Road Scholar : Home
Exploring the Hidden White Villages of Andalusia

Program Number: 21285RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/8/2014 - 11/18/2014; 3/14/2015 - 3/24/2015; 4/4/2015 - 4/14/2015; 5/2/2015 - 5/12/2015; 10/17/2015 - 10/27/2015;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Spain
Price starting at: $3,699.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 27; 9 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Between the cosmopolitan bustle of Madrid and the glamorous and tourist-filled beaches of the Costa Del Sol, the most romantic visions of Spain endure tucked amid the peaks of the Sierras in the hidden “White Villages” of Andalusia. Here, narrow cobblestone streets wind around gleaming whitewashed buildings and flower-filled courtyards. The elegant architecture of the Moors and the ruins of the ancient Romans contrast against boulder-strewn hillsides, prehistoric caves and stands of gnarled oak and olive trees. Today, these villages are still the places of dreamers and poets, and we invite you to experience what many consider to be the true essence of Spain in its people and their way of life.




Highlights

• Venture deep into the Sierras to find centuries-old White Villages and a way of life that is still passed down through the generations.
• Learn about the historical city of Cordoba, home to the Great Mosque and a monument to the famous Jewish philosopher Maimonides.
• Walk in Grazalema's Nature Park, visit a working olive oil mill, and learn about artisanal crafts made in the White Villages.



Activity Particulars

Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). Elevations up to 2,700 feet.




Date Specific Information

11-8-2014

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Seville, coach to Carmona, 2 nights; coach to Grazalema 4 nights; coach to Vejer de la Frontera, 2 nights; coach to Seville, 1 night; departure.



Overnight flight from U.S.
1 night
Arrival Seville, coach to Carmona
2 nights

Begin your discovery of southern Spain with an expert-led walk around the Roman-walled enclosure in Seville. Then journey to Cordoba — former capital of the Islamic Caliphate — to learn about its Great Mosque and the picturesque Jewish Quarter, with one of Spain's last remaining synagogues and monument to the great Jewish philosopher Maimonides.



Coach to Grazalema
4 nights

Leaving Carmona, we’ll settle into our first White Village, Grazalema. Often crowned by castles, these “Pueblos Blanco” are perched like bird nests on dramatic gorges. Learn about the people who live here, their architecture, economy and way of life. Experience the natural beauty on a light hike in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. Observe the many colonies of endangered vultures and explore limestone caves. From our base in Grazalema, we’ll venture to the hidden villages of Acinipo and Setenil. At the Roman ruins of Acinipo, discover a Roman theater still in use today. In Setenil, take in the beauty of this village built along a narrow river gorge. Learn about the local trades as you participate in hands-on craft sessions with local artisans. In Ronda, learn about the oldest bullring in Spain, its Arab baths and its unique role in Spain's Civil War. Back in Grazalema, we’ll have a tapas outing with some village friends.



Coach to Vejer de la Frontera
2 nights
Coach to Seville
1 night
Departure

Explore the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia in Bolonia, abandoned in the 6th century and today preserving the most representative elements of a typical Roman city. Enjoy a cooking workshop to learn the basics of Andalusian fare. At a winery in Jerez, the capital of sherry, taste the regional flavors and discuss special blends. Before departing, join an expert for an exploration of Seville's Barrio Santa Cruz, famous for its orange trees and the former Jewish neighborhood of the city, a true labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys. We’ll end our adventure with a flamenco music and dance show.




Spain

With the ascension of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, the Kingdom of Spain took on a shape similar to today’s nation. Ruling a culture born of Roman, Visigoth and Moorish invasions, Spain’s Catholic monarchy threw open the door to the Age of Discovery at the turn of the 16th century, importing goods and ideas from around the world while exporting their cultural fusion throughout the first empire on which the sun never set.



Accommodations
Carmona: Three-star hotel with Arabic architecture, gardens and fountains. Grazalema: Four-star hotel with whitewashed walls typical of the Andalusian style. Vejer de la Frontera: Renovated 17th-century convent located in the main plaza. Seville: Centrally located four-star hotel.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Judy Cotter

Judy Cotter, a native Californian and “Sevillana” by adoption, is a professor of Spanish culture and art history in Seville. Her presentations cover a wide variety of subjects, ranging from the cultural legacies of Romans, Arabs and Jews to Andalucian festivals and the Flamenco and Taurine Arts. Judy has translated several books by Spanish authors and has collaborated on recordings of instructional CDs on flamenco. She is co-author of a book about the talented American artist and matador, John Fulton.
 
