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Spain

Southern Spain Yesterday & Today: Madrid, Granada & Seville

Program No. 22175RJ
From olive groves to world-renowned cathedrals, Southern Spain is a diverse region just waiting to be explored. Discover the very best of Madrid, Granada and Seville!
Length
13 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
5,049
Flights start at
850

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To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 19 - Mar 31, 2023
Starting at
5,049
Apr 9 - Apr 21, 2023
Starting at
5,049
May 1 - May 13, 2023
Starting at
5,049
May 15 - May 27, 2023
Starting at
5,049
May 29 - Jun 10, 2023
Starting at
5,049
Sep 11 - Sep 23, 2023
Starting at
5,049
Oct 16 - Oct 28, 2023
Starting at
5,049
Oct 23 - Nov 4, 2023
Starting at
5,049
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Mar 19 - Mar 31, 2023
Starting at
5,949
Apr 9 - Apr 21, 2023
Starting at
5,949
May 1 - May 13, 2023
Starting at
5,949
May 15 - May 27, 2023
Starting at
5,949
May 29 - Jun 10, 2023
Starting at
5,949
Sep 11 - Sep 23, 2023
Starting at
5,949
Oct 16 - Oct 28, 2023
Starting at
5,949
Oct 23 - Nov 4, 2023
Starting at
5,949

At a Glance

Glorious Gothic cathedrals, intricately detailed synagogues, traditional Moorish neighborhoods and ancient Roman ruins: The icons of Southern Spain are a testament to its distinct history of conquest, culture and art. Discover the unique legacy and exuberant modern life in Madrid, Granada and Seville through expert-led walks, lectures and excursions. Join us to learn about some of the most diverse and exciting cities in all of Europe.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking up to 3-4 miles per day, cobblestones and winding roads.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Alhambra Palace and Generalife gardens.
  • Explore the Museo Nacional del Prado, one of the world’s leading art museums.
  • Spend an exciting evening seeing Flamenco Dance in Seville. Meet a local expert for Alcázar Royal Palace visit.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Francisco Garcia
Francisco “Paco” Garcia was born in Madrid and received his B.A. in history from The Complutense University in Madrid. He continued studies at the University of California/Berkeley, earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval history, as well as lecturing. In 1997, he received a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2011, Paco journeyed to Japan as a visiting professor. He is presently a professor at the Madrid campus of St. Louis University. An expert on the history of Spain, he shares his passion and enthusiasm in his lectures.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Francisco Garcia
Francisco Garcia View biography
Francisco “Paco” Garcia was born in Madrid and received his B.A. in history from The Complutense University in Madrid. He continued studies at the University of California/Berkeley, earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval history, as well as lecturing. In 1997, he received a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2011, Paco journeyed to Japan as a visiting professor. He is presently a professor at the Madrid campus of St. Louis University. An expert on the history of Spain, he shares his passion and enthusiasm in his lectures.
Profile Image of Covadonga Hortal
Covadonga Hortal View biography
Covadonga Hortal is passionate about education and traveling. After graduating from university with a degree in tourism, she led her first travel program in 1999 and continues leading groups, having worked as a cultural expert around Europe. She is a certified Andalusia guide and a Europe certified expert in cultural tourism with ample competency in Spanish culture. She’s ever continuing her education, having earned her post-graduate master's degree in teaching Spanish, studying French, and Chinese. She has led many Road Scholar groups in Spain.
Profile Image of Deborah Díaz
Deborah Cole Díaz View biography
Deborah Cole Díaz has been teaching Spanish history and geography for more than 22 years, at both the university and high school levels. She has found that lecturing with Road Scholars is by far the most fulfilling and enjoyable. Road Scholars are special, not simply interested in passing exams or obtaining diplomas, but are here to learn. They ask the most pertinent and interesting questions, both in the classroom and during field trips. Indeed, they want to understand the connection of history to contemporary events.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Rivers of Gold. The Rise of the Spanish Empire
by Thomas Hugh
A history of Spain's first thirty years in the Americas traces Columbus's famous pioneering voyage through Magellan's first circumnavigation of the earth, in an account that offers insight into the period's political climate and profiles the era's monarchs and explorers.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
by Ernest Hemingway
Fiction
Travelers' Tales: Spain: True Stories of Life on the Road
by Lucy McCauley
Journey into Spain with some of the world’s best writers, and discover a country of heightened senses, bougainvillea blossoming in crimson and orange, and air pungent with sizzling olive oil. Readers travel the ancient road to Santiago, get a glimpse of Pamplona during the running of the bulls, walk in Don Quixote’s footsteps on a midlife quest, and follow a woman’s dream to study the “male” art of flamenco guitar. These soulful stories of travel in a land poised between the old world and new. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Barbara Kingsolver, Calvin Trillin, and Penelope Casas are among the authors featured.
Moorish Architecture of Andalusia
by Marianne Barrucand and Achim Bednorz
Moorish-Andalusian art and architecture combine elements of various traditions into a new, autonomous style. Among the outstanding architectural witnesses to this achievement are the Great Mosque in Cordova and the Alhambra in Granada, recognized and admired as part of the world's heitage right up to the present day. They are described in detail in this book. The main centres of Hispano-Islamic art and architecture, the cities of Cordova, Seville and Granada, are discussed within the chronological framework of developments, both political and cultural, from 710 to 1492.
Mythology and History in the Great Paintings of the Prado
by Rosa Lopez Torrijos
This selection from the master paintings of the Prado provides an opportunity for the reader to explore two fascinating themes represented in the collection: mythology and history. In addition to enjoying the pictures for their aesthetic qualities, the reader is drawn into what lies behind them, and the context within which they were created
Tapas: The Lilttle Dishes of Spain
by Penelope Casas
Penelope Casas, who introduced the classic little dishes of Spain to American cooks more than twenty years ago, now gives us a splendid updated edition of that seminal book with fifty exciting new recipes and eight full pages of new color photographs showing tapas in all their glory.
If I lived in Spain
by Knorr, Rosanne and John
Verses describe family life, school, shopping, and other aspects of everyday life in Spain, and introduce some basic Spanish words and phrases
The Spanish Civil War: A very short introduction
by Helen Graham
This Very Short Introduction offers a powerfully-written explanation of the war's complex origins and course, and explores its impact on a personal and international scale
Tales of The Alhambra
by Washington Irvin
Fiction
The New Spain: A Complete Guide to Contemporary Spanish Wine
by John Radford
South From Granada: Seven Years in a Andalusian Village
by Gerald Brenan
Part autobiography, part travelogue, and wholly a tribute to the unspoilt beauty of southern Spain
Spain: What Everyone Needs to Know
by William Chislett
Spain has undergone significant transformations over the past three decades, from a dictatorship to a democracy and from a mostly local and agriculture-based economy to one of the biggest financial systems in the EU and internationally. Until 2008, it enjoyed a major influx of foreign investment and the most rapid economic growth of any of the countries in the EU, resulting in half of the new jobs created during the early days of the Union. Yet, it now faces the highest rate of unemployment in Europe and slow growth for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the country faces internal strife from the separatist Catalan region and stringent austerity measures.
Golden Age Spain
by Henry Kamen
For over a century Spain controlled the greatest empire the world had ever seen, and its collapse provoked, both then as it does now, a range of analyses over which there has been little agreement. In the second edition of this successful text, Henry Kamen asks: was the Golden Age of Spain in the sixteenth century actually an illusion? By examining some of the key issues involved, Kamen offers a balanced discussion of this fundamental question.
The Arts of Intimacy: Christian, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture
by Jerrilynn D. Dodds, Maria Rosa Menocal, Abigail Krasner Balbale
The authors paint a portrait of the culture through its arts, architecture, poetry and prose, uniquely combining literary and visual arts. Concentrating on the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the book reveals the extent to which Castilian identity is deeply rooted in the experience of confrontation, interaction, and at times union with Hebrew and Arabic cultures during the first centuries of its creation. Abundantly illustrated, the volume serves as a splendid souvenir of southern Spain; beautifully written, it illuminates a culture deeply enriched by others.
The Train in Spain
by Cristopher Howse
The bestselling author Christopher Howse makes ten great railway journeys that explore the interior of the peninsula, its astonishing landscapes and ancient buildings.The focus is the way the Spanish live now.
21 Reviews
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5 Average
This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 11/22/2022

