Classic Andalucia TourAndalucia evokes a strong sense of exoticism and romance for many travellers and would-be visitors. Her three major cities are known locally as “The Golden Triangle”.
At TOMA & COE we love each magnificent, historic city equally, and celebrate their differences. Our Classic Tour takes in these three jewels of Andalucia: Seville, Cordoba and Granada.
Our Classic Andalucia Tour spends equal time in each of the three destinations. Through our insightful guiding and careful planning, guests enjoy an in-depth exploration of each city and its major highlights. But to accompany the celebrated monuments, we also reveal the lesser-known appeal of each city in a more relaxed and intimate way.
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.
This tour will show you the secret side of Seville, the wonders of the soul of Cordoba and the grandeur of Granada.
Finally we will visit Spain’s most iconic “white village”, beautiful clifftop Ronda, surrounded by some of the most stunning landscapes in Spain.
Come on board for a journey to the very best Andalucia has to offer!
- Enjoy the monuments of Seville including the beautiful and immense Cathedral with its Giralda tower, and the Alcazar
- A private walking tour will reveal the secret side of Seville, 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
- 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 Capilla Real (Royal Chapel), the Cathedral, and the Arabic quarter the Albaicin, with magnificent views of Granada
- Visit the town of Ronda, magnificently built across a mighty gorge with some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain
About the tour
The Full Itinerary
Day 1 (D)
We will meet at our hotel just after lunch for a welcome coffee and introduction. Then we will begin a walking tour with a local guide.
We visit Seville’s cathedral — its sheer size may take your breath away. It’s not just the lofty height of the Giralda, the city’s most emblematic structure, that’s striking, but the vastness of the entire building, which takes up an entire city block. Started in 1434, the cathedral was intended 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 — larger 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 worshipped in a mosque after they reconquered the city from the Moors (Islamic North African rulers). At its highest point, the central nave rises to almost 140 feet, supported by 12-foot-thick columns. The centrepiece of this magnificent cathedral is the dazzling retablo (altarpiece) in the Capilla Mayor, an extraordinary work begun in 1482 and completed a century later. The largest altarpiece in the world at almost 120 feet, it features more than 1,000 wood sculptures painted in gold. At one corner of the cathedral is the entrance to the Giralda, the former minaret which is a symbol of Seville and a landmark visible from almost anywhere in the city.
We’ll also visit the Alcázar, built by Pedro I (“the Cruel”) in the 14th century. This magnificent mudéjar fortress-palace south of the cathedral is the oldest royal residence in Europe still in use: on visits to Seville, King Felipe and Queen Letizia stay here. From the intricate carvings of the Dolls’ Court to the exquisite arches, sunken garden and pool of the Maidens’ Court, with the dramatic high point of the gold-domed Ambassadors’ Salon, it is undoubtedly one of Spain’s most beautiful palaces.
The Alcázar contains the finest examples of 14th-century Moorish architecture outside the Alhambra. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the “Catholic Kings” who lived in the Alcázar at one time and influenced its architectural evolution, welcomed Columbus here on his return from America.
After some relaxing time at our hotel, we will meet and walk together to a local restaurant for our Welcome Dinner.
Day 2 (B, L)
In the centuries after the discovery of the Americas, Seville became the only port of entry for all the wealth being poured into the Spanish coffers. A hefty tax was placed on all goods (15%), much of which was spent building lavish 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 magnificent testimony to this ornate artistic style.
This morning is given over to discovering the more secret side of Seville. We will walk its maze of back streets to uncover some real treasures that are hiding behind closed doors. We will go into a monastery which is still lived in by an order of cloistered nuns, whose motto is “ORA ET LABORA” – pray and work. When they are not in intercession, they make heavenly jams and cakes that we will be able to purchase. Our mission is to find a special key, one that opens the door of their private chapel, so you can see first hand where some of the phenomenal wealth from the Americas ended up!
We will also visit a private palace to see some Roman mosaics saved from the nearby archaeological site of Itálica before going to a country estate for lunch and a private flamenco lesson. After a siesta at the hotel and an independent dinner, we will reconvene to enjoy a flamenco show together, so you how the professionals do it!
