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Gay Friendly Tour: Amazing Andalucia

Amazing Andalucia:  A 9 day/8 night tour visiting Granada, Ronda, Vejer de la Frontera, Jerez, Seville and Córdoba.

About the Tour

Andalucia holds a romantic notion for so many travellers and would-be visitors, and there is no getting away from her three star attractions known locally as “The Golden Triangle”.

Amazing Andalucia 1

This is a classic tour that takes in the jewels of the Golden Triangle; Seville, Córdoba and Granada, while also visiting the more rural and less touristy destinations of Vejer de la Frontera and Ronda, and Jerez, beautiful destinations worth visiting in their own right.

You will also enjoy a special trip along Mr Henderson´s Railway which passes through some of the most breathtaking countryside in Andalucia.  The railway was the recent star of the BBC2 programme “Great Continental Railway Journeys” with Michael Portillo.

We like to give places a personality, and in “Toma Terms”, we believe that Andalusia’s main three cities embody different aspects of the local culture and character:

Seville – hopelessly romantic, flirtatious and insatiably social

Cordoba – thoughtful and thought provoking, somewhat melancholic and peaceful

Granada – Proud, majestic and more Arabic in character than her neighbouring cities.

We begin our tour in Granada to begin to discover the magnificent Muslim legacy of Al-Andalus, and take a tour of the Alhambra and the gardens of the Generalife.

Amazing Andalucia 2

We continue to the iconic hill top towns of Ronda and Vejer de la Frontera, surrounded by some of the most stunning landscapes in the region, before taking in the Sherry capital of Jerez de la Frontera.

Next we discover Andalucia´s capital Seville, which according to the Sevillanos, is the envy of Spain.  A city bursting with history, brimming with colour, that surprises you at every corner with picture postcard scenes of archetypal Spanish life.

We will then continue to our final destination, Córdoba to wrap up our Andalucian Experience with the visit of the Great Mosque of Córdoba.

This tour will show you the Secret Side of Seville, the wonders of the soul of Cordoba and the Grandeur of Granada.

Amazing Andalucia 3

Your Tour at a Glance

  • 8 nights and 9 days, accompanied by your own private guide
  • Meet and begin your tour in the city of Granada
  • Enjoy an expert guided tour of Granada´s magnificent Alhambra and the gardens of the Generalife, without a doubt one of the biggest highlights to any visit to Andalucia
  • Visit the town of Ronda, magnificently built across a mighty gorge with some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain
  • Take Mr Henderson´s Railway (as featured by Michael Portillo on BBC2)
  • Stay in the delightful village of Vejer de la Frontera and enjoy a day at a Private Cooking School
  • Visit the Royal Equestrian School of Jerez and enjoy a Sherry Sampling session in a private Bodega
  • Enjoy the monuments of Seville including the beautiful and immense Cathedral with its Giralda tower,  and the Alcazar
  • And of course no trip to Seville would be complete without indulging in a spot of Flamenco!
  • Visit Cordoba; a Mudejar Chapel, the only remaining Synagogue in the whole of Andalucia and stroll the Old Jewish Quarter
  • Experience the Great Mosque of Cordoba, one of the world´s most unusual and beautiful buildings

The Full Itinerary

Day 1  (D)

We will meet at our hotel in Granada in the afternoon for a welcome drink and introduction.  Your Tour Leader will give a formal lecture on the theory of the “Duende” through the life and works of Federico García Lorca, born in the province of Granada and killed at the age of 38 at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

His homosexuality was allegedly one of the reasons for his death, undertaken by Fascist soldiers in Granada. He was also targeted because of his rousing socialist rhetoric and poetry. One Fascist member once said, “Lorca can do more harm with his pen than we will ever be able to do with our guns.” We will pay tribute to his remarkable albeit short life.

This evening we will walk together up the hill to the Arabic Quarter of the Albaícin to enjoy the spectacular views from the Mirador De San Nicolás. We will enjoy a meal in a local restaurant.

Amazing Andalucia 4

Day 2 (B,D)  

This morning will be free time for you to explore the wonderful city of Granada.

You might like to visit the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel), built as a mausoleum for Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand in the 1500s.  They wished to be buried in Granada, the scene of their most important victory.  This late-Gothic chapel is Granada’s finest Christian building.  The royal coffins rest in the crypt sitting beneath elaborate Renaissance sepulchres.