Thoroughly enjoyed this RS to Southern Spain! We're usually independent travelers, so appreciated the free time compared to "usual" group tours. Even better was the group time, activities, seeing-and-learning we had with the RS group. We could have arranged much of this itinerary on our own...and in doing so would have missed SO MUCH context, detail, understanding that we gained from our guides. And we'd have missed meeting several new friends, too! Leader Covadonga was great: informative, positive, helpful and REALLY good at dealing with 15 all-slightly-different personalities of group members. The local guides assisting Cova' ranged from very good... to absolutely superb. Hotels were very good-to-excellent; provided meals ranged in quality - but sure never lacked in quantity. Every museum, church/mosque, palace/farm, etc., was very much worth seeing (some twice, if I ever get another opportunity). After this trip, I have a better understanding and appreciation for how much the history and culture of Southern Spain has shaped our world today.

(5) Review left 11/03/2022

Interesting, enlightening and beautiful ! A great program.

(5) Review left 10/30/2022

A nicely-paced program that enabled us to experience Spain safely, avoid large crowds, and venture out confidently on our own.

(5) Review left 10/30/2022

The program provides an excellent introduction to Madrid and Moorish Spain. While there is much more to learn, I thought it was a reasonable introduction to a fascinating subject and area. The logistics and organization of the trip were remarkably well-handled.

(5) Review left 10/20/2022

We just returned (Oct 2022) from the Southern Spain trip. We had a wonderful time and saw two sites on our bucket list, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba and the Alhambra. Covadonga, our trip leader, was outstanding and one of the best (if not the best) of the guides on all trips (this is our 4th RS trip).