Day 3 (B, L)
Today we will follow the route of Mr Henderson’s Railway, retracing some of the historic rail route between Ronda and the coast, passing through beautiful countryside along the way in the stunning Los Alcornocales national park.
The track for this railway was first laid in the 1880s, with the aim of enhancing trade links with Madrid, but thanks its extraordinary beauty, the route was soon frequented by travellers who were enticed by the dramatic scenery.
We will enjoy a brief visit to the charming “whitewashed” hilltop town of Ronda before continuing along the route of the railway.
Lunch will be on the way, either in the centre of Ronda, or at one of the old cargo loading stations, now converted into a delightful restaurant.
After this, we will pass through the rugged interior zone, home to the so-called “Pueblos Blancos” — sublime “white villages” that are scattered like patches of snow along spectacular steep mountain slopes.
This is a lovely drive, through some of the greatest scenic landscapes of Spain; we will try to stop at some of these villages along our way. 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 offer you the closest look at a Moroccan landscape.
Day 4 (B, L)
After a leisurely breakfast, we will drive to the city of Cordoba and check into our hotel . We will go together for a wonderful lunch in a local restaurant and from there begin our walking tour of the historic quarter.
We will visit a Mudejar chapel, Christian in purpose but built in Arabic style; see the only remaining synagogue in the whole of Andalucia; and stroll the Old Jewish Quarter.
The highlight of our tour will be visiting the Mezquita, the Great Mosque of Cordoba which has a cathedral inside it, one of the most unusual and beautiful buildings in the world.
This evening will be free for you to retrace your steps at your own pace and lose yourselves in this marvellous city, stopping off for tapas as and when you see fit.
Day 5 (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will jump on board our private bus to enjoy the drive westwards towards Granada. En route, we will stop somewhere marvellous for a hearty lunch!
Once we have arrived in Granada and checked into our hotel, we will begin our exploration of this wonderful city. We will 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 against the Moors (Islamic rulers from North Africa). This late-Gothic chapel is Granada’s finest Christian building, where the royal coffins rest in the crypt beneath elaborate Renaissance sepulchres. You can see a stunning altarpiece, and the sacristy 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 commemoration 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 of the finest examples of Spanish Renaissance.
This evening we will walk up the hill together, to visit the Arabic Quarter of the Albaícin and to enjoy the spectacular views of the Alhambra from the Mirador De San Nicolás. We will enjoy a meal in a local restaurant.
Day 6 (B, D)
Today we visit the amazing Alhambra. Nowhere else in Spain can evoke past Islamic glories with such power – a Moor from medieval times would have considered the Alhambra as paradise on earth. 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.
This 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 beautiful in their own right and add to the broader sense of history. Just outside the Alhambra walls is the Generalife, a wonderfully lush area 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 Generalife is a delightful place to rest and contemplate after seeing the rest of the Alhambra, and the gardens offer stunning views over the complex and across to the Albaicín district of the city.
After our visit you have the afternoon free, to have lunch in one of the city’s tapas bars or restaurants and perhaps indulge in a little shopping. In the early evening we will reconvene for a pre-dinner drink and a celebratory farewell dinner.
Departure from our hotel in Granada.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE LOGISTICS
Day 1: Seville has flights to Madrid with Iberia, and to Barcelona with Vueling and Ryanair. From Seville there are also flights to Paris with Vueling and Transavia, and to Amsterdam with Transavia/KLM. This is just a general guide. Flight service is subject to change.
The train from Seville to Madrid takes about 2 1/2 hours.
Day 7: At the time of publishing this itinerary, Granada Airport offers flights to Madrid, Barcelona and London, with excellent links to the rest of Europe, as well as a train service to Madrid.
Prices from €2072 per person
Price shown is for a group of 8 people in double occupancy rooms. Single supplement applicable.
As TOMA & COE is a boutique agency working with small groups, prices may vary slightly. On most 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 travelling 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.