Day 1: Seville. Check-in the hotel and take acquainted with the city. After you check-in we will regroup at the hotel reception for an afternoon walking tour of Seville, this magnificent, historically rich center of Andalusia. A lot could be said about this gem of first Muslim taifa (kingdom) and then Christian Spain, but let’s just say that it is probably the liveliest city in Spain and one of the most “addictive” cities in the entire world. You will discover its many charms on our tour. Rental bike fitting and other bike assistance will be provided before and after the tour. In the evening, we will meet for a welcome dinner and orientation meeting.
Day 2: Seville – Constantina (85 km/53 miles). After breakfast at our hotel, we get on our bikes and ride in a group out of the city using one of its bike paths, heading north towards the beautiful National Parks of de la Sierra Norte. After about 20 km in flat terrain, the roads become rolling and eventually hilly. We ride through several small towns where you can get the first taste of what a small Andalusian town or village looks like. Prior to entering the National Park, we pass cattle farms, orchards, fields, olive groves, and cork tree plantations. Today’s destination is the typical “mountain” town of Constantina in the heart of the National Park. We spend the night here in a small, quiet hotel on top of the town with views of the local ruin, a former Islamic fort. Elevation: Seville – 30 m, Constantina 555 m.
Day 3: Constantina - Cordoba (108 km/66 miles). The first half of today’s ride takes us through the National Park of Sierra Norte and its small charming towns, with some really spectacular and breathtaking views of the area. When we get down to the valley of the Rio Guadalquivir, we ride on small rolling roads through some of the many local olive groves and sunflower fields. We follow the river all the way to Cordoba, where we cross the famous Roman Bridge towards the even more famous Mezquita Cathedral. Our hotel for the next two nights is located right next to this magnificent architectural gem that reminds us of the times when Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived side by side in tolerance and respect, enriching their city with their cultures, skills, and customs. Elevation: Constantina 555m – Cordoba 110m.
Day 4: Cordoba. After breakfast, we begin our introduction to the city with a walking tour that includes a visit to the Mezquita Cathedral. You have the entire afternoon to explore the narrow, charming streets of this fairy-tale like city of Andalusia, its historical center, and many of the city’s famous patios and courtyards, which homeowners use as a seasonal living room. People in Cordoba take pride in their courtyards and often leave the doors to them open, so everybody can admire these small gardens in the city. Visit some of the many tapa bars and taste their excellent Spanish wine and famous Andalusian tapas, do some shopping, and visit the Arab Spa (Baños Árabes). For dinner on your own, you can choose from many excellent restaurants in the city that serve, besides other food, the best of Andalucian cuisine.
Day 5: Cordoba - Baena (75 km / 47 miles). After breakfast, we cross once again the Roman Bridge and say goodbye to the ancient and at the same time modern city of Cordoba. Today’s ride takes us on small curvy and rolling roads through sunflower fields and olive groves. You also have the opportunity to explore the charming center of Castro del Rio, a small town on our route. Our destination today is the small town of Baena, which has become famous for its excellent olive oil. We visit the local Museum of Olive Oil, or the best working olive-oil mill in Cordoba with a tour given by its owner himself. We stay overnight in a plush mansion that has been converted to a hotel. Elevation: Cordoba 110m, Baena 378m.
Day 6: Baena – Jaén (88 km / 55 miles). We leave Baena and after riding about 20 km on small, curvy rolling roads through yet more olive groves, we join one of the most beautiful Spanish green roads – the Olive Oil Green Bike Road/Path (Vía Verde de Aceite). This bike path was built on a former railroad track and takes us through the Provincia of Jaén and its hills covered with olive and cork trees. We cross several viaducts with magnificent views of small rivers and valleys, and ride through two former railroad tunnels. The path takes us all the way to Jaén, where we need just a short ride through this city to get to our hotel. Jaén is often overloooked by visitors to the region, which is a pity because it is a beautiful city with rich architecture, history, and also great tapas bars and Flamenco tradition. We attend a Flamenco performance after dinner, so you have the opportunity to experience this most famous Spanish dance in one of its highest artistic forms. Elevation: Baena 378m, Jaén 575m.
Day 7: Jaen - Baeza (72 km / 45 miles). After breakfast, we set out once again on small roads and head towards the Renaissance jewel of Baeza. While today’s stage is short, it takes us through some dramatic terrain of yet another National Park, the Sierra Mágina. A few long climbs are definitely worth the effort – you are rewarded by breathtaking views of this mountain range and several long downhill rides. When we arrive in Baeza, a tour guide will lead us through the city to discover its many many charms. Our hotel for tonight is a former palace converted into a hotel. It has a magnificent patio and beautiful architecture. Elevation: Jaen – 575m, Baeza 790m.
Day 8: Baeza - Guadix (125 km / 78 miles). Toady’s stage is the longest one on our trip. For those who do not feel like riding the entire stage, our support van is available and ready to do some “shuttling”. Hilly terrain alternates with flat sections as we slowly approach the great Sierra Nevada region. The views of this mountain range that we have almost all day are truly amazing. The Sierra Nevada is the highest mountain range in Spain and is the southern most area with ski resorts in Europe. After a long day we arrive in Guadix. As most Andalusian towns, Guadix has a beautiful, architecturally rich, and easy to navigate center. However, it is most famous for its cave dwellings. Even today, about 3,000 town inhabitants live in these dwellings. Overnight we stay in one of these “caves” that has been converted into a hotel. The hotel has a pool and gorgeous views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Guadix is also famous for its excellent tapas. Elevation: Baeza – 790m, Guadix 915m.
Day 9: Guadix - Granada (57 km / 36 miles). A relatively short ride with one major climb and a 25 km downhill through the “foothills” of the Sierra Nevada takes us to the heart of Andalusia and the Sierra Nevada – the magnificent city of Granada with its unbeatable and almost unimaginable Alhambra Palace. Our hotel is located just a short walk from this former seat of Jewish, Arab, and Christian rulers. We enjoy a tour of this “must see” historical world wonder in the afternoon just in time for our goodbye dinner in the evening. Elevation: Guadix – 915m, Granada 685m.
Day 10: Granada. After breakfast, our trip is officially over.
Single supplement: $630.
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