The Golden Age of Spain: Andalucia Tour

A 8 day trip to Spain 
4.6 out of 5 stars
5 reviews

Endlessly romantic, Andalusia dazzles all the senses. Feel the legacy of centuries past. Delight in the magic of the Moorish culture and the Gypsy music. Savor the exotic cuisine and sample exquisite local wine. You’ll feel like you’re in a dream as you visit the wondrous historic sites and immerse yourself in the fascinating culture. This tour shows you the highlights of Andalusia, including Sevilla, Granada and Córdoba, as well as more off-the-beaten-path villages in the enchanting Las Alpujarras Mountains. You’ll leave you with a deep appreciation for all the wonders that Southern Spain has to offer.

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba. Las Alpujarras

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1 - Arrive in Seville, Spain and Explore the Historic City

To visit Seville is to understand this famous quote: "He who has not seen Sevilla, has not seen a marvel." You will begin your tour here and will have a chance to explore the hidden corners of this magical city. This morning, you will meet your guide to begin a tour along the banks of the Guadalquivir River. Here you will learn about Seville's illustrious history and rich culture, as you take a relaxed walk through the heart of old Seville. The influence of the Moorish Almohad Dynasty during the 12th and 13th centuries can still be seen throughout Sevilla, from the soaring La Giralda tower to the expansive gardens of the Real Alcázar Palace.

You’ll visit many important monuments including la Torre de Oro (Tower of Gold), built around 1220 and the last monument constructed by the Moors. You’ll see the city’s most important site, la Catedral de Sevilla, the third largest cathedral in the world. According to legend, when the officials met to plan the cathedral's construction one of them exclaimed, "Let us build a cathedral of such immense proportions that the rest of the world will think us mad!" One special feature of the cathedral is the majestic Giralda tower, the only detail that remains of the original 12th-century mosque (the mosque was converted to the cathedral in 1248). You will climb to the dizzying heights of the Giralda tower to take in a fantastic panoramic view of Seville.

For lunch, enjoy a the local cuisine at a gourmet tapas restaurant and be sure to sample the specialties, including garlic shrimp, roasted rosemary chicken, seafood stew and gazpacho soup. The tour continues with an exploration of the Barrio Santa Cruz neighborhood. Once the center of Seville’s Jewish community, the Barrio Santa Cruz is a delightful maze of shaded narrow streets. Wander around to discover craftsman workshops, tiny boutiques and patios filled with orange trees and flowers. Later in the afternoon, you’ll have free time to take a siesta or you may continue sightseeing with an excursion to the Calle Sierpes, where fashionable shops and charming cafes await!

Day 2 - Visit Seville’s Alcázar Palace and the María Luisa Park

Today you’ll start out with a tour of the Real Alcázar Palace, where to this day the King and Queen of Spain reside when they visit Seville. The palace dates back to the Almohad rulers but was expanded and rebuilt by Peter the Cruel during the 14th century. Here you can see the finest example of the Mudéjar-style architecture that is so typical of Andalusia. The palace is a stunning mixture of both the Moorish design and Christian aesthetic. Then spend some time wandering through the palace gardens. Next you will continue on to the western part of Seville. After strolling past the world-renowned university and contemplating what it must have looked like in its previous incarnation as a tobacco factory, you will arrive at the beautiful María Luisa Park. The site of the 1929 Ibero-American Expo, this pleasant oasis of shady trees, hidden paths and freshwater pools was landscaped in the French, Anglo-Saxon and Arabic styles. Here you may wander peacefully, while exploring the lovely restored pavilions that now serve as art and archeology museums. After your tour, you will enjoy an authentic paella lunch. For the rest of the day, you may choose to participate in optional excursions or you may take a siesta so that you’ll be fresh for the evening. Tonight you’ll experience a passionate Gypsy flamenco performance at a tablao flamenco (traditional flamenco venue in a small intimate space).

Day 3 - Arrive in Granada and Visit the Alhambra Palace  

Upon arriving in Granada, you’ll check into your hotel and then enjoy an early lunch by Spanish standards. Today will be dedicated almost entirely to the exploration of Granada's most revered monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Alhambra. Granada was the last bastion of Islamic rule in Andalusia, and this Moorish stronghold survived until the Catholic Reconquista led by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel in 1492. The majestic Alhambra palace, perched high above Granada on the Sabika Hill, serves as a testament to the enduring influence of Moorish culture in Spain to this day.

The Alhambra is the largest and best-preserved medieval fortress in Europe: an artistic and architectural wonder that owes its cultural wealth to the greatest Moorish sultans, architects and artists. The first wave of Moors who swept into Spain in 711 AD were nomadic tribes of the desert, and they viewed Granada as their oasis. As the Alhambra was being built, water became the dominant theme, and everywhere you turn you’ll see fountains, pools and water channels. Your guide will share the stories behind the many towers and rooms and discuss the significance of illustrious historical characters. Later today, you’ll have free time to continue exploring Granada. You might visit the outdoor cafes on the Plaza Nueva to relax in the sunshine, or enter one of the tea shops behind the plaza to try sample a Moorish pastry with an herbal tea infusion. Later this afternoon or evening, try some of the city’s tapas bars that are well off-the-beaten tourist path—for an authentic cultural experience.

