21285
Spain
Exploring the Hidden White Villages of Spain’s Andalusia
Step off the beaten path to explore Andalusia’s White Villages, where you’ll discover mosques, and monuments, nature parks and olive mills, and revel in the true essence of Spain.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21285RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,649
Flights start at
875
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11 days
10 nights
23 meals
9 B 8 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Carmona, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Carmona
D
Alcázar de la Reina

Activity note: Hotel check-in available by 12:00 Noon. Walking approx. 1 mile; about 1/2 hour; cobblestones and hilly roads.

Morning: Upon arrival, check-into your room and enjoy a little time to rest before orientation

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like

Afternoon: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Extensive walking, often up to 3 miles per day, approx. 1-3 hours at a steady pace. During many of our visits we will encounter winding or hilly roads, as well as cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Comfortable and sturdy footwear is highly recommended. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll then set out with our Group Leader for a walking exploration of the area around the hotel, which is located in the heart of Carmona. We’ll follow the Roman walled enclosure of the city on our stroll enjoying informative commentary provided along the way.

Dinner: At the Parador de Carmona restaurant, we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner with delicious plated meals. Wine and water are included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Andalusia Geography, Carmona Intro, Bullfighting Lecture
Carmona
B,L
Alcázar de la Reina

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles; about 3 hours; steady pace, with stops; some inclines, cobblestones, and steps. Sturdy comfortable footwear is highly recommended.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty breakfast buffet featuring a variety of hot and cold items including an egg dish, breakfast breads and meats, cereals, fresh fruit, milk juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll set out on foot for an expert-led field trip of Carmona where we will 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. Afterwards, we’ll then have some time to explore Carmona independently before lunch.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with a choice of one beverage included; wine, beer, soft drink, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll settle in for a lecture with a local expert at the hotel to learn about bullfighting. A national cultural tradition in Spain, bullfighting is and has long been steeped in enthusiastic debate. Historians offer contesting timelines speculating where and when this tradition, widely regarded as an art form, originated. Some suspect it may have carried over from gladiator traditions of Ancient Rome, while others contest that it grew from a culmination of cultures and influences throughout the ages. Much modern debate between enthusiasts and activists stems from the ethical dilemma the spectacle poses because, traditionally, the bulls – bred specifically to be more aggressive – are killed at the end of the fight. After a short break an expert will join us to give a group lecture on the geography and history of Andalusia.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions for tapas bars in Carmona where you can eat like a local.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Cordoba Mosque, Synagogue, Jewish Quarter, Grazalema
Grazalema
B,L,D
Hotel Puerta de la Villa

Activity note: Driving about 70 miles to Cordoba and 117 miles from Cordoba to Grazalema. Walking up to 3-4 miles throughout the day; steady pace, with stops; some inclines, cobblestones, and steps. Sturdy comfortable footwear is highly recommended.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll transfer via private bus to Cordoba where, led by a local expert, we will visit the Great Mosque-Cathedral with its famous horseshoe arches, and explore the Jewish Quarter that features one of Spain's last remaining synagogues as well as a monument to the famous philosopher, Maimonides.

Lunch: At a typical restaurant in Cordoba, we’ll have plated meals with a choice of one beverage included; wine, beer, soft drink, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then take our bus to our first stop in the White Villages of Andalusia: 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. Upon arrival at the hotel, we’ll check in and then go on an orientation walk around the village with our Group Leader to visit a typical butcher’s shop and see how they make cold meats.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with a choice of one beverage included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
The Ronda of Hemingway & Welles in El Tajo Canyon
Grazalema
B,L
Hotel Puerta de la Villa

Activity note: Driving approx. 20 miles (33 km) one way to Ronda; less than 1 hour. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day; steady pace, with stops; some inclines, cobblestones, and steps. Sturdy comfortable footwear is highly recommended.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the buffet features a variety of choices including breakfast breads and pastries, cereal, butter, jam, coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: We’ll start out the day by transferring via private bus to Ronda where we will experience this magnificent city nestled into the Malaga side of the Sierras under the guidance of a local expert. While here, we’ll stop for visits at the oldest bullring in Spain and the three main bridges that cross the gorge. Through commentary provided as we go, we will also learn about Ronda's unique role played during Spain's Civil War.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Ronda, we’ll have plated meals with two included beverage choices: wine, beer, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After returning to Grazalema, we’ll join a local expert for a lecture at the hotel on the people of the Sierra, during which we will examine rural architecture, economic systems, and the sociological character of the mountain people who subsist by cultivating the land, shepherding, and even smuggling in times of economic difficulty.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like in Grazalema. On-site staff will be happy to make suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Grazalema Natural Park, Olive Mill, Cheese Making, Community
Grazalema
B,L,D
Hotel Puerta de la Villa

Activity note: Driving approx. 25 miles total throughout the day, short increments with stops for field trips. Walking up to 3 miles; steady pace in the hilly countryside; hiking shoes or sports sneakers are strongly encouraged.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll start out the morning with a light morning hike in Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park (2,500 feet altitude) which was declared a biosphere reserve in 1977. Along our expert-led hike, we will keep an eye out for colonies of endangered vultures and explore limestone caves. Afterwards, we’ll stop at an 18th century functioning olive mill where the hacienda owner, an expert, will lead a lecture about the production of Spain's golden liquid during a lecture and oil tasting session.

