Tour of Spain – 7 days
The customized package will include accommodations, meals, airport transfers and other land transportation within Europe, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.
Andalusia will seduce you
with its magic. The sound of Flamenco in the air, the beauty of three cultures. Moorish palaces and Gothic cathedrals reveal the legacy of centuries past. Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together here in harmony creating one of the most important civilizations of the world. Discover this fascinating region’s historic towns, charming whitewashed villages and beautiful beaches. You will samples the tapas, soak up the sunshine and relax in the plazas.
For eight centuries, the Moors ruled the land of Southern Spain and established a glorious civilization of cultural grandeur and religious tolerance. During this period (from the 8th through 15th centuries), the Moorish kingdom was the most advanced in Europe. Surpassing Paris and Rome, the cities of Al Andalus were flourishing metropolises with running water, public baths, gas-lit street lamps and paved streets. Andalusia was a place of beauty as well as intellectual importance. Islamic Spain produced renowned poets, philosophers, physicians and scientists.
On this weeklong vacation, you’ll discover the intriguing history and enchanting sites of Andalusia. You’ll begin in Málaga, the birthplace of the Islamic kingdom of Al Andalus. Then continue to the dramatically situated village of Ronda, famous for its spectacular scenery and traditional bullfights. Next you’ll visit the fascinating ancient town of Antequera and the lovely historic village of Carmona. The final destination is the legendary city of Córdoba, a wondrous place full of history and charm. Surrounded by a medieval wall, Córdoba boasts one of the most interesting Jewish quarters and the most important Islamic site in Europe.
This tour of Spain is sure to impress you with lifelong memories of the sights, sounds, and tastes of the country with the third most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Luxury accommodations in paradors, charming historic hotels
See monumental highlights of the ancient Moorish civilization
Amazing tours of medieval Islamic fortresses and mosques
Sunshine and sandy beaches in Málaga on the Costa del Sol
Visit the Picasso Museum in Málaga, the artist’s birthplace
Spectacular scenery and traditional Andalusia culture in Ronda
Take a tour of Ronda’s bullring, the oldest in Andalusia
Discover centuries of history in the ancient town of Antequera
Admire the charming streets and elegant palaces in Carmona
See the most important Islamic sight in Europe, la Mezquita
Admire the beauty and ambience in Córdoba’s old Jewish quarter
Indulge in the authentic cuisine of Andalusia and try the tapas!
Watch an authentic Flamenco performance at a traditional venue
Trip at a Glance
(Day 1) Arrive in Málaga, Spain
(Day 2) Ronda and Pueblos Blancos
(Day 3) Arrive in Antequera
(Day 4) Explore the Town of Antequera
(Day 5) Travel to Carmona
(Day 6) Travel to Córdoba
(Day 7) Sightseeing in Córdoba
Day 1 – Arrive in Málaga, Spain Begin your vacation in Málaga, the capital of the Costa del Sol. Check into your luxurious accommodations at the Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro. Surrounded by pines and perched atop the Mount Gibralfaro just opposite the Alcazaba, the Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro offers panoramic views of the sea and the city of Málaga. This wonderfully designed hotel features spacious living rooms, comfortable guest rooms and a swimming pool on the rooftop (allowing you to take in beautiful views as you sunbathe). At this parador, you’ll be treated to traditional Andalusian cuisine. Be sure to sample the delicious Málaga-style fried fish.
One of Spain’s most popular seaside destinations, Málaga boasts a perfect climate, wonderful sandy beaches, world-class golf courses and interesting cultural attractions. Málaga was the first city where the Islamic kingdom of Andalusia was established and its 10th-century fortress is a splendid example of its Moorish heritage. This palace for the Nasrid Kings dates back to the 1200s. The palace is open to the public and has a museum of prehistoric Mediterranean collections. In the palace’s lush gardens, you’ll feel transported to a place of peace and tranquility. After touring the Alcazaba, visit the site of the ancient Roman amphitheater. Other highlights in Málaga include the spectacular Renaissance Cathedral, built on the site of a former mosque. For those interested in art, another must-see site is the Picasso Museum. The museum displays 230 works by the brilliant artist, the city’s most famous native son.
