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National Geographic Expeditions - Spain

Andalusia Round Trip - Spain's Moorish South

Highlights

  • Art and culture tour through flamenco’s origins, the Alhambra, and the Sierra de las Nieves

  • 4x4 tour through Sierra de la Nieves and the Caminito del Rey hiking trail

  • Exclusive guided tour of the medieval Arab fortress Alhambra

  • Salsa and flamenco dance class

  • Attend the international music and dance festival in Ubeda and Baeza

Description

Andalusia is the Spanish region between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. It’s a melting pot of cultures and home to the famous Andalusian horses and sherry. You can visit the Alhambra the Arabs created, the most impressive fortress in the country and the region's symbol. Wine, dance, music, and art play a significant role in the Spaniards' culture and self-image, especially in the south.

Join itravel and National Geographic on a cultural journey of discovery through the charming Andalusia region! Embrace the fiery sounds and immerse yourself in the Spainards way of life.

Destination

Europe

Seville – Ronda – Granada – Córdoba - Seville

End of April 2021

Expert pending

Dive into the beautiful side of life! In Seville, the capital of southern Spain’s region Andalusia, you’ll begin your journey with National Geographic Expeditions and itravel. The sun-drenched city has a lot to offer its visitors: history, culture, and Mediterranean joie de vivre. Seville is one of the hottest places in Europe and the cradle of flamenco. Immerse yourself amongst the extraordinary architecture and get to know the dance, music, art, and wine that embody the Spanish joie de vivre.

After you arrive at the hotel, enjoy a delicious dinner and get to know your expert and other travel participants before you go to bed, excited for the days ahead.

Driving time Seville airport - hotel: approx. 20 minutes / approx. 15 km

Overnight with breakfast in Seville, Spain

After a hearty breakfast, embark on a journey into the past. This Seville city tour will take you to the historical origins of the most important city in Al-Andalus, the Iberian Peninsula under the Arab ruling. Your expert will immerse you deeply into the story with their lively and informative narration. During a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride, you’ll discover important monuments and city sights: the world-famous Plaza de España, the medieval royal palace Alkazar, and the Giralda, the former minaret of the city’s main mosque. Did you know that the navigator and explorer Christopher Columbus found his final resting place here in Seville? You can visit his tomb in the impressive Seville Cathedral.

Afterward, go on a Guadalquivir boat trip for more impressions from a new perspective. Discover Seville from the Guadalquivir River and enjoy the magnificent view of the most famous monuments. Go under historical bridges and admire the Plaza de España towers!

Overnight with breakfast in Seville, Spain

Your next destination is Ronda, a city in the Andalusian province of Málaga, 723 meters above sea level. On your journey, you’ll discover several White Villages known throughout Andalusia. The radiant house fronts and picturesque, winding, narrow alleys are perfect scenes for photos.

Ronda is the city on the rocky plateau, characterized by a deep 500-meter long gorge that separates the old and new towns. City highlights include the Puente Nuevo Bridge (it connects two parts of the city across the gorge), the Mondragon Palace, La Casa del Rey Moro palace, and the Bandit Museum.

During a joint dinner on the Plaza del Socorro, you can share stories from the day with the other travel participants.

Travel time Seville - Ronda: approx. 2 hours / approx. 130 km

Overnight stay with breakfast in Ronda, Spain

Your next destination is hidden in the south of Andalusia. Granada is one of the most famous fortresses of the Andalusian-Moorish culture. Its architecture bleeds with an eventful history that you will immerse yourself through the buildings and local lifestyle.

Before you reach Granada in the evening, the path will first lead you into Ronda's contrasting natural and mountain landscapes. Explore the Sierra de las Nieves National Park on an exciting 4x4 tour. Zip through a complex labyrinth of caves and galleries, springs and baths with sulfurous water, a botanical variety with up to 1500 plant species, and pointed mountain ridges 2000 meters high.

After lunch, continue with a hike through the spectacular Caminito del Rey. This three-kilometer-long a via ferrata through the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge nestles against the gigantic mountains. It leads you over footbridges more than 100 meters long, boasting spectacular views from way up high.

Afterward, continue your journey to Granada. An authentic tapas dinner and wine tasting will round off this fantastic day. Take the opportunity to ask the expert any unanswered questions.

After yesterday’s nature adventure today, you’ll dive deep into Granada’s history and culture. Alhambra is the city’s castle on Granada's Sabikah hill, the most famous city sight and all of Andalusia. The castle was built back in the 13th century and is where the Nasrid kings resided for around 250 years. The Alhambra was considered a pinnacle of Islamic architecture until the Christians conquered and captured by the Catholic royalty in 1492. The Alhambra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.

The impressive sand-colored fortress consists of several buildings and gardens waiting to be discovered. In addition to the Nasrid Palaces, you can explore Carl V's Palace with its imposing, circular inner courtyard and two-story column gallery. During your private tour, you’ll also receive exciting background information about Alhambra's origins and significance.

Afterward, enjoy lunch together before heading off for Granada's short city tour to Sacromonte, the Roma district, and more. Sacromonte reveals another world: the district mainly consists of a mountain that belongs to the old town. It’s also considered the home of flamenco and is famous for its cave dwellings. The white-painted living rooms and stables look as if they are still inhabited today. During this guided tour, get an accurate impression of marginalized population groups' living conditions at the end of the 19th century.

