Seville and the Best of Andalusia

16 days, from Friday, November 22, to Saturday, December 7, 2024

A leisurely two-week exploration of sunny southern Spain! You will stay in four-star hotels, first in glorious Seville and then in the great Atlantic seaport of Cadiz, said to be Europe’s oldest city. Enjoy not only exciting local sightseeing but also an overnight stay in Cordoba with its fabulous mosque. The rest of the tour will include visits to historic sites such as Palos and Sanlucar de Barrameda, the world-famous wine town of Jerez (“Sherry”), and some of Andalusia’s “white villages”, as well as along the famous Costa de la Luz. The tour host, historian Jacques R. Pauwels, PhD, author of Beneath the Dust of Time: A History of the Names of Peoples and Places, will contribute lectures on the fascinating history and culture of Andalusia and Spain in general.

Tour price, based on double occupancy, from Toronto: $5,495
Land Only to/from Seville Airport November 23 – December 7: $4,175
Single Room Supplement: $1,000. Call to request single.

BOOKING INFORMATION

November 22 - December 07, 2024

$5,495 from Toronto based on double occupancy

Land only: $4,175. Single supplement: $1,000

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*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.


ITINERARY

Day 1 - Friday, November 22: Flight to Europe

Depart Toronto for Paris.

Day 2 - Saturday, November 23: Arrival in Paris, connecting flight to Seville.and on to Cordoba

Morning arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, and connecting flight to Seville. Arrival in Seville and short transfer to the great city of Cordoba, already an important city in Antiquity, as testified by an impressive Roman bridge, but its golden age was around the year 1,000 AD, when, as capital of a mighty Muslim caliphate, it was one of the biggest and most beautiful cities in Europe where Moors, Christians, and Jews lived together in peace and produced one of the most brilliant civilizations of the Middle Ages. Dinner and overnight in the first-class Soho Boutique Hotel or similar.

Day 3 - Sunday, November 24: Seville

After breakfast, leisurely walking tour of Cordoba’s very picturesque old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the ancient city walls, the Roman bridge, the Jewish Quarter, and as absolute highlight our visit to the 1,000-year-old Mosque, a marvel of Islamic architecture. supported by no less than 850 columns, featuring a Baroque cathedral in the middle of the building! Afterwards there will be free time to enjoy lunch, explore the town on your own, visit museums, and/or shop for local specialties such as leather goods! Late afternoon departure from Cordoba and short drive to Seville, the magnificent metropolis of Andalusia, Spain’s sunny southern region. Check into the traditionally-Spanish first-class Hotel Doña María, superbly situated in the heart of Seville's old town, the picturesque "Santa Cruz" district, formerly the Jewish Ghetto or "Juderia", virtually next door to the Cathedral, the Alcazar, and many of the city’s other major attractions. Welcome drink of Sangria, followed by dinner in a typical restaurant. 

Day 4 - Monday, November 25: Seville

Morning visit to Seville Cathedral, one of the biggest and most beautiful churches in the world; its 98 meter-high belltower, the "Giralda," a former minaret, is the most famous landmark of the city, and inside one can admire countless treasures as well as the mausoleum of Christopher Columbus. On for a leisurely walk to the university, formerly a tobacco factory where "Carmen," heroine of Bizet’s eponymous opera, is said to have worked. Entering Maria Luisa Park, we admire and photograph colourful Plaza de Espana, a world-famous icon of the city. On to the Arenal district, stretched along the scenic banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville’s lifeline to the Atlantic Ocean, where we admire monuments such as the Golden Tower, the Plaza de Toros (bullring), and the Maestranza Theatre. This evening, in lieu of dinner, you may want to join your guide and go “grazing,” i.e., move from bar to bar to munch on “tapas”, cold and warm snacks such as stuffed olives, wedges of Spanish omelet, calamar, mussels, cheese of La Mancha, spicy Chorizo sausage, and of course the wonderful Spanish ham known as “jamon iberico”…Buen Provecho!