Day 2 – Ronda and Pueblos Blancos
Today you’ll travel to the spectacular city of Ronda. Situated high on the ridge of a steep narrow gorge, Ronda offers dramatic scenery and a historic setting. You’ll be staying at the luxurious Parador de Ronda, located right at the edge of the gorge with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The hotel occupies the former town hall and features spacious and airy living rooms with bright interiors and an abundance of plants. All the guest rooms have beautiful views of the town or the countryside. This parador is well-known for its cuisine. For the most authentic experience, sample the local specialties: Andalusian Roast Partridge, Rabbit “a la Rondena,” cold garlic soup and Salmorejo (a tomato and bread purée). The desserts are just as noteworthy, including Yemas Rondenas (a type of flan), Tortitas de Miel (honey cake) and Queso de Almendras (local cheese and almonds).
Ronda is a city full of culture and history. The city has been occupied by the Celts, the Romans and the Moors. You can visit the exquisite Arab Baths on Calle de San Miguel and see other evidence of the Islamic heritage at Los Molinos Gate and the Church of Santa María la Mayor, formerly the main mosque of Ronda in the 13th century. The Mudejar stye of this church is seen in the structure’s horseshoe arches and in the San Sebastián minaret. Another important aspect of Ronda is the city’s cultural heritage. Ronda is the birthplace of bullfighting and the city’s bullring is considered one of the most important in Spain. Ronda was also a favorite of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Wells who both attended bullfights here and wrote about the city’s beauty. One of the most amazing sights in Ronda is the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo), a feat of engineering, which spans the 100-meter ravine.
If you have additional time during your stay, you may drive through the countryside to visit the Los Pueblos Blancos, typical whitewashed villages. Many of the villages were founded by Berber tribes during the Moorish era. These picturesque ancient villages dot the hilltops between Ronda and Arcos. With their lovely whitewashed houses and flowered balconies, Los Pueblos Blancos offers an escape to the charm of another era. Wander about the cobblestone streets as you take in wonderful views of the surrounding landscape.
Day 3 – Arrive in Antequera
Today you’ll travel to the enchanting village of Antequera in a lovely part of the Andalusian countryside. You’ll be staying at the Parador de Antequera, a stylish modern hotel in a lush parklike setting. This hotel is the perfect place to enjoy peaceful days and nights of rest and relaxation. The rooms are spacious, luxurious and quiet. The hotel features floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing light to flood in and offering expansive views of the magnificent landscape. You can see far into the distance of the Antequera Plains to the distinctive rocky formations called Peña de los Enamorados. From your location at the Parador de Antequera, you’ll have the chance to see some of the most gorgeous sunsets as well as incredible starry night skies.
Day 4 – Explore the Town of Antequera
Today you’ll have more time to explore Antequera. One of the gems of Andalusia, Antequera is a charming place to discover. Thanks to its advantageous geographical location, Antequera is rich in culture and history. A testimony to the ancient civilizations that have flourished here, Antequera has over 50 monuments and buildings dating as far back as the Bronze Age, including the Menga Cave and the ancient Viera and El Romeral dwellings. The historic center of the town also boasts a wealth of churches, monasteries, palaces, and stately houses.
As you stroll through Antequera’s historic center, you’ll feel like you are traveling back in time. Be sure to visit the churches of San Sebastián built in the 16th century as well as the elegant Nájera Palace built in the 18th century, which now houses a museum of antiquities. Visit the Papabellotas Castle that dates to the 12th century and truly has the look of a foreboding fortress. Continue to explore the narrow streets on your own and you’ll be delighted by more surprises—the ancient convent, an impressive bullring and elegant baroque mansions.
