Spain's southernmost province is a vessel of contradictions. Water sports on the Costa del Sol, skiing in the Sierra Nevada, sherry tasting or bird watching? It's all possible here and only one golden rule applies: Let yourself be surprised!
Your experience trip starts with a major highlight: the world-famous Alhambra and the lively centre of Granada. The fact that Andalusia is bursting with contrasts is immediately apparent just outside the city. You enter a spectacular landscape of millions of olive trees. By the way, every restaurant here serves the best olive oil from the region.
Along the way, you will discover beautiful palaces, churches and monasteries that are Unesco World Heritage Sites. But also the impressive 12th-century Mezquita and the atmospheric narrow streets of Cordoba. Without forgetting the gorgeous and ever-bustling Seville. Squares dotted with palm trees, picturesque neighbourhoods with flower-filled patios, a Moorish palace, the country's finest Plaza de Toros... No European city feels so exotic.
More highlights: a visit to Jerez, the capital of flamenco, sherry and horses! Or the beautifully situated "white villages," full of dazzling natural beauty. Finally, enjoy a day of rest on one of the paradisiacal beaches of the Costa del Sol or take a trip to the 'reborn' port city of Málaga, renowned for its prestigious museums.
DAY 1: DEPARTURE TO GRANADA
Collect your rental car and start your journey with a drive to Granada (± 140 km), where you will stay twice in a hotel of your choice.
DAY 2: GRANADA
The highlight of this city is a visit to the Alhambra, an impressive Moorish palace complex, with the beautiful gardens of the Generalife. Built by the Nasrids, this perfectly captures the representation of 'paradise on earth'. Definitely ask us to book for you if you like to visit the Alhamba! After this visit, you can take a shuttle bus to Plaza Nueva, where the numerous students in and around the many bars and restaurants create a special atmosphere. Ideal for an appetiser with tapas!
DAY 3: GRANADA - ÚBEDA
Continue exploring Granada in the morning: the cathedral with its web of streets, reminiscent of an Arab market, is the starting point for a city exploration. The walk continues eastwards to the Albaicín, a typical working-class district with a distinctly Moorish stamp. Here flamenco music resounds in the evening from small, sometimes unsightly cafes. Leaving Granada towards Jaén, you will be introduced to the spectacular landscape of millions of olive trees, which account for as much as 25% of global olive oil production. In every restaurant in Jaén province, you can taste the 'picual' and the unfiltered 'manzanilla' variety, the region's best olive oil, served in a sherry glass as if it were a wine tasting. And afterwards? Onwards to the cosy town of Úbeda.
DAY 4: ÚBEDA - BAEZA
Úbeda, architecturally one of Andalusia's most beautiful cities, has numerous Renaissance buildings and provides a good impression of the city's 16th-century splendour. Between endless symmetrical rows of olive groves lies pretty Baeza, its 'sister city'. As in Jaén, here you will discover numerous palaces, churches and monasteries in Renaissance style, reason enough to be placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2003.
DAY 5 AND 6: CÓRDOBA
You drive on to Córdoba, where you will stay two nights at a magnificent five-star hotel. The highlight is undeniably Córdoba's Mezquita or mosque, 12 centuries old and a symbol of Islam's power. A cathedral was built in the centre of the mosque in the 16th century, providing a spectacular crossover. Cordoba's charm also lies in its Jewish quarter with winding alleys and yellow street lamps. Especially in the evening, when the day-tourists have disappeared, it is pleasant to stroll around in pleasant temperatures and a romantic atmosphere.
DAY 7: CARMONA - SEVILLA
Via rural roads, with a possible stop in typical Carmona, one of Andalusia's oldest cities, you will continue to Seville, where you will enjoy two nights at a Caractère hotel.
DAY 8: SEVILLA: PASSION, COLOUR AND ATMOSPHERE
A vibrant city, with numerous monuments and museums, working-class neighbourhoods and the country's finest Plaza de Toros. No city in Europe looks so exotic, practically North African. Squares lined by palm trees with the Giralda - the cathedral's bell tower - overlooking the eagerly growing orange trees. A must is a visit to the Real Alcázar, a sophisticated Moorish-style royal palace. Most picturesque is the Barrio Santa Cruz, one of Seville's oldest districts with a labyrinth of shaded squares and winding streets lined with white houses and patios full of flowers. Near the typical Plaza de España is the building of the former Real Fábrica de Tabacos, the setting of the story of Bizet's famous opera Carmen.
DAY 9: SEVILLA - VEJER DE LA FRONTERA / CONIL DE LA FRONTERA
In the morning you'll wrap up your visit to Seville. Then you'll drive towards Vejer de la Frontera and Conil de la Frontera.
DAY 10: JEREZ
Jerez is the capital of flamenco, sherry and ... horses! Taste a 'fino' in one of the city's impressive 'bodegas'. Watch a horse dressage demonstration at the riding school, the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre, and make sure to visit the museum there. In the afternoon, explore the surroundings of Jerez , with typical port towns such as Cadiz and El Puerto de Santa María or San Lúcar de Barrameda, the mecca of manzanilla, which is the finest sherry. With its large number of bodegas, the latter is part of the famous 'sherry triangle'.
DAY 11 and 12: THE WHITE VILLAGES
After driving through a beautiful landscape, you arrive at the white villages, such as Arcos de la Frontera and Grazalema. Don't forget the spectacularly located Ronda in particular. Then drive on towards the Costa del Sol, where you will spend two nights. Enjoy a day of rest, or visit trendy Málaga or maybe both!
DAY 13: GOING HOME
Your trip is sadly over and you will return home satisfied. Hand in your rental car and fly back home with a head and heart full of memories.
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