Day 5 - Tuesday, November 26: Seville

We start today’s program with a visit to the Alcazar, a richly decorated medieval palace built in the Moorish style, where Columbus is said to have met with the King and Queen of Spain prior to his historical transatlantic voyage; the interior is fabulous, but the Alcazar’s lush gardens also deserve a thorough exploration. Across from the entrance of the Alcazar is the historic building known as the India Archives, ranked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the Alcazar and the Cathedral. In the afternoon we explore the Santa Cruz/Juderia district, with sights such as the picturesque Plaza de Santa Cruz, the Monument to Don Juan, the Murillo Gardens, the Monument to Columbus, and the Church of Santa Maria La Blanca, a former synagogue. Dinner in a typical restaurant.

Day 6 - Wednesday, November 27: Seville

After breakfast, visit to the Hospital of Charity, built by a local nobleman whose life inspired the story of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" opera; its baroque church is richly decorated with statues and paintings. Then we visit the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, located in a former monastery, reputedly Spain’s most important art gallery after the Prado Museum in Madrid, featuring works of art from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque era up to the 20th century, mainly by Spanish artists such as Murillo, El Greco, Velásquez, Zurbarán, but also foreign painters such as Brueghel. This evening, we attend a traditional Flamenco show! 


Day 7 - Thursday, November 28: Seville

After breakfast, visit to Casa de Pilatos, built in the 16th century and arguably the most beautiful palace in Seville after the Alcazar. On to the “Mushrooms of Seville”, the world’s largest wooden construction, opened in 2011, a complex featuring a traditional market, restaurants, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city, and an archaeological museum focused on the ruins of Roman and Arab buildings. 


Day 8 - Friday, November 29: Palos de la Frontera

This morning we motor via the grounds of Expo 1992, organized in that year on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World, to the Atlantic coast in the vicinity of the Portuguese border in order to visit some fascinating sites associated with Columbus and his great voyage of discovery in 1492: the Franciscan Monastery of La Rabida, where Columbus lived and worked for a while; the neighbouring little seaport of Palos de la Frontera, from where he sailed on his first transatlantic crossing in August 1492; and the huge Monument of the “Faith of the Discoverers” overlooking the estuary of the Rio Tinto; these sites are collectively classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/6080. Before returning to Seville, we also check out the village of Rocio, seemingly an outpost in America’s Old Wild West, with wide, sandy streets lined with houses complete with broad verandas and wooden rails for tying up horses; its annual pilgrimage draws masses of pilgrims, arriving either on foot, on horseback, or riding in decorated carts. Today, a group lunch is included.


Day 9 - Saturday, November 30: Seville and optional tour of Grenada

Your last full day in Seville is entirely at leisure. If there is sufficient interest, a full-day optional excursion will be offered to Granada, including a visit to the magnificent Alhambra Palace of the Moorish Kings and the Cathedral with the Royal Chapel. The all-inclusive cost of this excursion is $150, and this trip must be booked prior to departure from Canada, as admission to the Alhambra is strictly regulated and must be booked well in advance! If interested, please notify our office as soon as possible.


Day 10 - Sunday, December 01: Sanlucar de Barrameda

 Departure from Seville after breakfast. We motor south to the mouth of Seville’s lifeline to the Atlantic, the Guadalquivir River, to explore the quaint town of Sanlucar de Barrameda, nestled on the banks of the river very close to its mouth. This place is associated with Columbus and Manzanilla, a type of Sherry wine, and features sandy beaches, pine forests, and salt flats in addition to a medieval castle as well as churches and monasteries; visible just across the river is La Doñana, a vast national park and bird sanctuary. How about a walk along the waterfront, followed by a seafood lunch in one of the many local eateries? In the afternoon we continue to the pretty beach resort of Chipiona, whose lighthouse, the largest in all of Spain marks the spot where the Guadalquivir meets the Ocean. On to historically important Puerto de Santa Maria, situated in a region characterized by marshland, pine groves, and the first fine sandy beaches of the Costa de la Luz, which stretches from here via the Bay of Cadiz all the way to the Strait of Gibraltar. Late afternoon arrival in the great seaport of Cadiz, said to be Europe’s oldest city, founded around 1,000 BC by the Phoenicians, who appreciated its location at the tip of a peninsula overlooking a wide bay that provided a perfect natural harbour. Dinner and overnight in the centrally located first-class/four-star Senator Cadiz Spa Hotel. 