Jose Sanchez

Jose Sanchez, professor for the Academic program at the Center for Cross-Cultural Study, enjoys collaborating with Road Scholar programs. An expert on the history of Spain, he transmits to participants his passion and enthusiasm in his lectures and excursions to the Roman Ruins of Italica. Says Jose: "After teaching young people for 17 years, I consider teaching Road Scholar participants the most rewarding professional experience. I find the great interest they have in learning and the gratitude they convey very special and fulfilling. Teaching them has given me confidence in my ability to communicate with other cultures."
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel El Rincón de las Descalzas
  Carmona, Spain 2 nights
   Hotel Puerta de la Villa
  Grazalema, Spain 4 nights
   La Casa del Califa
  Vejer de la Frontera, Spain 2 nights
   Hotel Inglaterra
  Seville, Spain 1 night
 Hotel El Rincón de las Descalzas
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Beautiful gardens and patios with fountains, typical Arab architecture, jasmine and ivy plants, secret corners to relax and enjoy. Personalized attention to guests, located in the heart of Carmona's historical center, right in front of the Descalzas' Convent.
  Contact info: Calle Descalzas, 1
Carmona,  41410 Spain
phone: +34 954 191 172
web: www.elrincondelasdescalzas.com/
  Room amenities: All bathrooms with bath, some with separate shower, bidet, hairdryer, international shaver outlet, safety box, TV, data connection point, telephone, A/C, smoke detector and central alarm.
  Facility amenities: On-site restaurant Bar "El Claustro", buffet breakfast, drawing room with open fireplace, meeting rooms, possibilities of open air meeting space, boutique, masseur, horseback riding
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Hotel Puerta de la Villa
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the historic center of the village of Grazalema, with typical white-washed walls, wrought iron gatework and heavy wooden doors so typical of Andalusian architecture, Puerta de la Villa is the only hotel in town with a 4-star quality rating.
  Contact info: Plaza Pequeña, 8
Grazalema,  11610 Spain
phone: +34 956 132 405
web: www.hotelpuertadelavilla.com
  Room amenities: Telephone, minibar, A/C and heat, hair dryer, WIFI internet connection, safety box, television
  Facility amenities: On-site restaurant "La Garrocha" and bar-cafeteria with typical local fare, meeting rooms, library, swimming pool, and a boutique offering artesanal products from the village.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 La Casa del Califa
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel La Casa del Califa is made up of the union of eight different houses dating in ages from the 10th/11th century through to a complete contemporary rebuild of a 17th century property. The site has always been strategic for many reasons; it overlooks the principal medieval access to the town; the properties face the Plaza de España, Vejer’s largest flat open space ideal for markets & cultural events; the house is very close to Vejer’s principal gateway (Arco de la Villa). The original road into Vejer (its origins may be Roman or even Phoenecian) arrives at the foot of the Casa del Juzgado (the local popular name for what is now the principal façade of the hotel). Staying at the Califa is like staying at a large private house with multiple levels, corridors & courtyards dividing up the eight houses that make up the hotel of varying ages & architectural styles. There is a degree of intimacy in whichever part of the hotel you are staying in.
  Contact info: Plaza de España, 16
Vejer de la Frontera,  11150 Spain
phone: +34 956 447 730
web: www.lacasadelcalifa.com/en/
  Room amenities: Full tea & coffee making equipment Air conditioning & heating Full bathrooms with baths or powerful showers Telephone Safe Satellite TV (Stereo systems & Flat screens TV’s in all suites) Hairdryers in bathrooms
  Facility amenities: On-site restaurant: "The Caliph's Garden" is one of Andalucia’s prime eating destinations. You will be served fabulous North African & Middle Eastern food in a historic, tranquil & unsurpassed setting in the heart of Vejer’s medieval quarter.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Inglaterra
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in Plaza Nueva, central to all of Seville's major monuments.
  Contact info: Plaza Nueva, 7
Seville,  41001 Spain
phone: +34 954 224 970
web: www.hotelinglaterra.es
  Room amenities: Hairdryer, telephone, television, minibar, safe, heat/air conditioning.
  Facility amenities: On-site restaurant and bar, meeting rooms, laundry and room service.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  Please consult with program provider for details.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program starts with lunch at 2pm in Carmona. Hotel check-in begins at 1pm. Meet in hotel lobby for lunch. You will be staying at Hotel El Rincón de las Descalzas that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast in Seville. Hotel check-out is at 12pm. You will be staying at Hotel Inglaterra the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. None
  Parking availability:
No on-site parking available.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: www.renfe.es for train info, contact program provider for bus info
To Start of Program
  Location:  Carmona
  Transportation to site: Upon arrival, a transfer to the hotel in Carmona from the SVQ (Seville San Pablo) airport via private coach bus will be provided for all participants on a group flight. Independent travelers can join the group transfer if it coincides with their arrival time. If not, participants can take a taxi from the airport to the hotel, which will cost about 25 euros.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Seville
  Nearest city or town:  Seville
  Nearest airport:  San Pablo (SVQ)
  Transportation from site: Upon departure from Seville, a transfer from the hotel to SVQ (Seville San Pablo) airport via private coach bus will be provided for all participants on a group flight. Independent travelers can join the group transfer if it coincides with their arrival time. If not, participants can take a taxi from the airport to the hotel, which will cost about 25 euros. There is also an Especial Aeropuerto public bus service departing from the city center (various points throughout the city, the closest stop walking from the hotel is Plaza de Armas) which leaves passengers at the departures terminal at SVQ airport almost every thirty minutes at a cost of 4 Euros per person one-way.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Overnight transit to Carmona (Seville), Spain
(Saturday, November 8)
   
