Andalusia: Art, Landscape And People Many are the peoples, religions and cultures that since prehistoric times have arrived from the Mediterranean to the south of Spain. Important reminders of the Carthaginians, the Romans, and the Hebrews still remain, but what will most draw our attention are the remnants of the Arab civilization, its great capitals, magnificent monuments and the respect they enjoyed during more than five centuries, as well as the influence they bore on the Christian culture. Only in this way can we explain the villages, the art, the society and the landscape of modern day Andalusia.

Arrival in Malaga and travel to Granada for overnight

We begin our journey in La Alhambra, masterful work of the Nazrids, the last dynasty of the Hispanic Muslims. In its rooms, patios and gardens, we understand the fascination that water and vegetation have wielded over the Islamic culture, and how we are still today seduced by their legendary romantic tales. We will attempt to appreciate, despite the obvious contrasts, the beauty of the Palace of Emperor Carlos V. A stroll through the Albaicin district reveals the well known Arab facet of the Andalusian culture, prior to discovering the mark left on Granada by a Christian Spain: the Renaissance Cathedral with the Royal Chapel and the tombstones of the Catholic Kings. Finally, we will wander through the old district, the lively Plaza Bib-Rambla and the narrow streets that surround it. Overnight in Granada Possibility to enjoy a Flamenco Show in the Sacromonte Quarter

Our road today takes us through the never-ending olive groves in Jaen and Cordoba. Our visit to the mills will teach us how to appreciate the different qualities of olive oil of the Baena appellation. Cordoba was likely the most powerful city in Al-Andalus, and was so in its most spectacular phase. The great mosque bears witness to this period, very well preserved despite, or perhaps because of, its conversion to a cathedral. A worship center for the third religion is not lacking; a Jewish synagogue surrounded by its aljama or Jewish Quarter and the remembrance of the great rabbinic thinkers. We finish the day with a stroll through the streets of the old district and its charming patios. Overnight in Cordoba

Near Cordoba we find the city-palace of Medina-Azahara, that belonged to the Cordoba Caliph Abderrahman III, and which, despite centuries of abandonment and thanks to slow reconstruction work, still evokes an idea of its ancient beauty. Carmona, of Punic origin and with its city walls, cemetery, and amphitheater, reminds us that Andalusia also had a very important Carthaginian and Roman past. The climb to the Arabic Alcazar will take us by the 15th century Mudejar Church of San Felipe, and the Baroque Convent of Descalzas. Overnight in Seville

Of the three capitals that the Muslims had in Andalusia, it was Seville that the Christian kings chose for themselves. King Pedro I had the Royal Palaces built, one of the most prominent works of Mudejar style art. Here too the imposing Gothic Cathedral occupies the grounds of the mosque, leaving only the Patio de los Naranjos and the ancient minaret, the Giralda bell tower from which one can enjoy a panoramic view of all Seville. A stroll through the picturesque quarters such as Santa Cruz, beckon us to savor a special selection of tapas. Overnight in Seville Possibility of organizing a special Andalusian tapas-lunch and enjoying a river cruise along the Guadalquivir

Arcos de la Frontera is another of southern Spain's towns bursting with history. Here is where the Guadalete River is forever conjoined to the myth of the Loss of Spain, creating the beautiful backdrop of the town. A small ensemble of military architecture, churches, palatial estates, welcoming streets and balconies afford a pleasant stroll. The city of Jerez de la Frontera has always enjoyed a privileged financial state of affairs that has been strengthened by the export of sherry wines since the 18th century. Its secret and peculiar processing methods will be revealed to us during a visit to a wine cellar, its quality tested during our wine tasting. Overnight in Seville Possibility to visit the Royal School of Equestrian Art or the Yeguada de la Cartuja, where we will admire the singular breed of Cartujano horses

Our route to Ronda will take us along picturesque "white villages" such as Olvera -with a charming old quarter and Medieval fortress- and Grazalema -one of the best examples of the local architecture in the white villages, which maintains very interesting monuments such as the Roman fountain, the Baroque church Nuestra Senora de la Aurora and the parish church La Encarnacion-. We will pass through a range of abrupt green landscapes in the Natural Park of Grazalema which invites us to take a stroll before we reach the Serrania de Ronda. The capital that gives the region its name is incredibly situated by a gorge that divides the present town in two: the old district with the Church Santa Maria la Mayor and the new district with its 18th century bullfighting ring. Overnight on the Costa del Sol Possibility of organizing a special farewell lunch in Ronda

Transfer to the Malaga Airport

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