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
3,580
Flights start at
875
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11 days
10 nights
25 meals
9 B 9 L 7 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival Day, Orientation in Carmona
Carmona
L,D
Hotel El Rincón de las Descalzas

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.

DAY
3
Carmona's Monumental sites and Necropolis
Carmona
B,L
Hotel El Rincón de las Descalzas

Activity 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 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.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch in the hotel patio

Afternoon: Free afternoon to relax or explore Carmona on your own. Evening lecture on Bullfighting.

Dinner: On-site staff will give you suggestions for tapas bars in Carmona where you can eat like a local on your own.

DAY
4
Cordoba Great Mosque, Jewish Quarter, Grazalema
Grazalema
B,L,D
HOTEL PUERTA DE LA VILLA

Activity 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 check-out of the hotel and 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.

Afternoon: After lunch departure 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, check-in, afternoon orientation walk around the village.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.

DAY
5
Grazalema Nature Park, Olive Mill, Social Time with Locals
Grazalema
B,L,D
HOTEL PUERTA DE LA VILLA

Activity 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 arrival in Grazalema for a 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. Later enjoy 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.

DAY
6
The Ronda of Hemingway & Welles in El Tajo Gorge
Grazalema
B,L
HOTEL PUERTA DE LA VILLA

Activity 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 restaurant in Ronda.

Afternoon: After lunch return to Grazalema for leisure time to relax or explore on your own.

Dinner: On-site staff will make suggestions for you to enjoy dinner on your own in Grazalema.

DAY
7
Bull Ranch, Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer de la Frontera
B,L,D
La Casa del Califa

Activity 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.

DAY
8
Baelo Claudia Ruins, Straits of Gibraltar, Cooking Class
Vejer de la Frontera
B,L,D
La Casa del Califa

Activity 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 in Vejer where you will learn the basics of regional Andalusian fare. Then, enjoy what you've created for dinner!

DAY
9
Sherry Winery in Jerez, Seville's Jewish Quarter
Seville
B,L,D
Hotel Inglaterra

Activity 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: Dinner in hotel.

DAY
10
Seville World Heritage Sites: Alcazar Palaces and 15th c. Cathedral
Seville
B,L,D
Hotel Inglaterra

Activity 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 visit to World Heritage Sites Medieval Alcazar Palaces and the Gothic Cathedral.

Lunch: Lunch in hotel.

Afternoon: Free time to pack, purchase souvenirs and enjoy at your leasure.

Dinner: Evening dinner out followed by a flamenco music and dance show.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity 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.