From the heart of cultural Andalucía, explore the very best this stunning destination has to offer, including the historic streets of vibrant Seville and the overwhelming beauty of Granada's UNESCO-listed Alhambra.
- The Alhambra
- 4-Star Parador de Antequera
- 7 nights' accommodation at 4-star Parador de Antequera
- Daily breakfast
- Daily evening meals
- Return flights from London Gatwick
- Airport parking
- Standard class rail travel
- Personal expenses
We begin our Andalucían adventure with a flight to Malaga. On arrival we transfer to our hotel for the next seven nights, the spectacular 4-Star Parador de Antequera. This modern oasis is set within luscious rolling parkland in the centre of the city. Tonight dinner is served in the hotel.
Enjoy your first day in Spain at leisure, getting to know your new surroundings. The hotel in which you stay is one of the highlights of this tour. As its name suggests, your accommodation in Antequera is a 'parador', a type of luxury hotel unique to Spain.
Unlike other paradors, the Parador de Anteuera is found in a sophisticated modern building set amongst green parklands against a back drop of Andalucían hills and the Antequera plain. The rooms are tastefully designed, and the outdoor swimming pool is the perfect place to enjoy the Southern Spanish sun, depending on the weather.
Today we enjoy an excursion to stunning Seville, a sun-baked city that, legend has it, was founded by Hercules. Seductive and sophisticated, Seville is a quintessentially Spanish city. Flamenco, fiestas and carnivals thrive in this wonderful city, as do its many striking monuments, each one a reminder of Seville's colourful past.
Beginning as a Roman settlement, Seville has been under the control of the Roman Empire, Moorish invaders and Spanish royalty throughout the years. Each civilisation has left its own indelible mark on the city, be it in the swirl of a flamenco dress or the religious grandeur of the Cathedral. Another chapter to the city's history can be found on every street corner, every buzzing square and in each tapas bar.
We are treated to a tour of the city's sights during our time here. A particular highlight is the resplendent Plaza de España at the heart of the city. While the design recalls both Moorish Mudéjar and Renaissance architecture, the square and central building are both far more modern, having been initially constructed for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. The scale of this square is enormous, and the many tiled alcoves are based on the various provinces of Spain.
Today is a free day and you might like to soak up Antequera's incredible architecture on a gentle stroll.
Antequera is a fine example of a Spanish medieval town, with many of the older buildings left intact. Like many other Andalucian cities, Antequera is a complicated mix of different cultures. This has produced a superb collection of monuments including recently excavated Roman baths and an impressive 19th century bullring.
Today we embark on an excursion to Cordoba, a famous ancient city that was once the largest metropolis in Western Europe. In many ways Cordoba is a perfect example of a historic Spanish city. Sand coloured buildings jostle with Renaissance era town houses, while the various plazas throughout the city offer an excellent snapshot into the people who call this place home. During the day, these squares become filled with the social Spanish population as they enjoy tapas in the cafés and restaurants whose tables stretch out over the marble tiles. It is not hard to imagine these plazas, through the ages, hosting Romans, Moors and Spanish alike.
On arrival, we take a guided tour of the city's main attractions, including the famous 8th century Mezquita or Mosque, and the sprawling Juderia - Cordoba's Jewish Quarter.
The main focal point of Cordoba is the magnificent Mezquita. Arguably one of the most impressive Islamic buildings in Europe, the Mezquita is a masterclass in religious architecture. An enormous construction built at the end of the old Roman bridge, this enormous Mosque stands tall in the face of time, boasting an ornate bell tower and splendid interiors displaying some fantastic examples of Mudéjar and Moorish architecture found in rooms of seemingly endless arches.
Today is free for you to explore further afield; perhaps visit nearby Malaga, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and home to a wonderful collection of his work. Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world and boasts a wealth of ancient architecture. Well worth a visit in Malaga is the Port of Malaga. Many beautiful sailing ships and yachts visit the Port, and the area has been welcoming ships since the time of the Phoenicians at around 1,000 BC.
Our excursion to Granada begins with a visit to the stunning Alhambra palace and the various keeps, villas and gardens that lie within.
Built in the 14th century, the Alhambra, literally 'the red castle', is a fortress, palace and small town all rolled into one. It is also one of the most recognisable sights in all Spain. Set on a plateau against a heavily forested series of hills, the Alhambra gazes across the city below, acting as both a fortress and as its own distinct district. The Alhambra is made up of various parts, with the oldest section being the citadel at its heart.
A particularly charming area is the Court of the Lions, a small courtyard featuring several small lion statues, each acting as a fountain in the centre.
We also pay a visit to the Generalife Gardens. The summer palace of the Nasrid rulers of Granada built in the 14th century, these gardens are a welcome retreat, offering a variety of beautiful flora in all shapes and sizes. Be sure to check out the view from the villa here, granting a panorama which takes in the Sacromonte caves and parts of the Albayzín.
After a guided tour of the Alhambra, you have free time to discover more of Granada. This charming Andalucian city is famous for various reasons. Of particular interest is the old Albayzín area of the city. Originally the Muslim district of Granada, the Albayzín is a winding maze of whitewashed buildings, many of which have existed for hundreds of years. Superb views of both the city, the Generalife park area and the Alhambra can be seen from the top of the district, from any of the viewpoints which are set aside for visitors to make use of. For its historical importance in the history of Granada, the Albayzín, along with the Alhambra and Generalife, has earned UNESCO World Heritage status. We return to Antequera following our visit and sit down to a final farewell meal together.
After breakfast we bid farewell to Antequera and Spain, as we transfer back to Malaga Airport for our early morning flight back to the UK. On arrival back in London, our tour concludes.
The superb 4-Star Parador de Antequera offers delightfully scenic accommodation, only 10 minutes' walk away from the centre of Antequera. Boasting spacious rooms with an airy feel, the hotel is set in relaxing gardens, and features its own seasonal outdoor swimming pool. Guests can sample regional cuisine in the Parador's on-site restaurant, best enjoyed with some of the excellent Spanish wines on offer.
The rooms at the Parador de Antequera feature complimentary Wi-Fi access and air-conditioning.