Day 4 - Discover Granada’s Cathedral and the old Arab Quarter

Today you’ll explore the city of Granada more in depth on a guided tour. Among the tour's highlights are visits to the Cathedral and Royal Chapel, where the Catholic Kings Ferdinand and Isabel are buried, the Alcaiceria (the old Arab marketplace), and the Plaza Bib Rambla (also called the Plaza de las Flores) with its 17th-century Gigantones Fountain as the centerpiece. Next, you’ll meander through the narrow labyrinthine streets of the old Arab quarter, the Albaicín. Admire the peaceful courtyards, hidden lookouts and immaculate gardens. For lunch, you’ll enjoy the local specialties at an open-air Gypsy restaurant, and finally you’ll climb to the highest point of the Albaicín to be awed by the extraordinary views of the Alhambra from the Plaza de San Nicolas. Bill Clinton recently revisited this spot as he had been there during his college days and never forgot the place. You too may feel that a part of you will be left behind after you leave Granada, joining the millions of souls who have come before and have been inspired by this beautiful city!

Day 5 - Visit Ancient Villages and Nature Hike in Las Alpujarras Mountains

In the distance, looking beyond the red towers of the Alhambra, you can see a majestic mountain range called the Sierra Nevada. Nestled between these snowcapped mountain peaks lies a captivating region of ancient villages and blossoming valleys, called Las Alpujarras. Once remote and inaccessible, the high-pastured Alpujarras region was the stage for many Moorish-Christian battles throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, and has also been the backdrop for many literary escapades. This rugged mountainous country of ethereal waterfalls, sun-drenched olive groves and gushing rivers will provide an enchanting setting for your two-day stay. Your lodging is in Capileira, a whitewashed village high above the Poqueira Gorge. From afar, the village looks like a glistening cascade of bright white houses spilling over from the edge of the valley down into the lush green ravine below.

You'll begin the day with an ascent into the Sierra Nevada Mountains, winding your way through several towns of Las Alpujarras including Lanjarón, the source of Spain's most abundant spring for bottled water. Upon arriving in Capileira, you'll begin your first day's walk. Climbing east out of Capileira into the Barranco del Cerezo, the ravine of the cherry trees, you'll be awestruck by breathtaking vistas of the five other Alpujarreña towns in the valley below. You'll pass through the winding streets of Capileria and Pitres, another ancient mountain village. Then you'll continue down into the valley, stopping for photo-ops or to taste the spring water flowing from roadside fountains, finally descending into the town of Mecina Fondales, a tiny village in a beautiful scenic location. Your bus will pick you up for the drive back to Capileira, where you’ll enjoy a hearty lunch on a sunny rooftop patio. The day wouldn't be complete without a visit to a traditional ham-drying tavern. Enjoy a private tour by Carlos, who will show you how Spanish Serrano ham is cured, and then will allow you to sample some of his finest handcrafted Jamón Serrano.

Day 6 - Nature Hike and Picnic in Las Alpujarras Mountains

Your second day in Las Alpujarras promises to be an exhilarating one. You may choose to participate on an all-day hike that starts in the highest village in Spain, Trevélez, and finishes back at your hotel. Along the way you'll picnic beside a gentle mountain stream and admire the exceptional views from high above the rolling green valleys. Season permitting, you'll also see many varieties of wildflowers as well as herds of mountain goats. For those looking who prefer a more relaxed pace, you may select two shorter, more leisurely walks to nearby villages where local artisans sell their traditional handicrafts. This afternoon will include free time for a swim in the pool or to take a siesta. In the evening, you'll have refreshments under a canopy of elm trees and then enjoy a typical dinner of Patatas a lo Pobre (which translates to “potatoes of the poor man” but is truly delicious!) made with potatoes, onions, and green peppers slowly sautéed in a olive oil, and served with green salad, chorizo sausage, homemade gazpacho soup and refreshing Vinello (a local wine produced in Las Alpujarras region).

Day 7 - Arrive in Córdoba and Visit la Judería

From Las Alpujarras, you’ll be transported by bus to Córdoba, a marvelously preserved historic city with a fascinating Moorish past. Córdoba was one of Europe’s greatest cities during the 10th century. At the time, the city had 10 times the population that Paris and was the capital of Al Andaluz, the Islamic kingdom. In Córdoba, classical knowledge was resuscitated in the West by great Cordovan scholars, such as Jewish philosopher Maimonides and Arab philosopher Averroes. The influence of these two men has left an indelible print on human history. 

After lunch, you’ll set out for a guided tour through the narrow streets of la Judería, the old Jewish quarter. The district buzzes with activity and is filled with souvenir shops, yet the solemn reign of history pervades. You will visit one of the three remaining synagogues in all of Spain, built during the era when the Jewish population of Córdoba flourished. Then pay homage to the great humanists and scholars of Córdoba as you pass by their statues. You will also see how today’s residents of Córdoba live in this charming quarter, with lovely homes featuring enchanted patios and decorated iron-grill balconies. Your last evening will be one to remember: You will be treated to a fabulous gourmet dinner of exquisite seafood, eggplant in honey sauce and carnes a la brasa (grilled meat). This exquisite meal is served on the rooftop terrace of an atmospheric Córdoba restaurant overlooking the la Mezquita, accompanied by a live Spanish guitar performance. Make a toast to the wonderful experiences that you’ve enjoyed during your trip!

Day 8 - Visit la Mezquita in Córdoba and Tour Concludes

Your last day in Córdoba could be the highlight. You will have a chance to see one of the most amazing monuments in Europe, la Mezquita (the old mosque). This breathtaking architectural wonder, with its graceful rows and rows of candy-striped arches, has a surprise at its center: a soaring a cathedral! The awe-inspiring mosque was built in the 8th century and converted to a cathedral in the 16th century after the Christian Reconquest. No other site in Spain so wonderfully exhibits the fantastic blend of cultures that defines Andalusia. After your visit to la Mezquita, the tour concludes. You’ll be provided a private transfer to the airport in time for your return flight home. It is time to say, "Adios" to Andalusia, until next time.


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.