Suggested flight (not included in the cost of the tour) Easy Jet U2 8175 departing London Gatwick at 12.25 hrs arriving Seville at 15.55 hrs (October 2019 schedule to be confirmed).
Upon arrival, transfer into Seville to the Alcázar for an exclusive evening visit to appreciate the magical atmosphere of the palace with its intricate Moorish decoration. The Alcázar, the palace of the Spanish kings, is the successor of the original Moorish palace. Fragments of the Moorish palace were incorporated into the present structure, most of which dates from the 14th century. Transfer to the Casas de la Juderia Hotel, a charming four-star hotel in the old Jewish area of the city, located near the Alcázar, where three nights are spent. Dinner at restaurant nearby La Sal.
Leave, on foot, to revisit the Alcázar to explore the elegant gardens and maybe a visit to the Royal Apartments. Continue to the vast Gothic Cathedral, burial site of Christopher Columbus, with its Moorish bell tower ‘La Giralda’. Walk through the Santa Cruz quarter of Seville with its winding cobbled streets, beautiful patios adorned with flower pots and historic gardens.
Lunch at Oriza restaurant. Take a horse-drawn carriage from Plaza de Santa Cruz through the Maria Luisa Park and the Plaza de España, with its tile decoration representing the different regions in Spain, to the Casa de Pilatos. The Casa de Pilatos is a 15th century Mudéjar mansion with wonderful tiles and inlaid ceilings which is still privately owned. Return to the hotel on foot. This evening we hope there will be hosted drinks at the private home of local Dukes (by kind invitation) followed by dinner at the Modesto restaurant.
Morning walk to the Hospital de La Caridad to see its marvellous collection of paintings by Murillo, Valdés Leal and Roldán. Continue, by coach, to the Basilica de La Macarena which houses the highly revered beautiful 17th century statue of La Macarena ‘The Virgin of Hope’ and patron saint of matadors. Continue to the Hospital de los Venerables to view its impressive collection of Murillo and Velasquez paintings.
Lunch at the Taberna del Alabardero. Continue, on foot, to the Museum de Bella Artes housed in a 17th century convent with its collection of paintings from Seville’s ‘Golden Age’ including works by Pacheco, Murillo and Zurbarán. Continue, by coach, to the Palacio de las Dueñas belonging to the house of Alba built in the 15th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences. Return to the hotel by coach. Evening Flamenco performance. Dinner under own arrangements.
Depart Seville by coach (with luggage) and drive to Cordoba. Arrive at the Roman bridge and cross on foot to visit the magnificent Mezquita (Mosque). Originally a Visigothic church, it was appropriated when the Moors entered Cordoba and then reappropriated by the Christians as a Cathedral. It is now one of the largest and most sumptuous of Spain’s Muslim shrines while still a Cathedral.
Lunch at restaurant El Churrasco. Drive to Granada and check into the Alhambra Palace Hotel where two nights are spent. Situated on the hill of the Sabika and only five minutes’ walk from the famous Alhambra historic monument, it is decorated in a similar style. Early light dinner at the hotel followed by an illuminated evening visit to the Alhambra to view the exquisite arabesque decoration.
This morning return to the Alhambra for a tour of its elegant halls and courtyards. By daylight experience the 14th century well preserved delicate plasterwork, the fine azulejos (tiles) and the enchanting patios. Also see the imposing Renaissance style palace that Charles V added to Alhambra, designed by Pedro Machuca in 1526. Continue to the Generalife, once the summer residence of the Sultans which is surrounded by a secluded garden with tall cypresses, fountains and water channels. Drive to the town centre to visit Granada Cathedral, designed at the peak of the Spanish Renaissance combining the original Gothic floor plan with a Renaissance dome. On the south aisle of the Cathedral is the Isabelline Gothic Capilla Real, where the Carrara marble sarcophagi of the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella can be seen.
Lunch at a traditional restaurant in the Albaicin. Walk down through the Albaicin white-washed quarter to a charming garden with a fabulous view of the Alhambra (by kind permission of the owner). Continue, by coach, to La Cartuja, a Carthusian monastery and fine example of Spanish Baroque architecture. Return to the hotel for dinner.
Transfer to Malaga Airport. Suggested flight (not included in the cost of the tour) Easy Jet U2 8602 departing Malaga at 10.20 hrs arriving London Gatwick at 12.15 hrs (October 2019 schedule to be confirmed).
Ayesha was patient and informative. Her skills became even more apparent on the holiday - such as the order of the hotels, which were each perfect for that moment.- S and RD, Bhutan, 2015