The Muslims, Jews and Christians all contributed to a vital, if ultimately tragic, history that is abundantly evident throughout the tour, whether in a medieval monument or on an ancient herding path. This trip through Sevilla, Granada, Las Alpujarras and Córdoba is our signature Spain tour and the only one that we, the owners, still personally lead each summer. Uniquely mixing city walks and rural routes, it will delight and dazzle all five of your senses and leave you with a deep appreciation for all the wonders that Spain provides.
Day 1: Sevilla
We meet in the morning and begin our adventure along the cooling banks of the Guadalquivir river. Here we will learn about the key figures and events that make up Sevilla's illustrious history. Once properly oriented, we will begin in earnest with a relaxed walk through the heart of old Sevilla. Our path will cross many important monuments including la Torre de Oro, once the guardian of all gold and jewels from the newly discovered Americas, la Puerta de Jerez, with its famous inscription linking Sevilla to her legendary founder Hercules, and la Catedral de Sevilla, the fourth largest cathedral in the world and the final resting place for Fernando the Saint and Christopher Columbus. Connected to the cathedral is the majestic Giralda tower, said to have been designed by the man who invented algebra. We will climb the dizzying heights of this sole surviving great minaret and take in a fantastic panoramic view of Sevilla in all her glory.
After savoring a wide variety of the local cuisine in our favorite local tapas restaurant we will continue into the Santa Cruz neighborhood. Once the center of the Jewish community, the barrio Santa Cruz is a maze of shady narrow streets filled with legends and lore, workshops, tiny stores, patios, wrought iron grilles, orange trees, palms and flowers. During the later afternoon, you might opt for a well-deserved Spanish siesta, or perhaps you will join us for an excursion to the Calle Sierpes, where quaint shops and charming cafes await.
Day 2: Sevilla
We start today with a walk through the Alcázar palace, where to this day the king and queen of Spain stay when they come to Sevilla. The palace dates back to the Almohad rulers, but was vastly expanded and modified by Peter the Cruel during the 14th Century. Here we can see a pure example of the Mudéjar style so typical of southern Spain - the stunning mixture of both the Moorish and Christian artistic and architectural aesthetic. After wandering through the palace gardens, we will continue on to the western part of the city. Passing the world-renown university, and contemplating what it must have looked like in its previous incarnation as a tobacco factory, we come at last to the María Luisa Park. Site of the 1929 Ibero-American Expo, this breathtaking oasis of shady trees, hidden paths and gurgling pools was landscaped in the French, Anglo-Saxon and Arabic style.
Day 3: Granada
Upon entering Granada we’ll check into our hotel, eat lunch and dedicate ourselves almost entirely to the exploration of Granada's, and arguably Spain's, most revered monument: the Alhambra. The Alhambra is the largest, best preserved, and most beautiful medieval fortress on the European continent: an artistic and architectural wonder which stemmed directly from the greatest Moorish sultans, architects, artists and visionaries. Our local expert will tell the stories behind the many towers and rooms, and discuss the significance of illustrious historical characters. Later in the day, you might visit the sweet smelling tea shops behind the Plaza Nueva to try some Moorish pastry and an herbal tea infusion.
Day 4: Granada
Today we focus on the city of Granada. Among our morning’s highlights are stops in the Cathedral and Royal Chapel, the Alcaicería, and the Plaza Bib-rambla. We shall leave no stone unturned as we bring you through the labyrinthine streets of the old Arab quarter known as the Albaicín, and duck into private courtyards, hidden lookouts, immaculate gardens and tapas bars well off the beaten path. Before stopping for lunch in an open-air gypsy restaurant, we'll savor the magnificent view of the Alhambra from the Plaza de San Nicolas. As we recount to you colorful historical anecdotes and legendary tales concerning Christians and Moors, magicians, princesses, soldiers and saints, you may get the sense that a part of you too will be left behind after you leave Granada, joining the millions of souls who came before and looked longingly over such a beautiful city.
Day 5: Las Alpujarras
Today we’ll begin our ascent into the Sierra Nevada mountains, winding our way through several towns of the Alpujarras including Lanjarón, the source of Spain’s richest and most abundant spring for bottled water. Upon arriving in Capileira, we’ll begin our first day’s walk: climbing east out of Capileira into the Barranco de Cerezo, we’ll marvel at breathtaking vistas of five other Alpujarreña towns in the valley below. We’ll pass through the winding streets of Capilería and Pitres, two ancient mountain villages. The day wouldn’t be complete without a private visit to a local ham drying tavern, where Carlos will show us how Spanish serrano is cured, and then allow us to sample some of his finest hand-crafted jamón.
Day 6: Las Alpujarras
Our second day in the Alpujarras promises to be an exhilarating one. You may choose to participate on an all-day 22 kilometer hike that starts in the highest village in Spain, Trevélez, and finishes back at our hotel. Along the way we'll picnic beside a gentle mountain stream and take in endless views high above the rolling green valleys. We'll also keep our eyes out for many varieties of wild flowers and herds of mountain goats. For those looking for a more relaxed pace, we offer two shorter walks to nearby villages where local artisans sell their wares. The afternoon will be free to swim in the pool or to take a siesta.
Day 7: Cordoba
From the Alpujarras, we are transported by our private bus towards Córdoba. After lunch we set out through the narrow streets of the Judería, the Jewish Quarter. The district, alive with shops and souvenirs, buzzes with activity, yet a solemn reign of history pervades in the long, lazy shadows of the afternoon sun. We will visit one of the three remaining synagogues in all of Spain and pay homage to great humanists and scholars as we pass their statues. Our last evening together will be one to remember: live Spanish guitar, exquisite seafood, succulent eggplant in honey and carnes a la brasa served on the rooftop terrace of our favorite Cordoban restaurant overlooking the mosque.
Day 8: Cordoba
Our last day in Córdoba will focus on the Mezquita, or the great Mosque. We’ll wander through the forest of onyx, jasper, and porphyry columns savoring the sumptuous elegance and beauty of Moorish art. No other site in Spain so overtly exhibits the fantastic clash and mixture of culture which continues to define Andalucía to this day! Our journey now complete, we’ll bid each other fond farewell and "Adiós".
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