(5) Review left 10/18/2022

I may have missed this point on the survey. The flight arrangements changed often and In the end, I had trouble getting boarding passes at two points in my travel. Second, it would help to get direct flights when possible. I know there are some fro. SFO

(5) Review left 10/17/2022

What a wonderful trip through the world of Spanish Andalucia! While I went for the Alhambra (magnificent), this trip taught me about the other beautiful aspects of this unique part of Spain / Europe. History, culture, food, art, comparative religions, FLAMENCO! - there is something for everyone here in the Southern part of Spain! Toledo and Cordoba became new favorites. Now I want to go back to see more of Madrid's museums and music venues; Sevilla's rich and fun-filled nightlife; and maybe get a bit further into the villages of Andalucia (Ronda, Malaga...).

(5) Review left 9/27/2022

I just returned from my RS trip. The leader Covadonga was outstanding! She was positive, friendly, and worked very, very hard to solve any problems. The group was small & I enjoyed them all! The food was delicious too. There was probably too much of it but I am not complaining. I look forward to booking another trip!

(5) Review left 6/07/2022

This wonderful program is accurately described in the catalog and on the website. Our group leader (Covadanga) and every local guide were outstanding. Accommodations ranged from good (Madrid and Granada) to outstanding (Seville). Be prepared for lots of free time. Road Scholar and the group leader had many excellent suggestions; however, I wish I had done some advanced planning (e.g., getting theater/concert tickets) myself.

(5) Review left 5/16/2022

This was a fascinating program that exceeded expectations. Our group leader, Covadonga, was fantastic as were the city guides who interpreted the various sights for us in each city. The expert lectures added to our learning. We were on the go each day and yet never felt rushed. This tour includes many World Heritage sights, which are always worthwhile. Spain is a feast for the eyes and, with good weather and everything blooming, early May was an ideal time to visit. Our group members were all considerate and a pleasure to travel with. My husband and I feel our world view was expanded by learning about the history and culture of the Iberian Peninsula through this excellent program. Highly recommended.

(5) Review left 4/11/2022

The Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba are reason alone to take this trip! Unforgettable sites.

(5) Review left 11/21/2021

Road Scholar definitely lived up to the reputation of being a learning organization. From the structure of the program to the timely lectures and expertly guided tours, education was built into the experience from the ground up and across the entire two weeks. I found the itinerary included all the highlights I would have chosen, plus several hidden gems I might have missed on my own. The excellent planning and execution of the Road Scholar Southern Spain program exceeded my expectations. Finally, our amazing group leader Covadonga Hortal kept all the moving parts on track beautifully, like a swan gliding serenely above the surface while paddling madly below!

(5) Review left 11/18/2021

This trip is fantastic. Covadonga, our guide was excellent. She is very knowledgable and fun to travel with. The sites in Madrid, Granada, Cordoba and Seville are incredible and the guides and lectures were very informative. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who is interested in Spain! FIVE STARS!

(5) Review left 11/06/2021

There was so much thought and planning poured into this program. I keep telling everyone about the rich history and culture of Spain. I would anyone with the slightest interest to consider Southern Spain. Our experience was so carefully and beautifully executed that I couldn't ask for anything more.

(5) Review left 10/28/2021

This was a fascinating trip. We learned a great deal about the lasting Moorish/Arabic influences in the history, culture, and language of southern Spain. The guides and instructors were knowledgeable, clear, and relatable. We visited many great palaces, mosques, cathedrals, and gardens. The trip was structured to include opportunities to meet with local families, learn to cook paella and gazpacho, and to experience flamenco. My congenial fellow travelers were intellectually engaging. Our group leader was amazingly patient, dedicated, and able to navigate through any issues for travel in the time of COVID. Road Scholar really did a great job. Fantastic!

(5) Review left 10/27/2021

This was a wonderful experience. Spain is full of history, palaces, cathedrals, museums, and great food! I enjoyed every place we went, especially the Alhambra, the Mosque-Cathedral, the olive museum, the cooking class, and the visit with the local family. The trip was well organized in every detail. Rocio was a great group leader, and she helped us get our COVID tests so we could go home, which was a great relief. I highly recommend this trip!

(5) Review left 6/13/2019

Southern Spain is fascinating and beautiful, and this trip makes the most of it. The guides and lecturers were excellent, the hotels top notch, the food delicious. There is a lot of walking, but always through intriguing cities, terrific museums and beautiful palaces. I highly recommend this trip!

(5) Review left 5/28/2019

Each day I asked myself if I could accomplish so much by myself. The answer was always "no". Each day contained activities that were obvious but also many that were more intimate than I could have arranged. I enjoyed every day's activities.

(5) Review left 4/17/2019

This trip allowed us to experience the art, history, culture and cuisine of southern Spain. The program was led by Rocio, a friendly and well-organized group leader.

(5) Review left 4/02/2019

Overall an excellent program...coordinator was also excellent!

(5) Review left 4/01/2019

Lots of history of the Moorish influence in Southern Spain. Enjoyed the classes about the culture of the S. Spanish people and their lives (ie. flamenco dancing, making paella, bull fighting, and touring an olive oil factory).






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