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Discover Andalucia and the fascinating history that has influenced this beautiful region. Explore whitewashed villages, taste delicious tapas and see the beguiling Moorish architecture, patios and gardens of Granada, Cordoba and Seville.
Explore Tour Leader
9 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Malaga, one of the main port cities in Andalucia. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Malaga at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP). The Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for a welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. Should you miss the meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day there is plenty to see in the attractive downtown of Malaga, much of which is pedestrianised. The Picasso museum is worth a visit, the collection represents his entire life's work and is housed in the 16th-century Buenavista Palace.
Hotel Soho Boutique Urban (or similar)
After breakfast we'll check out of our hotel and travel (2 hours) to Ronda by train. The historic town of Ronda is often described as one of Spain's most attractive and it is dramatically perched high above El Tajo gorge. The bridge that spans the gorge often features in photos and separates the 15th century new town from its old town with Moorish roots.
After checking in to our hotel we will spend the afternoon exploring Ronda on foot followed by the option of making our way down into the gorge for dramatic views from below. This involves stairs and a steep trail down in to and out of the gorge and depending on people's interest and ability can be between 2 to 5 miles return with up to 300 metres descent and ascent. In your free time later this afternoon, you may like to visit the Arabic baths in the old Muslim Quarter.
Hotel Polo (or similar)
Today we explore the rugged and beautiful limestone scenery of Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. We first travel by bus to Zahara, a small town with a tradition of olive oil production with many family businesses having been run there for centuries. We visit a local Andalusian farm to learn about the different olive types, how olives are collected and how olive oil is produced while admiring the hundred-year old olive trees and appreciating the beautiful setting where the oil is cultivated. The tour ends with a tasting of different types of olive oil and learn about their uses, admiring how they differ according to season, soil and type of olive.
We then continue to the pretty mountain village of Grazalema, picturesquely nestled in the foothills of the Sierra del Pinar Mountains and overlooked by Penon Grande peak. We will explore by foot the village considered one of the most beautiful white villages in the province with Arab past influencing every alleys. After some time to explore Grazalema village and lunch, we travel back to Ronda where the rest of the afternoon is free.
Leaving Ronda this morning we'll travel by public bus (two hours) to Seville, arriving in the late morning. The capital of Andalucia is one of Spain's finest and most beautiful cities, built on the wealth of New World trade and plunder.
We'll spend the afternoon walking through the city, exploring the former Jewish Quarter, and following winding narrow backstreets leading to Mudejar palaces (a blend of Christian and Moorish styles) and baroque churches. The stunning Alcázar Palace, Giralda tower and ramparts remind us of the Almohad dynasty of Moorish rule that ended when the city was reconquered by the Christians in 1248.
Hotel Alcazar (or similar)
We start the day with a visit to the Alcazar. The rest of the day is left free for you to explore Seville at your own pace. You might like to visit the city's impressive Gothic Cathedral, one of the largest in the world. Its bell tower was once the minaret of the Almohad great mosque, so impressive that the Christians incorporated it into their building. They topped it off with a weather vein statue called the Giralda and we recommend a walk up the ramps to the top for superb views over Seville. Other attractions include the General Archive of the Indias, Plaza de San Francisco, Casa Pilatos or Maria Luisa park.
Today we take the train to Cordoba. Standing on the banks of the Guadalquivir river, Córdoba was the first of Spain's three most important Moorish cities and was established in 719AD. It was the most enlightened of the Moorish period with one of Europe's leading universities and libraries of the time. The Romans had also left their mark here, best seen in the vast bridge that still spans the Guadalquivir. The Roman philosopher Seneca (who was compelled to commit suicide by Nero) was born here. Cordoba has a wealth of treasures locked away in its back streets with secluded patios tucked behind delicate iron grills. The 14th century synagogue is one of only two left standing in Spain, with the other in Toledo.