There is also a stunning altarpiece, and the sacristy here houses a priceless collection of crown jewels, including Isabella’s crown and sceptre and Ferdinand’s sword, which were traditionally paraded through Granada during the annual celebration of the conquest of the Moors.

Built on to the Capilla Real is the cathedral of Granada, which replaced the city’s mosque as the final expression of the Catholic rehabilitation of the city.  The architecture is one if the finest examples of Spanish Renaissance.

After an independent lunch we will reconvene and visit the amazing Alhambra.  Nowhere else in Spain can evoke past Islamic glories with such force.

A Moor from medieval times might have considered the Alhambra as paradise on earth.  And it is the most complete surviving example of its kind in the world. This remarkable palace is the most visited monument in Spain and ranks high in all of Europe.

It truly is one of the most extraordinary collections of buildings and gardens on the continent.  Although the complex started life in the 11th century, its most spectacular period of architecture came in the 14th century with the construction of the Palacio de los Leones (the private living quarters of the sultan and his family) and the Palacio de Comares (where emissaries and important guests were received).

Many would say that the subsequent additions made by Christian rulers upset the aesthetic unity of the Alhambra, yet the Palacio de Carlos V and the Convento de San Francisco (a fine expression of Italian Renaissance) are certainly beautiful in their own right and add to the sense of history.  Just outside the Alhambra walls is the Generalife, a wonderful pattern of walkways, fountains, and garden patios. The name derives from the Arabic phrase for “Garden of the Architect.” These were the pleasure gardens of the sultans. The gardens are a delightful place to rest after seeing the rest of the Alhambra, and there are stunning views over the complex and the Albaicín district of the city.

We will enjoy a group dinner in one of the city´s best restaurants.

Amazing Andalucia 5

Day 3 (B, L, D)

Today we will travel by bus to the hilltop town of Ronda; famous for its gorge, bullring and incredible setting.

We will stop for lunch at a rural restaurant before visiting a private Bull Farm owned by a real life Bullfighter.

We will enjoy a privileged look at the workings of his farm and enterprise and be able to understand more fully the tradition of Bull Fighting in Spain.

After our visit we will check into our divine hotel at the bottom of the village by the Ancient Arabic Baths. Tonight´s dinner will be in one one of Toma´s all time favourites so we hope the Farm Visit will help you build up a healthy appetite

Day 4 (B,L)

Today will be dedicated to discovering Monumental Ronda, her palaces, her Bullring and her graceful Old Town.

A local guide will take us on a walking tour of the ancient heart of Ronda. Ronda was a bustling town during the Arabic period and enjoyed a booming trading industry.

The natural gorge provided a natural barrier from enemies and the protection of the city was completed by a double Medina Wall that encircled the populace.

After our thorough tour we will enjoy a group lunch and then you will be at leisure for the remainder of the afternoon and evening to enjoy Ronda, one of Spain´s most picturesque towns.

Andalucia Gay friendly tours

Day 5 (B, L)

Mr Henderson´s Railway and Vejer de la Frontera

Today we will follow the route of Mr Henderson´s Railway and will retrace some of the historic rail route between Ronda and the coastline, passing through some beautiful scenery along the way in the stunning Los Alcornocales national park.

The track was first laid in the 1880s to enhance trade links with Madrid, but because of the extraordinary beauty of the route it soon became frequented by travellers who were enticed by the scenery.

We’ll be passing some of the great scenic landscapes of Spain. The Spanish fir, which only grows in four locations above 3,300 ft., thrives here. Some of the limestone slopes rise as high as 5,000 ft. Castle ruins and old church bell towers also form part of the landscape. Short of crossing the Mediterranean, this area will give you the best taste of a Moroccan landscape.

The trip will take us down to the coastal town of Algeciras near Gibraltar, where we will enjoy a lunch tasting the speciality Red Tuna caught by the Almadraba fishing fleet that this coastline is famous for. We will then head off for a fabulous drive around the headland of Southwest Spain towards the Atlantic Coast. Our location for this evening is the stunning Hilltop town of Vejer de la Frontera. A real treat for Gourmets as the town has turned into a foodie Mecca.

Day 6 (B, L, D)

Jerez de la Frontera – Royal Equestian School and Sherry

After breakfast we will leave Vejer and head North to the traditional Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera and enjoy a day centred around its two most famous industries; the Purebred Andalucian Horse and Sherry.