 In Transit Overnight: International flight to Spain

Day 2: Arrival day, orientation to program in Carmona
(Sunday, November 9)
   
 Morning: Morning arrival at the Seville Airport, meet your Group Leader and transfer by private motor coach to the hotel in Carmona (just outside Seville). Check-in and rest before lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: After a post-meal orientation which will cover the program schedule in Carmona, participate in a walking tour around the hotel, located in the heart of Carmona in front of the Convent of Las Descalzas. We'll follow the Roman walled enclosure of the city on our stroll.
 Dinner: Welcome reception and dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel El Rincón de las Descalzas
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Day trip to Cordoba, an Iberian and Roman city in ancient times, and later the stronghold of the Moors and capital of the Islamic caliphate. We explore the Great Mosque and the Jewish Quarter with a local expert.
(Monday, November 10)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, a local historian will give the group a lecture on the Geography and History of Andalusia at the hotel. Afterwards, depart via private coach bus (1 hour) for Cordoba, where led by a local expert we will visit the Great Mosque-Cathedral with its famous horseshoe arches, and explore the Jewish Quarter with one of Spain's last remaining synagogues and a monument to the famous philosopher, Maimonides.
 Lunch: Enjoy a typical Cordobes lunch in a geranium-filled patio.
 Lunch: Enjoy a typical Cordobes lunch on a geranium-filled patio.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon return to Carmona, free time to relax or explore on your own.
 Dinner: On-site staff will give you recommendations for an evening out to enjoy the local tapas tradition on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel El Rincón de las Descalzas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Lunch

Day 4: Morning guided tour of Carmona's Necropolis, afternoon arrival in Grazalema, the most representative of the White Villages of Andalusia.
(Tuesday, November 11)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Morning guided tour of Carmona's Necropolis, composed of hundreds of sepulchral chambers and dating back to the 1st century B.C. We will also visit the Gothic Santa María la Mayor church, which boasts a liturgical calendar from the Visigothic age engraved in a column in its Patio de las Naranjos. After our visits in Carmona, check-out of the hotel and depart via private coach bus for our first stop in the White Villages of Andalusia, in Grazalema. Known for their uniformly whitewashed constructions, the White Villages still seem part of medieval Spain and appear to be inserted like bird nests into the mountains, sitting on dramatic gorges, often crowned by castles.
 Lunch: Upon arrival at the hotel in Grazalema, check-in and enjoy lunch on the hotel patio.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch in the hotel patio.
 Afternoon: Afternoon orientation walk around the village followed by a panel lecture on "The People of the Sierra" in which we will examine rural architecture, economy, and sociological character of the mountain people who subsisted by cultivating the land, shepherding, and even smuggling in times of economic difficulty.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Puerta de la Villa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Morning walk in Grazalema Nature Park and a visit to a fully-functioning olive mill, social time with local villagers.
(Wednesday, November 12)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Light morning hike in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park (2,500 feet altitude) which was declared a biosphere reserve in 1977. We will observe the many colonies of endangered vultures and explore limestone caves. Afterwards, stop at a an 18th century functioning olive mill where we will learn about the production of Spain's golden liquid.
 Lunch: Lunch in a nearby village.
 Afternoon: Afternoon meeting with locals to learn firsthand over coffee what life is really like in the village.
 Dinner: Enjoy an organized tapas outing with your new village friends.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Puerta de la Villa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Delve deeper into the hidden villages of the Sierra, with visits to Acinipo and Setenil, afternoon hands-on crafts sessions with Grazalema locals.
(Thursday, November 13)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Morning field trip to the hidden villages of Acinipo and Setenil. At the Roman ruins of Acinipo, we will discover a Roman theatre still in use today. In Setenil, we will take in the beauty of this village built along a narrow river gorge. Tradition holds that the town's Castilian name came from the Roman Latin phrase septem nihil ('seven times nothing'). This is said to refer to the Moorish town's resistance to Christian assault, allegedly being captured only after seven sieges.
 Lunch: Lunch will feature Setenil's cured meat products and a dessert sampling of its famous pastries.
 Afternoon: Upon return to Grazalema, participate in a series of hands-on craft sessions with local artisans, including basket weavers, wool blanket weavers, and artesanal cheese makers.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Puerta de la Villa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Day trip to the Ronda, in El Tajo canyon above which the city perches. Hemingway and Welles spent many summers in Ronda as part-time residents and have written to reflect its beauty and bullfighting traditions.
(Friday, November 14)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Morning departure via private coach bus for the city of Ronda where we will experience this magnificent city nestled into the Malaga side of the Sierras with the guidance of a local expert. Visits to the oldest bullring in Spain, the Arab baths, the three main bridges crossing the gorge. We will also learn about Ronda's unique role played during Spain's Civil War.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon arrival in Grazalema to relax or explore on your own.
 Dinner: On-site staff will make suggestions for you to enjoy dinner on your own in Grazalema.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Puerta de la Villa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: In transit to our next site, Vejer de la Frontera, visit a bullranch and learn about the Andalusian culture of bullbreeding with a local expert.
(Saturday, November 15)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Morning check-out of the hotel in Grazalema and departure via private coach bus for Vejer de la Frontera, En route, we stop in Arcos de la Frontera for a visit to a functioning bull ranch where we will learn first hand about raising toros.
 Lunch: Have a leisurely lunch at the bull ranch, known locally as a "finca".
 Afternoon: Afternoon arrival in Vejer and check-in at the hotel. Take a stroll through the village, towering over the surrounding countryside, at 600 feet above sea level, and only a couple of miles from the coast. The city is dominated by its Moorish castle and Gothic church. Clean, narrow cobblestoned streets and whitewashed homes are the characteristic trait of the Andalusian towns. Vejer is steeped in history; the famous battle of Trafalgar took place just off the coast near the town in 1805.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel's restaurant, once a convent.
   