Day 11 - Monday, December 02: Cadiz

Morning sightseeing in Old Cadiz, whose subsisting massive walls and forts recall a 1596 attack of the city by the British; remains of a theatre and other Roman ruins; the impressive Cathedral; the Oratorio de San Felipe Nerim Church, where the first Spanish Constitution was signed; the Central Market, whose fish section features an abundance of seafood from the Mediterranean as well as the Atlantic; Caleta Beach, reputedly the best place in Spain to watch the sunset; the botanical garden known as the Genoese Park; and the Torre Tavira, an ancient watchtower featuring a “camera obscura” allowing visitors to experience superb views city and its surroundings through the lens of a camera that’s mounted on top of the building! Afternoon at leisure, and dinner in a typical restaurant.

Day 12 - Tuesday, December 03: Cadiz

After breakfast, visit to the Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology, highlighting the city’s Phoenician and Roman history (with e.g. two Phoenician stone sarcophagi) and paintings by Spanish and Flemish masters such as Zurbarán, Murillo, Miró, and Rubens. The rest of the day is at leisure. If the weather cooperates, you might enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, first facing the Bay of Cadiz and then Atlantic Ocean, to the Genoese Park, the Paseo Santa Barbara, and the 17th-century fortress Castillo de Santa Catalina. No group dinner this evening. “Grazing” in the tapas bars is an attractive option! 

Day 13 - Wednesday, December 04: Arcos de la Frontera and Medina Sidonia

Full-day excursion to Andalusia’s pretty “white villages”, including Arcos de la Frontera and Medina Sidonia in the interior and, along the scenic Costa de la Luz, the hilltop town of Vejer de la Frontera and fishing villages such as Barbate, Zahara de los  Atunes, associated with the tuna fisheries, and Los Caños de Meca, the latter situated near Cape Trafalgar, associated with the great naval battle of 1805. Look out for flamingoes as we return to Cadiz through a landscape featuring marshes, meandering rivers, and salt flats! 

Day 14 - Thursday, December 05: Jerez de la Frontera

Full day excursion to the nearby town of Jerez de la Frontera, or "Sherry," as it is known in English. Jerez is the home of the world famous Andalusian breed of horses, and this morning we attend the weekly performance of the so called "dancing horses" of the Royal Riding School, a show which is just as impressive as the one of their Lipizaner cousins of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. The town is also the hub a famous wine region, and our visit here would not be complete without a visit to the "bodega" (winery) of the House of Sandeman, where we will learn how this famous wine is made and have an opportunity to enjoy some dry "fino" and some medium "amontillado". Return to Cadiz in the afternoon, and free time until this evening’s final group dinner in a typical restaurant. 

Day 15 - Friday, December 06: Day at leisure

Morning free to pack, shop, or just relax. Afternoon transfer to the airport and flight to Paris CDG Airport, departing around 5 and arriving around 7:30. Overnight in an airport hotel.

Day 16 - Saturday, December 07: Transfer to airport and flight home

After a leisurely breakfast, short transfer to the airport in time for the 2:30 PM departure of our return flight to Toronto, arriving around 4 PM.

ITINERARY PDF

EXPLORE THE AREA

INCLUDED

- Return flight (with one suitcase of baggage allowance) from Toronto to Seville - Overland transportation by private coach - Accommodation in first-class/four-star hotels, based on double occupancy – the single room supplement is $1,000, but only a limited number of single rooms are available. - Breakfast daily and a total of 7 dinners (or full lunches) - All visits and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary, including admission to museums and monuments mentioned.

NOT INCLUDED

- All items of a personal nature - Wine, beer, mineral water, and similar beverages with dinners - A gratuity for the coach driver(s) of 30 Euros - Travel Insurance - available on request.

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