After enjoying the visit of the Royal Equestrian School, you will have the opportunity to taste first hand some of the best sherry that is being produced today.

A professional sherry tasting session will run you through the delights of 4 sherries and 2 brandies. The BODEGA we take you to is stocking Fortnum and Mason´s in London. Say no more!

Whilst there, we will be privy to the private collection of the Bodega. He has been collecting Spanish Art since the 1970´s and has amassed one of the most important Private Art Collections in the country. This is a real treat and for once, you ARE allowed to take photographs.

Lunch will be in one of our favourite restaurants, owned by 4 brothers this place is always brimming with local characters and the food is wonderful.

We will then continue on to Seville, where the early evening is free for you to enjoy the area close to the hotel. We will then reconvene for dinner and a late night Flamenco show to share with you the secrets of the soul of Flamenco… Duende.

Gay friendly tour Amazing Andalucia, Granada, Cordoba

Day 7 (B, D)

Morning and Lunch at Leisure

Afternoon tour of Seville

After the discoveries of the Americas, Seville became the only port of entry for all the wealth being poured into the Spanish coffers. A large tax was places on all goods (15%) and much of it was spent on lavishing palaces and incredibly ornate churches, chapels and convents. Seville became known as The Cradle of the Baroque” and there are few better places in the world to see such testimony to this fascinating artistic movement.

We visit Seville’s cathedral — and its sheer size may take your breath away.  It’s not just the height of the Giralda (the cathedral’s most emblematic structure) that’s striking but just the mass of the building.  Begun in 1434, the cathedral was to be “a church which those who see it finished will think we were mad for attempting.” Today it’s considered the largest church in the world — bigger in volume than St. Peter’s in Rome.

The 12th-century bronze doors have inscriptions from the Koran.  Indeed, it was on this site that Christians worshiped in a 12th-century mosque.  At its highest point the central nave rises to almost 140 feet, supported by 12-foot-thick columns.

The retablo (altarpiece) is the largest in the world at almost 120 feet.  The centerpiece of the cathedral is the main altar in the Capilla Mayor, an extraordinary work begun in 1482 and completed a century later.  It contains more than 1,000 sculptures in wood and gold.

At one corner of the cathedral is the entrance to the Giralda, the symbol of Seville and a landmark from almost anywhere in the city.

We’ll also visit the Alcázar. Pedro I (“the Cruel”) built this magnificent 14th-century mudéjar fortress-palace south of the cathedral.  It’s the oldest royal residence in Europe still in use: On visits to Seville, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía stay here.

From the Dolls’ Court to the Maidens’ Court through the domed Ambassadors’ Room, it contains some of the finest work of Sevillian artisans.

The Alcázar contains the finest examples of 14th-century Moorish architecture outside the Alhambra.  Ferdinand and Isabella, who at one time lived in the Alcázar and influenced its architectural evolution, welcomed Columbus here on his return from America.

This evening we will be privy to a lifestyle of Spanish Nobility. We will enjoy a wonderful dinner in a secret location just outside the city. DRESS CODE: FORMAL

Day 8 (B, L, D)

Our final day of touring will take us to the heart of Moorish Spain. The Ornament of the World as she was once known – Córdoba.

We will spend our last day travelling to Córdoba and discovering for ourselves the charm of this city.

As the capital of Al- Andalus, Córdoba for many holds the key to understanding the culture of the three religions.  When under Arabic rule, Christians and Jews alike were tolerated and allowed to blossom in this liberal society.

The GREAT MOSQUE of Córdoba is one of the most important buildings in Europe beginning its life as a Visigoth Chapel, then becoming a Mosque before being converted into a Catholic cathedral. Seeing it will surely be one of the highlights of your trip.

We will then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant specialising in grilled meats and taking its name from their star dish which is goat!

The afternoon will be at leisure for you to stroll the Old Town, walk down to the Roman Bridge and maybe even take a HAMMAM in the Moorish baths. (this would need to be booked ahead of time).

We will regroup in the early evening to enjoy a sunset drink and a fabulous Farewell Dinner.

Circuit tours visiting the Spanish Monuments

Day 9: Departure Day

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE LOGISTICS

Day 1: Granada can be reached by rail from Madrid or by Bus from Malaga. There is also an airport with flights from Barcelona and Madrid with Vueling and Iberia.

