip leaders
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses