Description of Private Sightseeing Tour - Toledo and Central Andalusia ULIB03
- Discovering the Artisans of Toledo
- In Cordoba, visit the 3rd largest Mosque in the world, converted to a Catholic Cathedral in the 13th Century
- The view from your hotel, high above the gorge in Ronda
- Dinner and Flamenco in Granada
This evening we board our overnight flight to Madrid to begin our exploration of Central Andalusia.
Day 2 An Introduction to Madrid
We arrive in Madrid and complete immigration procedures. Upon leaving customs, we are met by our driver and given an overview of Madrid’s scenic attractions including famous squares such as Plaza de Espana, de Oriente, Plaza Mayor Puerta del Sol and Plaza Castilla and well known avenues like Castellana and Gran Via. We will then be taken to our deluxe, centrally located hotel where we can rest or begin our exploration of Spain’s capitol city. Dinner, this evening, is at the hotel’s well regarded restaurant.
Day 3 Goya, Velásquez, El Greco and Ribera
Today our morning will be focused on the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum. The Royal Palace is the largest in Europe and was built by Philip V in the 18th Century. The building itself is an architectural treasure but inside is a rare and diverse collection of ceramics, tapestry and clocks. After the palace we visit the Prado, one of the most important art galleries in the world. Here are the Spanish masters including Goya, Velasquez, El Greco and Ribera. They are joined by Raphael, Rubens and Titian among others. This afternoon is left open to allow you some time for personal sightseeing or some shopping. Your guide can tell you the best shopping streets. This evening we will take you on a gastronomic exploration of Madrid as we visit three different establishments in old Madrid to partake of various pairings of wine and food.
Day 4 Toledo and the Damascene Craftsmen
After breakfast we head south to Toledo which is the most visited town in Spain. More a museum than a town, this former Castilian capitol perches high on a granite hill overlooking the Tagus River. While in Toledo we will visit the Moorish bridge, an early synagogue, the gothic cathedral and the church of Santo Tome where you can see El Greco’s masterpiece “The burial of Lord Orgaz”. After lunch we will visit the Damascene craftsmen who embed precious stones in to metal to create spectacular jewelry. This evening is free to allow you to try one of Madrid’s numerous restaurants.
Day 5 Cordoba and the Plains of La Mancha
An early departure from Madrid soon finds us heading south over the plains of La Mancha made famous by Cervantes in his book of the exploits of Don Quixote. Our first stop will be in Cordoba where we will visit the old Jewish quarter which goes back to the days of the Romans and the Goths. We then visit what was the 3rd largest mosque in the world which was converted into a catholic cathedral in the 13th century when the moors were expelled from Spain. Ironically, the mosque itself was built from stone and marble taken from Roman pagan temples.
Day 6 The Road to Carmona
Today our driver will take us to the National Monument City of Carmona which was a major defensive post at the time of Julius Caesar, who visited the city. Later it was occupied and enhanced by the moors in fact we enter the town through an old Moorish gate. Our hotel was an Arabic fortress which dates from the 14th Century and overlooks the plains of the Corbones River Valley. After checking-in the rest of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the Moorish Courtyard or the more modern swimming pool.
Day 7 Seville, City of Operas
This morning we head for the Moorish city of Seville. This is a city steeped in romance on an operatic scale: Carmen was set here as was Don Giovanni and not one, but two, Barber of Seville operas by two composers (Rossini and Paisiello). This morning we’ll admire Maria Luisa Park, drive to the Plaza de Espana, the Gold tower on the Guadalquivir River and the Baroque building which used to be the tobacco factory of Carmen fame. After visiting the cathedral where Columbus is buried and a walking tour of the Santa Cruz quarter, we will enjoy lunch and then the rest of the afternoon is at leisure in the city before returning to our hotel in Carmona.
Day 8 From Carmona to Ronda
Our driver is waiting to take us to the city of Ronda a dramatic city perched on the top of a gorge with magnificent views all around. The center of town is excellent for walking and we will take advantage of that to visit the town’s bullring, The ruins of Acinipo, and the Mondragon Palace. After our walking tour the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 9 A Day of Relaxation
We have left this day open for you to explore the shops, sights and restaurants of Ronda at your leisure. Our hotel is located in the heart of the town but if you choose to spend time at the hotel the sun lounge and the swimming pool are available and highly accessible given the Mediterranean climate.
Day 10 Granada and the Costa Del Sol
While the town of Granada is our ultimate destination today, we will spend most of the day enjoying the scenery of Spain’s Riviera, the Costa Del Sol. We will pass through towns such as Malaga and Marbella and stop for lunch at the picturesque hill top village of Mijas whose white washed buildings reflect the sun and offer spectacular views of the water below. We c arrive in Granada later in the afternoon and checking into our hotel which is located in the gardens of the Alhambra palace.
Day 11 The Alhambra and Generalife
After breakfast we will begin our tour of the University town of Granada, first occupied by the Moors in the Eighth Century and built on three hills situated at the foot of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains. We’ll visit the world-famous Alhambra one of the most remarkable palatial compounds ever built and well have a chance to enjoy the water gardens of the Generalife. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to further explore the Alhambra or just enjoy the monumental fountains within our hotel.
Day 12 Chinchon and the recyclable bullring
Today we head back north through the countryside to the city of Chinchon. Our hotel was once the Augustinian Convent of St. Mary of Paradise which was formed in the 17th Century. It is located in the old square of the town and forms part of the Plaza Mayor which, except for Saturdays is full of bars and restaurants. On Saturdays the Plaza is turned into a bullring with spectators watching from the surrounding galleries. When not being used for bullfights, the Plaza is dominated by the parish church where the brother of Goya was the parish priest. It is believed that Goya, himself, painted the altar. Since we will not be here on a Saturday you may want to spend time before or after dinner enjoying a local anisette based drink with the locals.
Day 13 Madrid at Leisure
After a leisurely breakfast we continue on to Madrid where we have the opportunity to get in some last minute shopping. On this, our last night in Spain, we go to one of the finest Flamenco establishments in the city for a fine meal, good wine and excellent Flamenco.
Day 14 Return to USA
After breakfast our driver will be waiting to take us to the airport for our return flight to the US.
Additional Pricing Information
- Business Class airfare from the US departure point to the International destination
- All air transportation as part of the program offered and 1st Class rail travel as indicated on the itinerary
- Superior Rooms at the properties indicated in the accommodations area (We reserve the right to substitute a property of equal quality in advance of departure should the designated hotel be unavailable)
- Private Transfers to and from the airport or rail station
- All meals as indicated on the itinerary by B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
- Private guides for city explorations and private driver/guide while traveling.
- Entrance fees to all museums, attractions and other venues as indicated on the daily itinerary
- Baggage handling at all hotels
- All applicable taxes and service fees
Services Not Included
- Beverages with included meals ( unless otherwise indicated on itinerary page)
- Any meals not indicated on the Itinerary page
- Items of a personal nature e.g. minibar, film, postcards etc.
- Gratuities to Guides and Driver/Guides ( we provide suggested guidelines for your selected destination in your pre-departure material
- Any passport or visa fees or government departure taxes
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