A natural spectacle awaits in one of the caves: a flamenco show with a joint dinner! The cave gives this experience an unforgettable atmosphere.

Overnight stay with breakfast in Granada, Spain

Today’s impressive journey continues to Córdoba, a once crucial Roman city and a major Islam center in the Middle Ages.

Because of its numerous sights and colorful folk festivals, the third-largest city in Andalusia attracts tourists worldwide. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is full of eventful history and a variety of cultures influenced by many.

Everywhere in Córdoba, you’ll find evidence of the glorious past of the Roman, Visigothic, and Arab inhabitants. Discover the former Mezquita Mosque, one of the largest in the world, for quite some time before the Catholics converted it into today’s Cathedral of Cordoba. Formed in the center are 856 columns in the famous red and white Arabic architectural style.

After visiting the mosque, take a city tour of Cordoba and visit the Plaza de las Tendillas and the Palacio de Viana.

Now it’s time to begin today’s highlights: an exclusive salsa workshop! Get your hips warmed up and learn about the passion, clapping, guitar sounds, dance moves, and animating exclamations that make up the famous dance. Experience the typical Spanish, Mediterranean attitude of life and enjoy the exuberant atmosphere to the fullest.

You’ll end this exciting day with a delicious dinner.

Travel time Granada - Córdoba: approx. 2.5 hours / approx. 170 km

Overnight with breakfast in Cordoba, Spain

Today’s program includes a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Úbeda and Baeza. Úbeda’s old town has been a World Heritage Site since 2003, impressing all visitors with its palaces and mansions inspired by Italian and French architecture. The southeastern part of the city center is Plaza Vázquez de Molina, boasting beautiful buildings worth seeing. The most important Renaissance palace is the Palacio del Deán Ortega, which is now a luxury hotel.

Baeza has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003. The small town in the Jaén province has magnificent Renaissance palaces and traditional squares. Baeza perches on a small hill because of its historical past: it was the scene of border skirmishes and battles. Nowadays, the city’s cathedral, Palacio del Jabalquinto, old fisheries, and the lion fountain are worth seeing.

Back in Córdoba, you’ll visit the Festival de Música y Danza in the evening. It’s one of the most famous festivals in Spain. Dance with the locals and end the day in a relaxed atmosphere.

Travel time Córdoba - Úbeda - Baeza - Cordoba: approx. 2 hours / approx. 150 km

Sadly, today is the last day of your journey. In the past week, you’ve visited historical monuments and experienced the Spanish lifestyle. Look back on your unforgettable memories as you make your way back home.

Hotel Don Paco***, Seville, Spain

This accommodation nestles in Seville’s old town's heart and is an ideal starting point to explore the city sights. In ten minutes, you can walk to the cathedral and the Giralda, the former mosque's minaret. The cozy roof terrace provides an excellent view of the old town, while the stylishly furnished rooms offer a discreet retreat.

Hotel Polo***, Ronda, Spain

Welcome to the center of Ronda! The traditional, family-run accommodation boasts a rustic charm and warm hospitality. In a few minutes’ walk, you can reach Spain’s oldest bullring and an array of small restaurants and bars.

Hotel Las Nieves***, Granada, Spain

You can reach the famous Alhambra, the Moorish baths, and the Granada cathedral in fifteen minutes. The rooms come furnished in a typical Andalusian rustic style.

Hotel Sercotel Selu***, Córdoba, Spain

The hotel offers modern rooms and is only ten minutes away from the Mezquita Cathedral, making it a perfect starting point for exploring the city.

Closest airport: Sevilla Airport

Including

  • 7 nights in the mentioned accommodations or similar:

    • 2 nights at Hotel Don Paco*** with half board, Seville, Spain

    • 1 night at Hotel Polo*** with breakfast, Ronda, Spain

    • 2 nights at Hotel Las Nieves*** with breakfast, Granada, Spain

    • 2 nights at Hotel Sercotel Selu*** with breakfast, Córdoba, Spain

  • All transfers according to the program

  • Local tour guide on site

  • Meals according to the program

  • German-speaking airport assistants on day one and day eight

Included experiences

Ronda:

  • Mondragon Palace

  • La Casa Del Rey Moro

  • Bandit Museum

  • Dinner together in the Plaza del Socorro

Granada:

  • Alhambra Palace

  • Caminito del Rey hike

  • 4x4 tour through the Sierra de las Nieves

  • Flamenco show with dinner in a cave in Sacromonte

  • Tapas dinner with wine tasting

Córdoba:

  • Mosque / synagogue

  • Salsa dance class

Seville:

  • 45-minute carriage ride

  • 1 hour Guadalquivir boat trip

Excluding

  • International flights

  • Optional excursions

  • Airport taxes

  • Personal expenses

  • Drinks during meals unless specifically mentioned

  • Voluntary tips

  • Baggage fees at the airport

  • Visa, if required

Notes

  • Please note: this tour includes long walks and hikes over mostly uneven ground with steep climbs. It is not recommended for wheelchair users or people with reduced mobility.
  • Participants must be in excellent physical condition.
  • Make sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes that you’re used to.
  • Wear clothes in layers
  • The tour is operated in rain or shine but canceled by the operator in severe weather or unsuitable conditions such as fog.
  • There’s no toilet available during some hikes.
  • Bring bottled water.
  • Single room surcharge: 455 EUR

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