Accommodations: La Casa del Califa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Field trip to the coast to visit the Baelo Claudia ruins on the coast and along the Straits of Gibraltar where Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. Evening hands-on cooking class in Vejer.
(Sunday, November 16)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Day trip to the coast and guided visit of the Roman ruins of Baela Claudia in Bolonia, near Tarifa, abandoned in the 6th century and today preserving the most representative elements of a typical Roman city.
 Lunch: Lunch of typical coastal fare at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Afternoon return to Vejer, free time to explore on your own or relax.
 Dinner: Evening hands-on cooking workshop where you will learn the basics of regional Andalusian fare. Then, enjoy what you've created for dinner!
   
Accommodations: La Casa del Califa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Travel to Seville with a stop in Jerez to visit a sherry winery. Stroll in Seville's Jewish Quarter and take in the capital city of Andalusia.
(Monday, November 17)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Morning check-out of the hotel and departure via private coach bus for Seville. En route, we visit a bodega, or winery, in Jerez, the capital of sherry. Taste the regional flavors and learn about this special blends. Late morning arrival in Seville.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel in Seville.
 Afternoon: Walking tour in Seville's Barrio Santa Cruz, famous for its orange trees and the former Jewish neighborhood of the city, a true labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys. Feel free to explore some more of Seville on your own.
 Dinner: Evening dinner out followed by a flamenco music and dance show.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Inglaterra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: End of program, return flights.
(Tuesday, November 18)

Note: Extensive walking (2-3 miles on some days, approx. 1-3 hours, at a steady pace). In many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is a necessity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel, program ends immediately after breakfast. Return coach transfer to the airport.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Taste of Spain


Author: Goodwin, Bob and Perez, Candi


Description: Basic information is given for kids about the history & culture of Spain, followed by material on Spanish food & a group of representative recipes.



A day in the Life of Spain


Author: David Cohen and Rick Smolan


Andalus: Unlocking the secrets of Moorish Spain


Author: Jason Webster


Description: Contemporary Society



Contemporary Spain: A Handbook


Author: Christopher Ross


Description: Contemporary Society



Don Quixote de la Mancha


Author: Parry, Judge and Crane, Walter


Description: The story of the Spanish knight adapted for children and enhanced by the delightful illustrations of Walter Crane.



For Whom the Bell Tolls


Author: Ernest Hemingway


Description: Fiction



Lonely Planet: Spain


Author: Lonely Planet


Moorish Architecture of Andalusia


Author: Marianne Barrucand and Achim Bednoz


Spain: The Root and the Flower


Author: John Crow


Tapas: The Lilttle Dishes of Spain


Author: Penelope Casas


The New Spain


Author: John Radford


Description: A Complete Guide to Contemporary Spanish Wine



The Sun Also Rises


Author: Ernest Hemingway


Description: Fiction



Travellers' Tales: Spain


Author: Lucy McCauley




You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768