Lunch: At the Olive Mill Hacienda, we’ll have delicious plated meals including wine made right at the hacienda, and water. Other included beverages available upon request.

Afternoon: On our way back to Grazalema we will stop for a hands-on cheese making workshop led by the cheese factory owner. Upon return to Grazalema, we’ll meet with locals at a nearby restaurant to learn first-hand what life is like in the village through group conversation.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a fun tapas outing with our new friends with two beverages included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Baelo Claudia Roman Ruins, Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer de la Frontera
B,L,D
La Casa del Califa

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day; steady pace, with stops; some inclines, cobblestones, and steps. Driving approx. 127 miles total; about 2.5 hours with stops.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel in Grazalema, we’ll transfer via private bus to Vejer de la Frontera. En route, we’ll stop at the coast for an expert-led field trip at the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia in Bolonia. Near Tarifa, it was abandoned in the 6th century and today reflects the preservation of some of the most representative elements of a typical Roman city.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a delicious plated meals featuring typical coastal fare, plus a choice of one included beverage; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then complete our transfer to Vejer de la Frontera and, upon arrival, we’ll check into the hotel, which was once a convent. We’ll get oriented to the area on a stroll through the village, which towers over the surrounding countryside at 600 feet above sea level while only a couple of miles from the coast. The city is dominated by its Moorish castle and Gothic church. Clean, narrow cobblestone 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: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with a choice of one included beverage; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Bull Ranch, Equestrian Show, Free Time
Vejer de la Frontera
B,L
La Casa del Califa

Activity note: Driving approx. 22 miles one way; about 1 hour total. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day; steady pace; some hills, cobblestones, city sidewalks.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal with coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll set out for a day trip to a functioning bull ranch where we will learn from an employee of the ranch about raising toros. Upon arrival, we’ll walk along a trail through the beautiful pastures while noting the flora and fauna and passing by some of the bull and cow enclosures. After a short way, we’ll reach a viewing platform from which we will become more familiar with a day in the life of these magnificent animals in one of the best theaters imaginable, the open Andalusian countryside.In addition to seeing fighting bulls and herds of cows with their studs and calves, we will also get to see leading oxen, horse mares with their foals, and watch riders performing “doma vaquera” – the classic Spanish riding tradition, notably used in bullfighting.

Lunch: At a restaurant close to the finca, we’ll enjoy plated meals with a choice of one beverage; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After returning to Vejer, we’ll have some time for independent exploration or relaxation.

Dinner: On your own to sample the local fare.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Winery, Seville’s Gothic Cathedral, Jewish Quarter, Flamenco
Seville
B,L,D
Hotel Inglaterra

Activity note: Driving approx. 100 miles throughout the day; about 2 hours. Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day; steady pace; some hills, cobblestones, city sidewalks.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll make our way to Seville but not before making a stop in Jerez de la Frontera, the place where Spain’s sherry originated. During a visit to a bodega, or winery, we’ll be given the opportunity to taste the regional flavors and learn from the winery’s own staff about this special blend. We’ll then continue to Seville for a late morning arrival at the hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Seville, we’ll have plated meals with a choice of one beverages included.

Afternoon: Setting out on foot with a local historian, we will take a field trip to Santa María de la Sede Cathedral, the third largest Gothic cathedral in the world. This Catedral de Sevilla stands where there was once a great mosque that was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1401. After Seville was recaptured from the Moors in the Reconquista, and the victorious Christians decided to replace the mosque with a cathedral so grand, they said, “those who see it built will think we were mad.” The gigantic altarpiece was the lifelong work of a single man. It is, in fact, the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe, made possible by riches coming in to Spain from the New World. Completed in just 104 years, embellishments and further enhancements continued into the 20th century. We’ll then continue our walk through Barrio Santa Cruz, famous for its orange trees and the former Jewish neighborhood of the city – a true labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys. Our final stop will be at a local “tablao” to see flamenco come alive during an intimate show.

Dinner: At a local restaurant close to the flamenco show, we’ll have a late dinner of plated meals with a choice of one beverage; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Alcazar Palace, Cooking Class, Free Time, Tapas with Locals
Seville
B,L,D
Hotel Inglaterra

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles throughout the day; steady pace; some hills, cobblestones, city sidewalks.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet breakfast with coffee, tea, water.

Morning: At CC-CS headquarters, housed in an 18th Century mansion, where we’ll meet with local sevillanos for a late breakfast, conversation and laughter Afterwards, we will walk to Triana Market to have a hands-on cooking class led by a local chef. We will learn about and cook three traditional Spanish dishes: gazpacho, spinach and garbanzo beans, and paella.

Lunch: In our cooking classroom at Triana Market, we will enjoy the final product of our cooking class with sangria, soft drinks, water included.

Afternoon: Led by a local expert, we´ll set out to explore several of Seville´s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including medieval Alcazar Palace and monumental Seville. Afterwards, enjoy free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Seville. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. We’ll have plated meals with a choice of one beverage included; wine, beer, soft drink, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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