Day 5 – Travel to Carmona
Today you’ll travel further into Andalusia to the ancient walled town of Carmona near Seville. On the way, you may visit the famous Roman necropolis just outside of the town walls. Located alongside the Carbones River amidst the peaceful meadows, Carmona is a place of beauty and history. This lovely town was a stronghold of the Moors and later the favored town of Pedro the Cruel. Carmona is noteworthy for its abundance of monuments, which pay tribute to the different cultures that have lived here. Highlights include the churches, convents and palaces. Spend the afternoon exploring the cool maze of cobblestone streets in the city’s historic center.
You’ll be staying at the Parador de Carmona, which occupies the old Alcázar—one of the town’s most impressive buildings that dominates the old quarter of the city. The fortress has been shaped by many different civilizations: the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Visigoths, Romans, Moors, Jews and Christians have all lived on this site. The fortress was a favorite palace and “love nest” of King Don Pedro I, who was famous for his romantic exploits. A place of tranquility, beauty and luxury, the parador’s decorative tilework exemplifies the splendor of Islamic design. In the typical Moorish style, the interior also features a delightful courtyard surrounded by elegant lounges while the exterior offers beautiful grounds for enjoying the gorgeous landscape. There is an outdoor swimming pool to take advantage of the Andalusian sunshine.
Enjoy the exceptional traditional cuisine at this parador. The exquisite dining room is located in the old refectory and overlooks stunning views of the countryside. Renowned for its gastronomy, the cuisine of this region is famous for partridge dishes, Soldaditos de Pavia (breaded deep-fried fish), duck with olives, spinach casserole, seasoned meatballs and exquisite confectionery.
Day 6 – Travel to Córdoba
Today you’ll travel to Córdoba. Your lodging is the luxurious Parador de Córdoba, built atop the remnants of the summer palace of Abd-ar-Rahman III who is considered the greatest ruler of Andalusia. The Parador de Córdoba is a sleek contemporary building offering magnificent views of the city. The building is an oasis, an escape from the rest of the world. Bright and spacious rooms are decorated in simplicity. Orange trees (Los Naranjos) and palms fill the courtyard, creating a welcome touch of nature and tranquility. The parador also has a gourmet restaurant that prepares the regional specialties, including Salmorejo (Córdoba-style cold tomato soup), grilled meats with fresh parsley sauce, and white almond gazpacho soup.
As a UNESCO World Heritage City, Córdoba is a treasure chest of fascinating history. In the 10th century, Córdoba was the legendary capital city of old Al Andalus and the most advanced city in Europe. This legendary city was the grand vision of the Moorish caliphs. One of Europe’s most important cities during the Middle Ages, Córdoba was a Muslim center of learning during this period. Córdoba was also a place of diversity and tolerance. Three religions: Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together in harmony for centuries under the Moorish rule. Córdoba’s Mezquita, the old mosque, remains the most important Islamic monument in Europe.
Day 7 – Sightseeing in Córdoba
Today you’ll have the entire day to explore Córdoba’s charming historic center. Wander around the tangled maze of cobblestone streets in search of the enchanting courtyards that are so emblematic of the city. The courtyards offer inviting places to relax and soak up the beauty. Admire the lovely balconies decked out with vibrant flowerpots and alleyways draped in bougainvillea. Of course you must visit La Mezquita, the city’s most impressive site that dominates the medieval quarter. This exquisitely preserved monument was built as the Grand Mosque in the 8th-century and exemplifies the glory days of Andalusia. Stroll through the overwhelming space of this ancient mosque with its seemingly infinite rows of marble and jasper columns. After the Christian Reconquest, the grand cathedral was built right inside the mosque, keeping most of the original structure intact.
Other must-see sites in Córdoba include the Juderia, the old Jewish quarter that has a well-preserved 14th-century synagogue. Another noteworthy attraction is the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Palace of Christian Kings) that is surrounded by an exquisite garden filled with vibrant flowers, lush shrubbery, shimmering pools and impressive fountains. This afternoon you can have a relaxing session at the Hammam Arab Baths or perhaps you could travel just outside the city to explore Medina Azahara. Or, take it easy and simply participate in the Andalusian tradition of tapas at one of Córdoba’s lively bars . This evening celebrate the conclusion of your vacation with a gourmet meal and then attend a Flamenco performance for a truly authentic experience.