Historic Andalucia tour, Spain
Optional single supplement £240.
Minimum age 16.
Description of Historic Andalucia tour, Spain
Spend eight days exploring this beautiful corner of southern Spain, strolling through the Moorish white towns – pueblos blancos – which stud the hills, tasting tapas, discovering Seville’s ancient architecture and gardens and, of course, not missing the extraordinary Alhambra palace in Granada. Travelling in a small group by private air-conditioned minibus makes key sights easily accessible and while a guided trip, there’s scope to also explore independently at your own pace, in Seville, for example or on an optional self-guided walk from your rural base.
Andalucia’s history is long and rich, with past civilisations including the Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans all marching over its soil. But it was the sophisticated Moslem kingdom, ‘Al Andalus’, however, that gave the region its richest and most lasting cultural heritage and distinctive traditions. From the magic cities of Seville and Granada to the secret gem of Antequera and the timeless white villages of Olvera and Setenil, there is a wealth of culture to indulge in.
Just sticking to the cities and towns would be a waste though, when there is beautiful, rolling Andalusian countryside, covered with olive trees and farmland, to enjoy, too. That’s why this trip is based mostly in a rural converted farmhouse near Algamitas, so you can experience the real Spain and take gentle hikes into the hills, whilst still being close to the region’s top attractions.
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1 Reviews of Historic Andalucia tour, Spain
Reviewed on 24 Apr 2013 by Jeannette Van Zyl
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The most memorable part was the visit to the Cordoba Mezquita. I would like to mention that a few of us returned to Cordoba on our free day as the Mezquita was closed on the Tuesday that was scheduled as part of the itinerary. This was the week of Semana Santa and the general feeling in the group was that the dates and times of the closures should have been obtained and the days outings changed accordingly. We were unable to enter the Seville cathedral for the same reason. This was a huge negative for me.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Encourage the guide to start the days outings earlier - there is a distance to travel each day and if the departure is late there is not enough time to explore the cities or villages.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
It did benefit the small village of Algamitas as the Cortigo Rosario staff live there. We also spent time in the village at restaurants etc.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
The attitude of the hosts at the Cortigo Rosario was disappointing. We were welcomed by them on arrival, but never interacted with them again. We would arrive back from a long day away and would then have to light the fire - it would have been so welcoming to return to a roaring fire! There were problems (leaking roof etc) experienced at the Cortigo and their reaction was not the best. The Cortigo obviously needs maintenance to be done and if this is not done to an acceptable standard, the guests will not be satisfied. This will be a pity as this place has so much potential.
Whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should pack a refillable water bottle as the water at the Cortijo Rosario is drinkable and your guide will be able to advise where you can fill them up throughout the week.
Many of our days on this tour are spent walking around at a leisurely pace, sightseeing and getting to know the grounds of Cortijo Rosario and Algamitas. By using local transfers on the trip, we can support local people and increase demand for employment in the area. We also make a positive impression by visiting a number of cultural and historical sites. Here, our entry fees contribute to the maintenance and restoration going on e.g. Alhambra, Giralda and the Palacio Nazaríe.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
PeopleLocal Craft and Culture:
The surrounding village cafes and bars all benefit from our visits. Set amongst the olive groves and hills of central Andalucia, Spain's poorest region, we get a real taste of the local lifestyle, as different from the ‘popular image’ of the South of Spain as could be. Clients are encouraged to explore local markets and small businesses where meals are not provided as in this area, a lot of olives, cereal and sunflowers are produced. This is a good way to support agriculture but there are also areas which are good for handicraft shopping e.g. Setenil is also a good place to buy ceramics and other local crafts.
Accommodation and meals:
Although just an hour or two from the Costas, the tiny village of Algamitas is virtually untouched by tourism and the ‘Cortijo Rosario’ is the only tourism venture in the village. This family-run farmhouse employs several people from the village and all food provided is homemade using locally produced and sourced goods wherever possible. The house is situated in 30 acres of woodland, open farm space and olive, fruit and almond trees so sometimes ingredients may even be sourced from the garden. Maria, who runs the kitchen, will also offer a paella cooking lesson so that clients are really able to immerse themselves in the culinary culture of Spain and to take some of what they learned home with them.