Upon arrival we will take an orientation walks around the Juderia (Jewish quarter) and a guided visit to the renowned Mosque (Mezquita), an extraordinary and unique building. Instead of destroying the original mosque after the Christians conquered Cordoba, the Catholic king decided to build a Cathedral within it. The early massive structure dates back to the 8th century, its roof supported by a forest of 850 coloured columns. Its jewel is the gleaming and superbly decorated Mihrab, which has survived in its original state.
The rest of the afternoon is free for further exploration and this evening there is the chance to take in some traditional flamenco music and dancing.
Hotel Soho Boutique Cordoba (or similar)
This morning we drive by charter bus to the famous Andalucian city of Granada. The Arabic name Al Andalus was given to the part of Spain under Islamic control for some 800 years. We will break our journey with a stop in the pretty white village of Cabra where we recommend an optional visit to the excellent Olive Oil Museum. We should arrive into Granada at lunch time. After checking into our hotel we will spend some time exploring the city, discovering the main highlights including the Albaicin, the old Moorish quarter where many Islamic traditions are retained, giving the city its characteristic look of white walls and narrow streets. From the highest point are spectacular views across to the Alhambra and Generalife with the Sierra Nevada as a backdrop. When dusk falls, we suggest a stroll around the old Moorish Quarter to see its illuminated patios.
Hotel Porcel Sabrica (or similar)
This morning we have included a guided visit to the remarkable Alhambra Palace and Generalife gardens. In 1239 Muhammad al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty and Sultan of Granada, began work on this, the finest example of Moorish architecture outside the Arab world. The fabulous decoration in stucco, both inside and outside the buildings, reveals the purest expression of a sophisticated civilisation just before its decline.
The Generalife - the summer residence of the Caliphs and surrounding gardens - are considered among the most beautiful landscaped gardens in the world.
Tickets to visit the Alhambra are limited, as such we'll keep our time in Granada flexible and organise sightseeing around our Alhambra visit. If you booked the holiday late and on request within about 30 days prior to travel we cannot guarantee you an entrance ticket with the same time slot, therefore it may be that your visit to the Alhambra is unguided, though you can choose to get an audioguide if interested.
Please note that in order for our local agent to book the Alhambra tickets we require full passport details for all passengers, this should be provided at the time of booking or as soon as possible in order for the tickets to be confirmed.
This morning we board a public bus (two hours) and return to Malaga. This afternoon before our final group dinner, you may like to visit the Alcazar Moorish palace, Picasso Museum or Gibralfaro castle that overlooks Malaga.
Our trip ends this morning after breakfast. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Malaga at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP), which is around 15 minutes' drive.
Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a Spanish trip - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The high central plains suffer from fierce extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. Spain's Islands the Canaries and Balaerics experience very mild winters and warm summers making them ideal year round destinations.
2 Pin Round
Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque
Cordoba - Flamenco show €25. Granada - Tapas evening €30; cathedral entrance €5; Royal Chapel entrance €4. Seville - Bicycle tour of the city €25 (three hours); Casa de Pilatos entrance €6; Giralda Cathedral entrance €9; Parque Maria Luisa is free entry. Cabra - Olive Oil Museum approx €3
Outside of the summer months of June to September, Andalucia is generally mild and lightweight cotton clothing is recommended with a warm fleece and layers for the evenings. The Sierras (highlands) are subject to rain and if you intend to walk in Grazalema we strongly recommend you bring waterproofs.
Walking boots or shoes are strongly recommended for the walk in Grazalema, plus comfortable trainers or sandals for walking around towns.
One main piece of luggage and a daypack. We recommend a soft kit bag rather than a hard suitcase as we use a variety of public transport and taxis on this tour. A daypack is essential for walking in Grazalema. Remember you are expected to carry your own baggage - so don't overload yourself.
Public Bus, Train
Due to their popularity, some parts of Spain have limited availability for accommodation. Throughout this trip, we use a range of comfortable yet simple hotels, handpicked for their location and easy exploration of the cities we are staying in. One thing to be aware in Spain is that breakfast tends to be a smaller affair, often just fruit juice or coffee and a pastry.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Spain: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Passport details are required at the time of booking in order for the Alhambra tickets to be booked Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.