Day 8: Cordoba is best serviced by the High Speed AVE train to either Seville or Madrid.

Pricing

The price of the tour is per person based on sharing a double room, and varies according to the numbers of guests on the tour.

A note on tier pricing. As Toma Tours is a boutique agency working with small groups, prices may vary slightly. On most Toma Tours, the price of the trip depends on the final number of people who sign up because of minimum fixed costs that need to be covered. With this tiered pricing structure we are generally able to offer slightly lower pricing if we get a higher number of guests enrolled on the trip.

Costs are based on double occupancy of a room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will match you with a roommate if one is available. Should there be no one to pair you with, the single supplement fee will apply.

7 people 3,822 Euros per person

8 people 3,649 Euros per person

9 people 3,515 Euros per person

10 people 3,406 Euros per person

11 people 3,320 Euros per person

12 people 2,345 Euros per person

All prices include VAT at 21%

ACCOMMODATION

{Please note: We reserve the right to alter some of these accommodations if circumstances dictate.}

Seville

Luxury Seville hotelLocated in the centre of Seville in the old quarter of Barrio Alfalfa just five minutes from the Cathedral, the original 17th Century Casa Palacio has been meticulously restored and converted into a small private luxury boutique hotel, offering chic accommodation with a relaxed cafe/bar and private dining facilities.

The architectural highlights include the atrium patio, Roman marble columns and the original wooden carved detailing; all this fine art work accentuated by a unique Lutron controlled lighting system.

 

 

 

Cordoba

Nestled in a tiny street, just a stone´s throw from the Mesquita lies our beautifully appointed Cordoba Hotel.

A note from the Owners: “We have raised a balcony over Córdoba to be enjoyed by our guests as a true home. This is a warm-hearted invitation for you to find rest with us while discovering the treasures of a magic, ancient town.”

The stunning roof terrace affords fabulous views over the rooftops of the Old Town and is a wonderful place to unwind. There is also an interior courtyard and garden decorated with articles collected from Roman Ruins and Arabic Palaces. We are sure you will fall in love with this wonderful, intimate hotel.

Granada

Granada luxury hotelOur hotel in Granada is a sixteenth century palace in the heart of the historic center of Granada. Its central location allows us to visit on foot the most important sights of Granada as the Cathedral, the Capilla Real, The Souk, The Royal Chancery, and of course the Alhambra.

The palace has been carefully renovated, respecting all the architectural elements of the time. A central courtyard with tuscan columns leads to the 19 elegant rooms of the palace, decorated with natural fabrics, soft colors and exquisite furnishings, offering a relaxing and restful room. All this surrounded by small details and personalized service.

Ronda

Set in the heart of Andalucía, surrounded by the beautiful rolling hills sits one of our favourite hotels in Ronda. Inspired by African lodges this grand guesthouse resides on 22 acres of private ground. The main lounge features a large fireplace and lounge with multiple decks overlooking the lawn and swimming pool with a backdrop of the “Serrania de Ronda” mountains

Vejer de la Frontera

luxury hote Vejer de la FronteraRevel in the captivating blend of subtle elegance and modern contrasts in this very special hotel in Vejer… Each of the 12 guest rooms offers a relaxing and peaceful ambiance with extra large beds and antique Portuguese furniture.

A spacious en suite bath is exquisitely designed for comfort, replete with heated floors and luxurious fixtures. Enjoy the ideal intimacy of each well-appointed accommodation.

Travellers to southern Spain delight in this enchanting hideaway, offering attentive, yet unobtrusive, service nestled in the province of Andalusia and the village of Vejer de la Frontera.

Tour Cost Includes:

  • Accommodations with buffet breakfasts
  • Lunches and dinners as indicated each day in the detailed itinerary with water, wine and beer.
  • Welcome drink with our hosts
  • Local Spanish-speaking tour manager accompanying the group with room/board
  • Entrance fees at sights mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local tour guides’ services
  • Driver’s services and room/board
  • Comfortable, modern tour bus; fuel, tolls, parking
  • Presentations from your Tour Guide as mentioned

Tour Cost Does Not Include:

  • Transport to Granada at start and from Córdoba at the end of your tour
  • Tipping to tour manager and driver
  • Any extra hotel nights that may be needed or desired
  • Entrance fees to sights not specified in the day-to-day itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, room service, minibar charges, after dinner drinks etc.

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